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Could Autoimmunity be at the Root of Your Health Issues?

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First things first..... All of us here at Natural Health Solutions wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, let's start at the beginning. Have you heard of autoimmunity?

Let me explain it, in case it's one of those familiar words that you couldn't really define. Auto means "self" and immune is your immune system, which is responsible for protecting you from viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, etc, that can make you sick. When you put the two together, autoimmune means that your immune system has started attacking your own tissues or cells. Not good!!!

Autoimmune diseases you might have heard of include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. But did you know (I sure didn't!) that there are 159 recognized autoimmune diseases?! Here's the full list. And MANY conditions, like psoriasis or restless leg syndrome, you might not know are actually autoimmune in nature. (I was also surprised to see endometriosis on the list.)

Now, here's the crazy part..... These 159 diseases are able to be diagnosed, because the damage has gone on long enough for a doctor to find it and put a label on it. But you can have the beginnings of an autoimmune process in your body that hasn't gone on long enough or gotten severe enough to be diagnosed. In this case, you just know you don't feel as good as you used to, but no one can really figure out what is wrong. Or, as in the case of psoriasis or restless leg syndrome, you have some kind of nagging condition that doesn't seem like such a big deal. But it is. Because the latest research is showing that if you have one noticeable autoimmune condition occurring in your body, you are far more likely to develop others. And some of these are nasty indeed!

Experts agree that autoimmune disease is on the rise. A Web MD article I found quotes a 2011 study that estimates 1 in 12 women and 1 in 20 men will develop an autoimmune disease in their lifetime. Wow! Now, lest this turn into a "bummer-fest", rest assured I will give you some answers. First, you have to understand what is actually going on.

The theories made simple:

One thing I love about Naturopathic philosophy is that it makes scary, complex conditions simple to understand and deal with. The most cutting edge research shows that the two most likely causes of autoimmune conditions are 1) foods that resemble known enemies to the body, which trigger the immune attack to the tissues (gluten is the most classic of these) and 2) toxic loads in the tissue, which trigger the immune system to think the tissue is also the enemy and attack. What I've seen clinically leads me to believe that both of these are likely true.

So what can you DO about it?

I'm so happy to tell you that LOTS can be done to help! Thanks to Dr JeNeen, we can now run tests through Cyrex Labs which can tell us what foods and chemicals could be triggers for you, and we can even test to see if an attack has started to occur in many of your tissues. Go to their site and look at the different panels. Amazing what can be found out! And even without this testing, we can learn about offending foods by trial and error, and work to cleanse the body of its toxic burdens.

Diet is a huge factor, because so many foods can trigger the attack. You can do a trial of following an autoimmune diet to see if it makes a difference in how you feel. I love this one at The Paleo Mom! (Go to the Autoimmune button at the top of the webpage to get the details.) Do it for a month and see how you feel. Then, add back foods one at a time to identify which ones cause inflammation and symptoms in your body. It's rare that EVERY food is a trigger, so look at this as a cleanse and not as a permanent lifestyle change.

I know the holiday season is not the most fun time to look at changing your diet! But if you feel crummy enough or have a more serious autoimmune condition, relief is a much tastier blessing than that dinner roll at the Thanksgiving feast. And if you don't feel that bad, just wait till January to do the cleanse. Here's an example of a case I had recently, which needed immediate handling:


A sweet woman was referred to me by her friend, because her blood sugar levels had risen to dangerous levels and she was adamant about not wanting to take insulin. Normal fasting blood sugar is between 70 & 99, and above 140 is considered diabetic. Hers had risen to the 170s and 180s on a regular basis! She was definitely diabetic, and if treatment couldn't start, she was at risk for kidney damage and even, eventually, blindness. But she was so scared of taking insulin that she refused it. I put her on the autoimmune diet mentioned above, along with some homeopathic and nutrition support. Two weeks into it, her sugars had gone down to the 130s and were steadily dropping. Amazing! Out of the range of diabetes in two weeks!! But then...... Pizza night with her family was a bit too much to resist. She ate some pizza that night and emailed me in a panic 2 days later. Her blood sugar had shot right back up to the 180s. So, we had "the talk" (zero cheating allowed until she was stable below 100). Literally 3 days after getting strictly back on the diet, her blood sugar had dropped to a new record low of 129. You just have to ask yourself sometimes, is eating certain foods really that much fun? For her, the choice was easy.

This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this newsletter should be taken as medical advice. Discuss all medical issues with your own MD.

Welcome to our newest staff member!

Tamiko Drummond is the friendly face you see when you walk into our door. She has quite the passion for natural health and will efficiently check you in and out for your appointments, to save you time. We're thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to you meeting her personally

Stay tuned for our new weight loss program to launch in January 2015!!

Personally, I've had it with the unhealthy options for weight loss that are available in the popular culture. They pull a person's health down while they lose the pounds, then leave them vulnerable to a rapid regain of the weight later. So, Dr JeNeen and I decided to put our heads together and come up with a better way. (And I've lost 6 pounds already, so I can vouch for it's effects!) So, if this holiday season finds you overindulging, we will be able to help you! More to come......

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