Autoimmune Diseases

 Professor Haque

Abstract

Autoimmune diseases are comprised of a range of diseases in which the immune response to self-antigens leads to the impairment or dysfunction of tissues. Efforts have been made to develop standards and benchmarks in exploring autoimmune diseases. Current theories suggest that developing an autoimmune disease requires a genetic predisposition and environmental factors that trigger the immune pathways that lead, ultimately, to tissue destruction.

Keywords: autoimmune, epidemiology, autoimmunity

What is an Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are comprised of a range of diseases in which the immune response to self-antigens leads to the impairment or dysfunction of tissues. It can also be stated as a spectrum of diseases resulting from mismanagement of an organism’s autoimmunity. Ian Mackay and Macfarlane Burnet first discovered its autoimmunity reregulation. It is characterized by an organism’s failure to tolerate its cells and tissues, resulting in an abnormal immune response by lymphocytes and antibodies.

Discoveries in Autoimmunity

The concept of autoimmunity is very recent, and for many years, scientists did not believe in it. It had its root in the proposed theory of Macfarlane Burnet in 1948. He proposed that the non-reactivity of the immune system to self, known as self-tolerance, is an acquired ability rather than an innate characteristic. It challenged the concept of immune tolerance, which was defined several years later by Peter Medawar and colleagues in 1953 as the immune system’s ability to keep itself from targeting self-molecules, cells, and tissues. The pioneering work is done by Paul Ehrlich illustrating the ‘horror autotoxicus’ has a significant impact on exploring the concept of autoimmunity.

The prominent scientific efforts that resulted in the explosion of research into autoimmune

Autoimmunity and Pathology

Immunity is a very complex and well-regulated process with strict vigilance and an outstanding balance to regulating autoimmunity. Even with great alertness of central and peripheral tolerance of immunity, minimal numbers of potentially self-reacting lymphocytes can still ‘leak out’ into the periphery typically. Thus, the existence of such potential self-reactive T and B lymphocytes and

Criteria of Autoimmune Diseases
There are set of criteria set to descript the pathological conditions of autoimmunity. These may include identifying a target antigen, antibodies, and T cells in the target organ and transferring disease to animals by cells or antibodies. With advancements in molecular biology and the hybridoma technology, and the original Witebsky postulates, a standard has been described. Three types of evidence can be used to establish that a human disease is autoimmune in origin. These benchmarks are:

Categories of Autoimmune Diseases
Generally, autoimmunity diseases, also known as inflammatory diseases, are classified as systemic or organ-specific inflammation leading to the impairment of tissue damage [7]. Figure 1, taken from L. Wang et al. article “Review: Human autoimmune diseases, “illustrates some organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases.
Wang et al. Review: H

Based on molecular pathophysiology, autoinflammatory diseases are categorized into the following groups:

  • IL-1β activation disorders (inflammasomopathies),
  • NF-κB activation syndromes,
  • protein misfolding disorders,
  • complement regulatory diseases,
  • disturbances in cytokine signaling, and

macrophage activation syndromes[7].

Epidemiology of Autoimmune Diseases

The individual prevalence of these diseases is minor, but these diseases’ combined effect is quite significant. Many of these rare disorders contribute to the global health burden by affecting 20% of the human population[2].

Similarly, the United States’ impact on individual autoimmune diseases is relatively uncommon, but they affect approximately 5–8% of the population. These are the third most common disease category, and an estimated annual cost of over 100 billion dollars in the United States is bear by the public health sector. Moreover, these diseases are chronic means increasing the burden with time. Due to these burdening effects on the health sector, this group of diseases must be addressed, and the understanding of the root causes and mechanisms of these diseases may lead to developing better therapies to treat and to be more optimistic may even prevent these diseases [8].

Etiology of Autoimmune Diseases

The disruption of immune tolerance of self –antigens typically occurs in genetically predisposed individuals whenever exposed to various triggering environmental factors [9]. These risk factors are the root cause of most autoimmune diseases.

  • Food Sensitivities & Lack of Nutrients

Metabolic state influences the immunity response of the immune system. Thus, both the type and levels of nutrients significantly impact immunity and autoimmune diseases [14]. It is reported that salt, curcumin, spicy food, chocolate, and red wine might alter immune hyperactivity. Consumption of fatty

  • Liver & Lymphatic Toxification of Medications and Toxins

Toxins such as heavy metals and drugs/ medicine have an association with autoimmune diseases.

Additionally, it’s not only about the amount of poisons absorbs, but the body’s ability to expel them. For autoimmune sufferers, this ability has been compromised. Intravenous glutathione, for example, is clinically proven to detoxify a sluggish liver.

Drugs like procainamide and hydralazine may stimulate autoantibodies and lupus-like disorders in patients. Likewise, Penicillamine has been associated with myasthenia gravis, and a-methyldopa is known to cause a form of hemolytic anemia, and drugs only showed temporary autoimmune effects. Experimentally, it is proven that in a mouse model, heavy metals like mercury, silver, or gold can induce an autoantibody response to cell nuclear antigens providing strong evidence of the effect of heavy metals [8].

