Auto Immune Disease occurs when the bodies immune system dysfunctions. There are ways in which symptoms can be managed, easing inflammation and calming the overactive immune response.
There are 4 key areas to focus upon when embarking toward a supplement plan for reducing Immune Dysfunction.
- Gut Health – as 70% of our immune system is in the gut, it is the sensible first place to begin treatment for any ill health.
- Pain and Inflammation – are two main symptoms of Immune Dysfunction, and as they can affect both lifestyle and state of mind.
- Regulating Immune Function – as Immune System functionality is compromised in Auto Immune Diseases, it makes sense to focus upon balancing its activity and regulating its role within the body.
- Fatigue – is another symptom of Immune Dysfunction that greatly affects both lifestyle and state of mind. Fatigue limits the body’s ability to cope with stress, fight infections and it hinders optimum restoration.
Gut Health The first line of defence for any illness, and especially Auto Immune Diseases, is to address any gut dysfunction; this includes conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).
A healthy gut means you will be more likely to have a healthy immune system, adequate absorption of essential nutrients and lowered levels of inflammation.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition that quite commonly goes undiagnosed, and occurs when the permeability of the gut wall becomes increased, allowing larger particles than usual to cross the gut wall into the blood stream. This can trigger an immune response within the body.
SIBO is another commonly undiagnosed disorder, that may lead to syndromes such as Leaky Gut and Irritable Bowel. It occurs when bacteria that usually reside in the large intestine, have been able to proliferate above normal levels within the small intestine. These bacteria produce gas, causing bloating, pain and damage to the delicate lining of the intestine. This leads to malabsorption of nutrients, and an array of other symptoms.
There are supplements that support healthy gut function and these include Pre-biotics, Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes.
Pre-biotics – are an undigestible type of fibre called ‘oligosaccharides’, that serve as nourishment for our beneficial Probiotics, there by helping to balance harmful bacteria and toxins, improving digestion and the overall health of the intestinal lining, leading to enhanced immune function, and lowered levels of inflammation. Slippery Elm (Ulums fulva) is a good choice for a pre biotic. Powdered form is recommended as the benefits can then be felt the entire way along the digestive tract. Its mucilaginous texture can soothe and calm symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn, as well as provide all the benefits discussed above. Psyllium Husks – are another source of pre-biotics, with the added benefit of insoluble fibre to ease constipation and diarrhoea, as well as lowering cholesterol levels.
Probiotics – these are the good bacteria that reside in the gut – ‘Natural Flora’- feasting on any undigested particles cleaning up the gut lining, keeping suspect bacteria in check and increasing overall good health and immunity
Pain and Inflammation Pain and Inflammation tend to go hand in hand, as usually where there is pain there will be inflammation. Chronic Inflammation is often the root cause of many health issues, and is a symptom of Auto Immune Diseases. Inflammation is not always bad as it is the bodies natural defence against damaged cells, bacteria, viruses and so on, aiming to rid the body of these invaders; however when inflammation becomes chronic due to Immune System Dysfunction it causes pain and disruption to daily life.
There are supplements that can help to lower inflammation, there by easing pain; and others that are analgesic and specific for pain relief.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)– are an anti-inflammatory supplement that have been shown to decease chronic inflammatory disease activity (2) Liquid Omega-3’s are a good way to source this amount of EPA in a smaller dose, more cost effective way – 5mL daily can be taken in juice or food to reduce inflammation.
Herbs in supplement form are another way to fight inflammation – Curcumin (Curcuma longa), Boswelia (Bosweila serrata) and Withania (Withania somnifera) all exhibit specific anti-inflammatory properties (3), Curcumin has added anti-oxidant benefits. White Willow (Salix alba) and and Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) also have analgesic properties as well as being anti-inflammatory.
N.B. Caution when taking Curcumin, Ginger and Willow if you are on anticoagulant or anti-platelet medication as these may increase the potential of spontaneous bleeding – seek the advice of your Naturopath or Doctor.
Regulating Immune Function Balancing the function of an overactive Immune System will greatly help to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation, and reduce the severity of Auto Immune Disorders. Along with gut health there are other specific supplements that can help to modulate an overactive immune response.
Vitamins C & D3 – both are beneficial to regulating immune activity by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems (4, 5). Insufficient levels of these Vitamins can lead to Immune System Dysfunction.
Herbs for regulating Immunity include Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) and Hemidesmus (Hemidesmus indicus) both of these herbs have immunosuppressant qualities assisting the body to balance out immune system overactivity (6).
N.B. Caution when using herbs – Always consult with your health care professional.
Fatigue. When the body is fatigued it struggles to cope with normal everyday functioning and everyday life becomes hard and sometimes impossible. Specifically adrenal fatigue is something to also mention here, as when the adrenals are fatigued it can lead to body aches and pains, general fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive issues.
Here are some examples of supplements that can help with fatigue and exhaustion.
B Vitamin Complex – B vitamins are well known for their ability to help us when we are stressed, low in energy and struggling to cope. They help all of the bodies cells to function optimally, and are especially good at getting energy into our cells.
Vitamin C – as an essential vitamin (meaning the body can not make it on its own, we need to consume it). Vitamin C plays a role in more than just immunity, it helps the body to absorb iron, and regenerates connective tissues such as skin and bones.
Herbs – there are some herbs that can assist with fatigue and specifically adrenal fatigue.
Adaptogenic herbs help the body to adapt to stressors and cope better, Withania (Withania somnifera) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) both do this and are excellent herbs for chronic illness and convalescence.
Adrenal Support herbs include Rehmannia(Rehmannia glutinosa) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) both herbs have the ability to help the adrenal glands to restore and recover after times of stress.
There will be a different regime of supplements that are suitable for different Auto-Immune Conditions, and for each unique situation. Work with your Natural Therapist and your Doctor to find a plan that gives you relief.
Cody is running a series of Auto Immune talks at the Healthful Pantry, Warners Bay.
The next talk is on 13th March, 2018 at 6.30pm
In this talk Reduce Autoimmune Symptoms using Natural Supplements Cody will discuss which herb or vitamin is best and when and how to safely take these supplements if you are on medication. She will show you how to gain symptomatic relief using natural methods.
You will walk away with practical advice you can start to implement today!
Arrive 6pm (for a 6.30pm start)
Cost $10 per person BOOK HERE
The talk will last 1 hour and handouts will be provided.
Future talks will focus on holistic therapies for management of AD and protecting people who are genetically susceptible to disease development such as children.
A.Vieria et al, (2013), Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in inducing gut Immunity.
A.Simopoulos, (2002), Omega-3 far acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Bharat.B etal. (2011), Identification of Novel Anti-inflammatory Agents from Ayurvedic Medicine for prevention of Chronic Disease
C.Aranow, (2012), Vitamin D and the Immune System.
A.Carr & S.Maggini, (2017), Vitamin C and Immune Function.
Zampieron et al, (2012) Natural Support for Autoimmune Inflammatory Disease.