New Age Cause of Autoimmune Disorders
- September 1, 2023
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), autoimmune disorders in the United States are on the rise. In 1991, 11% of the population had antinuclear antibodies (ANA), the most common biomarker of autoimmunity. By 2012, it had increased to 15.9%, and continued to steadily rise over the last decade. Every day, millions of Americans suffer due to some form of immune dysregulation.
The steady increase of autoimmune disorders has sparked avid interest in potential new-age causes of immune dysregulation. With about 2,000 new chemicals introduced commercially into the United States every year, managing exposure to dangerous toxins is proving increasingly difficult. However, with the available research, you can help patients develop a plan for limiting exposure to potential causes of autoimmune disorders.
The Toxicity Theory of Autoimmunity
Autoimmunity remains a highly-studied topic, but the medical community has yet to reach a comprehensive and widely-accepted model for the cause of autoimmune diseases. While many autoimmune diseases seem to be influenced by genetics, the onset of autoimmune diseases remains often inexplicable. However, recent information has hinted that environmental toxins may significantly contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases.
The Total Load
Today, environmental toxins are common and widespread. In total, between medications, food, and household items, a single patient is almost certainly exposed to a toxin at least once a day. Combined with other factors, including stress and allergies, these toxins can weaken the immune system, which may also contribute to the development of autoimmunity.
The following factors have been linked to the development of autoimmune conditions; they may have caused this independently, or, possibly, alongside additional stressors and genetic factors.
Pharmaceuticals are one of the most well-known modern causes of autoimmune disorders. While several autoimmune conditions have been linked to medications, the most well-known is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which has been connected to several drugs. One comprehensive review found that 10-15% of lupus cases are drug-related. Procainamide and hydralazine have been closely linked with the development of lupus, though they’re not the only medications that have been associated with lupus. Other drugs, including quinidine, have a moderate risk of lupus occurrence, and there have been reports of patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor medications who developed lupus as a result.
To prevent drug-related autoimmune conditions, it’s important to carefully research medications before prescribing or recommending them to a patient. Additionally, consider examining a history of medications for patients who have suddenly developed symptoms of immune dysregulation.
Certain toxic metals, including mercury and lead, have been associated with the development of autoimmune conditions. Toxic metals have been shown to have a significant effect on the immune system; they’re even able to inhibit immune cell proliferation and activation. By negatively altering immune responses, toxic metals may contribute to autoimmunity or trigger an underlying genetic predisposition to autoimmune diseases. This correlation has been found with several toxic metals. One study focused on the consumption of fish, a food rich in mercury. The study found that consuming fish more than once a week during pregnancy as well as during a child’s first year of life was associated with an increased risk of juvenile idiopathic arthritis later in the child’s life.
Unfortunately, toxic metals are a common pollutant. Toxic metals can be found in the air, food, and many water sources. However, managing toxic metal exposure is not impossible. As you develop a plan for your patients to limit exposure to toxic metals, regular testing is crucial. With professional testing like Access Medical Labs’ toxic metal panel, you can ensure that your patients are protected from toxic-metal related autoimmune conditions.
Over the past several decades, synthetic pesticides have been on the rise. These chemical additives are incredibly prevalent; about 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States every year. Pesticides are well-known for negatively affecting the nervous system, but research shows that they can have a similarly damaging effect on immune responses. A clear connection has been found between agricultural workers who use pesticide and autoimmune diseases. One study found a significant association between insecticides and rheumatoid arthritis and lupus in agricultural workers. Exposure to pesticides has been linked to inflammation that contributes to chronic immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Limiting pesticide exposure requires a careful examination of both diet and household cleaning products. Encourage patients to choose organic or locally-grown foods, which are less likely to have exposure to commercial pesticides and insecticides. As you target and eliminate sources of pesticides, be sure to track the efficacy of your treatment. The WellnessHealth screens from Access Medical Labs include the most vital biomarkers for detoxification. With test results within 24 to 48 hours, this panel is ideal for regular testing during treatment and prevention.
Prevent Autoimmunity with Professional Testing from Access Medical Labs
Preventing autoimmune diseases requires consistent, updated patient care. To provide the best preventative care, you need reliable, personal data about your patient. Access Medical Labs offers comprehensive testing to help you keep your patients healthy. From our toxic metal testing to our wellness screens, our panels provide quick and trustworthy results. Explore more from Access.
More About Dr. Ghen
Mitchell Ghen, DO, Ph.D. has 33 years of experience in Anti-Aging and holistic and integrative medicine. Along with his work in nutritional medicine, “Dr. Mitch” has a remarkable amount of experience as an expert clinician and researcher in the field of stem cell transplantation.
In addition to being a physician, Dr. Mitch holds a Master’s Degree in Biomechanical Trauma and has a Ph.D. in nutrition and psychoneuroimmunology. He is an international lecturer on oral and IV nutrition and stem cell transplantation and is recognized as one of the premier teachers at conferences and seminars on integrative medicine. His private practice is in Boca Raton, Florida.
Dr. Mitch’s vast academic knowledge, coupled with his entertaining delivery, makes him one of the most sought after personalities in his field. Currently, he is a medical director for several Natural Medicine companies and a consultant for physicians worldwide, teaching them how to implement integrative medicine into their practices.
He is the co-author of four textbooks including the “Advance Guide to Longevity Medicine,” “The Ghen and Raine’s Guide to Compounding Pharmaceuticals,” “The Anti-Aging Physicians’ Handbook for Compounding Pharmaceuticals,” and “The Essentials and Science of IV Parenteral Medicine.”