6 Steps to Heal Your Autoimmune Disease - LE Blog

Martha Rosenstein, FNP

Autoimmune diseases are a growing health concern. It is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from at least one autoimmune disease. Compare that to the over 14 million Americans who suffer from cancer and the 25 million who suffer from heart disease and you can see what a serious issue it is. Research has identified over 100 different autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women up to age 64.1

Autoimmune diseases vary greatly and include conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, and more. They can range in symptoms over the whole body and range in severity from mild to severe. But what are they and how can they be treated?

Common Denominator

All autoimmune diseases are caused by the immune system’s betrayal of itself. Autoimmune diseases target normal components of your own body and treat them as if they were foreign.

Antibodies are a critical part of the immune system, and their job is to recognize specific proteins in foreign cells such as those in the membranes of bacterial cells. By binding to these invaders, antibodies tell the immune cells what they need to attack. When you have an autoimmune disease, your body accidentally creates antibodies against itself — these are called autoantibodies.

Genetics is one of the factors that sometimes determines the likelihood of your body creating these autoantibodies, and environmental factors are what actually make it happen. However, just because you develop autoantibodies does not mean that you have an autoimmune disease. The disease occurs when enough damage occurs to cells or tissues so that symptoms develop.

An autoimmune disease is the result of the interaction between your genes and your environment. Both the environmental and the genetic factors are complex.

The major environmental factors that trigger autoimmune disease are exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals, infections, stress, hormones, diet, micronutrient deficiencies, medications, and UV radiation exposure. As far as diet is concerned, increased intestinal permeability (also called leaky gut) is present in many of the autoimmune diseases where it has been looked for.

Traditionally autoimmune conditions are treated with anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressants, and steroids. But these medications do not treat the root cause of the illness. It’s like having the “check engine” light turned off on your car without your mechanic actually checking on what’s wrong.

Here are six steps you can take to heal your autoimmune disease:



1. Heal your gut

Increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome occurs when the intestinal lining is damaged, allowing partially digested proteins, bacteria, and toxins to enter your bloodstream. This puts your immune system on high alert and ramps up the inflammation in your body to help fight these “invaders.” Keeping your gut lining healthy is critical to calming your immune system and healing your disease.2

2. Eliminate foods that trigger your immune system

  • Wheat
  • Processed sugar
  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Grains
  • Nightshades: tomato, potato, peppers, eggplant

3. Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients

Your cells need proper nutrition to carry out their necessary functions. Without them, they begin to break down and can’t perform their jobs effectively. This is when disease begins to occur. Prioritize foods that provide plenty of vitamin A, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.3 If you are not able to meet your nutrient needs from food, consider supplementation.

4. Calm inflammation

Lifestyle factors such as stress, poor sleep, blood sugar dysregulation, and stressful relationships and dietary factors such as food sensitivities, processed foods, and leaky gut all contribute to inflammation. Addressing and correcting these issues is crucial to regaining your health.

5. Practice relaxation and stress management

Up to 80% of patients report exceptionally high levels of emotional or psychological stress just prior to the onset of their autoimmune disease.4 Unfortunately stress causes disease and in turn the disease causes stress which creates a vicious cycle. Effective stress management is important when dealing with any illness.

6. Reduce toxin exposure

There is a well-established link between exposure to toxins and the development of autoimmune diseases.5 These include heavy metals, prescription medications, smoking, and UV radiation. Minimizing your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins by examining your personal care products, cleaning products, and prioritizing organic produce when possible will help you in your healing journey. You can check the safety your personal care products using the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

If you suffer from an autoimmune illness, working with a functional or holistic practitioner can be beneficial in helping you to maximize your healing and reverse your illness.

About: Martha Rosenstein, FNP is a Family Nurse Practitioner with over 9 years of clinical experience in women’s health and functional medicine. She currently works with patients online offering health consultations and coaching for a variety of conditions, but her passion is helping those with chronic or autoimmune illness reverse their disease and heal their bodies. Martha has an ebook, The 30 Day Energy Reset: 5 Simple Steps to End Your Exhaustion for Good. You can also visit her website: www.marthaflorence.com and connect with her on social media: Facebook and Instagram.


References:

  1. American Autoimmune Related Disorders Association. (n.d.) Autoimmune disease statistics. Retrieved from https://www.aarda.org/news-information/statistics/#1488234345468-3bf2d325-1052
  2. Fasano, A. (2012). Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, 42, 71-78. doi: 10.1007/s12016-011-8291-x.
  3. Myers, Amy. (2017). 6 Key nutrient deficiencies linked to autoimmunity. Retrieved from https://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/01/6-key-nutrient-deficiencies-linked-autoimmunity-2/
  4. Stojanovich, L., & Marisavljevich, D. (2008). Stress as a trigger to autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity Reviews, 7, 209-213. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2007.11.007
  5. Pollard, K.M., Hultman, P., & Kono, D.H. (2010). Toxicology of autoimmune diseases. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 23, 455-466. doi: 10.1021/tx

2 comments :

fateefa johnson said...

And check out low dose naltrexone. It's an immune system modulator. Lots of research going on, of it's effect on many diseases.

Unknown said...

I suggested you'r tips to my friend and it was really effective. She was diagnosed by Scleroderma last year when autoimmune disorder test was done.

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