The Autoimmune Matrix
At this time I would like to share my latest Facebook class: The Autoimmune Matrix!
TODAY, we will be going over:
-The Dangers of Autoimmunity
-The Gut-Health Connection
-Things That Hinder Proper Immune Function
-Strategies to Reduce Autoimmune Risk and Complications
-Ways to Truly Optimize Your Health!
Please feel free to invite others that are in need of this life-changing experience!
Imagine health expressed as a triangle.
At the base is your genes, all 23,000 of them. Each of these are inherited by your parents and are present your whole life. However, they are not necessarily noticed until some other factor activates them.
The genes can be turned on or off, much like a light switch, by what we can visualize as the points on the health triangle:
-The Chemical Self
-The Physical Self
-and the Mental Self
This will make more sense as we discuss these components of health further, but know that as functional medicine doctors, we view the whole triangle in its entirety.
This triangle of health represents components of the the autoimmune matrix.
It is understood that autoimmune diseases are caused by chemical, physical, or mental influences turning on certain genes. In other words, autoimmunity is bred by lifestyle choices and behavior. It is also important to note that each of these elements can interact with one another. For example, if we are not tending to our physical self, our chemical self reacts and vice versa.
Fortunately, this means they can also be addressed in the same way. Our influences chemically, physically, and mentally can determine our health to be either compromise or optimized! While that may sound scary, it is equally empowering and can instill a lot of hope in those suffering from autoimmune conditions.
Most conventional doctors today will solely focus on the chemical components using medication.
There are endless ways to influence the body using this standard of care such as artificially manipulating inflammation, vital hormones, and many of the other essential chemical processes within the body.
This is all done with one common goal: covering up the symptoms.
On the other hand, Functional medicine doctors address the origin of disease to ensure comprehensive and effective treatment. Covering up the symptoms should never be considered or disguised as a cure.
Functional medicine is centered around the patient versus the disease. Practitioners see health problems as a reaction to dysfunctions within the body rather than an isolated issue.
This approach is truly revolutionizing the medical field by empowering patients to better understand imbalances in their bodies, how these imbalances affect their health, and the solutions available to support the normal healing mechanisms within their body.
When this is applied to autoimmune complications, people are astonished by the improvement in their health, if not complete recovery.
The chemical components of health will be a large majority of we discuss throughout this presentation, but for good reason. In short, chemistry, in this sense, refers to anything that enters the body.
This refers to:
And much more
Other environmental factors, that you may have less control of (but noneless still control over exposure of), include:
-And other microorganisms
The common theme throughout the triangle of health is your control. Your chemical self is influenced by what you choose can enter your body and in turn, the chemical influence on your gene activation.
Up next, we will be explaining common chemical, or nutrient, deficiencies.
In the words of Dr. Osborne, “The importance of nutrition can’t be argued. It’s absolutely critical.”
Essential nutrients found in food (such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fats) are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Each have their own job and everyone’s needs are specific to their own unique health.
One thing to consider is the WHY behind these deficiencies. It may be due to not consuming enough foods that contain them, impaired gut function, or the result of an existing autoimmune issue!
The most common nutrient deficiencies seen in practice include (but are not limited to):
-Omega-3 Fatty Acids
-And (Believe It or Not) Water
Unfortunately, the commonplace procedure of measuring these levels is serum testing. Serum testing can be incredibly limiting as they do not take into account the fluctuations of vitamin content throughout the day or around meals. That being said, serum lab testing is not a good indicator of the storage of nutrients, the sustained nutrient levels, or accurate deficiencies after digestion. This is an important conversation to have with your doctor if that is the only test being offered to you.
Later in this presentation, we will be reviewing other recommended testing procedures. First, let’s get a closer look at some of these deficiencies.
Most immune cells have specific Vitamin D receptors which help modulate immune activity and response.
It is no surprise that clear connections have been found between autoimmune diseases and this deficiency. A few of the most prominent include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Some common foods that are high in Vitamin D include:
The most abundant source of Vitamin D, however, is from direct sunlight. Yet, we are advised to limit our time in the sun and wear UV blocking protectants. However, Vitamin D is immunomodulatory, otherwise known as an aid in proper immune system function. This, in turn, helps to prevent autoimmune disorders. This doesn’t add up, does it?
Common medications used to treat autoimmune diseases can actually cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies and in turn, hinder the immune system! You can see how this is truly counterproductive.
You deserve to know if the medicine you’ve been prescribed causes deficiencies and if so, you also deserve to be given the appropriate supplementation.
For your reference, consider the following general information:
-For common blood pressure medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins B1, B6, and C, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Sodium, CoQ10, and Melatonin
-For common cholesterol medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, D, E, K, Folate, Beta Carotene, Iron, and CoQ10
-For common diabetes medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins B12, Folic Acid, and CoQ10
-For common anti-inflammatory medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins A, C, D, B12, Folic Acid, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc
-For common heartburn medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins D, B12, Folic Acid, Beta Carotene, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc.
