The Rise Of Autoimmune Diseases #HP-EVOO - Blog # 97
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. Today I wanted to take a look at AI (Autoimmune diseases) - they are skyrocketing - upwards of 400%! In fact, if you total the deaths from all 80+ different autoimmune diseases they outnumber CVD (cardiovascular disease), CA (cancer) and diabetes combined - and affects 80-100 million people! It is estimated that AI now affects 1 in 10 Americans. 😳 Why is this happening when AI wasn’t even a medical term until ~1950s? What exactly is AI and what is driving this epidemic? Let’s delve in.
AI = “Autoimmune diseases occur when the normal role of the immune system in defense against infections is disturbed, resulting in it mistakenly attacking normal healthy cells in the body. Examples of such diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis and there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases known.” In 2023 the journal Lancet published a study of >22 million people and found the greatest increases in coeliac, Sjögren and Grave’s diseases.
Much of the increase in AI is due to “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability - and is activated through what is termed molecular mimicry. This can occur when a partially digested protein (such as gluten) or food particle escapes or “leaks out” of the single-cell lining of the small intestine and is encountered by the immune system. Roughly 70% of our immune system is standing guard around our intestines. When it encounters something that shouldn't be there it mounts an attack against that foreign substance. Due to the fact that it “looks like” a part of the body - such as the thyroid - the immune system mounts an attack on the thyroid. We end up with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. AI can take years to develop but can be detected in the blood in the form of circulating autoantibodies and inflammatory markers. However, traditionally trained MDs will only check TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). They are not looking for thyroid antibodies. If TSH is elevated, they may check thyroid hormone level and give you a synthetic thyroid hormone like synthroid or levothyroxin to replace T4 - the thyroid hormone. Often this doesn't help the situation or way you feel - because they haven't addressed the real problem - the immune system. “Initially, symptoms of autoimmune disorders are vague and include fatigue, low-grade fever, muscle and joint aches, and malaise. They usually progress and become debilitating with significant morbidity.”
Another part of the problem is that we are referred to different specialists depending on area of the body affected. The MD will refer you to a dermatologist to treat psoriasis or Sjögren's, a neurologist for MS (multiple sclerosis) or SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), a gastroenterologist for Crohn’s, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or colitis, an endocrinologist for Hashimoto’s or Grave’s, a rheumatologist for RA (rheumatoid arthritis)…and the list goes on. NO ONE is looking at the whole person, putting all the various symptoms together and asking “why is the immune system so angry - what’s activating it?” Traditional doctors are taught to “name” it, “blame” it, and “tame” it. Name it = MS. Blame it = I know what's wrong - you have MS! Then tame it using high dose steroids, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) and expensive medications - that tend to actually make the situation worse in many cases. Many of these AI drugs cost $50,000/year! When we understand that the body is trying to protect itself from a perceived invader, we can take a closer look at what’s really driving this reaction by our immune system. It is becoming more and more evident that the gut microbiome and environmental factors are major drivers here.
Let’s look at the gut microbiome - our microbes outnumber us 10x. When we have a properly functioning microbiome, there is balance and a broad range of diversity. The more diverse plant sources of fiber and phytonutrients we consume the healthier and more resilient our gut microbiome becomes. The first line of defense is the oral microbiome - these microbes are in greater numbers than anywhere else except the large intestine. They produce NO (nitric oxide) that kills pathogens and performs numerous jobs in the body - including dilating blood vessels and the uptake of glucose! We are killing our oral microbiome with antiseptic mouthwash, fluoride toothpaste, and fluoride and chlorine in our water. FYI - fluoride is also a neurotoxin. When we have a healthy microbiome, Akkermancia (a mucus-loving microbe) produces a protective mucus layer in our small intestine that traps these partially digested food particles and prevents them from leaking out of the gut. However, if we starve Akkermancia by not consuming enough fiber, it will resort to eating that protective mucus layer - leaving us vulnerable to leaky gut.
Humans used to consume around 150g fiber per day - now the average is 15g!!! 😳This is a huge problem. We are starving our friendly gut microbes - they are not happy - turning some good guys into bad guys making inflammatory products. We are robbing ourselves and our mitochondria of the vitamins and nutrients they make for us - like B vitamins and SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids). This literally starves our enterocytes (intestinal cells) that rely on SCFAs like butyrate as their primary fuel. To further exacerbate the situation, we are consuming the SAD (standard American diet) full of highly-refined, glyphosate-sprayed/contaminated grains, sugar, fructose and highly inflammatory oils. Our body is not designed for this.
A major problem that we are discovering, is that humans really can't digest gluten. Gluten triggers Zonulin - a protein that opens the tight-junctions in our intestines. “Zonulin, a novel human protein analogue to the Vibrio cholerae derived Zonula occludens toxin, which induces tight junction disassembly and a subsequent increase in intestinal permeability in non-human primate intestinal epithelia. Zonulin expression was raised in intestinal tissues during the acute phase of coeliac disease, a clinical condition in which tight junctions are opened and permeability is increased.” With cholera, the intestinal barrier is completely broken down and massive toxicity and diarrhea can rapidly induce death. If you have coeliac disease, eating gluten makes you very sick - similar to cholera - with inflammation and diarrhea.
Zonulin is a biomarker for intestinal integrity, but can be unreliable as a blood marker since it is produced from many organs in the body. Many functional medicine doctors are now looking for IgG antibodies to zonulin to test for leaky gut, which appears to be a much more reliable way to diagnose. When we eat gluten, zonulin is triggered. We get a transient leaky gut that allows for undigested proteins and bacterial endotoxins (LPS) to leak out of the gut into the body where the immune system is activated. You may not realize this is happening if you aren’t highly sensitive or are coeliac. But it is. To make matters worse, our wheat is sprayed with glyphosate (antibiotic=anti-life) to desiccate prior to harvest.
Ever wonder why you can eat bread and pasta in Italy and not experience the adverse affects? They use the traditional process of fermenting the dough - allowing the microbes to digest the gluten protein and grain sugars. This doesn’t activate zonulin and spike the blood sugar and insulin as sharply as here in the US. They also don’t allow glyphosate - which we know is toxic to our microbiome and mitochondria - it is an antibiotic! Glyphosate is also a metal chelator, which makes minerals unavailable to do their jobs. Further, high carbohydrate loads in the diet deplete our B vitamins and minerals. Our enterocytes (intestinal cells) are literally starving and deprived of their nutrients - they get weak - our tight-junctions can’t close tightly - things leak out - literally sewage. Our immune system gets activated and we become inflamed (on fire).
Along with the oral microbiome, another line of defense is stomach acid. If you are taking a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) or antacid, you are setting yourself up for infections, poor digestion and mal-absorption of your nutrients. Without proper stomach acid, you can't break down proteins into their amino acid moieties and free your vitamins and minerals to be absorbed. Without enough stomach acid you can't trigger enough bile production. The liver is responsible for producing bile - which is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. Many of us now have NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) - which has increased globally to an estimated 32% - which means the liver is not functioning optimally. Normally, when we eat, stomach acid is produced to break down our food into absorbable components. This signals the gallbladder to release concentrated bile (like a detergent) to further break down fats and alkalize the duodenum (small intestine) to prepare for the acidic chyme (thick liquid) being released from the stomach. Did you realize that our gallbladder releases roughly 1 quart of concentrated bile per day?! Bile kills pathogens and performs multiple tasks - emulsifies fats, alkalizes the small intestine, binds fat-soluble environmental toxins, enhances absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) and aids in the detoxification of estrogens.
With low bile production and release we become acidic where we are supposed to be alkaline. This triggers the bones to give up calcium to restore alkalinity = osteoporosis! 😲 It is contributing to hormone imbalance as well. Ever wonder why estrogen-dominance is becoming so prevalent? We can end up with cysts on our breasts and ovaries, uterine polyps, fibroid tumors, breast cancer, heavy menstrual periods, thyroid nodules, prostate hyperplasia (enlargement) and even prostate cancer. Estrogens drive growth. We need to let estrogen do its job, then get rid of it - through detoxification. Our liver is responsible for phase 1,2 detoxification. If you have NAFLD, it can’t effectively do its job - then we recycling our estrogens - driving all the related problems.
Okay, this is a lot. However, it explains why so many of us are struggling with AI problems and have subclinical deficiencies in many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. So, what can we do to put AI into remission, correct our vitamin and mineral levels and balance our microbiome?
- Omit fluoride toothpaste, antiseptic mouthwash and filter your water - Use a natural remineralizing toothpaste free of fluoride and other chemicals. Floss your teeth well at the gum line to prevent microbial biofilms from making their way into the brain. Scrape your tongue to remove yeast and other pathogens allowing your good oral microbiome that lives at the back of the tongue by your gag reflex to thrive.
- Acidify the stomach - take 1-2 T ACV (apple cider vinegar) or lemon in water 5-15 min prior to eating - add a pinch of good sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan) as well to supply substrate for HCl (hydrochloric acid). If you take a PPI, wean off.
