Doctors will tell you that there are no cures in their bag of tricks for autoimmune diseases (AD).
At a glance this link takes you to some of the known ones. Some are fatal, while others can range from mild to seriously debilitating. Having myself a diagnosis of Lupus/ Vasculitis I can vouch for how debilitating this particular (AD) is, and when it flares up it knock me for six! I can be weeks before I can function normally, and have ended up in hospital on several occasions.
I asked the doctors what causes it and what I can do to prevent reoccurrence. I am usually told “NOTHING it is in your genes!
I am not known to sit idly by and accept such negativity particularly when it affects my life and my marriage. I am supersensitive to most prescribed drugs, finding their side effects as bad as – or even worse than the disease itself.
The simplest explanation of Auto Immune Disease is that the body is attacking itself. We all know that when we have for example a bacterial infection, our white blood cells come out like an avenging army, to attack the invader – in this case the bacteria which is causing us to be sick. This is the normal way the body defends itself against an invader.
In Autoimmune Disease the body does this to itself, to healthy cells and joints and tissues, misidentifying them as invaders, which then are attacked! But why does it happen and where does it all begin? These are the questions no medical doctor has been able to answer when I have asked. The best I can get is ‘we are not sure’, but here ‘try this drug, as it may slow the progression, or make your symptoms less painful’.
I have been suspicious for some time that it is in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) where these problems originate, even though there may well be some genetic component. I was not born with LUPUS, but I was most certainly born with digestive disorders, which necessitated emergency surgery at the age of two (2). I have been told by my parents that I was a sickly screaming unsettled baby. One that was colicky and vomited up my food all the time. I did not enjoy feed time from birth! Eventually I ended up having life threatening surgery for Intussusception at the age of two.
I was not breast-fed due to problems my Mother had, and was placed on the bottle at a few days old. With hindsight I was probably unable to digest cow’s milk, but this was not an issue well understood in the early 1950’s. I was slightly premature and rather small at just under 5 lbs birth weight. We can do lots of conjecturing, but I myself had a slightly premature child, who had an under developed digestive system, so it stands to reason I may well have suffered this way as he did, and the medical fraternity knew nothing about it, or how to treat it at that time. Possibly there was unrepaired damage to my digestive tract.
There are many web sites which discuss the so-called Leaky Gut Syndrome and explain how it occurs and what transpires when food proteins cross the GIT barrier and enter the blood stream. I have been well aware of the research in this field for many years.
This week however a paper in Science Daily, discussing a new finding in the dark and pain filled world of Auto Immune Disease caught my eye.
Imagine a single drug that would treat most, if not all, autoimmune disorders, such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and Lupus. That might not be so hard to do thanks to a team of researchers who have discovered a molecule normally used by the body to prevent unnecessary immune reactions. This molecule, pronounced “alpha v beta 6,” normally keeps our immune systems from overreacting when food passes through our bodies, and it may be the key that unlocks entirely new set of treatments for autoimmune disorders.
Now it was not only the promise of a new pill that caught my attention, particularly as I react badly to all medications so far prescribed by my health care providers – therefore I am not hopeful of a pill that will ‘cure’….. side effects are sometimes worse than the disease itself!
Upon further investigation I discovered that:
Scientists made this discovery in mice when they noticed that their intestines secreted alphavbeta6, when absorbing food. Alphavbeta6, together with the absorbed food, induced the body to produce immune tolerant cells, which ensured that the food did not cause an excessive immune reaction. Researchers then generated alphavbeta6 using cultured intestinal cells and found that both could be used to generate the immune tolerant cells needed to reduce or eliminate out-of-control immune reactions.
So it is all happening in the intestines (Gastrointestinal), and of course if you have a Leaky Gut, well that is where it would happen. This could be wonderful news further down the road. No new medical breakthrough will be available in pill form overnight.
“Development of new treatments and cures for diseases is usually a long process involving a series of incremental steps taken from the laboratory all the way through to the patient’s bedside,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. “Occasionally, however, scientists make large leaps forward instead. While considerable work remains to determine whether or not this discovery will directly translate into new therapies, the alphavbeta6 discovery reported by these scientists is exciting, if not stunning.”
Kind of exciting news isn’t it? It is not that very long ago that Medical practitioners did not believe in a Leaky Gut, and patients who presented with a multiplicity of symptoms were treated like a hypochondriac.
Some will tell you that there is nothing new under the sun – I dispute that completely, the human body is still a mystery, and while medics still prefer to treat each and every symptom as a disease in its own right, I believe in time they will come to understand that we are a wonderful and complex creation. We are a wonderful synchronistic creation, not a lot of individual components to be handled by different departments like a car at the wreckers – a holistic approach will be the only way to treat and cure our diseases.
You may also find this article of interest regarding the GIT, autoimmune disease, sugar and dysbiosis.