There are about a hundred clinical syndromes considered autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are caused by an inflammatory process regulated by our immune system. Inflammation normally protects the host from foreign invaders by isolating and destroying bacteria, viruses, and other toxic or foreign agents. It is a highly complex process involving many types of cells, a number of enzymes, and many physiologically active materials that alter local blood flow and cell behavior.
Understanding biology and pathology helps us to understand how immune system disorders can be treated and how nutritional therapy works. Poisoning the immune attack into submission with toxic drugs is one avenue of attack. This leads to a continual and increased buildup of toxic and irritating immune system stimulating substances, which could increase the requirement for more drugs down the road and make for a more severe response if the medications are discontinued. The road less traveled is to attempt to remove the noxious and injurious influences promoting the excessive immune attack and to normalize the excessive immune system response by adopting a program of nutritional excellence.
In most of the rheumatologic diseases, the inciting agent stimulating an excessive immune attack is unknown, and the inflammatory reaction becomes detrimental to the host. Unfortunately, in untreated autoimmune illnesses, the immune attack against unknown stimuli does not stop and leads to destructive, harmful sequelae (aftereffects). Our complicated immune response is controlled with a system of checks and balances. Many components are involved in this immune-mediated attack. First, our antibodies label areas worthy of attack, then other cells work to call out the alarm—secreting substances that attract and promote proliferation of other attacking cells. Finally, there are cells that control the attack, modify it, and turn it off at the precise moment to prevent an excessive response. In autoimmune disorders such as lupus, we have an immune response that reacts in an uncontrollable fashion, a response that is not properly immuno-regulated.
As our understanding of the mechanism and causes of inflammation increases, so does our ability to understand the factors that create a favorable environment for improvement and healing of autoimmune disease. The scientific basis for the nutritional treatment of autoimmune disease hinges on the removal of cellular toxins, bacterial-elaborated toxins from our digestive tract, food excesses, and food toxins, while at the same time supplying a high level of nutritional factors that help normalize a malfunctioning (excessive) immune response that overreacts to stimuli and does not shut off.
The greatest percentage of patients achieve excellent results if they utilize a high-nutrient dietary program rich in greens and especially the cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale in conjunction with some helpful nutritional supplements.
Since most diet-related chronic illnesses such as autoimmune diseases are linked to dietary and lifestyle factors, the first step is to know how you are eating versus how you should be eating to maximize your health. The ERA Quiz is intended to give you specific recommendations on how you can eat your way to great health.