In order for you to be healthy, your body, mind and spirit has to be able to tolerate stress that comes into your life. That stress can be in the form of lifestyle, psychological stress, toxins in the environment, hormone fluctuations, food sensitivity, exposure to pathogens or disease states.
And getting healthier starts with tolerance. Even though tolerance of the mind and spirit affects your health just as much as physical forms of stress, health tolerance is the beginning of what will bring you a healthier physical body.
There is a concept in immunology called self-tolerance. Self-tolerance is actually immune tolerance. Your body learns self-tolerance, or immune-tolerance. What this means is that from the day you are born you learn exactly what your cell tissue is, what the antigens in your body are and what a foreign environmental pathogen looks like. Your own body learns that it is different from bacteria, viruses, yeasts, various different chemicals and various environmental toxins.
How does your body learn self-tolerance?
- From the act of being born: On the day that you are born, simply the act of being born and going through your mother’s vaginal tract begins the process of immune tolerance. The microflora or bacteria that is found in the birth canal inoculates you as you’re being born. That is the first inoculation and exposure you have to the eventual build up of the important probiotic microbiome in your gut. This first swipe through the birth canal is extremely important and beneficial. If you were born via C-section then typically you missed that first opportunity to establish that healthy microbiome. We now know through science that the healthy microbiome, the probiotic bacteria, that live inside of us are critical for immune function, neurological function and even for controlling our moods.
- From breastfeeding: Breastfeeding provides the second act of inoculation. Some of the milk that’s left on the nipple ferments with bacteria and that healthy bacteria helps to build up your healthy microbiome. Not being breastfed can possibly lead to potential problems later in life because the establishment of gut microflora at the time of breastfeeding was absent.
- From your immune system encountering pathogens: When you are a child and experience normal childhood illnesses like a cold, the flu, or an ear infection, your immune system gets the chance to put its’ defenses to the test. Your immune-tolerance is challenged to fight the bacteria or virus that is causing you to be sick. This healthy process causes the immune system to build up antibodies and to differentiate your “self” body tissue from “non-self” tissue. That is the essence of self-tolerance that develops from day one and continues throughout your life.
So what happens if you miss the chance for natural childbirth, breastfeeding and the chance to be sick?
Well, we all get sick at some point in our lives. But what happens if as a baby or a child you catch a viral infection, and that infection gets medicated instead of being left to take its’ natural course of healing? If an antibiotic is used to medicate a viral infection, it is of no use. It does nothing. Antibiotics are antimicrobial and antibacterial, but are NOT antiviral.
What does happen though is that taking these unnecessary antibiotics wipes out your microbiome, your healthy probiotic gut flora. And since the microbiome helps to build immune tolerance, your self-tolerance ability is compromised. The microbiome and probiotics (the bacteria in your gut) is crucial as part of that immune system tolerance. And this self-tolerance is what leads to a healthy immune system.
Getting sick and letting the illness take its’ course instead of medicating the illness allows your body to learn how to fight off future pathogens. Running a fever with an illness is your body’s way of fighting the intruding pathogen. Using natural ways to support fever like taking a lukewarm bath, or using cold towel compresses should be the first course of action before medication is used to control a temperature.
As you grow older, this self-tolerance is important because it establishes the fact that your body has a defense system. Without a defense system in place, there is a chance that your body will target itself. Autoimmune disease appears and your own body sees itself as a foreign entity. Autoimmune disease is “self” rejection of your own body tissues.
Autoimmune disease needs to be managed at its’ root cause. What is the root cause? The root cause is self-tolerance ability. So the question is if you miss the chance at natural childbirth, and you weren’t breastfed, you have taken too many antibiotics and you compromised your microbiome, what can you do to read build that self-tolerance? You rebuild that self-tolerance by improving oral-tolerance.
Oral-tolerance means how well your digestive system tolerates the food that you eat. Know that your digestive system is intimately linked with the immune system. Some say at least 70% to 90% of your immune system resides in your gut. So the immune system supports your gut and your gut supports your immune system.
If you have an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s (most thyroid diseases are due to Hashimoto’s), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogren’s or any other autoimmune disease, it is your job to do whatever is necessary to improve self-tolerance, not to simply treat your symptoms or mask the symptoms with a drug.
Your goal in autoimmune disease should be to improve self-tolerance, by improving oral- tolerance.
And the way you do that is by being aware of how well you tolerate the food that you eat. If you’re someone who has a lot of food sensitivities or food allergies and you have physical reactions to multiple foods, your oral-tolerance is low. How you react to your environment also is classified as oral-tolerance. If you walk through the mall near the perfume counters and you get a major headache and feel nauseous because you smell the perfumes, or even a cleaning product at home, or any type of chemical smell, this means you are not tolerant of your environment.
