Autoimmune disease is a modern epidemic in which your body’s immune system, which normally helps defend you from pathogens, mistakenly attacks your own organs and tissues. Current research tells us multiple factors can play a role in causing autoimmunity, including viruses. More recently, a virus has been linked with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which symptoms are triggered by eating gluten.
Celiac disease linked with normally harmless virus in humans
Celiac disease affects one in 133 people in the United States, however only 17 percent have been diagnosed.
While former research has focused on genetic factors underlying celiac disease, a recent study found a link between celiac disease and reovirus, a normally harmless virus in humans.
The study found that mouse subjects with celiac-like disease have higher levels of reovirus antibodies than those without the disease. Those with reovirus antibodies also had high levels of a gene regulator that plays a role in loss of oral tolerance to gluten protein.
In the study, researchers took two different reovirus strains that infect humans (T1L and T3D), and tested them on mice. Both types triggered a protective immune response, but only the T1L caused the mice’s immune systems to act against gluten. This triggered a celiac-like condition in the mice.
The immune response triggered by the T1L virus was dependent on a molecule called interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1), which has been found in higher than normal levels in the small intestine of human children with celiac disease.
This suggests that early reovirus infection might raise the risk for developing gluten-related autoimmunity.
According to lead researcher author Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, director of research at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, “During the first year of life, the immune system is still maturing, so for a child with a particular genetic background, getting a particular virus at that time can leave a kind of scar that then has long term consequences.”
Along with other researchers, Jabri is investigating the possibility that other viruses can play a similar role in autoimmunity.
If you would like help understanding the Viruses that trigger celiac disease and other autoimmunities, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Chronic viral infection makes the short list for autoimmune factors
Research increasingly indicates viruses and bacteria may play a role in the development of autoimmunity.
Viruses and bacteria trigger an immune response in the body. Some researchers suggest that the antibodies we produce in response may also attack our body’s cells. This may be because they resemble the virus or bacteria, confusing the immune system into the attack.
If you already experience lifestyle-induced chronic inflammation, this makes the immune system hyper zealous and thus more likely to erroneously attack self-tissue.
The viruses suspected in connection with autoimmunity are varied, and some are linked to multiple conditions:
Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis is associated with Epstein Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex 1 and 2, hepatitis C, and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Multiple Sclerosis is associated with EBV and measles virus.
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with EBV, hepatitis C, E-coli bacteria, and mycobacteria.
Lupus is associated with EBV.
Type 1 diabetes is associated with coxsackievirus B4, cytomegalovirus, mumps virus, and rubella virus.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is associated with EBV, CMV, and campylobacter bacteria.
Know your viral exposure
Having a viral or bacterial infection is not a guarantee of developing autoimmunity, because other factors must come together for it to occur. However, it’s a good idea to take viral exposure into account when looking for the root causes and treatment of your autoimmune condition.
Some practitioners say regardless of other medical protocols, patients with autoimmunity do not go into remission unless they also address their chronic viral and bacterial infections.
Because viral infections usually occur well before any autoimmune symptoms develop, it can be difficult to make a definitive link between a specific infection and a your autoimmune disorder.
Therefore, if you are seeing your doctor about your autoimmune condition, remember to mention any infections you know you’ve had, even back in your childhood; some viruses such as Epstein Barr can persist in the body for decades without obvious symptoms. Lastly, if you don’t seem to be able to heal, ask about testing for hidden chronic viral infections as well as bacterial gut infections.
Other autoimmunity risk factors
Although there is a genetic component to autoimmunity, the following factors are linked to an increased risk of develop an autoimmune condition:
Females. Women represent about 75 percent of autoimmune cases. Researchers speculate women’s hormones or their active immune systems make them more vulnerable to developing autoimmunity.
Young to middle-aged. While the elderly can develop autoimmunity such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune conditions more frequently show up in youth or middle age.
African American, Native American, or Latinx heritage. These ethic groups represent higher rates of autoimmunity than others.
Family history of autoimmunity. If your family members have had autoimmunity, you are at higher risk.
Environmental exposure to toxins or heavy metals. There is evidence relating toxic exposure to higher rates of autoimmunity.
Intestinal hyper-permeability (leaky gut). Leaky gut is present not only in all autoimmune diseases, but in other chronic illnesses such as heart disease, depression, and more.
When it comes to autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, dampening inflammation and immune attacks on the thyroid is the primary goal. One of the most powerful allies in this quest is to support your regulatory T cells (T reg cells). These are immune cells that do what their name implies — they help regulate the immune system. This means they play a role in either activating or dampening inflammation. The good news is that when it comes to Hashimoto’s, we can do many things to influence the T reg cells to dampen inflammation and quell Hashimoto’s flare ups and attacks so you can have more good days.
Ways to support T reg cells to manage Hashimoto’s
If you would like help understanding ways to support T Reg Cells to manage Hashimoto’s, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
Following are some proven ways we can support our T reg cells to manage Hashimoto’s.
Vitamin D (cholecalciferol). Fat soluble vitamin D is a powerful supporter of the T reg cells, especially at therapeutic doses (around 10,000 IU a day).
Vitamin D is also important because studies show many people with Hashimoto’s have a genetic defect hindering their ability to process vitamin D. Therefore, they need higher amounts of vitamin D to maintain health. This can be the case even if a blood test shows sufficient levels of serum vitamin D. That’s because the defect is at the cellular receptor site, preventing vitamin D from getting into the cells.
Omega 3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA in fish oil support T-reg cells. It’s important to make sure you take enough; it’s estimated 80 percent of the population are deficient in essential fatty acids.
Research shows a healthy dietary intake of supplemental omga-3 is 3,500 mg if you eat 2,000 calories per day.
