For the vast majority of us, the nutrients that we receive from our diet are far from what we really need for optimal health.
And most of us are not doing anything about it. This statement serves as possibly the most important thing you will read in this blog. Every time we eat processed foods, drink more than 1 glass of alcohol a day (which may actually be too much for some people), forget about our 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, eat processed grains lacking hefty fiber, and consume an imbalance of Omegas 3, 6, and 9 and oils that are often already rancid (or made rancid by improper processing, storage and use) we're hurting our body.
When we eat at (most) restaurants or eat non organic foods, we know they are full of toxic pesticides, and likely GMO sourced foods. And every time we eat meat from sources given hormones and fed unhealthy diets, we are just pretending that our body will be fine and our liver is strong enough to detoxify the toxins and chemicals we're eating. But it’s not true. Our body suffers every single time we do this. And eventually our body is going to rebel. The reason this is so important when it comes to arthritis is that what we eat is crucial to the function of every single cell in our body, every single second of every day.
That's a lot of cells and a lot of time! It helps to visualize what is happening in the body when we feed it foods that are not in their finest state. There are at least two main dysfunctions that occur in the body when we don't have optimal nutrition for the trillions of cells and enzymatic reactions that are occurring every moment of the day. Two dysfunctions at the core of every illness, including Arthritis. ALL forms of Arthritis are: Chronic Inflammation and Immune System Dysfunction. Since our health begins with the foods we eat, this is where to start. But we also must realize that even if we were toxic free, it's next to impossible to consume all of the foods we need to obtain optimal nutrition!
In addition to this challenge, Nutritional Deficiencies are only one trigger of Chronic Inflammation and Immune System Dysfunction. Additional complicating factors include Genetic Susceptibility, Gut Health (abnormal bowel impermeability often referred to as “Leaky Gut”), Food Allergies, (which can be at the basis of Leaky Gut), Hormonal Imbalances, and Infections. Any or all of these situations can be occurring at the same time. It's our job to give our body the best opportunity to fight against these invaders, and it starts with what we eat and how we can supplement our diet with proper safe and balanced nutrients.
Osteoarthritis and Menopause Arthritis are improved with the exact same nutrient supplementation. The main difference between the two is that Menopause Arthritis occurs at the onset of hormone imbalance, particularly Estrogen decline, and is a sign that it's time to be aware of, and be more aggressive toward, hormone balance.
When we are talking about Autoimmune disease, it’s also important to appreciate that women suffer far more frequently than men because we have a much stronger and robust immune system than men have.
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if you think about it. We need stronger immune systems to fulfill our reproductive and nurturing duties, which is the foundation of our existence. First, we allow our partner’s DNA to enter our body through our vaginal canal in the form of sperm.
Then we carry little humans, who have completely different DNA than our own, inside our body for nine months. Finally, we must be able to fight off infections to breast feed these little humans and help them grow into a new generation who will move forward with the same important tasks of mankind.
Just as Osteoarthritis has a genetic component and is triggered by some form of "invader" that the body doesn't identify or agree with, Autoimmune forms of arthritis are also activated by an unwanted or unrecognized invader. But this time, in Autoimmune Arthritis, a full chain of reactions occurs within the immune system and a cascade of immune cells start attacking its own tissues and joints. In other words, the immune system believes it must attack itself, because it thinks that the body's own tissues and joints are the same invader that started the activation in the first place.
So this time, the inflammation is amplified by the body's attack on itself! The triggers of Autoimmune Disease are felt to be the same types of triggers that set off all forms of disease, and lie at the root of Inflammation and Immune System Dysfunction.
The real challenge lies in discovering what exactly that trigger is. And due to to the complexity of this challenge, Functional Medicine works to "overhaul" the entire system through a comprehensive plan that includes a Clean Diet, Nutrient Supplementation, Hormone Balance, Gut Health, Elimination of Food Allergies and Detoxification of potentially elevated levels of Heavy Metals and Stored Toxins as well as a search and solutions for any Hidden Infections.
Balanced Nutrition. Balanced Bioidenticals. Balanced Gut.
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