It means your immune system is too rigid. It is not able to adapt to different stimuli in your environment and it is reacting to these different stimuli as if it’s a bad guy, where the same stimuli for somebody else who has a really tolerant and adaptable immune system can get the same whiff of chemical or eat the same food, but they don’t fall apart…but you do.
This is because your immune system has lost oral-tolerance, and therefore you have reduced self-tolerance leading to autoimmune disease, sensitivity to foods or sensitivity to chemicals. So the way to resolve that is to improve oral-tolerance.
There are six major key factors and steps to improving tolerance:
Eat natural food:
You’ve got to eat real food, because eating processed food that’s been designed to prolong shelf life to enhance flavors by using synthetic and chemicals is going to have a negative impact on your digestive system and your immune system’s ability to recognize these chemicals. This leads to a negative impact on oral-tolerance. What that means is shopping the periphery of the supermarket aisle where the produce, meats and real foods are placed. Do not buy products in the center aisles where you find boxed foods. Even if they’re organic…if it’s boxed, it’s still processed. Attempt to purchase foods that remain as close to their natural state as possible.
Start to enhance digestion by actually stimulating your brain by looking at your food, smelling your food and chewing your food. Your brain will send a message down through the vagus nerve to activate your gut to start secreting digestive enzymes and stomach acid to start facilitating the digestive process. If you find that you have compromised digestive enzyme or acid secretion, then you may want to think about supplementing your diet with Enzyme HCL.
If you happen to have poor frontal lobe function, meaning you have depression, chronic brain fog, memory impairment or concentration issues, you have brain inflammation that began your compromised brain function. This causes decreased vagus nerve activation that eventually compromises digestive enzyme secretions, which can be supported with Enzyme HCL supplementation.
Create a healthy microbiome:
It’s really quite simple to achieve better health. You must get rid of toxicities and fill up any deficiencies. Your body is constantly trying to heal on its’ own, and the first thing you should concentrate on healing is your gut. Supporting your gut includes eating the highest quality food you can find. Organic and fermented food is the best choice because there are various chemicals in our environment such as pesticides and herbicides that are mostly found in your genetically modified foods (GMO). Reducing antibiotic misuse helps also. Lowering consumption of alcohol and processed refined sugar creates an atmosphere where the healthy bacteria can proliferate and create a healthier microbiome. Adding a very good spore forming probiotic tops off the support.
Heal your mucosal tissue:
The inner lining of your gut is formed of tissue similar to the lining of your mouth. This mucosal lining is very important because it serves as a barrier. There’s a condition called Leaky Gut where that barrier has been compromised. It may be damaged or inflamed, allowing microscopic openings that lead to malabsorption and inflammation. Undigested protein can start to leak out and create an immune response. Mucosal support is really the key to healthy immune function and autoimmune management.
Maintain proper liver function:
Even if you have made the change to eating healthier and cleaner, your liver still needs to clear out unwanted chemicals and factors from simply eating cleaner. So sometimes just eating cleaner acts as a liver detox. Your liver and your gut interconnect in the gastro hepatic system, where the gall bladder comes into play during digestion. Supporting bile function in the liver is a very important part of fat digestion and hormone and toxin elimination. Eating clean, eliminating unneeded medications, and having less exposure to environmental toxins will help your liver to detox itself.
Support your immune system:
Your immune cells require specific nutrients that are critical for your immune system to achieve optimal function. Vitamin D helps to support your immune system and your intestinal mucosa that could already be damaged with inflammation and/or tiny leaks, and brings you closer to a healthier level of self-tolerance. Increasing your self-tolerance will help with all autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, food sensitivities and multiple chemical sensitivities.
With these six steps to improve self-tolerance and oral-tolerance and support the autoimmune process, you may be able to decrease inflammation, improve your digestion and absorption, and reduce the likelihood of food sensitivity. By improving the gut immune system, you can address the root cause of any autoimmune disease. Using the suggested nutritional and diet strategies may lead you to better tolerance of the immune response in YOUR body.
If you choose to supplement your diet with supplements, use only high quality pharmaceutical grade supplements like the ones found online at www.neurometabolicsupplements.com. When you place an order for the supplements that support immune tolerance, receive 5% off when you use the coupon code “take5today” and begin your journey to self-tolerance healing!
Dr. Peter Kan
Dr. Peter Kan is a Chiropractic Functional Medicine and Functional Neurologist located in Gilbert, AZ.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.