The average EFA capsule is 1,000 mg. Most people in the US eat between 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day and therefore should take 4 to 6 capsules of fish oil a day. Dietary sources of omega 3 include cold water fish, nuts, and seeds.
Glutathione. Glutathione, also known as the master antioxidant, supports T reg cells and is a powerful support in dampening inflammation and managing Hashimoto’s. Straight glutathione cannot be absorbed well but there are other ways to take it, including reduced glutathione, s-acetyl-glutathione, liposomal glutathione, and glutathione precursors.
Glutathione precursors make glutathione inside the cells and include n-acetyl cysteine, cordyceps, Gotu Kola, milk thistle, and alpha lipoic acid. Don’t be shy to take large amounts of glutathione support to dampen inflammation.
Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are powerful signaling compounds that influence the health of the body and brain. They are produced by healthy gut bacteria that come from eating a diet abundant in a diverse array of vegetables. The more abundant and diverse your gut bacteria the better your SCFA production.
This helps many functions in your body, including proper T reg cell function and dampening of inflammation and managing Hashimoto’s. You can also take the SCFA butyrate to support your SCFA levels, however, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating plenty of vegetables throughout the day too for this strategy to be effective.
Endorphins. Saving the best for last, did you know a powerful way to support anti-inflammatory function of T reg cells is to experience joy, happiness, love, and playfulness? All of these things produce endorphins, feel good chemicals that reduce inflammation. Methods for increasing endorphins include:
Socializing regularly with healthy people
Meditation and breath work
Massage and other forms of body work
Doing something playful regularly
Daily expression of gratitude via a journal or verbal affirmation
Regular exercise that gives you a “natural high” but doesn’t wear you out
These are some of the ways you can manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Ask my office for more information.
Asthma is one of the most common diseases in America, affecting nearly 1 in 12 people. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or health condition regardless of whether or not you have a history of respiratory issues or not. Asthma causes the airways to swell up and reduce the surface area available for air to pass through the bronchioles into the bloodstream. This makes it difficult to get enough oxygen into your body and causes shortness of breath, coughing, paleness, and lethargy. While asthma is traditionally associated with either genetics or a permanent condition, functional medicine physicians are finding that the main causes include bad air quality, poor diet and gut health, and food sensitivities – all of which can be addressed with natural remedies. As it turns out, asthma does not have to result in being chained to an inhaler for the rest of your days if you learn to fight the disease at its source.
Recently, functional medicine patients have been able to slowly decrease symptoms and taper off of their inhaler by focusing on improving gut and respiratory health naturally. It is common for patients who suffer from asthma to also have an unbalanced gut microbiome and conditions such as leaky gut. These conditions contribute to an increase in unhealthy inflammation throughout the body, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways – in this case causing inflammation in the sinuses and lungs. If you have ASTHMA and want to know more, schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.
In most cases, patients who have undergone a regular dosage of prescription antibiotics can experience damage to the lining of the stomach wall as a result. This causes a variety of side effects that include decreased nutrient absorption, immune response, and also increases the risk of developing leaky gut and inflammation. Asthma is largely a cause of a multitude of physiologic conditions that when all left unattended and out of control, lead to a much greater risk for developing the disease and its symptoms.
How to Naturally Fight Asthma
While there is no known cure for the condition other than an inhaler and prescription medication, there are ways to fight symptoms and reduce your risk of contracting the disease. This is done by targeting the causes of asthma and inflammation, damaged lung tissue, decreased oxygen utilization, and more.
Some of the steps you can take to curb these symptoms naturally and at the source include:
Improve Your Diet
There are various types of foods that can help to improve oxygen absorption, airway health, and also increase the immune response and protect against inflammation and tissue damage. Anti-inflammatory foods include leafy greens, walnuts, grains, and fish. Removing heavy foods that are pro-inflammatory will also aid in reducing asthma risk as well as increasing energy and overall gut health. Start by slowly removing certain foods for a period of time including those that contain gluten, dairy, and soy.
Supplement With Magnesium and Zinc
Magnesium helps the tissues in your airways relax so you can breathe easier and with less effort. Studies show almost half of Americans consume much less than the recommended amounts of this crucial mineral from food alone and is a reason why asthma risk is high for so many people. Whole-food magnesium sources include nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. It is also recommended to start supplementing with a multivitamin or targeted specific dietary options. Aim for 400 mg of magnesium daily, preferably as magnesium glycinate. Zinc is another important mineral for your immune system and people with deficiencies are at a higher risk for asthma due to the decreased ability for the body to utilize oxygen and produce red blood cells without it. Zinc-rich foods include beans, nuts, and high-quality animal protein. Aim for 15 mg of zinc daily in your food and supplements.
Engage in Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing and meditation exercises can be an easy and effective way to not only fight against the symptoms of asthma but also improve mood and cognition as well. By performing deep breathing exercises at least 3-4 times a week, you can slowly improve overall lung capacity, increase oxygen absorption, and enhance the overall health of the respiratory system. In addition, deep breathing exercises also help to curb stress which is another asthma-inducing contributor. Stress is terrible for those with asthma as it harms your body’s ability to fight infection and inflammation, making it much more susceptible to a variety of conditions.
If you are suffering from asthma or believe you are beginning to develop symptoms, schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATIONwith Dr. Celaya. By treating the symptoms from the source of the problem, you can improve lung capacity and tissue health naturally without the need for prescription pills or surgery.
Have you ever wanted to know everything there is to know about your thyroid? This 7-part video series will cover thyroid lab testing, nutrition and infections that affect the thyroid, toxins, thyroid hormone conversion, lifestyle, and adrenal interplay.