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Will We See A Rapid Rise In Auto-Immune Problems In Years To Come?

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 13 September 2021
Hits: 330

This time last year I wrote one of the most detailed articles about the damage of lock-downs for Covid-19 were causing to healthy people. Little did I know a year from now our governments are still enforcing these draconian restrictions on healthy people under the direction of “keeping us safe”. At no point during this entire pandemic has the government here in Melbourne Australia made any attempt to project the importance of eating healthy foods or exercise in strengthening your body’s immune system. As far as they are concerned it is irrelevant as the vaccine is the answer we all need. This ignorance to building a strong and robust body with the population of people who are not vulnerable (mainly people under the age of 50) has created a larger population of unhealthy people. And worse still, what is starting to be seen already is the development of auto-immune problems from excessive sanitising and cleanliness. For many years this was called the “hygiene hypothesis” that was often trashed by many experts as a theory that was not backed by science. However, this topic has more recently come up again and seen recently in young children and is referred to as “immunity debt. While I appreciate measures needed to be taken to control the spread of Covid-19, it is becoming clear our governments and health officials with their narrow minded approach to health may have exposed all of us to even bigger problems to come. I hope I am wrong.

How the Immune System Works

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection. It is our body’s essential defence network to guard us from illness, healing wounds to keep us alive and strong. The immune system is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals that fight infection (microbes). The main parts of the immune system are: white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow. These are the parts of your immune system that actively fight infection.

This complex system keeps a record of every germ (microbe) it has ever defeated in types of white blood cells (B- and T-lymphocytes) known as memory cells so it can recognise and destroy the microbe quickly if it enters the body again, before it can multiply and make you feel sick.

However, with all of its complex design it can easily be compromised via stress, poor nutrition, the environment, and lead to abnormalities where the immune system attacks itself! This can lead to allergic diseases, immune-deficiencies, and autoimmune disorders. More on this shortly.

For a long time I have been interested in the immune system and how there is a constant war being fought within our body between good bacteria and bad bacteria. For over 20 years I have battled with Psoriasis which is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface. Psoriasis is thought to be an immune system problem that causes the skin to regenerate at faster than normal rates and currently there is no cure. In the most common type of psoriasis, known as plaque psoriasis, this rapid turnover of cells results in scales and red patches which is what I get. However, it can also cause arthritic symptoms in joints and I tend to develop lesions on my knees and elbows when the inflammation is stirred up. Just what causes the immune system to attack itself is not perfectly clear but most researchers believe is that genetics, gut health, and environmental factors play a significant role.

It took me almost 15 years to finally get on top of my condition and be able to effectively manage my problem via various methods with food and environment. I never had any problems with this until I was 26 years old and eventually I discovered stress was found to be the major trigger. Over time I realized my gut health was the critical factor in controlling the problem ongoing and this is where my journey began into researching immune health. You can read more about how I got on top of psoriasis by clicking here.

In 2019 I read a great book called “An Elegant Defense” by Matt Richtel and this discussed in great detail the amazing complexity of our immune system and shared some fascinating stories of case studies where things simply did not make sense. This was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but interestingly enough there was several sections that almost predicted what we are seeing happen right now.

Has Our Immune System Been Ruined?

During the past 18 months as most of the world has been masked up, locked down, over-sanitized, and socially distanced from one another, children and adults have not been exposed to viruses and bacteria as they normally would. Some people see this as a good thing as there has been a significant reduction in the number of people reporting colds, flu, and other infectious diseases. On the flip side of this, some health experts are questioning if this lack of exposure may have increased the risk for some to experience more illnesses as we begin to interact with each other again in schools and workplaces.

When pathogens like viruses or bacteria attack and multiply, it can cause an illness or disease that makes you sick. There are several parts to your immune system, but the two main parts are your innate immune system, which you were born with, and your adaptive immune system, which is developed as you're exposed to pathogens. These two systems work together to help protect your health. The adaptive immune system has been starved of viruses over the past 18 months.

A healthy immune system keeps a record of every pathogen to which it has been exposed so that it can quickly recognize it if exposed again. The immune system is activated when the body is exposed to a protein it doesn't recognize, called an antigen. Things go wrong when a person has an immune response and there is no real threat to deal with. This is what causes allergies, asthma and other autoimmune diseases. If the system continues to work incorrectly it can result in immunodeficiency diseases, which results in more sickness that can last longer.

