The Autoimmune Vitality Online Conference Series is dominating my life at the moment. Coordinating and interviewing over 60 speakers in a reasonably short space of time is a challenge but I do thrive on challenge so it is all good! I have interviewed some amazing experts already and there are more to come. In the meantime I wanted to share with you some insights that may be helpful to you. This event will be bursting with them but you can enjoy some now.
Please, remember that this event is your ROAD MAP. I spent ages deciding on the structure because unlike some other online events which appear to have sessions chosen at random, I want you to know exactly how everything fits in together so you can easily identify your missing links.
If you are new to healing autoimmunity, this event is going to help you put the pieces of the puzzle together. If you have been on this road for a while but not quite getting the results that you want, this event is an opportunity to identify which pieces are missing in your puzzle, or maybe you are simply not doing things in the right order?
And of course, as I said before, you will have an opportunity to join our accountability and implementation program to help you put what you are learning into practice and get results more quickly. Once again, it is not about what you know, it is about taking action and enjoying the benefits!
If you have not added these dates to your diary yet, you can do it now:
You can find out more here
So here some great nuggets of information for you to enjoy for now:
Movement (exercise) is one of the best things we can do to balance our hormones. Exercise has a positive effect on our glycaemic and insulinaemic responses (blood sugar and insulin), our sex hormones, our appetite, our brain function, and more. As an example, high-intensity exercise elevates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotransmitter that helps stimulate the production of new cells in the brain, which can help improve cognitive function.
Somebody (person A) can have no SNPs (genetic mutations) and be sicker than somebody else (person B) who has many different mutations. That happens when person B gets the fundamentals right (i.e. clean diet & lifestyle, healthy mind, adequate sleep, exercise) and person B does not keep their genes “clean”. In other words, the fundamentals (epigenetic factors) rule and genes are secondary as it is the epigenetic factors that turn those genes on and off.
Social connection has a profound impact on lowering levels of chronic inflammation. Conversely, social isolation promotes chronic inflammation, and is linked to higher rates of depression and mortality. Being socially connected is different for everyone so it is important that you connect with others in the way that is meaningful for you. Beware of “fake” connections, i.e. having lots of “friends” on social media. Being connected with others in a meaningful and authentic way boosts levels of oxytocin (love hormone). This in turn reduces cortisol levels, which when elevated chronically lead to ill health. In other words, social connection is great for our health!
Autoimmunity is sometimes defined as “the body attacking itself”. This is a really unhelpful way of describing the autoimmune process and can be misleading because the body’s innate intelligence means that the body always strives to heal and it would NEVER dream of randomly attacking itself. What actually happens is that the immune system does its job as it was designed to do but due to certain factors (toxic overload, infections, leaky gut, etc.), it loses the ability to distinguish between “self” and “non-self”. If you were to blindfold a boxer and expect him to fight, he would throw punches around but he would be unlikely to hit his opponent with precision, and perhaps if his coach got to close he might get hit, even though he is not the enemy. The boxer does not mean to take his coach out but he knows he is expected to carry on punching and because he is blindfolded he can get it wrong. In autoimmunity our body is not against us but it does need our support to get out of the confused state.
It is fundamental to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in order to heal the microbiome. An ACE can be a major one-off trauma (death, divorce, etc.) but it can also be a repetitive negative experience, such as bullying, teasing, being repetitively told you are useless, etc. In addition, we can be traumatized not over something that DID happen but over something that DIDN’T happen, e.g. a lack of affection from the primary care giver. Experiencing trauma in our early years alters our microbiome in a way that can lead to health problems many years later. Every person with a chronic condition will have had not one but multiple ACEs, which if not dealt with properly will continue to negatively affect our microbiome and our recovery. Good news is there are many tools that can help you achieve that.
Pain originates in the brain (we perceived things as painful) and there are now numerous studies that demonstrate that patients with chronic pain have alterations in brain regions involved in cognitive and emotional modulation of pain. The two most powerful strategies to deal with chronic pain are stress-reducing modalities and movement. Even a 10-minute walk can drastically reduce a person’s perception of pain.
When we experience different symptoms, we need to stop asking “what is wrong with me?” and start asking ”what is right with me?”. Symptoms mean the body has already taken steps to heal itself. We have been conditioned to think of symptoms as bad and that we are going through the worst of whatever we are going through when we have them. In actual fact, symptoms mean that healing is underway and are the body’s way of communicating with us. Next time, try asking these questions: “what does having this symptom mean to me?”, “what is it that you need right now in order to get better?”. The answers may be very revealing.
Look at every meal (also exercise session, mediation practice, a good night sleep) as an OPPORTUNITY to nurture your body and your mind (as opposed to a chore). The more you “invest” in yourself the more you are going to get back, on the physical, psychological, and energetic level. You CANNOT heal the body you hate and shame so stop treating your body like an old banger and start treating it like a Mercedes Benz!
Exercise can have a positive impact on your microbiome independently of diet and other factors, such as gender and age. When it comes to a healthy microbiome, diversity is key. Reduced diversity is associated with higher risk of developing autoimmunity and other chronic health problems. Diversity can of course be negatively affected by many factors, such as poor food and lifestyle choices, medication, etc. The good news is that regular aerobic exercise can help us improve the health of our microbiome. Also, improving your aerobic fitness will help increase your levels of butyric acid which has many benefits, including: protection against colorectal cancer, improved insulin resistance, and of course reduced inflammation and improved gut health.
As you can imagine, this is a tiny tiny sample of what will be featured in this event. Again, the Autoimmune Vitality Conference Series is about creating a road map to vitality and helping you putting the pieces of your puzzle together so I do hope you will be joining us!