-For common hormone replacement medication the following deficiencies may occur:
Vitamins B2, B, B6, B12, C, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc, and Selenium.
Please note that these do not go for all of these medications, but are general guidelines.
Above all, it is always most important to have the proper testing to ensure you are treating your unique needs.
We are exposed to toxins on a regular basis and many are often unavoidable.
These include, but are not limited to:
Toxin can be the cause of many health complications, such as:
To reduce and prevent this toxic overload, there are many ways to minimize exposure such as:
- Organic, Non-GMO Foods
Air Purification Systems
Toxic-Free Household Items
Luckily, there are ways to monitor your nutrient deficiencies, toxic build up, and bodily imbalances.
Consider these tests when working with your functional medicine doctor as they are designed to assess your individual nutritional status.
This tests for nutrient storage versus what is simply found in the blood and serum. This is a more concrete measure in the sense that it does not change as frequently as other the results of other tests do.
-Iodine Loading Test
This measures your iodine status and possible deficiency.
This test is an effective way of measuring Vitamin D.
-Iron Panel with Ferritin
The important part here is the ferritin. Be sure to request this as most doctors do not make this their initial avenue of iron testing.
Also known as the complete blood count, this is the most comprehensive blood test for assessing anemia and the functioning of many systems within your body.
This is an indirect marker for the nutritional statue of vitamin B2, B6, B12, and folate.
This detects average blood sugar.
This is an identifiable marker of inflammation.
Insulin affects the body in a number of ways, but above all, this test measures the amount of stress on the pancreas based on the amount of sugar found in the bloodstream.
In order to properly diagnose nutrient deficiencies (or most health complications in general), it is important to rule out any issues associated with gut function. If your gut is not functioning properly, it is unlikely that your body will be able to absorb the proper nutrients. Therefore, eating the right foods or taking supplements will go unnoticed and you may become frustrated with the lack of improvement.
Some of the major functions of the gut include:
Above all, the gut’s sole purpose is to ensure you are absorbing the good and excreting the bad. If this balance is disrupted, major health complications occur. There is TEN TIMES the amount of bacteria in our body than our own cells and the majority of them are housed within our digestive system. That being said, gut health is truly the gateway to health for a number of reasons.
These components have been proved to significantly damage the gut:
-The Standard American Diet
(Such as pesticides, preservatives, heavy metals, food dyes, GMOs, glyphosate, and microbial transglutaminase)
(Such as bacterial, viral, parasitic, or yeast overgrowth)
-Gluten and Other Grains
These are some of the main proponents for the cause of leaky gut syndrome, a harmful condition that causes a plethora of health complications.
Leaky gut is when the tight junctions between the intestinal cells begin to open up due to the proteins breaking down from agitation. When this happens, bacteria, chemicals, and toxins have the ability to leak outside of the digestive tract and eventually enter the bloodstream. This signals a flood of immune antibodies and an increase allergic reactions. This cycle continues and ultimately leads to autoimmunity.
It’s important to know what is specifically irritating your gut. Up next, we will be going more in detail on some of the common culprits.
If you are on medication, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks!
- Antibiotics can destroy the good bacteria needed for digestion, can cripple vitamin synthesis, and increase your risk of yeast overgrowth.
Common pain medication have been found to erode the mucosal lining of the stomach and small intestine which contributes to intestinal permeability.
Acid reflux medications block stomach acid production. In turn, this hinders digestion and absorption, often leading to nutrient deficiencies.
Antidepressants negatively affect the neurotransmitters in the gut.
Gluten was the first medically proven cause of autoimmunity in 1952 by Dr. Willem Dicke. Since then, plenty of research has backed this up.
Gluten allergies and sensitivity have been increasingly becoming more common. However, recent research has been implying that gluten can even cause adverse health effects in people that don’t have these conditions!
Why is this, you ask?
Well, gluten produces a protein called zonulin. This zonulin directly affects the lining of the intestinal lining (Hello, leaky gut!). The antibodies that are initially produced to attack gliadin, one of the gluten’s building blocks, leaches out of the GI tract and into the bloodstream. The body reacts by secreting inflammatory chemicals as a defense mechanism. However, the body becomes unable to differentiate between the gluten (or the invader) and the body’s healthy tissue. This is what we call the start to autoimmunity.
Some of the most commonly ignored allergies include:
-And allergies in the additives of any of the above.
All untreated allergies can cause serious health complications, including autoimmune diseases.