  • Inflammation

Today researchers have found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body’s inability to regulate the inflammatory response. This prompts a vicious cycle, as chronic inflammation also causes significant stress.

 

Pathogenic infection may be due to viruses, bacteria, and parasites and can cause direct damage to organs and tissues and stimulates an extreme immune response. Some example exist which support that these infecting elements may trigger autoimmunity and increases the chance to develop autoimmune disease. An example is the   Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) associated with  Escherichia coli and Novospingonium aromaticavorans. It is proposed that these pathogens may mimic the significant group of mitochondrial autoantigens (2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complexes) and responsible for PBC development [17].

  • Environmental factors 

Several environmental factors may contribute to autoimmune diseases, but only a few factors have been accepted in the presence of evidence to facilitate persistent inflammation and cause diseases. These include hormones, diet, drugs, toxins, and infections and are essential in determining whether an individual may develop autoimmune disease. Environmental agents can amplify autoimmunity in genetically susceptible individuals and break tolerance in genetically resistant individuals, thereby increasing the risk of developing the autoimmune disease [12].

  • Hormones

It is a well-established fact that hormones can amplify or inhibit the immune response. These hormones are obtained from external sources or produced by the body, especially the sex hormones (natural and synthetic) directly interact with the immune system and initiate an immune response.

Steroid hormones (estrogens and androgens) are mainly well known to influence antibody production and immune cell proliferation. Thus, autoimmune diseases are sex-biased, where females are more prone to autoimmune responses than men, while men often develop more severe inflammation. Many animal model studies have supported these effects and biases [13].

  • Microbiome 

Various researchers and their roles have also explored the relationship between the microbiome and autoimmune diseases. The role of the

  • Check for hidden infections. These include yeast, viruses, bacteria, and Lyme. You will want to work with a Functional Medicine practitioner to identify and eliminate these infections.
  • Check for hidden food allergies. Again, your Functional Medicine practitioner can do this with IgG food testing. Alternately, you can try The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, which is designed to eliminate most food allergens.
  • Test for Celiac Disease. This is a blood test any doctor can do.
  • Test for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
  • Fix your gut. About 60 percent of your immune system lies right under the single-cell-layer lining of your gut. If this surface breaks down, your immune system will get activated and start reacting to foods, toxins, and bugs in your gut. The easiest way to begin healing your gut involves eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet and removing gluten and other food sensitivities.
  • Implement supplements. Nutrients like fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics can help calm your immune response naturally. Also consider anti-inflammatory nutrients like quercetin, grape seed extract, and rutin.

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is a natural anti-inflammatory. You don’t have to go to the gym, run on a treadmill, and pump iron to stay in shape. Just start moving around more. Go for walks with your friends or family. Go out and do some gardening. Play Frisbee in the park with your kids. Pick

Autoimmune disorders are also known as conditions in which the immune system is incompetent to differentiate between healthy tissue and potentially harmful antigens. The molecular mimicry of foreign antigens to self-antigens results in a response where the immune system attacks the self-molecules, cells, and tissues

 

 

 

diseases are the successful development of murine model mouse to illustrate autoimmunity in 1959, followed by the demonstration of thyroid autoantibodies describing the prototypic autoimmune disease thyroiditis [4]. The publication of “Autoimmune Diseases” in 1963 has dramatically changed the previous knowledge of the scientific world. The scientific community’s acceptance regarding autoimmunity has been observed in the New York Academy of Sciences sponsored a widely attainted international meeting in 1965. The Macfarlane Burnett Nobel Prize-winning hypothesis of the ‘forbidden clone’ is a pioneering effort that provided a breakthrough to understand autoimmunity better.

 

 

these cells’ ability to produce autoantibodies may be observed in healthy individuals without any pathological conditions. Thus, this autoimmunity is considered Physiological autoimmunity.   It is primarily transient and without evidence of clinical disease. However, if these autoimmunity factors are observed with a disorder or disturbance to hemostasis, it is pathological autoimmunity.

  • direct evidence from the transfer of pathogenic antibody or pathogenic T cells
  •  indirect evidence based on a reproduction of the autoimmune disease in experimental animals
  • circumstantial evidence from clinical clues[6].

 

Figure 1: Representing examples of human autoimmune diseases

acids and coffee seems to have ambivalent effects on autoimmunity [15]. The best examples that may elucidate diet as a cause of the autoimmune disease are iodine and gluten. The use of iodized salt has been reported to increase autoimmune thyroid disease prevalence in the United States and Western European populations [8].  Celiac disease resulting from gluten sensitivity also has the hallmarks of an autoimmune disease. Genetically susceptible individuals develop hypersensitivity to wheat gluten and similar barley, rye, and oats resulting in harmful autoimmune responses [16].

