The Autoimmune Disease Epidemic
Written by Audrey
Over the past year, I have researched what is causing the widespread epidemic of autoimmune diseases and how one can treat one’s disease (I used a variety of book, website, magazine, journal article and video sources).
Currently in the world there is an autoimmune disease epidemic. There are over 100 different types of autoimmune disorders (from asthma to diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). Over the last few decades the amount of people suffering from an autoimmune disease has quadrupled. In fact, more people suffer from autoimmune disease than cancer as 1 in every 12 people have an autoimmune disorder or will develop one later in their life. Cancer costs in the U.S. are $50 billion while $100 billion for autoimmune diseases. Environmental stresses such as a poor diet and toxins caused this rise in autoimmune disorders. These triggers (toxins in food, products and environment) are called autogens. The human body did not have time to adapt to these changes as it takes thousands of years for the body to adapt to new environmental stresses. Many people believe that autoimmune diseases are genetic, but this is not always the case. Genetics do not change so fast and could not have caused the sudden and rapid increase in these disorders. The increase in autoimmunity parallels the increase of chemicals and the average person is exposed to 126 chemicals before they leave the house in the morning (cream, hair spray, shampoo, toothpaste, etc). On average, there are 287 industrial chemicals (pesticides, mercury, flame retardants etc.) in our bodies right now. Toxins alter the structure of our DNA and this can cause the immune system to see mutated tissue as a foreign object and attack itself. Moreover, women are affected by autoimmune diseases more than men as they use more beauty products which have many chemicals and carcinogens. In order to prevent this, doctors suggest using better quality and paraben-free and phthalate-free creams and cosmetic products. (We like Jason and Kiss My Face products.) Hippocrates once said that “all disease begins in the gut” and he was right as 80% of the body’s immune system is located near the gut. Toxins cause excess gut bacteria and permeability which is called leaky gut (common symptom of this is lack of vitamin D or food allergies). One can cure or treat (depending on severity) their leaky gut and autoimmune disease with the proper diet. If not treated, autoimmune diseases can get serious. Many times people take medications like NSAIDs that mask symptoms. But, in actuality, NSAIDs make the condition worse as they suppress the immune system. All my sources encourage eating organic and probiotic foods and removing allergens.
The recipes we provide you with are low inflammatory and vitamin rich. We chose to remove foods like grains, legumes and soy that ruin and permeate the gut. I will talk more about the products my family and I use and some common symptoms of leaky gut in a later post.
Blum, Susan. The Immune System Recovery Plan. New York: Scribner,
Nakazawa, Donna. The Autoimmune Epidemic. New York: Touchstone, 2008.
Welch, Liz. “Autoimmune Epidemic: The Medical Experts.” Self. Conde Nast., 1 Apr. 2015.
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Hrie, Catherine. “Autoimmune Disorders: When Your Body Turns On You.” Experience
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Jackson, Kinsey. “The Autoimmune Epidemic.” Paleo Plan. Paleo Plan, n.d. Web. 26
MacDonald, Thomas, and Giovanni Monteleone. “Immunity, Inflammation and Allergy in the
Gut.” Science 307.5717 25 Mar. 2005: 1920-25. Jstor. Web. 9 June 2015