Where did things start to go wrong? I’m not 100% sure what my trigger(s) may have been yet, but what I do know is that my gut plays a big role in my health and my dis-ease.
One of the reasons that things started to unravel for me was due to something called intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. It is just as it’s name implies. The spaces in between the cells lining your gut become…well, leaky. They start to allow things such as proteins and pathogens, that were never meant to pass through in the first place, to enter your body and start wreaking havoc with your immune system. All you have to do it google ‘leaky gut’ and you will get loads of information about the physiology on how this manifests but two of my favourite resources are Chris Kresser and The Paleo Mom. They write in detail about this here and here.
So backing up a little bit, what you need to know is that in order to get an autoimmune disease in the first place, you must have the trifecta of the following:
1) You need to have a genetic link to develop autoimmune disease. Know anyone in your family that may have: arthritis, allergies, cancer, diabetes, eczema, psoriasis, schizophrenia, Graves Disease, Addisons Disease, Celiac Disease, contact dermatitis, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis, Hashimoto’s, MS, Ulcerative Colitis, etc? The list is long and getting longer. A great post to check out would be this one here describing not only the more commonly known AI diseases, but some surprising ones as well. This genetic link plays a key role in developing any autoimmune disease to begin with, but not as much as one might think. It actually only factors for about 1/3 of your susceptibility.
2) An environmental trigger. So this could be anything ranging from infections, toxins, hormones, or just plain old bad luck.
3) Diet and lifestyle factors – and their contributions to you developing a leaky gut.
An important thing to note is that once you develop an autoimmune disease, you can never truly ‘cure’ it. Once your body has learned to attack itself, it does not forget this. But you can lessen your symptoms or even put your disease into remission.
So back to the gut. Your body and more specifically your immune system, due to it’s leaky gut and passing of proteins or toxins from your gut into your blood stream, starts to get confused. It’s ability to tell the difference between what is foreign and what is actually your own body (self), starts to fail and you literally start attacking your own cells, a process called molecular mimicry. As this progresses you start to develop specific symptoms as the damage caused to your cells, tissues and organs from the constant attacks, starts to build. And why do some develop one autoimmune disease over another? How come you don’t necessary end up with the same AI issues as say your Mom and/or your Dad had? Well this is the fun part – it’s all random. Luck of the draw. Fluke. Whatever you want to call it!
So while the diseases/symptoms may all be different, as you can see from the list above, the route cause of them all is the same.