  • Gastrointestinal Tract Infections

Pathogenic infection may be due to viruses, bacteria, and parasites and can cause direct damage to organs and tissues, and stimulates an extreme immune response. Some example exits which support that these infecting elements may trigger autoimmunity and increases the chance to develop autoimmune disease. An example is the  Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)  associated with  Escherichia coli and Novospingonium aromaticavorans. It is proposed that these pathogens may mimic the significant group of mitochondrial autoantigens (2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complexes) and responsible for PBC development [17].

In the vulnerable people, exposure to certain infections leads to certain immune responses. There are many types of infections that have been linked to many autoimmune diseases [18]. For example, research has shown that acute arthritis could occur when antibodies are initiated by Lyme disease infection. With time, the disease progresses to chronic arthritis. Another disease that has been associated with certain infections is type 1 diabetes [19]. These infections include mumps and rubella. There are about 24 viruses that are associated to multiple sclerosis. However, it is not guaranteed that one will develop an autoimmune disease since they have any of these infections. It only means that the person is at a higher risk, when other factors like family history come into play.

  • Genetics

Autoimmune disease susceptibility is highly dependent on genetic risk factors. These disease-prone genes are responsible for most autoimmune disorders, and some genes may contribute to multiple autoinflammatory pathological disorders [10]. These findings are supported by statistics and clinical reports of patients who often have a family history of autoimmune diseases. For instance, a patient with autoimmune thyroid diseases mostly has a family history of diseases like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

 

Most of these genes cluster in families and have common mechanisms that increase autoimmunity in individuals. Hence, diseases prone genes that may regulate inflammation, for example, could increase the vulnerability of developing an autoimmune disease. The best example to illustrate is the Human lymphocyte antigen (HLA haplotype), one of the best predictors of developing an autoimmune disease. The chances are high in developing similar autoantibodies related to sharing HLA haplotypes with family members and even higher if two haplotypes are shared. This has proven in mice models that HLA haplotype increased the autoimmunity reactivity. Autoimmunity is undeniable, but this risk factor only accounts for only 30% of developing an autoimmune disease. The primary 70 % are resulted due to environmental and non-hereditary [8].

 

  • Epigenetic

Epigenetic events play may also play a vital part in the pathophysiology of autoimmune conditions. The primary evidence supporting this idea is the existence of CpG DNA methylation, followed by histone modifications and non-coding RNAs. As epigenetics’ complexity is enormous and understanding of these mechanisms is still naive, the contribution of these phenomena in autoimmunity disorders is irrefutable. Some epigenetic modifications underlying causes and their involvement in the pathophysiology have been believed. However, most are considered to be the result of ongoing inflammation and a secondary event in systemic autoimmune/inflammatory disease [11].

microbiome is vital in establishing immunity. Alteration to the microbiome may have a profound effect on the immune response. The intestinal flora alteration has shown an effect on systemic lupus erythematosus. The changes to the gut commensal and periodontal disease have been suggested to be essential factors in rheumatoid arthritis’s pathogenesis [17].

  • Sunlight exposure and Vitamin D:

Generally, deficiency of Vitamin D is profound in the human population, which has led to many diseases, including autoimmune diseases. it is well known as an immune-modulating agent.  The sun exposure and deficiency of vitamin D are directly related, and these both factors contribute to a higher prevalence of autoimmune disorders.  These factors are linked to various autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis [17].

 

Prevention of Autoimmune

  • Eat a whole-food, anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries (these are rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts. Add anti-inflammatory herbs, including turmeric (a source of curcumin), ginger, and rosemary, to your diet daily. Eliminate inflammatory foods such as refined, omega-6, and inflammatory oils, including corn, soy, and safflower oils.
  • up a tennis racket and just knock a tennis ball around. Anything you can do to get out and move your body can be considered exercise. Don’t think that you absolutely have to go to the gym to get fit. Just use your body more.
  • Practice deep relaxation. Stress worsens your immune response. Calming techniques including yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or even a massage.
  • Sleep for 8 hours every night. The research is clear: Lack of sleep or poor sleep damages your metabolism, causes cravings for sugar and carbs, makes you eat more, and drives up your risk of numerous conditions from diabesity to autoimmune disease. Getting enough sleep and sleeping well are essential for vibrant health and reversing inflammation.

Conclusion

A great advancement and development have been observed throughout history in understanding the autoimmunity diseases of humans. Efforts have been made to develop standards and benchmarks in exploring autoimmune diseases. The rigorous work many researchers have provided much helpful insight into the root cause of these auto-inflammatory conditions. Current theories suggest that developing an autoimmune disease requires a genetic predisposition and environmental factors that trigger the immune pathways that lead, ultimately, to tissue destruction. Still, extensive research is needed to explore autoimmune diseases’ main factors with much more substantial evidence and proper explanations.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. People that are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have the membranes around their joints inflamed. These release enzymes that cause the surrounding cartilage and bone to wear away. In more severe situations, other tissues and body organs can result affected [1]. Different features of this disease make it different from other forms of arthritis, such as generally occurring in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one knee or hand is having this disease, the other one also is. This arthritis usually affects the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand, but it can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints [2]. Persistent inflammation leads to erosive joint damage and functional impairment in the majority of the patients. The course of this disease may be different according to the presence or absence of several variables which include autoantibody in the serum, genetic background, the severity of inflammatory process and frequency of swollen joints [3].

