Being a Hashimoto Hypothyroid patient, I’ve been researching the autoimmune diseases for a number of years. The first, and most scariest thing I learned was that there is no cure for autoimmune disease. The second thing was the idea that your body is attacking your cells/organs by mistake. How strange is that? I just couldn’t believe that this occurs in our bodies and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s as though our body suddenly loses control and we get stuck in this state of the disease forever. As I researched further I found other theories as well when it comes to autoimmune disease which were not as depressing. In fact, there are many testimonies where people did manage to find alternative treatment for thyroid and took control over their immune system and recovered fully.
If you are struggling with some sort of autoimmune disease do note that there is hope and it is possible to improve the situation by making some diet and lifestyle choices. Lets first take a look at what autoimmune disease is, at least according to western medicine.
What is Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them. Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body — like your joints or skin — as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.
Researchers don’t know exactly what causes autoimmune diseases. Diet, infections, and exposure to chemicals might be involved. Considering how common autoimmune diseases are it is rather unbelievable that we still don’t know what causes them in western medicine.
14 common Autoimmune diseases
There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases. Here are 14 of the most common ones.
1. Type 1 diabetes
The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, as well as organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints. This attack causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints.
3. Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
Skin cells normally grow and then shed when they’re no longer needed. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. The extra cells build up and form red, scaly patches called scales or plaques on the skin.
4. Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis damages the myelin sheath — the protective coating that surrounds nerve cells. Damage to the myelin sheath affects the transmission of messages between your brain and body.This damage can lead to symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and trouble walking.
5. Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)
Although doctors in the 1800s first described lupus as a skin disease because of the rash it produces, it actually affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys, brain, and heart. Joint pain, fatigue, and rashes are among the most common symptoms.
6. Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a term used to describe conditions that cause inflammation in the lining of the intestines. Each type of IBD affects a different part of the GI tract.
- Crohn’s disease can inflame any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus.
- Ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
7. Addison’s disease
Addison’s disease affects the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Having too little of these hormones can affect the way the body uses and stores carbohydrates and sugar.
Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood sugar.
8. Graves’ disease
Graves’ disease attacks the thyroid gland in the neck, causing it to produce too much of its hormones. Thyroid hormones control the body’s energy usage or metabolism.
Having too much of these hormones revs up your body’s activities, causing symptoms like nervousness, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, and weight loss.
9. Sjögren’s syndrome
This condition attacks the joints, as well as glands that provide lubrication to the eyes and mouth. The hallmark symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome are joint pain, dry eyes, and dry mouth.
10. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid hormone production slows. Symptoms include weight gain, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, hair loss, and swelling of the thyroid.
11. Myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis affects nerves that help the brain control the muscles. When these nerves are impaired, signals can’t direct the muscles to move.
The most common symptom is muscle weakness that gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Often muscles that control swallowing and facial movements are involved.
Vasculitis happens when the immune system attacks blood vessels. The inflammation that results narrows the arteries and veins, allowing less blood to flow through them.
13. Pernicious anemia
This condition affects a protein called intrinsic factor that helps the intestines absorb vitamin B-12 from food. Without this vitamin, the body can’t make enough red blood cells.
14. Celiac disease
People with celiac disease can’t eat foods containing gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and other grain products. When gluten is in the intestine, the immune system attacks it and causes inflammation.
Common symptoms of Autoimmune Disease
Despite the varying types of autoimmune disease, many of them share similar symptoms. Common symptoms of the autoimmune disease include:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin problems
- Abdominal pain or digestive issues
- Recurring fever
- Swollen glands
Many women say it’s hard to get diagnosed, something that Orbai agrees with. “It’s not black or white,” she says. “There’s usually no single test to diagnose autoimmune disease. You have to have certain symptoms combined with specific blood markers and in some cases, even a tissue biopsy. It’s not just one factor.”
There are more than 100 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling. When chronic inflammation happens in the body it is very dangerous, please don’t ignore it! It is easy to get the chronic inflammation reading by testing your blood, if the ESR marker is higher than 31 it means there is some chronic inflammation happening in the body.