Your immune system can also become hypersensitive to an antigen, triggering an overreaction that can be fatal, such as anaphylactic shock. Some health experts are concerned that children may have experienced greater harm to their immune system than adults since they have spent the better part of the last 18 months isolated from nearly every exposure.

We actually need some level of bacteria to stay healthy. While we may have done a great job with keeping Covid-19 at bay, we may have done so at a huge price by starving our immune system of something to do.

In the book “An Elegant Defense” on page 234 they make an interesting statement.

“Dr Lemon thinks one great way to keep your immune system in balance is to … eat the food you drop on the floor. Her philosophy, as she puts it, is that people need to stop over-sanitizing their world so that their immune systems are introduced to lots of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens and can react to them as millions of years of evolutions have reined them to do.”

This is quite an interesting observation and one that would make many people squirm. Another great quote from the book by Caltech Professor Sarkis Mazmanian.

“The immune system is a loaded gun, and when it fires and is uncontrolled, then you get allergies, then you get autoimmunity, then you get inflammation.”

How many times have you heard the Government and health officials discuss the potential danger of autoimmunity? I will tell you how many times, ZERO! Instead they promote fear and panic, and tell people to endlessly clean everything they touch with sanitizers and powerful disinfectants, and make you believe everything is a deadly germ that can kill you.

Now this doesn’t mean we do not need some cleanliness, as there is definite danger that comes with bacteria, parasites, and various pathogens. The key is to keep the balance between being too sterile and not clean enough. We need to find this balance and at the moment the balance is right out of whack. When this happens is when you begin to see future generations with less diverse immune systems, which is what is being seen already in countries like New Zealand.

Rising Number of Infants with RSV Related to Immunity Debt

As of early July 2021, New Zealand had reported nearly 1,000 cases of RSV over five weeks. The usual number reported is 1,743 over 29 weeks. Some experts have stated this rapidly increasing number of RSV infections in babies is due to a “debt of immunity” that was created when infants born during 2020 had a lack of exposure to other pathogens.

RSV is a common respiratory illness that in adults generally produces only mild symptoms. However, in young children it can be serious and even fatal. Doctors also find children who recover have a higher risk of asthma in later childhood. Many of the paediatric doctors in New Zealand are calling this outbreak a direct result of babies not being able to develop immunity to other viruses from being suppressed during lockdowns.

According to an article by The Guardian, New Zealand reported a 99.9% reduction in flu and 98% reduction in RSV during 2020. This nearly eliminated the spike of deaths that happens during the winter months from flu and RSV. In the short-term, it may have prevented an overload of the health care system while others were being treated for COVID-19. However, in the long run, it may have created an additional problem in infants and children. When their immune system is not challenged at an early age, it can lead to larger outbreaks, which again taxes the health care system.

I believe we will see this same thing happen here in Australia as like New Zealand we attacked Covid-19 with the same approach of hard lock-downs and months overly cautious approach to germs. Our statistics with the cold and flu are very similar with it almost being wiped out from the country. While many see this as a good thing the damage to our immune systems and especially young kids remains to be seen.

Lockdowns Create More Unhealthy People

I don’t buy the argument from our idiotic leaders that there was no other option but to lock every one up in their homes for months at a time. Did you know that before Covid-19 there was a detailed report put together by numerous infectious disease experts that showed countries how to handle a pandemic. In this detailed report called The Great Barrington Declaration nowhere does it suggest the use of nationwide lockdowns to handle a pandemic. Yet for some reason our governments panicked and ignored this detailed information and went straight into lockdowns.

Currently as I write this article here in Melbourne we are in our sixth lock-down and in a week’s time we will hold the world record for the most days kept in lock-down since all of this began back in March 2020. We are likely to hit a total of 250 days of lock-down the way things are heading.

Now firstly I am not an anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist, and I see that the vaccine can be valuable solution to the people who are most vulnerable with Covid-19, and appreciate measures should be taken to protect these people. My issue is that we know that a healthy person with no existing health conditions, has a good level of fitness, is a healthy weight range, and under the age of 50, will have a 99.97% survival rate from Covid-19. This is not fake news but the reality that has been seen all over the world.