Although this disease starts in middle age and occurs with increased frequency in older people, children and young adults also develop it. Like some other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis occurs much more frequently in women than men [2]. The initial features of this disease do not differ substantially from other inflammatory arthritis. For this reason, before a definite diagnosis, patients with early rheumatoid arthritis are often classified as undifferentiated arthritis [3].

 

Rheumatoid arthritis differs from other types of arthritis in several ways. Among these differences are [4]:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis usually forms in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one hand is involved or affected, so is the other.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis often has an effect on the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hands.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other areas of the body, such as the heart, lungs, blood, nerves, eyes, and skin
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis may have fatigue, occasional fevers, and loss of appetite

 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include [4]:

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints.
  • Symmetrical pattern of affected joints.
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand.
  • Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Occasional fevers

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people differently. Some people can have moderate forms of this disease. They have periods of severe symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Others may have an acute form of this disease, which is active most of the time, lasts for many years, and can lead to serious joint damage [4]. Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often appear in mid- to late adulthood. Many affected people have episodes of symptoms that are followed by periods with no symptoms (remissions) for the rest of their lives [5].

 

          

Conventional Treatment and Why is not Successful Reversing Rheumatoid Arthritis? 

  • The usual treatment that doctors have used to treat rheumatoid arthritis has included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Studies have shown that early treatment with powerful drugs and drug combination can have better outcomes, like reducing joint damage, instead of taking one medication alone [7].
  • The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis can be a combination of a variety of approaches and is aimed at relieving pain, reducing inflammation, slowing or stopping joint damage, and improving the person’s sense of well-being and ability to function. Medicines used for rheumatoid arthritis include disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD’s) to slow the progress of the disease and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation [8]. Although these drugs can improve symptoms and signs, they don’t alter the structural progression and long-term disability that is related with rheumatoid arthritis [6].
  • Fully understanding what begins and maintains this disease in the body is still a major obstacle with no cure. There are considerable amounts of attention around the possibility of finding an infectious etiology for rheumatoid arthritis. However, many would agree that the chance of finding a single infectious etiology for this disorder has been eliminated [9].

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet: high-antioxidant foods and those that are unprocessed help control rheumatoid arthritis symptoms best. Foods for helping treat arthritis include [14]:

  1. Omega-3s are powerful at lowering inflammation and also have other benefits. Wild-caught fish, including benefit-packed salmon, is the preferred omega-3 fatty acids source. Other sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, which are all great choices.[20]
  2. Food’s high in sulfur: Sulfur contains a form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) that reduces joint inflammation and helps rebuild tissues. MSM has been shown in studies to lower pain and function impairment compared to placebo-controlled groups. Sources include onions, garlic, asparagus and cabbage.
  3. Bone broth: It is one of the best natural sources of collagen, which contains the amino acids proline and glycine that help rebuild connective tissue and have many more benefits. Also, bone broth supplies chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine. These are antioxidants that help lower inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain.
  4. High-antioxidant foods (especially fruits and vegetables): Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, digestive enzymes, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Some of the best sources include leafy green vegetables, cruciferous veggies, berries, melon, papaya, and pineapple.
  5.  High-fiber foods: Fiber helps control your appetite. It is beneficial for digestive health and lowers the risk for various other diseases and complications. The best high-fiber foods include vegetables, fruit, ancient grains, soaked legumes/beans and nuts and seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
  6. Take proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes aid digestion by providing the body with important enzymes that are normally produced by digestive organs to metabolize foods. These enzymes include trypsin and chymotrypsin, papain, and bromelain. One can obtain Proteolytic enzymes from foods like tropical fruits, including papaya, which contains papain, and pineapples, which contain bromelain.
  7.    Eat ginger and turmeric. Ginger has chemicals that may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for the body. Studies show that ginger helps to reduce pain associated with arthritis and may even improve gut health. A 2005 report discussed how ginger inhibits the initiation of several genes involved in the inflammatory response.

 

The most active component in turmeric is curcumin, which is considered one of the best natural anti- inflammatory sources. The anti-arthritic effects of turmeric include inhibition of joint inflammation, reduction in edema, and slowed periarticular joint destruction. A study conducted in India investigated the effects of turmeric supplements compared to the use of conventional drugs. The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement, which was significantly better than the results of patients that used conventional arthritis drugs.

 

  • Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA): Is an omega-6 fatty acid found in the oils from some plants, including evening primrose, borage, and black currant. Oils that contain GLA may have some benefit in relieving rheumatoid arthritis symptoms [10].
  •  Thunder God Vine: Is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. Studies indicate that thunder god vine may improve some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Favorable results have also been seen from studies in China where this herb was used in combination with conventional drugs [10].

