Autoimmune Disease: What You Can Do To Avoid It

What is Autoimmune Disease?  It is where the body turns on itself, attacking healthy cells as it workd to protect the body from viruses, bacteria, and other invaders; creating mysterious chronic diseases.
There are double the number of people afflicted with autoimmune disease than are diagnosed with cancer. Some autoimmune diseases are multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Recently, I read The Autoimmune Epidemic by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. It sounds an alarm, by taking us into today’s most scientific labs to show what is causing the immune system to go haywire.
The human body is being exposed on a daily basis to heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, viruses, and chemicals in the foods we consume that is causing autoimmune disease to rise to a frightening level. This problem has already derailed the lives of 23.5 million Americans – and one in every nine women.

It takes the human body thousands of years to adapt to new environmental stresses. However in the last 100 years so many toxic substances were dumped into our environment that our immune systems were overwhelmed. Mankind adapted over hundreds of thousands of years living in a relatively chemical-free and toxin-free environment. All of a sudden the human body is being bombarded by a very hostile environment, which is creating major problems in the human body.

I am constantly on the lookout for information related to health. It is a full time job just to keep healthy. What happens to those people who depend on the medical field in order to function? I have found that most medical doctors have little idea as to the cause of most diseases. If you want to stay well and prevent illness you have to do your own homework. You also have to be willing to implement changes in your life, after becoming aware of the environmental stresses that are occurring in your life.

People are using products, which are breaking down their natural immunity, such as, antibacterial hand soaps, dishwashing soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes. They have no idea what these products are doing. They happen to be destroying the healthy bacteria you have on your skin and in your body that keep unhealthy bacteria in check. Many health researchers advise that hot soapy water is far more effective than antibacterial products. There is a very unnatural ingredient called triclosan, which is in the aforementioned products. It represents a serious threat to the environment, after it goes down the drain and through the wastewater treatment centers (which fail to remove it). It is endangering the marine environment and is hormonally altering fish exposed to it. It is winding up in sludge, which is being used on food crops, which is also affecting human health.

Human beings were supposed to be eating fresh natural food, but the food most people are eating is totally nutrient-deficient. It has been raised by gigantic agribusinesses who are primarily concerned with mass production. They use three cheap nutrients in producing their foods; nitrogen, phosphate and potash. What does this do to the quality of the food you are consuming, when over 100 nutrients are missing? Nutrient-poor foods don’t provide the human body with the elements it needs in order to be healthy and actually sets people up for disease. I am sure that eating food without nutrients is a key factor in autoimmune disease. Also as mentioned above, when toxic sludge is used on food crops for fertilizer, it will wind up affecting the health of those who consume the crops it was used on.

The most important thing we can do is eat fresh organic produce, which is devoid of pesticides. I had a sign in my office for over twenty years: Pesticides are Poison. If they kill pests, they will harm you. They are used to prevent crop loss, but there are more natural ways to get rid of insects than to poison the earth. Organic farmers have found effective methods that don’t harm the environment or the consumer. I would rather pay extra for organic than pay out mega bucks for a catastrophic illness. If you are on a limited budget, people are told to try and stick to the following 12 clean foods, which supposedly have little toxic pesticide: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, onions, yams, cantaloupe, lemons, limes, kiwi, mango, pineapple and watermelon.…and remember to only buy organically-grown of the following Dirty Dozen (heavily sprayed) fruits and veggies: apples, blueberries, cherries, imported grapes, peaches, strawberries, celery, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, kale/collards, sweet bell peppers.

Knowing how pesticide is sprayed on most conventionally-farmed plants with some of it falling on the earth and going down into the soil, I am not 100% sure this is such good advice. Plants send their roots out in search of nutrients and so they also take in the pesticide or any other element that is in the soil. Fast growing plants such as, zucchini or melons which absorb a great amount of moisture from the earth obtain toxic elements from the water they are absorbing. Even organic plants aren’t usually given pure water. There are toxic chemicals being found worldwide in the waters today. Chemicals that we ingest in our food supply affect our bodies and brains; and affect our immune systems. It isn’t any wonder that so many people are being afflicted with mysterious diseases.

Our environment is considered to be 70% responsible for autoimmune disease. The air we breathe, the water we drink and many of the products that we are using on a daily basis are challenging our immune system. The air in our cities is loaded with tiny particles, which we see as smog from a distance. It is created by industrial pollution, automobiles (exhaust fumes and tire-tread breaking down), and a myriad of other things in every city. The exhaust fumes produce dioxin, which is a recognized immune suppressor, It has long been known to cross the placental barrier in animals to their unborn and is increasingly linked to cancer and developmental effects. Environmental exposure to dioxin and PCBs – at amounts as low as five times the average level that most of us come in contact with in our day-to-day lives – can cause the thymus to shrink as much as 80%. – which severely cripples the immune system.

Dioxin, along with pesticides, insecticides, and plasticizers such as biphenyl A, or BPA, a plastic building block are used in a myriad of products, and are known ashormone disruptors. They are a group of environmental contaminants that can affect our immune system and our resistance to disease by disrupting our bodies’ natural hormonal signals. Animals and humans secrete minuscule amounts of hormones such as estrogen, that trigger responses, These hormones are secreted into the blood by the endocrine glands that produce them – the thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands, as well as the ovaries and testes – in response to signals from the brain. Chemicals like PCBs, plastic additives such as BPA, and common pesticides are among the numerous chemicals that enter our bloodstream through daily exposure, and mimic estrogen by occupying our cell’s estrogen receptors.

