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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Free Radicals and Autoimmune Diseases

Myasthenia gravis is one of the many autoimmune diseases. It is closely related to the presence of free radicals in the body, causing internal imbalance.  As a matter of fact, disease is but a reflection of internal disharmony, in particular, in the immune system. 

A malfunctioning immune system is the major cause of autoimmune diseases, which come in many different forms with many different symptoms; there are as many as 80 to 100 autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune cells "attack" the body's own organs and tissues, instead of protecting them from foreign invaders. As an illustration, in allergies, the body perceives something harmless, such as pollen, as potentially dangerous, and begins to produce large amounts of pollen antibody. In the next pollen encounter, the immune system "remembers" the first exposure, and consequently releases powerful chemicals causing sneezing, wheezing, and other allergic symptoms. In an autoimmune disease, the "attack" will repeat itself, and thus causing long-term damage.

According to Western medicine, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and myasthenia gravis, among many others. 

The human body is composed of negatively and positively charged molecules, which must be balanced in order to enable these cells to function normally. When any imbalance occurs, a free radical is formed in these molecules. A free radical may damage other nearby molecules, causing them to produce more free radicals, and thus producing a free radical chain reaction.

Free radicals can also be caused by external factors: alcohol and tobacco; chemicals and pesticides from foods and pharmaceutical drugs; heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, from the environment; radiation from the sun and other sources, such as cell phones.

Oxygen free radicals and other free radicals in the human body may cause damages to cells and neurons, such as the neurons in the brain, the cumulative damage to the DNA, resulting in human cancers, heart damage in the form of plague formation on the walls of heart arteries.

Most importantly, the presence of free radicals weakens the human immune system, which is essentially a network of cells and organs that communicate with one another in order to identify the invaders and attack them so as to protect the body from diseases and infections.

The best remedy is to prevent an autoimmune disease from developing. Once an autoimmune disease is triggered by an internal or external factor, such as stress, using medications, such as prednisone, to suppress the immune system in order to slow down the attack by the immune system may not work. The reason is that once the medications are stopped, the attack comes back with a vengeance because the immune system "remembers" the unhealthy tissue or organ that initiates the attack in the first place. Given that autoimmune diseases are complicated, involving many different parts of the human body, the best cure, if there is any, is a holistic approach to health, instead of targeting the symptoms with highly toxic pharmaceutical drugs. In other words, to combat autoimmune diseases, remove free radicals that not only damage body organs and tissues, but also weaken the immune system, causing it to go awry in attacking, instead of protecting, the damaged organs and tissues.

Stephen Lau
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