 

Besides the previously mentioned practices and food sources that help keep inflammation levels low, it is important to put effort in avoiding these foods as part of a arthritis healing diet: excess sugar; refined conventional grains; hydrogenated oils; and if you have an autoimmune disease, then also nightshade vegetables like potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes [14].

Importance of Early Diagnosis

There is no specific test for diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, there is a new criterion developed to differentiate patients who may progress to rheumatoid arthritis from those who do not. The aim of this new criteria is the earlier identification of high risk early inflammatory arthritis for treatment [12]. The criterion for diagnosis includes having at least one joint with definite swelling that is not explained by any other disease. The likelihood of a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis increases with the number of small joints involved [13].

Identifying rheumatoid arthritis at initial presentation and treatment can affect the disease course and prevent the development of joint erosion or retard progression of erosive disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can affect disease outcomes even to a remission state. It is essential for initiation of treatment, otherwise, disease will progress to more severe forms requiring more aggressive therapy [3].

Background:

  • As of 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 52.5 million adults living in the United States suffer from some sort of arthritis. This comes out to be about 23 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent type of autoimmune arthritis affecting between 1.3 and 1.5 million Americans at any given time.
  • About 75 percent of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients are women, being three times more likely to develop RA compared to men, with estimates showing that between 1 to 3 percent of women will acquire rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime.
  • RA often starts around middle age, between 30–60 years of age, and is most common in older adults (children can also get RA but this rare), with studies showing that women tend to get RA earlier in life than men.
  • Having a family history of Rheumatoid Arthritis increases the odds of an individual developing the disease. However, it has been shown that the majority of people with RA have no prior family history of the disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is a systemic disease, which means it affects the body as a whole. This includes everything like the heart, nerves, and blood vessels.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Unfortunately, many of them are still unknown. In people with rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system triggers abnormal inflammation in the membrane that lines the joints (the synovium). When the synovium becomes inflamed, it causes swelling, stiffness, and pain. In cases that may be very severe, the inflammation will affect the cartilage, bone, and other tissues within the joint. This will result in drastic damage to the body that is, more likely than not, irreversible. Variations in many genes have been studied as risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis. Most of these genes are known or suspected to be involved in immune system function. Other factors that are non-genetic are also believed to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis. These factors may trigger the condition in people that is at risk, although the mechanism is unclear [5]. Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can be triggered by a number of risk factors that include:

  • Poor gut health or “leaky gut syndrome”. Intestines are protected by a single layer of specialized epithelial cells that are linked by tight junction proteins. Symptoms of leaky gut are consequences of intestinal tight-junction malfunction. In pathological conditions, the permeability of the epithelial lining can be compromised, and it becomes a passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria.
  • Poor diet and food allergies. Foods that can promote inflammation include carbohydrates, fried foods, and excess sugar.
  • Genetic factors. Certain genes can affect the immune system. This can make some people at higher risk of getting autoimmune disorders.
  • Toxicity. This is related to environmental toxin exposure and endocrine disruptors.
  • Low immune function due to other medical conditions.
  • Smoking.

 

Natural Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Among the different natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis are [10]:

  • Massage: Studies have shown that moderate pressure massage therapy can reduce pain and increase grip strength in people who have rheumatoid arthritis that affects their arms and shoulders.

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Four studies that looked at the effects of meditation interventions in people with rheumatoid arthritis found evidence of improvement in subjective symptoms such as pain, and the capacity to cope with the illness. Meditation is a mind and body practice that encourages the practitioner to be mindful of thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging them [11].

 

  • Yoga: This activity definitely consists of various elements of exercise that may be beneficial for individuals with arthritis, including movements and practices that may help improve strength and flexibility.

Proteolytic enzymes have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects because they help improve the overall gut health and immunity. Some research shows they can decrease pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis, increase mobility in people with osteoarthritis, and fight infections by controlling inflammatory responses.

Sources

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  3. S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Home – PMC – NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
  4. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, May 5). Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rheumatoid-arthritis
  5. Jennifer Freeman, M. D. (n.d.). Ra facts: What are the latest statistics on rheumatoid arthritis?org. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/facts-and-statistics/
  6. WWW-JSTOR-org.libaccess.hccs.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www-jstor-org.libaccess.hccs.edu/stable/pdf/resrep16390.pdf?ab_segments=0%252Fbasic_SYC-5152%252Fcontrol&refreqid=excelsior%3A6c13368743b7634efb9dc00d6803b222
  7. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, May 5). Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rheumatoid-arthritis
  8. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Rheumatoid arthritis: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/rheumatoid-arthritis-in-depth
  9. El-Gabalawy, H. D., & Lipsky, P. E. (2002, May 9). Why do we not have a cure for rheumatoid arthritis? – arthritis research & therapy. BioMed Central. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/ar568
  10. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Rheumatoid arthritis: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm
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  12. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, May 5). Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rheumatoid-arthritis
  13. AM;, W. (n.d.). Diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis. American family physician. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22150658/
  14. Axe, D. J. (2021, June 8). Effective all-natural treatments for arthritis. Dr. Axe. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://draxe.com/health/effective-all-natural-treatments-for-arthritis/
  15. Levine, B., Levine, B., Landau, M. D., Patino, E., Alkon, C., & By. (n.d.). Rheumatoid arthritis news you can use, 2021. EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/research-news-you-can-use-from-acr/
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 29). Health effects of cigarette smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm
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Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that distorts the way that an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. This disorder can show up between the ages of 16 and 30. Although it may be a rare disorder in children, they can suffer from schizophrenia as well [1]. This mental disorder has the ability to affect both men and women. Schizophrenia is a lifelong illness that cannot be cured but it can be controlled with proper treatment.  Many people believe it is associated with a split or multiple personality, but a connection has yet to be been found. Schizophrenia affects people on many different levels – psychologically, biologically, and socially [2].

