Autoimmune disease alternative therapy with diet, vitamins, herbs and supplements, natural treatment
March 12 2017by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
When our body encounters something foreign in its environment it needs to be able to mount an immune response against that substance to protect itself from potential harm. In order to do this effectively it must be able to recognize what is self in order to respond to non-self or foreign. In autoimmune diseases there is a failure to recognize some part of self, with potential serious consequences.
Autoimmune disease disorders result in destruction of one or more types of body tissues, abnormal growth of an organ, or changes in organ function. The disorder may affect only one organ or tissue type or may affect multiple organs and tissues. Organs and tissues commonly affected include blood components such as red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissues, endocrine glands such as the thyroid or pancreas, muscles, joints, and skin. Frequently more than one autoimmune disease will be seen in the same person, as well as an increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.
Autoimmune diseases and severe infections are risk factors for mood disorders overall and for schizophrenia. The immune system has cipro metal taste in mouth also been recognized as playing a role in disorders including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Diet and food selection, role of nutrition, does what we eat influence these diseases?
Does diet have a role in the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis?
Although dietary factors have been extensively studied in many chronic diseases, the role of diet in the epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has received little attention. Fish oil supplementation has consistently been shown to have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of established RA. There is evidence that RA is less severe in the southern Mediterranean countries, such as Italy and Greece, where oil-rich fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil are consumed in greater amounts than in many other countries. Lower intakes of fruit and vegetables and dietary vitamin C are associated with an increased risk of developing metal inflammatory polyarthritis. These findings provide further evidence for a role of diet in the development of inflammatory arthritis. Proceedings Nutrition Soc. 2004.
Sugar-sweetened soda consumption is consistently associated with an increased risk of several chronic inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened soda, but not diet soda, is associated with increased risk of seropositive RA in women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors. Perhaps this may be true in other autoimmune diseases, that sugar consumption can increase the risk or severity of these conditions.
Supplements and herbs that may be useful in autoimmune conditions
Research in this area has just started and my goal is to update you with information on dietary supplements that could be helpful in reducing the severity of an autoimmune disease. Please keep in mind that we know very little at this point and you should consult with your doctor before making any changes in your treatment plans.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007. Curcumin and autoimmune disease. The immune system has evolved to protect the host from microbial infection; nevertheless, a breakdown in the immune system often results in infection, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, myocarditis, thyroiditis, uveitis, systemic lupus erythromatosis, and myasthenia gravis are organ-specific autoimmune diseases that afflict more than 5% of the population worldwide. Although the etiology is not known and a cure is still wanting, the use of herbal and dietary supplements is on the rise in patients with autoimmune diseases, mainly because they are effective, inexpensive, and relatively safe. Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound isolated from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa that has traditionally been used for pain and wound-healing. Recent studies have shown that curcumin ameliorates multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease in human or animal models. Curcumin inhibits these autoimmune diseases by regulating inflammatory cytokines. Although the beneficial effects of nutraceuticals are traditionally achieved through dietary consumption at low levels for long periods of time, the use of purified active compounds such as curcumin at higher doses for therapeutic purposes needs extreme caution.
Vitamin D, how big a role does it play?
Most people think of vitamin D in terms of bone strength. Vitamin D inhibits proinflammatory processes by suppressing the enhanced activity of immune cells that take part in the autoimmune reaction
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