Treatment of Autoimmune Disease
Traditional therapies for autoimmune disease have relied on immunosuppressive medications that globally dampen immune responses. These agents are highly effective for many patients and thus remain the current “gold standard” of care. However, long-term treatments with high doses are often needed to maintain disease control, leaving the patient susceptible to life-threatening opportunistic infections and long-term risk of malignancy. In addition, the benefits of many of these drugs are counterbalanced by toxicity and serious side effect profiles. Thus, there has been a push for the development of more specific strategies that lower the risk of systemic immune suppression and improve tolerability. Today, there are a number of alternative treatments for thyroid including diet changes, natural supplements, and meditation.
The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when symptoms get better or disappear. Treatment depends on the disease, but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation. Most of the time the doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce your immune response.
The optimal therapy for autoimmunity would be one that achieves four main goals:
(i) specifically targets the pathogenic cells and leaves the remainder of the immune system functioning normally
(ii) re-establishes immune tolerance that is stable over time, such that continuous or long-term therapy is not needed
(iii) has low toxicity and few side effects
(iv) is overall cost-effective when compared to alternative approaches.
So far I have only found one alternative treatment for autoimmunity which can achieve the above goals and that is Lingzhi mushroom supplement. Of course in my case, I specifically refer to the Shuang Hor lingzhi.
Lingzhi balances the Autoimmune response
Ancient Chinese medical texts list it as an immune regulator, with calming, pain relieving action, which “tonifies the blood”.In traditional Chinese medicine, the main function of blood is to nourish the body, moisten the body tissues and “anchor the mind”. If the blood is “deficient”, it cannot provide physiologically adequate nutrition, which manifests in generalized fatigue, paleness, dry skin, anxiety and mental restlessness. These symptoms are treated by “tonifying” the blood (i.e., by boosting the nutritive capacity of the blood).
While illnesses such as cancer and viral infections may require an increase in immune function, allergic reactions and autoimmune disease call for a down-regulation of the immune system. Lingzhi mushroom is a true “amphoteric” herb, which can upregulate or downregulate the immune system as needed. Lingzhi is rich in polysaccharides, immune-modulating proteins, and steroidal saponin glycosides that influence the adrenal-hypothalamic-pituitary axis feedback loop, which regulates inflammation.
In particular, the polysaccharides and triterpenoids found in Lingzhi mushrooms affect multiple targets in the series of events that lead to an excessive immune response, inflammation, and allergies.
For instance, Lingzhi mushrooms inhibit the release of histamine – a chemical involved in local immune responses – from specialized immune cells that are capable of reducing the activity of nerves that transmit itchy sensations to the brain – for example after a mosquito bite or similar itchy stimuli.
In experiments with animals, Lingzhi mushrooms were shown to drastically alleviate the symptoms associated with allergies, such as rhinitis (itchy, watery nose) and mosquito bites.
Studies have also demonstrated Lingzhi’s ability to reduce “airway hyperresponsiveness” – the “twitchy” smooth muscle responses in the lung bronchi that provoke an asthma attack.
Lingzhi mushrooms have also shown promise for the management of the immune imbalances that are the root cause of autoimmune diseases.
When it comes to autoimmune problems, it is best to consume lingzhi in high dosage of triterpenoids and all at once as the higher dosage will lower the overactive immune system and push it down to normal levels. It is important to note that in the case of allergic auto-immune response, we must remove the cause of the allergy at the same time. If we continue to be exposed to the item which is causing allergies, such as food or some toxin, the allergy will continue occurring.
For the autoimmune problem, we recommend Yung Kien Ganoderma 2 to be taken once a day as it contains a higher number of triterpenoids and is able to lower the over-active immune system. It should be taken for 3 months in order to see the results.
Lifestyle and Diet Changes
As with any disease, it is important to change your lifestyle and diet as well to a more healthy one which will keep your overall body in a better shape. I usually advise my clients to change the way they look at food and explain to them how different foods affect their bodies. Some of us are luckier than others and have stronger or better genes so our bodies can handle the abuse we give it through unhealthy meals and lack of exercise. However, as you age and notice your health degrading, you must make some changes in order to regain your health. Living with an autoimmune disease is not a way to live forever and it is extremely important to find what works in order to reverse the damage. Another danger of living with chronic inflammation in the body is that it can lead to more serious illnesses, such as cancer.
If you do suffer from any symptoms above and have any further questions please drop me an email. Also if you are interested to try out the Shuang Hor lingzhi do let me know as well.