The immune system of a healthy person is working perfectly fine in coping with this virus. This is not good luck, and not just because they are young either as there are many cases of young people suffering serious health problems. The difference between young people who cope with the virus well versus those who do not is these people have looked after themselves with diet and exercise. They could take a vaccine if they wanted to but it is safe to say they really do not need it.

My biggest concern is that this population of healthy people is being turned into sick and vulnerable people because of the lock-downs. Don’t believe me? Then consider this. If I wanted to make a strong and healthy person sick in a very short time without using a poison or drugs how would do I do it? Check out the list below. If I did these things I am sure you would agree I could turn a healthy person into a sick one very quickly.

One thing that is very rarely discussed but something to seriously consider is how the lock-downs have contributed to people gaining weight.  You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that if you eat a lot of processed foods loaded with sugar you are going to get fat. What people do not realise is this excessive weight increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes but also death from COVID-19!

In a poll of more than 1,000 U.S. readers of WebMD, nearly half of the women and almost one-quarter of the men said they'd gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.” A separate poll of 900 international readers found more than half of men and about a third of women reporting weight gain. There has also been a stack of memes and posts circulating on social media using the term #quarantine15, indicating people have put on 15 pounds of weight during the lock-down!

There is a huge amount of data from around the world showing that being overweight heightens your risk of death from COVID-19 substantially yet it I cannot recall a single message about this in the media here in Australia.

In a recent study by PNAS they summarised their findings,

“In conclusion, we observed a higher likelihood of COVID-19 hospitalization with increasing overall and central adiposity, even in participants with modest weight gain. Since over two-thirds of Westernized society are overweight or obese, this potentially presents a major risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection and may have implications for policy.’

Reference: Overweight, obesity, and risk of hospitalization for COVID-19: A community-based cohort study of adults in the United Kingdom Mark Hamer, Catharine R. Gale, Mika Kivimäki, G. David Batty Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2020, 202011086; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2011086117

Another report by Public Health England also reviews research demonstrating how excess weight affects COVID-19 outcomes. One review found that, compared to healthy weight patients, patients with a BMI above 25 were:

  • 68 times more likely to die
  • 98 times more likely to need respiratory support
  • 03 times more likely to suffer critical illness

While I am not a big fan of BMI as a true indicator of health these results are very consistent with other findings. This report clearly shows the risk of hospitalization, intensive care treatment and death progressively increase as your BMI goes up.

Obesity is responsible for the threefold greater risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). Obesity-related dysregulation of lipid synthesis can also aggravate lung inflammation, thereby contributing to increased disease severity in viral respiratory infections specifically. In addition to that, excess body weight and fat deposition around the internal organs put pressure on your diaphragm, which makes it more difficult to breathe when you have a respiratory infection.

Inflammation triggered by obesity is much worse and something we must try to avoid and this brings me back to my point made earlier. There may be some people who were moderately overweight, who now as a result of lock-downs gain more weight that will now put them in the obesity category.

Lockdowns Create More People with Type 2 Diabetes

The danger of more people developing Type 2 Diabetes is a real concern with weight gain and the statistics on this deadly disease have increased dramatically. Last year the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute released a comprehensive report about this called Dark Shadows. The statistics they published were quite shocking, and I am sure this would have a big impact on the 1 million people known to have type 2 Diabetes. What was more concerning is they estimated there is two to three million people at risk of developing the disease, but these people are unaware of this potential danger to their health! And that was in May 2020 right at the beginning of the pandemic. Can you imagine what these statistics might be now? I highly doubt they are better.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes which has a genetic or autoimmune system dysfunction link and unfortunately also has no cure, Type 2 diabetes is in most cases created from poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices like smoking. Can you see how the lock-downs are the perfect breeding ground for creating more type 2 diabetic people as many of these habits have increased significantly?

Those with type 2 diabetes are

  • Two to three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer – one of the most deadly cancers – are twice as likely to develop liver or endometrial cancer, have a 50 per cent higher chance of getting bowel cancer and a 20 per cent greater risk of breast cancer.
  • A 45 year old person with diabetes can expect to live six years less than a person free of diabetes with many of these earlier deaths were due to heart disease.
  • Are 10 times more likely to develop kidney failure, than those without diabetes. For Indigenous Australians, diabetes is the primary cause of 70 per cent of all cases of kidney failure.
  • A high risk of amputation. Amputations remain a major complication of type 2 diabetes.
  • Suffer from eye disease. Diabetic eye disease remains a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in working-age adults worldwide.
  • A wide range of other diseases and conditions are also more common in people with diabetes, including depression, osteoporosis, sleep apnoea, hearing impairment and gum disease.