Fortunately, there are many ways to test for allergies, including:
-Lung function tests
-Food challenges (often in the form of elimination diets)
Common heavy metals and elements include:
There are all incredibly dangerous to your health and immunity! Unfortunately, we are exposed to all of these in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even the food we eat.
The most alarming way toxic metals affect our health is by competing with beneficial minerals for binding sites. This leads to deficiencies regardless of your daily intake. Your exposure to many of these toxins is often gradual and therefore the accumulation can be left unnoticed for extended periods of time.
Fluoride consumption has become an increasingly more prominent issue. It is often put in public water and encouraged in our dental routines.
Yet research suggests that this mass exposure can contribute to autoimmune thyroid disease, brain damage, and the displacement of iodine.
Note that iodine is especially important for thyroid functioning and the production of T4, the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Inhibiting the production and maintenance of essential thyroid hormones have truly dangerous and disabling consequences!
If the thyroid does not operate properly, many health complications occur, such as:
-And you guessed it…. Autoimmunity!
Our health is truly a combination of the things we put in our bodies. Between the quality of the food we eat, our exposure to toxins, and our body’s ability to detoxify efficiently, our chemical makeup is directly affected.
Work with your functional medicine doctor to ensure you are receiving the proper testing, a comprehensive healing strategy, and the support you deserve to take control of your chemical health!
The physical component of health is a bit more straightforward as it something we confront everyday. It encompasses our physical activity, the integrity of our muscles, and quite literally, our body mechanics.
There is a common misconception that as we age, our health naturally declines. We hear it all the time from doctors that the aging process is basically synonymous with our bodies breaking down and becoming sick. However, this is VERY wrong! Instead, our choices are what facilitate this break down. As we age, we begin to exercise less. This is not due to be unable to exercise, it is a choice we make because we get busy and it is justified to not be as active.
A sedentary lifestyle breeds a dangerous cycle of health issues, including muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy increases joint pressure, decreases flexibility, and escalates pain. Pain, then, causes us to continue not exercising, which leads to more muscle loss and further joint restriction and pain.
Can you guess the solution? Get moving!
Finding an exercise routine that feels right for you is one of the most important health decisions you can make. If you are currently in pain, however, you MUST start slow and work with a professional to guide you through a routine that will not worsen any complications.
In order to introduce physical fitness into your life, remember these tips:
-Start where you are!
-Make small changes
-Determine individualized goals
-Create a routine
-Do not give up if you do not see immediate results
-Health takes time!
Some ideas to get moving include:
- Bike instead of drive
Schedule in post-dinner walks
Dance around when doing house work
Take on more active hobbies
Always take the stairs
Park farther away in parking lots
How do YOU schedule in movement into your day?
The emotional component to self is the most often ignored. Yet, it is just as important as the rest of the triangle.
You are what you think. Remember that! If you do not believe you can recover, it is likely that will become your reality. On the other hand, if you are hopeful and positive, your ability to overcome health complications increases substantially!
Feed your passions. Spend time with the people you love. Find things that make you feel relaxed. Manage your stress and the most important of all: Don’t forget to love yourself throughout your healing process!
Being in a chronic state of stress truly breeds disease, especially autoimmunity and inflammation.
Everyone manages their stress differently, but to add a little relief into your life try these:
-Implement Deep Breathing
-Have Fun Exercising
-Get a Massage
-Create a Meditation Practice
-Spend Time With Loved Ones
Do you have any ideas that we should add to this list?
First and foremost, get the proper testing done to identify your body’s unique needs and treat accordingly. Luckily, there are other things you can do to amplify your health NOW!
Here are some of these additional action steps you can take to win the fight against autoimmune complications and take control of our health:
-Try intermittent fasting
-Cut out ALL grains, dairy, legumes, nightshades, and processed foods
-Change your diet to only contain easy-to-digest whole foods
-Administer an elimination diet
-Stay adequately hydrated
-Make sure to eat enough fiber
-Take a quality probiotic
-Supplement with digestive enzymes
-Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
-Practice deep breathing exercises
-Adopt good hygiene practices
-Connect with others
-Be sure to sleep enough
-Rest when you need it
-Find a hobby you love
-And lastly, do what makes you feel happy and healthy!
Thank you for taking the time to experience The Autoimmune Matrix Facebook Class.
Our last piece of advice is: Do not pick and choose throughout this process. This must be done all at once to truly experience productive, holistic healing. Also, remember, there’s no perfect approach for everyone. Get properly tested and listen to YOUR body!
Please share the most valuable piece of information you learned from The Autoimmune Matrix Facebook Class!
Also, if you feel like you need support on this journey, do not hesitate to ask for help!
We hope that The Autoimmune Matrix Facebook Class exceeded your expectations and that you feel well equipped with knowledge, resources, and tools to finally combat your autoimmune challenges naturally!
Let me know if you have any questions – I am here for you!
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