Many people won’t accept that they suffer from schizophrenia or fail to acknowledge that they have it. Many of these individuals don’t reach out and get help for their disorder. Most of the time it’s family members that help them by either getting hospitalized or by letting them move in with them. Many people have a belief that if you suffer from Schizophrenia, you are automatically violent, which is definitely false. If in fact they are violent, they most likely suffer from a separate mental illness, or they are misusing the use of controlled substances.

  1. Types of Schizophrenia 

There are three types of categories for Schizophrenia; positive, negative and cognitive.

“Positive” Schizophrenia Symptoms: 

These types of symptoms are not seen as “normal” or “typical” in how an individual should behave. Therefore, it makes it clear that they are out of touch with reality. These are some of the symptoms that one can strike out right away.

  • Hallucinations – Makes them hear, smell, see and taste things that are not real but imaginary. People who seem to hear voices may hear them for a long period of time before family members or friends notice a problem [1].
  • Delusions – These include paranoia to where they believe that someone is trying to hurt them. They also believe that any individual around them is talking about them and or that messages are addressed to them through radio, television, or other sources of media.
  • Thought Disorders – Creates voices in their head causing them to talk to themselves. No one can tell or is able to predict if they will be positive or negative voices. With this disorder, they have a difficult time distinguishing reality vs fantasy.
  • Movement Disorders – When the person shows or portrays abnormal body movements. This individual may repeat certain motions over and over again, which is identified as stereotypies. In other extremes, the person may stop moving or talking for a while, which is a rare condition identified as catatonia [1].

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“Negative” Symptoms: 

Affects an individual’s abilities more than any other form which include everyday normal activities for an individual. Examples include the ability to hold a job, maintaining a conversation with someone, or simply wanting to travel to a public place by themselves may be an obstacle. Many of the symptoms for this type are difficult to recognize as part of Schizophrenia because they can be misdiagnosed as depression.  These symptoms are subject to [2]:

  • Trouble experiencing happiness
  • Trouble planning and sticking to an activity
  • Talking in a dull voice
  • Talking very little to other people, even when it is important
  • Showing no facial expression

“Cognitive” Symptoms: 

Difficulty concentrating and remembering can lead to emotional distress with these individuals. These symptoms include:

  • Disorganized thinking
  • Difficulty understanding
  • Trouble focusing
  • Slow thinking

 

Subtypes of Schizophrenia 

The subtypes may change as the individual’s illness develops over time. The different subtypes are [6]:

  • Catatonic Schizophrenia– Affects motor behaviors, which will impact the ability of a patient to speak and move. This subtype has become a rare one all thanks to the development of treatments.
  • Paranoid Schizophrenia– Creates negative thoughts that someone is after them and wants to cause them harm. It makes these individuals delusional and causes them to hallucinate. This symptom is one of the most common signs of Schizophrenia.
  • Residual Schizophrenia– If the individual is showing no sign of hallucination, delusions, paranoia or any other type of behavior they may have this subtype. They may only have suffered from one episode in the past, but they no longer suffer from any of the usual Schizophrenic episodes.
  • Schizoaffective Disorder– This subtype comes with two different types of symptoms. Bipolar symptom and the depressive type symptom. Both have the ability of leading to direct mania and depression.
  • Disorganized Schizophrenia– This subtype may be considered the “worst” of all due it reducing the chance of the individual being able to perform daily activities. It causes them to be incoherent and makes them lack sense and without proper communication, this may make the individual become aggravated with one’s self.

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  1. Major and Root Causes of Schizophrenia 

There isn’t a known cause as to why someone may develop Schizophrenia but there are multiple possible factors that have been discovered over the years which include [2]

  • Environmental: Such as exposure to marijuana, malnutrition at birth, problems during birth or being extremely stressed is known to trigger Schizophrenia.
  • Genetics: It is believed that several different genes may be the cause of the disorder but one gene itself cannot cause it.
  • Brain Chemistry: It is thought by scientists that chemical reactions of the brain involving the neurotransmitters, dopamine, glutamate and possibly some others may play a role in Schizophrenia. [1]
  • Substance abuse: The active ingredient in marijuana called THC increases the risk of developing the disorder. Other drugs also included are LSD, cocaine and amphetamines.
  1. Treatment for Schizophrenia

Although Schizophrenia cannot be cured, there are several medications that can help patients with the psychotic symptoms but they will only help in slowing the symptoms down and will not help in healing the patient. The two main types of treatment that are available are antipsychotic medications and psychosocial treatments.