The government may have saved you from Covid-19 but now you are have a greater chance of suffering some other form of deadly disease.

You can read more about this in the article – Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Is Better than a Cure

Lockdowns Ruin Vitamin D Levels

Last year I published a massive article about Vitamin D and its relationship to the immune system. At the time nobody was really talking about in the mainstream media, (they are still not talking about it) and there was not many studies available that had explored it in depth. I was unable to post this on social media as I was told it was fake news. I don’t know how telling someone that Vitamin D has a massive influence over your immune system is fake news but anyway that is what happened. I never said it could cure Covid-19, but I what I did say it can help strengthen your immune system which has always been the case.

There are only 30,000 genes in your body and vitamin D has been shown to influence over 2,000 of them and is one of the primary reasons it influences so many diseases.

Studies also reveal that low vitamin D levels in the body are associated with:

Despite the importance of vitamin D, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30% to 80% of the population is vitamin D deficient!

The best source of Vitamin D is from sunlight.

Now do you think locking people in the houses for 23 hours per day for months on end during winter in Melbourne will increase or decrease Vitamin D levels? Keep in mind many people have no idea what Vitamin D does or even where it comes from.

Here is a study published by Healthline about Vitamin D and its relationship with Covid-19

  • A new study that looked at 216 people with COVID-19 found that 80 percent didn’t have adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood.
  • The study also found that people who had both COVID-19 and lower vitamin D levels also had a higher number of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer, which have been linked to poor COVID-19 outcomes.
  • A different study found that COVID-19 patients who had adequate vitamin D levels had a 51.5 percent lower risk of dying from the disease and a significant reduced risk for complications.
  • Medical experts theorize that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels may help lower risk or aid recovery from severe COVID-19 for some people, though more testing is needed.

Increased Stress from Lockdowns

There is no doubt that stress is one of the biggest saboteurs of health and it can derail the fittest and strongest person and cause a multitude of health problems. At least this is one factor that does get a mention from our useless mainstream media. Unfortunately, it seems to all on deaf ears with our political leaders who are willing to accept the collateral damage of mental health problems with young and healthy people in order to get their precious case numbers down.

Government regulations with social distancing, and in particular the lock-downs have made many people feel isolated and lonely, dramatically increasing stress and anxiety. This dramatic increase in stress will have an impact on the immune system of younger people. So if they have managed to not put weight on they may now suffer the damage of chronic stress. In a stressful situation the body secretes stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol to our arms and legs in order to help us either run away fast, or, stay and fight. This is good in life and death situations as these hormones will possibly save your life. But it is not good if this system is turned on all the time. And this is exactly what happens with these never ending lock-downs and the government is not weighing up the impact this is having to healthy, young people.

A great article to read from KFF shows some compelling statistics about the impact Covid-19 has had on the community. Some of the most interesting results I found was how much damage was being inflicted upon young people. Take a look at two of the pictures below from their article.

This is where you could have a healthy person in their early twenties, with decades to live, having their health heavily compromised in order to save the lives of someone in their 90’s in a nursing home. I am not saying that old people do not matter and we should just let them all die. You have to remember the younger population is not at risk of Covid-19 as the statistics all over the world have clearly shown for over 18 months now. What I am saying is that there surely is a better way to manage this crisis than to destroy the lives of young people who have many years ahead of them.

Here is the current statistics from the Australian Government’s website as at 13th September 2021. This clearly shows this is not a disease of the young and healthy.

There is obvious signs that the mental health impact of lockdowns is going to outweigh the physical impact currently felt today. Studies performed on this effect in the past have found that psychological distress can last up to three years after an outbreak. Due to the financial crisis accompanying the pandemic, there are also significant implications for mortality due to “deaths of despair.” A May 2020 analysis projects that, based on the economic downturn and social isolation, additional deaths due to suicide and alcohol or drug misuse may occur by 2029.

