As amazing as our bodies are, we cannot completely withstand the health-robbing effects of unhealthy diets, stress and exposure to environmental toxins. These factors contribute to a group of serious health epidemics and one group is rising to the top of the list – Autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune (AI) diseases comprise more than 100 individual types including Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Celiac disease, among others, and are characterized by inflammatory self-destructive immune responses where the immune system turns against itself and attacks organs and tissues.
Are You At Risk?
Certain AI diseases such as Lupus are shown to be linked to environmental pollutants, including those found in foods, cleaning products, furniture, beauty products, toys, clothing, and mattresses. The rising number of AI cases, particularly surrounding areas of heavier toxin exposure, can no longer be ignored. It was believed that AI diseases were caused solely by genetic factors, but new research from the field of immunotoxicology -the study of the effects of toxins on our immune systems-is uncovering new findings.
While experts still believe that a genetic predisposition to AI disease places someone at a higher risk, data from immunotoxicology studies at top research institutes demonstrate that the epidemic increase of AI disease is being influenced by our toxic environment.
What is Autoimmune Disease?
Since many of us are at risk at some point, it’s important to understand the effects on our bodies and the symptoms that may result. AI diseases are essentially communication breakdowns between our body’s cells, where immune cells can no longer distinguish between our own healthy tissue and a harmful invader. Messages get scrambled between regulator immune T cells (T-1 cells), which orchestrate and direct immune responses, and the more common T cells (T-2 cells) and lymphocyte immune cells, which are responsible for attacking harmful invaders. With AI diseases, T-2 cells circulate unsupervised and under-educated, destroying various areas of the body depending on the specific autoimmune condition.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) identifies an underlying organ imbalance and emotional/psychological characteristic behind every illness, and therefore, recognizes that AI diseases may correspond to different sets of emotional/psychological patterns. The deeper mind/body characteristics of AI diseases are viewed by TCM philosophy as over or under-reactive responses to external stimuli, translating to a lack of concern, feelings of apathy, or too much self-criticism. When viewed in the context of an overloaded toxic body burden and other modern stresses, then such self-destructive responses begin to form a more holistic picture of what is happening to over 24 million Americans living with AI diseases.
Many AI diseases are difficult to diagnose and manage, with no known Western medical cures. Conventional therapies focus on controlling “flare-ups” with anti-inflammatory drugs, immune suppressors, antiviral drugs, and other medications. This is a symptomatic approach that does not address the root or cause of the AI disease, and can also lead to severe and debilitating side effects.
As an integrative physician, my strategy for managing AI disease is to focus on balance and “regulation.” Since the immune system has lost control of its regulatory mechanisms, the aim is to help re-establish these critical biological cycles. Certain recommendations may help and include following a strict sleep schedule, engaging in regular gentle exercise, adhering to a healthy, unprocessed diet, taking nutritional supplements that focus on regulation and balance of the immune system, and gentle chelation for the removal of heavy metals and toxins. Lastly, incorporating healthy stress relief measures is a key factor, since stress can contribute to AI flare-ups.
One of the most valuable forms of supplementation is medicinal mushrooms, which play a large, though commonly misunderstood role. Medicinal mushrooms are immune regulators that help to educate immune cells and direct appropriate immune responses, which is critical in the management of AI diseases.
Botanicals that regulate inflammation are also critical in the management of AI diseases, along with high-powered antioxidants to scavenge free radicals and soothe inflammatory responses. For this I recommend a Tibetan herbal formula, which works to regulate inflammation and immune responses and boosts antioxidant activity.
Gentle chelation and removal of heavy metals and toxins is one of the most essential protocol considerations for the management of any AI disease. For natural chelation, I recommend a combination of modified citrus pectin and modified alginates, which have been extensively proven to safely remove heavy metals and environmental toxins from the body, followed a month later by a Phase II detoxification formula for deeper chelation and detoxification. Avoid further exposure by choosing natural, organic alternatives to conventional food, body and household products that contain harmful chemicals.
Even though modern medicine has yet to offer a cure for AI diseases, it is important to note that these illnesses can often be successfully managed through proper regulation of the body’s response systems using diet, healthy lifestyle patterns and nutritional supplementation.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980's, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner.
Since 1991 Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
To learn more, please visit www.dreliaz.org.
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