Did you know the current list of autoimmune diseases is now over 150 and continues to grow?  There is an autoimmune epidemic underway in the United States. We all know at least one person who suffers from an autoimmune condition. The approach of traditional medicine is to “manage” it to keep the symptoms as reduced as possible. There is no consideration of a possible reversal of the condition. Fortunately, many natural/holistic practitioners are having success in preventing and reversing autoimmune conditions. Several years ago, I completed a training program with Dr. Michael Gaeta, one of the country’s leading natural health authorities. This course focused on this very topic – the prevention and reversal of autoimmune conditions.

This article is designed to help you better understand how the immune system works, how autoimmune conditions develop, and how this can be prevented and potentially reversed.

The immune system has two main parts. The primary or innate immune system and the secondary or acquired immune system. The innate immune system is for immediate response to pathogens. The acquired immune system develops after. It creates highly specific antibodies for foreign (“not self”) or body (“self”) proteins. An allergy is an overreaction to foreign proteins. An autoimmune condition is an overreaction to body proteins. The question is of course – what causes the overreaction?

All human cells live and then eventually die. There are two ways they die. The natural way is called apoptosis – this is normal cell death. In this scenario the cell lives a healthy life performing their designated function, has a natural death, and the body takes care of disposing the remains. The second way is called necrosis. This is caused by a weakness or degeneration of the cell causing a premature death. Here the clean-up method becomes slightly messier leading to some complications described below.

Two factors can enable an autoimmune condition. The first of these is an immune dysregulation. This occurs when weakened innate immunity allows for pathogens to continuously be active in the body which ultimately leads to an over-active acquired immune system. Causes of immune dysregulation include ongoing infection and infestation, diet, injury, foreign bodies, stress, leaky gut, allergies, chemical sensitivities, genetic factors, vaccinations, cancer and gut dysbiosis.

The second factor is a state of danger. This leads to a high alert status in the body and the launch of an immune attack. The “Danger Theory” implies that autoimmunity occurs when the body is in this state of danger for prolonged periods of time.

Pulling all this together: We have what is called the reticuloendothelial system. It works with the lymphatic system to remove dead material from the body. When we experience an overload of necrosis (from immune dysregulation), it is possible for the necrotic tissue cells to overwhelm the reticuloendothelial system (placing the body in a state of danger). As the reticuloendothelial system is overloaded, genetic material from dead cells is now leaking into the blood stream creating autoantigens. This triggers the acquired immune system to create antibodies to destroy the autoantigens. The autoantibodies (these are antibodies to body proteins) will track the source of the autoantigen to the host source and attack those genetic proteins (attacking a specific organ). That in a nutshell is how an autoimmune disease can originate.

What we have subsequently learned is that at some point all disease becomes autoimmune or has an autoimmune component as we will always find autoantibodies to diseased tissue.

Dr. Gaeta teaches a three-step plan for preventing and reversing autoimmune disease, called PIN. The “P” stands for  nutritional supplements that are used to assess the situation, reduce the autoantibodies, and help prevent disease. The “I” stands for “Immune Regulation.” These are products to support innate immunity, restore the gut, and to clear latent and subclinical infections from the body. The “N” stands for “prevent necrosis.” These products support specific organs and their cellular structures and support detoxification of the body.

Thus, the experience of Dr. Gaeta and other practitioners shows how autoimmune disease can be prevented by clearing the body of infection and by general nutrition support. If you would like more information regarding how to prevent and reverse autoimmune conditions, please call or email.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Coeur d’Alene, ID. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (208) 771-6570 or go to www.brwellness.com.