There are several medications that the patient may take, unfortunately they come with severe side effects which may discourage the patient from wanting to take the medication. There are second-generation antipsychotics and first-generation antipsychotics. The second-generation psychotics are preferred to this day because they contain fewer side effects than the first-generation. The first-generation medications may cause neurological side effects and the possibility of developing a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia [4]. The reason for someone choosing the first-generation medications rather than the second would be because these tend to cost cheaper, primarily the generic version. Some examples of medications can be found below

Second-Generation medications (Preferred): 

  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Asenapine (Saphris)
  • Brexpiprazole (Rexulti)
  • Clozapine (Clozaril)

First-Generation medications:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Perphenazine

During psychotherapy sessions, the patient is taught to recognize false beliefs (delusions) and false visions (voices) or voices (hallucinations) as symptoms of the disease [3]. This type of therapy may be done in groups or individually and may last for a span of a couple of months.

  1. Why Conventional Treatment is not working

Although Schizophrenia is treatable and can be managed, it cannot be cured completely. There are several choices of medications a patient may take to control their symptoms but even then, the patient more likely than not will relapse. They can relapse for several reasons. They either stop taking the medications completely, don’t take the medication regularly or they start abusing drugs, alcohol while taking the medication, or can’t afford treatment anymore. Many people don’t realize they are relapsing until it is too late for them and end up having to get hospitalized. Another alternative is to try natural forms of treatment. Some of which we all participate in everyday without us realizing we do.

  • Natural Treatment 

If the individual refuses to take medication or declines the assistance of therapy, there are also natural remedies that can assist them in helping tackle the disorder. All of which can be done with ease and at no cost. The different options one may have include [5]:

  • Consuming a plant-based diet/ Healthy high fat
  • Taking B Vitamins: Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, and B6
  • Consuming a Gluten- Free diet (Inflammation free): Getting rid of gluten and processed foods in order to be of assistance to anyone, not only for people who suffer from a disorder.
  • Practicing Yoga to boosts emotional health and improve self-confidence.
  • Consuming omega 3 Fatty Acids with High EPA (Fish oil):  Fish oil is highly beneficial to Schizophrenics because they tend to have low levels of these essential fats. The omega 3 capsules have several benefits including regulating mood disorders, helping lift depression, and controlling inflammation in the body.

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Anything that can help keep the patient away from triggering stress can be a form of natural treatment. Even meditating for a couple of minutes a day can help patients from setting off schizophrenic episodes.  There are also several options of therapy offered for anyone suffering that is looking for natural forms of treatment. The different types of therapy are:

  • Music Therapy: Helps patients in improving their mental state as well as their quality of life.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: During this form of therapy they practice changing their pattern of thinking and work on their behavior.
  • Animal Assisted Therapy: This works by improving their social, emotional, and cognitive behavior by comforting animals.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR): This form of therapy is very well known to help relive their psychological stress. This could include trauma and post- traumatic stress known as PTSD.
  • Morita Therapy: This form of therapy helps individuals accept their life “as is” before they begin thinking of making any additional major changes in their life.

 

 

Sources

Burgess, L. (2020, June 15). Benefits of fish oil for arthritis. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319784

CureJoy Editorial. (2018, March 1). Natural Remedies To Help Tackle Schizophrenia. CureJoy. https://curejoy.com/content/natural-treatment-for-schizophrenia/

Frequently Asked Questions about Schizophrenia. (2019, August 23). Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. https://www.bbrfoundation.org/faq/frequently-asked-questions-about-schizophrenia

Konkel, L., & Young, A., MD. (2019, October 18). Schizophrenia Treatment. EverydayHealth.Com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/schizophrenia/guide/treatment/

Schizophrenia. (2020). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia? | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2015). National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizophrenia

Wikipedia contributors. (2022, January 22). Schizophrenia. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoid_schizophrenia

 Prostatitis

        The Root Causes and Nutrio-Scientific Healing

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a small walnut shaped gland under the bladder that is part of a man’s reproductive system. The primary function of the prostate is to create semen.

What Is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is the inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. Prostatitis causes men to have difficulty urinating and causes pain all over the groin area. Other symptoms include:

                                 For Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome

      • Pain in the urethra during or after urination.
      • Urgent need to urinate
      • Cloudy urine
      • Bloody urine
      • Pain in the penis during or after urination
      • Pain in ejaculation

 

For Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis

      • Burning sensation in the penis during or after urination
      • Urinary blockage
      • Flu like symptoms
      • Burning sensation during or after urination
      • Urinary retention

Men in the age range of fifty years and younger are generally the ones affected by this however, it could affect any man at any age.