- Take a good probiotic - they now have an Akkermancia supplement
- Consume cultured/fermented foods like raw fermented sauerkraut, fermented pickles, kimchi, natto, Greek yogurt with live cultures and vinegars with the mother. Raw sauerkraut contains some acetobacters that can metabolize glyphosate to remove from your body.
- Increase fiber and phytonutrient intake - with a wide range of vegetables/fruits/plant sources. Fiber binds excess cholesterol and estrogens for removal in the feces.
- Increase polyphenols and phytonutrients like procyanidins in fruits and vegetables lower the inflammatory response in T cells (immune). Many polyphenols and phytonutrients lower inflammation: quercetin (capers, red onion), curcumin (turmeric), ECGC (green tea), resveratrol to name a few.
- Go organic - remove glyphosate and GMO foods from your diet - or at a minimum stick to the “dirty dozen” worst offenders.
- Remove gluten and other highly-processed grains, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, inflammatory oils and foods that are highly acidic to the body.
- Remove plastics - drink from stainless steel or glass. Store your food in glass as well. Microplastics can even cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) and enter the brain (contributing to dementia and Alzheimer’s) as well as many other tissues in the body.
- Stop NSAIDs - they harm your microbiome, can cause stomach bleeds and other gastrointestinal problems. Take a good dose (4-6T) of HP-EVOO instead.
- Heal your liver - reverse NAFLD by eating foods that enhance liver function like cruciferous vegetables, HP-EVOO and other healthy fats, lower your carbohydrate and increase your fiber intake.
- Support your mitochondria with exercise, healthy fats, B vitamins, CoQ-10, NAC, magnesium and zinc. They love polyphenols in EVOO which have the “capacity to induced mitochondrial biogenesis and improve mitochondrial function, which increases the mitochondrial efficiency leading to reduction in ROS production.”
- Exercise - This stimulates production of NO to dilate blood vessels and positively affects all organs in the body. It also increases O2 availability for your mitochondria to do their job effectively. It also stimulates your body’s antioxidant systems to upregulate glutathione - the master antioxidant.
- Sleep - try to get to bed early 9-10pm and get 8-9 hours. This is when your body repairs damaged tissues. Get early morning sunshine and evening infrared light to stimulate melatonin to be released.
- IF (intermittent fasting) - you can do a 24 hour fast to help reset the gut - or even longer to help balance hormones and lower insulin.
- HP-EVOO (high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil) - Oleic acid - the primary component in EVOO - helps to repair cell membranes and linings in many tissues like the BBB (blood brain barrier) and gut lining - while the polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol (HT), tyrosol, oleuropein, oleocanthal and others), perform miraculous functions to lower inflammation, enhance mitochondrial function, reverse NAFLD and calm the immune system. HT prevents bacterial LPS (lipopolysaccharides) induced effects (endotoxemia) and the antioxidant power in plasma. HT modulates immune function - “beneficial effects of HT include promotion of immunity, antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antiradiation, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory effects, lowering of blood lipid levels, and improving animal performance.” Oleuropein is a powerful antioxidant and has immunomodulating effects in a dose-dependent way. The higher the dose, the better results. It, along with oleocanthal reduce inflammation and pain as much as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs - without the side effects - and is being used to treat RA and other AI diseases. “The current knowledge available on the beneficial effects of EVOO and its phenolic compounds, specifically its biological properties and antioxidant capacity against immune-mediated inflammatory responses (atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or neurodegenerative disease, among others) in addition to its potential clinical applications.”
So, until next time my friends…Drink, Drizzle, Digest HP-EVOO at least 4T raw daily, - use more for cooking and drizzling onto your food - eat the rainbow of organic or wild-sourced or organic veggies (7-9 C) and low-glycemic fruits (to get the rainbow of gut microbes!) - eat wild-caught, pasture-raised, grass-fed - get plenty of sunshine - supplement magnesium, zinc, vitamin D3 + K2 - get your trace minerals and electrolytes with good sea salt - Celtic is hand-harvested and Himalayan was formed before plastics - eat foods high in lutein - drink your body weight in oz of water - get a good pre/probiotic - consume digestible and indigestible fiber for your gut microbes - adaptogens (such as mushrooms) and methylation donors (kale, beets, spinach, cruciferous, lion’s mane…), marjoram, rosemary, oregano, parsley and other herbs to detox, enhance overall health and reverse aging and disease - exercise your body and mind - add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress - take a hot Epsom salt bath and follow with a cold shower/ice plunge - practice “earthing” as an anti-inflammatory - remove EMF (electromagnetic frequency) devices and blue light - use IR (infrared) from incandescent lighting, non-toxic candle or light a fire to enhance sleep and...turn off the light!! #HP-EVOO