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Will This Increase Your Risk of Autoimmune Disease?

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  • Kefir Starter

    Kefir Starter

    Better Digestion, Boost Immunity

    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Has anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties
    • Rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins
    • An absolute must after antibiotic use

Are you more at risk of autoimmune disease if you’ve taken antibiotics? Research may support an essential link between gut health and autoimmune disease.

Antibiotics may make cells more susceptible to autoimmunity, especially when the body is already inflamed from an infection.

The risk of autoimmune disease is growing. In fact, in 2013 some the top-selling medications were those that helped control autoimmune disorders. (1)

Which drugs for autoimmune disease made the Top 10 for 2013?

  • Humira: Inhibits immune systems and alleviates symptoms of autoimmune arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis.
  • Enbrel: Inhibits immune systems and alleviates symptoms of autoimmune arthritis and psoriasis.
  • Remicade: Inhibits immune systems and alleviates symptoms of autoimmune arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis.
  • Copaxone: Acts as a decoy to the immune system, reducing flare-ups of multiple sclerosis.

With 40% of our nation’s top sellers treating autoimmune disease, researchers are scrambling to figure out how autoimmune disorders develop in the first place.

What Is Autoimmune Disease?

Doctor auscultating the ear of a child in examination room

Antibiotics may make cells more susceptible to autoimmunity, especially when the body is already inflamed from an infection.

An autoimmune disease is characterized by a trigger-happy immune system that attacks normal tissue. The immune system attacks this tissue just like it would attack bacteria. 

Why autoimmune disease occurs in some people and not others is a mystery.

Laurence Eisenlohr, a professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology at Thomas Jefferson University, explains, “Often, the trigger happens years before the disease has been diagnosed." (2)

Is Infection at the Root of Autoimmune Disease?

Although no one knows exactly what sets off the development of autoimmune disease, many speculate that infection is a major risk factor. You see, the immune system works according to a system of checks and balances. It doesn’t usually have the authority to destroy every threat it comes across. Studies have found that certain immune cells (the ones that are active when the body first faces infection) self-destruct within 24 hours. In other words, they have a very short lifespan. (3)

If these immune cells were not programmed to self-destruct within 24 hours, they could harm otherwise normal tissue—like what we see in autoimmune disease.

Professor Fabienne Mackay, head of the Monash Department of Immunology, explains that this is an entirely new way of looking at the immune system, "This says something important about our environment—pathogens are not always the enemy. They can also work hand in hand with our immune system to protect us against some immune diseases."

Some Antibiotics Trip Up the Immune System

In a recent study, Professor Eisenlohr and his team revealed that some antibiotics—which include gentamicin (brand names Garamycin or Gentak)—can cause cells to introduce new proteins, confusing the immune system.

Antibiotics like gentamicin don’t just fight infection.

They may also change healthy cells. These changes make the cells more susceptible to autoimmunity, especially when the body is already inflamed from an infection. While researchers believe that some autoimmune disorders begin with infection, Professor Eisenlohr’s research shows that the antibiotics used to treat infection may also be part of the problem.

Antibiotics may not only change healthy cells, making them more susceptible to autoimmunity—they can wipe out good bacteria, encourage Candida overgrowth, and make the gut leaky.

Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease

Besides infection and antibiotics, scientists have also shown us that leaky gut might trigger autoimmune disease.

When the intestines are inflamed (from irritants like wheat gluten or Candida overgrowth), they become permeable or “leaky.”

The gut wall is a barrier system that protects the body. When this system fails, extra stress is put on the liver, and we see signs of inflammation throughout the body. When the gut is leaky, we also see an increase of outside proteins from food, as well as bacterial byproducts. The immune system reacts to these proteins in an attempt to protect the body.

Alessio Fasano at the University of Maryland School of Medicine argues that leaky gut is an important and often overlooked player in the development of autoimmune disease. (4) He explains that intestinal infection and exposure to gluten can make the gut leaky. (5) Dr. Fasano also points out that a number of autoimmune disorders have a relationship to leaky gut—including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis! 

5 Ways to Address Autoimmune Disease

The latest research on autoimmune disease points to multiple factors that may act as triggers.

Maintaining a healthy gut is key to reduce autoimmune symptoms:

  1. Build your immune system and inner ecosystem with probiotic foods, like cultured vegetables and coconut water kefir.
  2. Avoid refined, processed foods that are high in sugar to weaken the immune system.
  3. Discuss natural antibiotic options with your healthcare practitioner.
  4. Address infection in the gut.
  5. Remove common food irritants like gluten and casein.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Risk of autoimmune disease is growing. Autoimmune disease is caused by a reactive immune system that attacks healthy tissue, just as it would attack harmful bacteria. Though there is no known cause of autoimmune disease, many health professionals believe that infection could be to blame, in some cases.

Common antibiotics used to fight infection may alter healthy cells. This makes cells vulnerable to autoimmunity, especially as the body is burdened by inflammation from infection. Antibiotics used to treat infection may be a contributor to the autoimmunity epidemic. Antibiotics can also destroy friendly bacteria, trigger Candida overgrowth, and cause leaky gut.

There are 5 important ways to improve gut health and reduce autoimmune symptoms:

  1. Support your inner ecosystem and the immune system with probiotics like cultured vegetables and coconut water kefir.
  2. Cut out refined, processed, sugary foods that weaken the immune system.
  3. Ask your doctor about natural antibiotic options.
  4. Make gut infection recovery a priority.
  5. Eliminate common food irritants, like casein and gluten, from the diet.
  • Veggie Culture Starter

    Veggie Culture Starter

    Resist Infections, Enhance Digestion

    • Ideal for appetite and weight control
    • Ideal for pregnant women
    • Ideal for children with Autism and ADD
    • Can be enjoyed daily
    • Easy to make at home
  • Kefir Starter

    Kefir Starter

    Better Digestion, Boost Immunity

    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
    • Has anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties
    • Rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins
    • An absolute must after antibiotic use

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.drugs.com/stats/top100/sales
  2. Goodenough, E., Robinson, T. M., Zook, M. B., Flanigan, K. M., Atkins, J. F., Howard, M. T., & Eisenlohr, L. C. (2014). Cryptic MHC class I-binding peptides are revealed by aminoglycoside-induced stop codon read-through into the 3′ UTR. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201402670.
  3. Figgett, W. A., Fairfax, K., Vincent, F. B., Le Page, M. A., Katik, I., Deliyanti, D., ... & Mackay, F. (2013). The TACI Receptor Regulates T-Cell-Independent Marginal Zone B Cell Responses through Innate Activation-Induced Cell Death. Immunity, 39(3), 573-583.
  4. Fasano, A. (2012). Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 42(1), 71-78.
  5. Fasano, A. (2011). Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: the biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiological reviews, 91(1), 151-175.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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