The Dirty Little Lupus Secret

dirtyThere’s an easy explanation for why lupus and autoimmune disorders have skyrocketed in the United States—tripling between 1950 and 1992 (Uramoto et al 1999)—but we have to dive into some genetics first.

Women have two X chromosomes, but one stays inactive and is called Xi. Xi is packed away in a tight suitcase of facultative heterochromatin, where it mostly sleeps for the lifetime of the woman.

The active X chromosome in a woman, Xa, is the one that determines her characteristics, like hair color, body weight and sociability. In women, benelles (good cells) recognize and get along with Xa, but they don’t get along with Xi. This works out, because nature keeps Xi silent.

But there’s a catch: estrogen has a tendency to destabilize heterochromatin, the protective suitcase, thereby disrupting Xi silencing. If Xi awakes, a woman’s “shadow-self” comes alive; body-snatching her as if a stranger were coming alive from within her own tissue. Resultingly, killer T cells hurry in to stop the body-snatcher, attacking cells across the body, and inadvertently causing autoimmune conditions like lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms for all three diseases are similar in females, often crossing over almost indistinguishably, because they generally have the same origin: disruption of “suitcased” Xi.

Specifically, how does estrogen disrupt Xi silencing? Through a simple framework: estrogen stimulates PADI4 gene expression (Dong et al 2007), and ectopic PADI4 expression leads to chromatin decondensation (Tanikawa et al 2012). That means, simply, estrogen causes women’s “hidden suitcase” to come open.

Historically, benelles successfully balanced between estrogen-production and Xi-silencing, accomplishing divergent ends: reproductive and self-health. A woman could hand her daughter a fresh suitcase of DNA that, to herself, would be deadly. A beautiful expression of this is menopause: estrogen ramps down once a woman is past childbearing in order to further silence Xi and prevent autoimmune disease. Moreover, this explains why women who use postmenopausal hormones have a 90% higher risk of developing lupus (Costenbader et al 2007), and is an example of conventional medicine’s capricious disruption of benelles and iatrogenesis of under-informed women.

Let’s recap in plain-speak. Women have two X chromosomes, and one of them is specially designed to sleep. If the sleeping X wakes, the result is often autoimmune disease like lupus. Estrogen, essential for having babies, wakes up the sleeping X, but women’s bodies use epigenetic expression to manage this dangerous game without getting sick.

So why has lupus—and myriad autoimmune disease in females—skyrocketed across the United States in the last 40 years? The answer is simple: the rise of estrogenic chemicals.

Chemicals that mimic naturally occurring estrogen are defined as producing estrogenic activity (EA). A University of Texas study found 455 store-bought food containers and storage products leached synthetic estrogens and caused EA (Yang et al 2011).

Essentially, American women are consuming chemicals that act like estrogen. Synthetic estrogens are in food, packaging, drinking water, cosmetics, soaps, lotions, receipts, cleaners, etc. The modern barrage of synthetic estrogen, when added to the natural level of estrogen, surpasses what women’s bodies are designed to handle. Thus, Xi disruption is now a continuous event for many women.

Let’s apply systematic benelles thinking. For millennia, women ate natural foods and produced a natural supply of estrogen. Women’s sleeping X chromosomes fine-tuned themselves into harmony with estrogen over hundreds of thousands of years; autoimmune disease was low. Then, around the 1940s, women stopped eating natural foods, and increasingly began consuming foods, water, lotion, makeup, et al with synthetic estrogen. Currently, women’s sleeping X chromosomes have no idea where all the extra estrogen is coming from and the result is an open suitcase of autoimmune disease.

There are two logical counter positions to take. One: race toward the future and say that we are in the first generations of a long-term evolution whereby women’s bodies will find a way to cope with estrogen-mimicking chemicals. This is sensible as estrogenic chemical content is high across society, and likely to increase.

The other way: cling to the past. Eat natural foods and find a chemical-free water source. This is certainly the logical approach for those women who have already acquired autoimmune disease.

Ultimately, the lupus secret is that we have dirtied our food and water supply with estrogenic chemicals and it’s causing myriad autoimmune disease in our women at an epigenetic level. This isn’t shocking news, but even for those that can understand this, it is still difficult to escape the peer pressure and convenience factors of synthetic estrogens. They’re everywhere.

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