Autoimmune diseases are on track to eclipse heart disease as the number one killer in the Western world. Yet it remains an area of healthcare that isn’t well understood or often, appropriately addressed by conventional medicine, leaving many people suffering needlessly.

Meleni’s personal journey through her own autoimmune disease and return to vibrant health, gave her second presentation at the Get Well Show in London (2020) a uniquely personal, yet informed, dimension. Combined with over 30 years of clinical experience filtered through different therapeutic lenses, Meleni’s presentation offers multiple reasons why your body may be turning on itself and how to turn back towards wellness.

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You might not be aware that the rate and incidence of autoimmune diseases (AIDs) are rapidly rising with more than 100 officially recognised to date. We know that stress can exacerbate the progression of autoimmune disease and often increase the severity of symptoms in vulnerable individuals. The ‘autoimmune trifactor’ that Meleni talks about describes the perfect storm of genetic predisposition, leaky (permeable) barriers and specific triggers. This is why not everyone develops an autoimmune disease despite similar triggers.

Whilst many environmental triggers are now known in relation to AIDs, less acknowledged and discussed in conventional medical circles, is the role that stress and deep seated emotional trauma plays in the development of autoimmune disease. Particularly early life trauma, which can increase the risk tenfold of developing an AID. And especially if you’re a woman, as 80% of all AIDs are diagnosed in women. As this study demonstrates where childhood abuse has now been linked to the development of systemic lupus erythematosus in adult women.

A new study last year, albeit in mice, looked at the impact of psychological and social stress on the gut microbiome (typically the most important leaky barrier). Stressed mice were found to have higher levels of bacteria associated with multiple sclerosis (an AID). They also found higher levels of T cells known to be involved in autoimmune reactions, which means that the immune system is being primed to react inappropriately.

In understanding the relationship between the elements of the autoimmune trifactor and modern life, it’s easier to understand how one journeys into the autoimmune landscape - and more importantly, how to find your way back out of it again. Foremost researcher into the effects of gluten on our gut and general health, Dr Alessio Fasano, is now convinced enough by the data to pronounce that all chronic disease begins in the gut. We would agree and it’s why our ANH Food4Health guide doesn't include gluten-containing grains or foods.

Hence, diet and lifestyle modification, alongside removing toxic elements, is central to moderating the autoimmune response, but so too is a reconnection to self, to nature and to one’s tribe. In her presentation, Meleni asks the audience to delve deeper within and to question why one may have lost tolerance to self? Which, in essence, is the nature of autoimmune disease when the immune system becomes so dysregulated it loses the ability to distinguish self from non-self and starts turning on the body’s own tissues.

There is unlikely to be any motivation for the promotion of natural and sustainable ways to combat autoimmune disease by conventional medicine given the global market for autoimmune disease management drugs is predicted to grow from USD$79 million in 2018 to USD$126 million by the end of 2025.

Healing oneself from a dysregulated immune response is eminently possible if recognised as such and caught early before too much loss of function and tissue damage occurs. However, the onus is on us as individuals to get into the driving seat of our own health journey and take back control.

Watch Meleni’s full presentation with thanks for your nominal donation to support our fundraising efforts.