When endocrine disruptors mimic real estrogen they can wreak havoc one of two ways: first, they can block the estrogen receptor site altogether, keeping our natural estrogen from responding. The estrogen receptor, then fails to do the job it was designed to do. The second way that endocrine disruptors work is not by blocking the communication completely, but by sending the wrong signals between cells. These chemicals are found in safety helmets, dental sealants,, and eyeglass lenses to every day food packaging. BPA found in the resins that line food cans and in baby bottles is known to significantly increase production of auto-antibodies -antibodies that set out to destroy one’s own tissue. This was demonstrated in mice recently by eight Japanese Immuno-toxicologists at the University of Tokyo. Other lab research confirms that environmental estrogens, including plastic additives, exert a direct effect on immune cells, suppressing the function of some immune cells and over stimulating others.

Six billion pounds of BPA are being used each years. Lab research has found that the bond that secures BPA molecules to food and beverage packages changes over time. It then results in the release of free BPA into the food we eat and the beverages we drink, as well as into the environment. In 2006, researchers found that BPA – at concentrations lower than those already found in pregnant women, fetuses, and adults, and well within the range of our typical human exposure – causes estrogen receptors to initiate unnaturally rapid responses, changing our basic estrogen function. Significant effects can be seen at extremely low levels of exposure – parts per billion and even per trillion – levels currently present in blood samples taken from people as well as animals.

Chemical manufacturers have worked hard to counter the mounting academic research showing the negative health effects of endocrine disruptors seen at extremely low levels of exposure. In 2004, one researcher counted up all the studies that had been done to date on BPA. Of 104 studies done by independent researchers, 94 found adverse effects. None of the 11 studies conducted by the chemical industry’s researchers on BPA identified adverse effects. It is amazing how these chemical manufacturers have no conscience or regard for their fellowman or planet earth.

In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta conducted a study testing blood and urine samples of 2,500 people across the country. The CDC found traces of 116 chemicals. Then in 2005, a set of findings emerged that shocked toxicologists world-wide. Researchers working through two major laboratories found an alarming cocktail of 287 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the fetal cord blood of ten newborn infants from around the country, in samples taken by the American Red Cross. These chemicals included pesticides, phthalates, dioxins, flame retardants, and breakdown chemicals of Teflon, among other chemicals known to damage the immune system. Shortly thereafter, investigators in the Netherlands turned up similar findings; they discovered an array of chemicals commonly found in household cleaners, cosmetics, and furniture, in the cord blood of thirty newborns.

Phthalates mentioned in the previous paragraph are well-known hormone disruptors. Why are they added to cosmetics, to plastic bottles and plastic in general; and used in children’s toys and in food containers? They affect the health of those who are using products that contain them. When used in food containers, they leach into the food, which they contain. For example, heating a baby’s bottled milk or being used in microwaves ovens, phthalates seep out of the container and into the food – making it dangerous to eat. All of these modern creations help erode human physical health and affect the brains ability to even think. If people were able to think, perhaps they would be able to use a little logic and figure out that they needed to stop doing the things that were making them sick.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body – and remarkably porous and adept at absorbing toxins. Cosmetic products are full of a disturbing number of chemicals which wind up throughout our body. According to another study by the Environmental Working Group, in a test of 15,000 cosmetic products, almost 80% contained harmful impurities that include known or probable carcinogens, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, and degreasers. Despite these impurities, many of these products were nevertheless labeled as “organic” or “natural” because the government does not regulate personal-care-product labeling, and a product need only contain one or two botanical extracts to acquire the “natural” or “organic” label. The FDA has reviewed the study of only 11% of the 10,300 ingredients being used in personal-care products today. Which means it is up to you to do your own screening. Avoid: cosmetics that contain parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butylparabens); phthalates; sodium laureth/sodium laurel sulfates; butyl/ethyl acetate; petrolatum; cocamide DEA/lauramide DEA; diazolidinyl urea; propylene glycol; toluene; synthetic colors and fragrances; and triethanolamine. Likewise, avoid using synthetic colognes and perfumes. Studies show that many perfumes and colognes often contain phthalates and parabens (both endocrine disruptors). Instead, look for organic products that have joined the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. You can check: www.thinkbeforeyoupink.com or www.ewg.org/

It amazes me that people are unaware that using dark hair dyes or bleaching their hair blond can shorten their life. Women who use dark dyes have three times the risk of developing lupus. In the thirties a beautiful platinum blond actress by the name of Jean Harlow died at the age of 26. It was stated that she died of kidney disease, but many speculated that the process of using strong chemicals on her head to get her hair platinum blond stressed the organs in her body and contributed to her early demise. We are being warned today to avoid hair shampoos that contain toxic chemicals. The chemicals that were being used to change her hair color were far more toxic. Another cosmetic product to avoid, nail polishes. They contain phthalates, toluene and formaldehyde.

Vaccines are another threat to the body’s natural immune system.  Most are loaded with many toxins which seriously stress the human body.  The medical field believes it alone has the answers people need. I personally have seen many die who trusted in their doctors to save them – and failed to ask themselves “What did I do to make myself ill?” Poor health is not natural and it is usually created, because people are not interested in spending any time learning about health. Depending on doctors, when you get sick., is not the way to go. There is nothing more important than your health. Prevention is the answer. Don’t anticipate future illness. Create health. Learn and live.

Healthfully Yours,

Barbara Charis

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