 

Causes Of Prostatitis

There are two kinds of prostatitis; the first one is Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome and Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis. In Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, the cause of it is still not known yet researchers believe that it could be due to some trauma or nerve damage around the groin area. In Acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis is due to a common strain of bacteria around where the bacteria travel from the urethra to the prostate.

 

The Toxic Human Body (The major and cause)

More than 200,000 people are diagnosed each year with prostatitis in the U.S. Most of the cases of prostatitis could have been prevented with a healthier diet, a sanitary environment and other health factors that some humans seem to forget. Americans are among one of the most inactive people in the world due to the lifestyle that has culturally impacted the American people.

Bad eating habits can bring the following complications if the habit is not corrected.

      • Being overweight or obese
      • Tooth decay
      • High blood pressure
      • High cholesterol
      • Heart disease and stroke
      • Type-2 diabetes
      • Osteoporosis
      • Cancer
      • Depression
      • Eating disorders
      • Prostatitis

Conventional treatments

In conventional treatments of prostatitis, the use of antibiotics, alpha blockers, and anti-inflammatory agents are given to the patient. Antibiotics are given either orally or topically depending on what kind of bacteria it is. In extreme cases, antibiotics would be given through IV if the bacteria are not being affected. Alpha blockers help the bladder relax, easing any pain in the groin area. This could also ease the burning and painful sensation during or after urination. Anti-inflammatory agents and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might make you more comfortable.

 

Are Conventional treatments effective?

The conventional treatment seems to only suppress the pain for the patient with prostatitis. Giving antibiotics is the easy way to solve this situation but with a price, each year more and more bacteria and other forms of life are becoming more resistant to antibiotics and other forms of medicine. They are evolving at a fast pace and becoming more resistant to treatments. They are effective in the short run but with a price.

 

Prevention of prostatitis

Bad eating habits and lack of exercise/ physical activity can cause a higher chance of developing prostatitis later in life. Some ways of preventing prostatitis are to

      • Practicing good hygiene
      • Drink lots of water, to prevent dehydration
      • Practice exercising
      • Safe sexual intercourse
      • Avoid exposure to BPA, a toxin which has been linked to an increased risk of prostatitis
      • Drink cranberry juice
      • Avoid any kind of trauma in the groin area
      • Manage stress correctly

 

Natural and Nutritional therapies of prostatitis

      • Acupuncture needles for prostatitis treatment is a recommended type of alternative treatment for chronic prostatitis. This ancient Chinese medicine practice is used as a traditional and natural way to overcome the pain and somehow treat prostatitis as well. Another treatment is cupping acupuncture, similar to the needle acupuncture the only difference is the location where the cupping will be placed, and the full range compared to the needles. Most people going through prostatitis choose the acupuncture needle treatment.
      • Eating healthy, considering the old saying, “you are what you eat”. Eating healthy is the first step in prevention and recovery. Meal prepping plays a role in healthy and organized individuals where every day bad foods like junk food are tolerable.
      • Boosting prostate health is crucial in order to prevent the formation of common conditions like prostatitis. An easy way to boost prostate health is by eating tomatoes, broccoli, eating legumes, drinking green tea and pomegranate juice
        • Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene which decreases cell damage and slows cancer cell production. Lycopene helps by preventing prostate cancer and reducing tumor growth. Tomatoes can be consumed both raw and cooked.
        • Broccoli is also an all-around healthy vegetable that contains a high number of phytochemicals which selectively target and kill cancer cells and allow a fast and healthy recovery from a prostate infection.
        • Green teas have four chemicals (catechin, xanthine derivatives, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin) that may prevent development of prostate conditions and decrease the risk of prostate cancer in men who drink more than five cups of green tea a day.

In conclusion, individuals who live a healthier lifestyle by maintaining daily physical activity as well as by consuming a proper, nutritious diet will live a healthier and disease-free life in comparison with those who don’t live a healthy lifestyle. One should always maintain a healthy life. Not just for prostate health but for overall health and well-being.

Sources

(COVID-19), C., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., & Conditions, S. et al. (2022). Prostate Cancer and Urinary Incontinence. Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/mens-guide/urinary-incontinence

Chen, R., & Nickel, J. (2022). Acupuncture ameliorates symptoms in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Retrieved 23 January 2022, from

Healing Homeopathy. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://healinghomeo.blogspot.com/

How to Reduce Prostate Inflammation – 7 steps. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://health.onehowto.com/article/how-to-reduce-prostate-inflammation-2248.html

Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment – Urology Care Foundation. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer

Prostate Health: 6 Foods to Eat. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/prostate-cancer/foods-for-prostate-health

Prostate, P., & Health, N. (2022). Prostatitis: Inflammation of the Prostate | NIDDK. Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostatitis-inflammation-prostate

Prostatitis: What It Is, How to Cure It. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0515/p3025.html

Samadi, D. (2022). Preventing & Understanding Prostatitis | ProstateCancer911. Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://prostatecancer911.com/preventing-understanding-prostatitis/

Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. (2022). Retrieved 23 January 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355766?p=1