I wonder if our Governments had this in mind when discussing the need to lock-down all the time. I doubt it as they are only looking as far forward as the next election.

What Can You Do To Improve Your Health?

The first thing you can do is to take responsibility for your own health by applying simple and proven health strategies of eating well and exercising. Spending time outdoors to get some Vitamin D and finding ways to combat the stress from lock-downs are some of the best things you can do during this very trying time. I do not need the government to create rules to keep me healthy. I can do that perfectly fine by myself. They should focus more on keeping the vulnerable safe instead of destroying the lives of the healthy people.

The info-graphic below shows you the 8 pillars of health you should focus on.

Something we tend to forget is just how complex the body is. It really is an amazing design and a system of many systems. If one system is not functioning well it compromises the health of the others in order to bring it up to the level it should be. This is why someone who works out all the time but ignores the quality of good nutrition and rest never achieves great results.

We tend to take for granted many of these systems and rarely consider the critical role they perform without ever shutting down, unless something goes wrong with our heart or lungs and then we are very aware. Many of these are part of our autonomic nervous system that regulates a variety of body process that takes place without conscious effort. This system is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, and digestion

As these systems are designed to never shut down it means we must be extremely disciplined and educated about how to look after them. And this is where the value of eating quality nutrition, regularly exercising and getting enough rest comes in to play.

You can read more about each of these health factors in this article – How to build a solid foundation of health

Additional Resources to Help You with Exercise & Nutrition

Make sure you get a copy of our detailed report below that features everything you need to know about improving the immune system, heart health and lung capacity. I created this report in September 2020 to include ALL of the relevant information relating to exercise and nutrition for improving our health. This is not about fitness but about improving your overall health vitality. Click here to download your instant PDF copy.  

Summary

There is no doubting the implications of lock-downs to the health of young and healthy people is going to be a major talking issue for many years to come. The complete disregard and clumsy approach of government handling of this crisis is an absolute disgrace, especially governments in Australia who have found a way to politicize this pandemic to win more votes. Creating fear and panic among the community and ignoring the benefits of healthy eating, exercise, Vitamin D from being outdoors is a disgrace. Our government and the health officials that advise them should be ashamed of their clumsy and short sighted approach to dealing with this crisis. The statistics clearly show this disease affects the old and the vulnerable. Yet it is the young and the healthy that are paying a heavy price that will affect them for many years to come.

I hope I am wrong in that we do not see a dramatic rise in auto-immune problems from being too sanitized but the warning signs are already there. The financial debt is another massive obstacle the younger generations are going to have to face and history has shown that produces multiple health problems. The only thing we can do is take control of our health right now, for one thing is certain the government is not going to do it for you.

The old saying "prevention is much better than a cure" is oh so true. But don't expect to hear that from the medical profession or the media who think everything can be solved with a pill or surgery. Take responsibility for your own health and you will never look back and never need to rely on these artificial solutions that the media and the medical profession are so obsessed with.

For more ideas and information on specific topics I may not have covered in detail be sure to check out our INDEX PAGE on the website that has over 300 of our best articles. These are all sorted into categories for quick reference so you can find what you are after more easily.

If you do need specific help with your exercise program please feel free to reach out to me for help and we can organise a consultation or Zoom online program if you live overseas.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 15 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specializes in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

Additional References:

  • The Elegant Defense - By Matt Richtel
  • Surgery the Ultimate Placebo - By Dr Ian Harris
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Fitness Australia
  • Milgram experiment
  • CDC
  • Mccrindle Research
  • Precision Nutrition
  • Sitting On The Job - By Scott Dunkin
  • Movement - By Gray Cook
  • Corrective Exercise Solutions for the Hip & Shoulder - by Evan Osar
  • Back Pain Mechanic - by Dr Stuart McGill
  • Diagnosis & Treatment Of Movement Impairment Syndromes - By Shirley Sahrman
  • Low Back Disorders - by Dr Stuart McGill
  • Ultimate Back Fitness & Performance - by Dr Stuart McGill
  • Core Stability - by Peak Performance
  • Athletic Body in Balance - by Gray Cook
  • Anatomy Trains - by Thomas Meyers
  • Motor Learning and Performance - By Richard A Schmidt and Timothy D Lee
  • Assessment & Treatment Of Muscle Imbalance - By Vladimir Janda
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek