Gut Health and the Immune System
70-80% of the entire immune system resides in the gut. This is the reason so many health issues stem from problems with poor gut health and the digestive system, autoimmunity included.
When there is a digestive issue such as low HCl, leaky gut, or chronic ingestion of allergenic food, the barriers of the immune system begin to weaken. These immune barriers are also weakened from blood sugar imbalances, chronic gut infections, toxicity, and adrenal stress, though the biggest culprit is the continuous consumption of foods that the body is sensitive to (in most cases, gluten is one of these foods). When these barriers are weak, the immune defense cannot keep up with the demands of the overwhelming population of foreign invaders and eventually become overactive. This overactive immune response leads the body into mistaking parts of the body itself for the pathogens it was out to kill. Thus, the body begins to attack and kill its own cells. And because the body is smart and has memory cells, it remembers these so-called "pathogens" very well and continually fights off the body's own cells.
The Development of an Autoimmune Disease
An individual has developed an autoimmune disease when the memory fighter cells begin to attack the cells of the body in addition to the pathogens it was initially sent out to kill. Unfortunately, this is getting more and more common because of the SAD (standard American diet) most people consume today. It is said that 20% of Americans have developed an autoimmune disease and that 1 of 4 women with thyroid issues may actually have Hashimoto's disease! That's crazy...!
It's sad to think that one can develop an autoimmune disease due to a single food that they were consuming regularly that their body was intolerant to; and they more than likely didn't even realize that this food was problematic for them. Now, because of the body's adaptive memory cells, they will long have to live with the consequences. At the same time, though, it's just amazing to think about how smart the body is. After all, it is only trying to protect us. It's not the body's fault we tend to treat it so poorly.
Preventing Autoimmune Disease
As you can see, an impaired digestive system, poor gut health, and a poor diet over a period of time can create the perfect environment for the development of an autoimmune condition. Eating a wide variety of real, whole foods and correcting any digestive imbalances will help prevent the formation of these autoimmune conditions allowing the body to easily separate pathogens and its own bodily cells. Rebuild your immune system and make your gut healthy and strong!
Do you have an autoimmune condition? Share your experiences in the comments below!