Do You Have an Autoimmune problem? Or suffer with leaky gut syndrome? What are the signs that you could be developing these problems? Do You Have an ‘autoimmune problem’? There’s been a lot of talk lately regarding ‘autoimmune’ problems and what it’s all about. What does it mean to you? Normally, the body should be able to fight against anything foreign that threatens the well-being or health of tissues and cells. This is regarded as the immune response which protects the body from harm. Autoimmune disease is when the body fails to differentiate between what is ok for the body and part of ‘self’ and what is not ok for the body and ‘non-self’. The result of an autoimmune disease is that the body becomes in danger of being overcome by invaders, oxidants or diseases which it would otherwise fight against. It can destroy body tissues and cells, affecting and changing the functionality of the organs. There is also a higher risk of getting bacterial infections when the autoimmune system is weak. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is found in your ‘GALT’ – gut associated lymphoid tissues? Your digestive system can become rather sluggish, clogged and unable to process what has been consumed without requiring additional assistance. What your body once considered ‘good foods’ is no longer recognised, where these become difficult to eliminate without other issues coming to the surface. Autoimmune disease symptoms can often go undetected for a long time, where the conditions like leaky gut syndrome develop without one realising anything is wrong. (Note: Leaky Gut syndrome has been given the medical term – “Intestinal Permeability”) Diagnosing the conditions can also be just as frustrating. Sometimes the process for receiving an official autoimmune diagnosis can take years of going to various doctors for different types of tests.Often these tests will only touch the surface of what the culprit might be because the symptoms of these Autoimmune conditions can be so vague and contrasting.What do you look for when trying to figure out if you’re suffering with autoimmune disease symptoms? Medical journals ‘British Medical Journal and International Journal of Gastroenterology’ ‘ have both suggested that problems with a Leaky Gut are causing a vast number of autoimmune diseases. These include conditions like ‘lupus, allergies, depression, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis amongst others. The rate of chronic health conditions rose in children by nearly 15% between 1994 and 2006 according to the Journal of American Medical Association , where conditions like obesity, asthma, learning and behavioural problems had the largest growth during that time. Based on blood tests performed, it seems that youngsters are also five times more likely to have celiac disease symptoms as compared to their peers from the 1950s. Normally, the gut would have lots of good bacteria like ‘Bacteroides fragilis’ which helps the immune system stay in balance like a referee would. Its function together with the ‘microbiome’is to keep the pro vs anti-inflammatory functions in order, restoring it when it goes off kilter. Testing and research have found the bacteria has become endangered, and therefore has not been functioning as it once did. Whilst this is a scary concept, it also means that Medical teams are working to better understand what’s happening, and how to ultimately improve autoimmune conditions. It will help understand why some people get really ill whilst others suffer less. The aim is to improve the longevity of our health but it will require healing the gut first. Autoimmune conditions can be quite disheartening and stressful, especially if you are unable to pinpoint what’s wrong with your body and gut. But rest assured, there are ways of finding out and putting order back into the current stressful situation. Start by being kind to yourself and accepting that something you’re having is no longer in agreement with your body. This is hard to do, especially if you are not ready. But once you accept that your body needs a change, it will be the beginning to finding the culprit of your well-being. What can we do to help get to the bottom of this? If you have any of these common symptoms, hopefully they are not that serious and will go away with time. However, if they are persistent, please get yourself checked out. You might think that leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but the truth is, it can affect the body is so many other ways. The main organs, tissues that are affected by autoimmune diseases are: • Skin – with symptoms like Rashes, red bumps on facial skin or red flaking skin.Other skin concerns are Acne, Rosacea, Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis; • Digestive tract upsets – Stomach cramps, Gas or bloated stomach, Diarrhea or constipation, may indicate irritable bowel disease; • Brain – Anxiety, Stress, Headaches, Brain Fog, Fatigue or hyperactivity, feeling weird, tired or even exhausted; • Red blood & blood vessels; • The Glands – affecting organs like the Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetes; the Thyroid, where underactivity causes Hashimoto’s disease or overactivity causes Graves’ disease. These activities usually result in Weight loss or gains; • Connective Tissue – with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus; • Muscles & Joints – with symptoms like Rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia symptoms, giving pain, weakness, stiffness or other discomfort; • Other symptoms include Attention Deficit problems, Asthma, Dry mouth, frequent colds, allergies, Feeling depressed. That’s quite a lot to consider for Autoimmune problems, and if you’re experiencing any of these, you are not alone. Start with getting additional help – if you need to get certain tests done, whether they are blood or excrement tests, have them done by the right specialists. This will allow the doctors and specialists to check for various imbalances. A dear friend Sandra Mikhail, who is a Dietitian that specialises in gut health who is based in Zurich.She’s a fellow Melbournian who can be contacted for her guidance at https://nutrition-az.com/about/ or at email: firstname.lastname@example.org.(Sandra Mikhail holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from Monash University, Australia; A Master of Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Health (ETH Zurich) and is a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia) Sandra can also direct you to recommended gastroenterologists that she works with. She tells me: There’s a Gastro specialist in Australia that can actually “diagnose” this using a number of diagnostic tools.There are a number of diagnostic tools being looked at in research to assess their validity and reliability in detecting intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).” Should you wish to find out more, please contact her directly on the email details above. In summary, Intestinal Permeability or leaky gut syndrome begins with inflammation in the gut and intestines, where it progresses to eventually preventing nutrients being absorbed or the sufferer becomes sensitive to foods or chemicals eaten. The autoimmune disease syndrome can affect all parts of the body, including: • Joints, muscles, adrenal glands, Digestive tract functionality, the brain, skin, mouth, lungs, sinus & thyroids. • If you have concerns about autoimmune disorders, start by removing foods and factors that can damage the gut; • Replace them with dirty foods, healing foods as well as taking specific supplements and probiotics to help re-balance the gut. • And remember that autoimmune disorders and leaky gut syndrome are not a ‘one fix fits all’ scenario. • What works for one person and their family may not necessarily work for another. • You can also choose from the Essentially Lili Help Skin Assistance Range of Products to bring relief whilst you are undergoing treatments and finding the culprit. • Please remember not to the medications if you have been given them, but seek medical advice. Resolving this is not as simple as taking supplements and Probiotics. Ideally, removing foods that can cause damage to the gut is necessary. Replace these with foods that help heal, repair and re-balance with Probiotics and supplements.I will write more about dirty foods, microbiome, foods that heal and Probiotics in the coming blogs. Begin a new page – seek alternative methods if you don’t want to take medications as there are plenty of new options. Whether these options are through the Nutritionist, Specialist, Acupressure, Reflexology, Herbal teas & medicines, Homeopathy pills as well as Conventional medication. Your goal should be to find a solution that gives you well-being to your Mind, Body and Spirit a Holistic balance of all these.