WHAT MAKES US SICK?
Many of us resign ourselves to the fact that getting older means we will develop
chronic diseases and perhaps even cancer.
But is that our destiny?
Although genes play a role, it is our diet, our environmental exposures and our lifestyle that determine how that genetic predisposition is expressed. Unfortunately, over the last 30 years, those choices have not been optimal and have led to an epidemic of obesity and chronic disease in adults and dramatic increases in preventable diseases in children.
More than 50% of the world lives with chronic disease, with 81 million Americans having chronic complex disease. 99% of disease management is in the hands of individuals and their families.
Autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the body’s own cells, is rising 4-7% annually. It occurs more frequently in women than men as seen below:
These disorders often have vague symptoms and are commonly missed in early stages. Infection is often a predisposing factor which is also often missed. The loss of key immune cells named CD 8 lymphocytes and B cells provide the body with an inability to respond.
There are currently more than 80 autoimmune conditions.
Excess estrogen seems to be a key factor in the greater prevalence in women. High estrogen lowers the CD8 lymphocytes mentioned above.
The most common autoimmune diseases are seen below:
● Type 1 Diabetes
● Rheumatoid Arthritis
● Multiple Sclerosis
● Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
● Inflammatory Bowel Disease
● Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism
● Grave’s Disease
● Pernicious Anemia
Certain childhood diseases have risen dramatically over the last twenty years:
• 1 in 3 is overweight
• 1 in 6 has a learning disability
• 1 in 9 asthma
• 1 in 10 has ADHD
• 1 in 12 has food allergies •1 in 20 has seizures
• 1 in 50 has autism, while 1 in 37 have it in New Jersey!
Type 1 diabetes (where the immune system destroys pancreatic cells) rose 23% in Europe and the US between 2001-2009. Inflammatory Bowel Disease- like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis have significantly increased since 1990 and neurodevelopmental disabilities- including lower IQ and impaired motor function are also on the rise. Some of this can be attributed to better and more accurate diagnosis, but researchers have found a real and concerning increase in these
disorders. Our genes have not changed in that short period of time. Research is finding that increased environmental exposures and diet changes are most likely responsible for these increases.
WHAT HAS LED US HERE?
There are a multitude of contributing factors including:
• Lack of knowledge by most physicians of the key role the gut microbiome plays in keeping us healthy
• Rise in digestive dysfunction due to factors affecting the microbiome- such as ‘hidden’ infections’ and medications
• Depletion of vital nutrients by drugs used to treat various health conditions
• The Standard American Diet (SAD) and lack of understanding of optimal nutrition for health
• Bioaccumulation of environmental toxins (like heavy metals and pesticides) • Vaccine adjuvants (additives)
• Insidious infections
• Genetic Vulnerability
• Chronic Undiagnosed Lyme Disease
The key to remaining healthy is a healthy gut.
It is essential for optimal absorption of nutrients and provides a barrier against large molecules (like pesticides and toxins) and organisms that cause infection.
“Leaky gut” induces and aggravates ALL chronic conditions.
The ramifications of a leaky gut include the following:
• Cholesterol rises to repair cell damage
• Blood pressure rises
• Thyroid malfunctions
• Cortisol rises at night to cause insomnia
• Blood sugar rises in morning
• Individual gains weight- leading to metabolic syndrome
The major causes of leaky gut are- antibiotics, NSAIDS (i.e. Motrin), SAD, PPI’s (i.e. Nexium), GMO foods, chlorine and infection. For example- the damage from NSAID’s is visible 12-14 weeks after taking them, with more sensitive testing revealing damage within 2 weeks. Inflammation begins within 3 days and can persist up to 16 months after stopping.
The damage can be seen below:
There are three important tubes in the body- Intestine, bronchi, arteries and the health of the intestine affects all of them causing, asthma, colitis and arteritis. It behooves us to attain and maintain gut health.
FOOD ALLERGIES AMONG ADULTS
About 10% of adults, or 26 million, have food allergies. They are more common in women. This is usually an immediate IgE response- such as hives, wheezing, or anaphylaxis. Another 19% THINK they have food allergies because of unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, indigestion, headache, fatigues, nasal congestion, insomnia or sleepiness. This is a more delayed response, sometimes hours or days after eating the offending food and is due to IgG antibodies not often tested for by doctors. The delayed reaction (food intolerance/sensitivity) is often difficult to identify.
DRUG DEPLETION OF NUTRIENTS
Drugs given to counteract the above symptoms alter GI and urinary tract acidity, stimulate or inhibit enzymes involved in nutrient transport throughout the body, or can bind directly to the nutrient to inactivate it. The outcome is that the body can’t build or repair tissue and doesn’t have enough energy for the cells to work right. Side effects occur and health declines.
Here are a few examples of such effects:
● Statins– CoQ10, thiamine(B1), selenium, vitamin K
● Blood Pressure Meds – zinc, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin D, potassium
● Diabetes Medications – CoQ10, B12, folic acid
● PPIs, H2 Blockers – all nutrients
● Oral Contraceptives, HRT – beneficial bacteria, zinc, magnesium, iron, most minerals, B vitamins vitamin C
● Antibiotics– B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron beneficial bacteria
Corticosterioids are used short-term or long to treat inflammation from such diseases as asthma, autoimmune disorders, psoriasis, and COPD. Studies done on patients receiving steroids long term with myasthenia gravis showed significant effects on the structure and function of the thymus. This is important because thymus cells produce the T-lymphocytes that are needed to fight foreign organisms, to protect the body from attacking itself, and to destroy cancer cells. Anyone on this drug long term is putting their body at significant risk for other serious diseases.
Lyme disease, acquired from the bite of deer ticks, is a growing epidemic along the east coast and in the Midwest. Although we are familiar with the signs of acute infection- like a bull’s eye lesion on the skin, subclinical infection is also common. Chronic Lyme disease mimics other autoimmune disorders so screening is important. It can also occur as a co-infection with mycoplasma, as has been found in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients.
Heavy metals, such as aluminum and mercury, are ubiquitous in makeup, skin care products, medications and the environment. They can easily get into our system- especially if we have leaky gut. They are stored in our tissues and wreak havoc on our body.
Aluminum is a known neurotoxin associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders and potentially with hyperactivity and learning disorders in children. The FDA has established ‘safe ’limits for all products containing aluminum, including IV nutrition drips and injectable medicines. However, this doesn’t currently include the levels in vaccines. Some common household sources of aluminum included aluminum baking pans, cookware, foil, cans. For other sources check the additional sources section.
Mercury is the most non-radioactive element on earth and known to be highly neurotoxic. Studies have found that umbilical cord mercury levels are 1.7 times higher than mercury in mother’s blood. Physicians suggest restricting fish consumption in expectant mothers to 2x per week because studies have shown that blood levels are 7x normal in fish eating women than non-fish eating. Thimerosal (Ethylmercury) has been removed from many vaccines because numerous studies demonstrated adverse effects from exposure. High levels of mercury and aluminum may play a role in autoimmune disease.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
No matter where you are on the wellness spectrum, there are things you can do now to reduce your risk for further harm to your body:
• Minimize/Eliminate sugar, white and processed food
• Choose organic whenever you can
• Get your vitamin D checked and try to keep your level around 40-60
• Drink and shower in filtered water
• Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol
• Avoid unnecessary antibiotics