“The exact cause of autoimmune disorders is unknown” is said in MedlinePlus, as well as in any site dedicated to conventional medicine that addresses this subject.
In conventional medicine several hypothesis are offered to explain the auto-immune process.
The first one, the most accepted one, is the cross reaction. It consists that when certain microorganisms are attacked or harmful substances are to be removed, then the self cells of the organism are also damaged, because of the similarity between both of them (the harmful agent and self cells).
The second hypothesis is that for some reason, such as a virus or a toxic compound, the cells have been modified, and therefore, they are not recognized as self.
The third one is that the white cells doesn’t work well, destroying healthy cells.
The fourth one is that a substance coming from another part of the body comes to another part, and because it is not found in the proper place, the immune system attacks it. For example, when there is a damage in the eye and the eye fluid gets to the blood.
We are going to analize with a little more detail each hypothesis in order to know if in any of them the immune system is not working well.
First hypothesis: it is absurd to think that it is possible in the nature to exist a confusion of this kind between harmful external substances and the self cells. If evolution and/or Nature would had allowed this phenomena to happen, neither the humanity nor most of species that exist nowadays in this world would not exist. Even more, if this hypothesis were true, many wild animals would also suffer this condition, and this is not true. (Only domestic animals also suffer the same kind of diseases like humans, because they are submitted to the same kind of inadequate life style).
Second hypothesis: if the cells of the body have been damaged for some reason, it is not an error that the immune system destroy them in order to be replaced by new healthy ones. So the immune system is not mistaken in his labour.
The third hypothesis is not a true hypothesis, it is not a reason. It is said that the immune system malfunction is due to the malfunction of white cells, but no reason is given to explain this. If white cells don’t work it is for some reason!
So we can imagine that the most logical reason is because the white cells have been damaged, for example.
The immune system is very complex, and there are multiple mechanisms to detect that if some process doesn’t work well could be controlled. It’s is like an army where the soldiers shoot against the citizens of his own country. If this happens, immediately the higher officials arrest the soldiers. In the same way, if the white cells doesn’t work well, there is a type of cells in our immune system that controls the white cells, called regulatory T cells, that prevent this kind of errors.
But, what if the high ranks, the regulatory T cells, have become crazy? Yes, it’s true that certain psychological troubles are self-destructive. Addiction, depression and desperation are states of mind that lead to a subconscious suicide. In these cases, the mind is sending signals of self-destruction to our body, and the immune system just obey them.
So even in this case the immune system has a correct functioning, it is just following the instructions that receives.
In the fourth hypothesis, if there is a substance coming from another place of the body that shouldn’t be there, it is the duty of the immune system to clean this substance. So again, the action of the immune system is right.
We can conclude that the auto-immune diseases are not a mistake of the human nature.
Regarding hypersensitivities or allergies, conventional medicine explains that it’s about an exaggerated response of the immune system against inoffensive external agents, such as pollen or certain food. They add that the factors that can influence the development of allergies are mainly genetic, but also stress may worsen the situation, and they mention the hygiene hypothesis. In this hypothesis is argued that the children that live in an aseptic environment have a weakened immune system. Other factors that can have an impact on allergies are suffering certain diseases in childhood and environmental pollution. Nevertheless, conventional medicine doesn’t offer any real explanation to the fact that the immune system have become hypersensitive to natural substances. Simply the consider that the immune system is disrupted.
Functional medicine states the hypothesis that when the intestine is damaged by different reasons, such as chemicals, stress or bacteria, then it becomes leaky and different harmful substances can cross through the small intestinal lining and get into the blood stream. This is called the leaky gut syndrome. Then the immune system reacts against these substances that are not supposed to be found in the blood, such as partially digested food, toxic products and bacteria. This is an underlying inflammation that is the indirect cause of the environmental hypersensitivities, and the direct cause of food allergies and intolerances.
Upon this theory, the immune system is not malfunctioning, because it is necessary that it carries out his task of cleaning the undesirable substances that have crossed the leaky gut. So in this case, the immune system is wrong neither.
The immune system is our defence and our internal cleaning system. It is a perfect army, that always gives an adequate and proportionate response to the problem that it has to face.
The only case where the immune system may have a deficient answer is when the body does not have enough nutrients to work. In this case, we are talking about a completely opposite kind of diseases compared to allergies and auto-immune system; it’s about a lack of reaction, instead of an over-reaction.
There are some theories that show that cancer may be caused by an immune system insufficiency, where damaged cells are not cleaned. This will be the subject of another post.
For the moment, the conclusion is that diseases associated to an hyper-active immune system are not because of an impairment.
Then, if the immune system is just doing all his best, it does not make any sense to impede its functioning with anti-inflammatory remedies. In this other post you can read the continuation, where we address the mechanism of action of anti-inflammatory remedies.
* “The Life Science Health System” by T.C. Fry.
Lesson 2 – The Nature And Purpose Of Disease
Lesson 72 - Rheumatic Diseases
Lesson 71 – Allergies, Hay Fever, And Other Chronic Diseases