This book on autoimmune disorders is fascinating. I don’t have time to extrapolate right now, but just read the first few pages of chapter three of The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance. Chapter three begins on page 41.
I guess I like reading scary stuff. All the research citations are in the book, but so far the gist is that our immune system has to decide whether or not the things we encounter are from us, or from outside, and whether or not they are a threat.
A kid with food allergies has an immune system that is seeing something that shouldn’t be harmful as a threat.
A person with an autoimmune disorder has an immune system that is seeing itself as a threat and attacking itself.
They are related in that the immune system is malfunctioning but they aren’t quite the same.
The author talks about how in the middle of the century, medical school students were taught that it wasn’t possible for the immune system to attack itself, and thus that led to decades of autoimmune disorders being unresearched because it was such a new idea.
But now they are running rampant and there are higher rates of autoimmune disorders than there are cancer. She also says that we recognize and call chemicals that trigger “carcinogens” but have no such word for the chemicals and environmental triggers that are causing our immune systems to go haywire.
Basically, we are so bombarded by chemicals from our furniture, shampoo, detergents, ant bait, pesticides and cars that are immune systems are taxed out by the end of the day.
One study you could look up in the book involved a pesticide commonly used on melons. They exposed female rats to it and every single one of the 25 rats developed lupus. And then she talks about how there are still discernable levels of DDT in our beef because these chems just don’t go away that easily. I guess they are like annoying family members or something.
And then she cites another study where they tested the cord blood of infants at birth, and each one had something like 171 different chemicals already in their body.
And people wonder why I spend the extra money on organics.
Someone I consider to be a second mother, the lady I lived with in Grenada, died of lupus 2 years ago, almost exactly. And it isn’t even about fatality for me, either. It’s about quality of life. She was sick so often. And might have one good day a week, and the rest of the week dealt with the pain of her body attacking itself.
I don’t want me or my family to cope with that, so I guess I’m going to keep trying to keep our exposure to chemicals and processed foods as low I can. It is interesting though, that when some people identify their food issues, their autoimmune symptoms from things like fibromyalgia and diabetes can lessen.
So these two things are related in my mind, defninitely, because they represent an immune system malfunctioning.
Eek. I’d rather we have the food allergies than some of the things I’ve read about in this book! And this is why I’m so so sure that I don’t want to reintroduce foods to early or build up her tolerance. Just avoid it for now, and maybe forever!!