Autoimmune disorders can be difficult to understand, and even more difficult to treat. These disorders comprise a variety of sometimes painful conditions that result from an overactive immune system.
In addition to immunosuppressive medications, diet can act as a powerful tool to manage these troublesome conditions. In order to understand how diet can impact autoimmune disorders, it's important to understand what these disorders are, how they affect the body and how different elements of the diet can affect the development and progression of such disorders.
What is an autoimmune disorder?
Part of the body’s natural means of protecting itself is the immune system. When presented with a foreign substance or microbial invader, the immune system responds by producing antibodies and taking specific actions to neutralize, or eliminate, the offending parties. In order to properly fulfill this function, the immune system must be able to accurately distinguish between self and non-self.
An autoimmune disorder develops when the body improperly recognizes a part of itself as non-self and responds as if it were a foreign influence. These disorders can result in the total destruction of bodily tissues, abnormal growth of an organ or changes in the effectiveness or style of the function of an organ or system. In some cases, such as Hashimoto's disease, the attack is limited to a specific tissue (in this case the thyroid), however it's also possible for the disorder to affect several organs, tissues or systems simultaneously. In addition, the development of one autoimmune disorder often places a person at risk of developing others. Some other examples of autoimmune disorders include celiac disease, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
How do I know if I have autoimmune disorder?
Unfortunately, autoimmune disorders are often misdiagnosed, as many of the symptoms can be similar to other diseases. It's important to mention all of the symptoms one may be experiencing to health professionals, even if they appear to be unconnected. It's also prudent to seek out a second or even a third opinion, as another practitioner may pick up on an important detail that was previously overlooked.
Can diet really help my autoimmune disorder?
Research has demonstrated that diet can have a tremendous impact on the course of certain autoimmune disorders, both for the positive and negative. By eating the right combination of foods, one can influence the body to recognize itself and foreign influences properly. Some of the diet recommendations commonly given include:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Consuming fatty fish (such as salmon or mackerel) three times per week, or taking fish oil supplements can quickly increase your body’s supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil is another option. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can offset the effects of autoimmune disorders.
This “vitamin” is actually a prohormone which exerts a number of regulatory effects on the immune system. Ten to 20 minutes a day of direct sunlight is the best source, however supplementation can benefit those whose vitamin D levels are very low, or do not have regular access to sunlight. Certain foods, such as milk and orange juice, may also be supplemented with vitamin D.
This vitamin can help to stabilize immune cells which are causing inappropriate destruction of tissues. Excellent sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale.
Understanding Food Sensitivities:
Underlying food sensitivities can ramp up the immune system and exacerbate autoimmune reactions elsewhere in the body. Common food allergens include wheat, corn and soy. Keep in mind the body can have a negative reaction to food without developing a full-blown allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis. More mild symptoms of food sensitivities include abdominal pain after eating, gas and bloating, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and lack of mental clarity. Limiting exposure to food allergens, and/or eliminating the allergic response can help to reduce the severity of autoimmune conditions.
There are many benefits to eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, one of which is the reduction of autoimmune symptoms. If diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, be sure to consult with a health professional about how using diet as a tool can help with managing symptoms.
Products you may like:
Now Foods C-1000 Sustained Release Why you may like this product? Each tablet provides 1,000 mg
of vitamin C in a sustained
release formula antioxidant
protection in a once-daily
formula. This supplement also
includes the added benefit of
rose hips for additional
immune system support.
New Chapter Wholemega Whole Fish Oil Why you may like this product? Only 100 percent wild caught
Alaskan salmon are used to
create this extra virgin fish
oil supplement. You also get
the added benefits of omega-6
and omega-9 fatty acids as
well as vitamin D.
Garden of Life Perfect Food RAW Organic Original Why you may like this product? Sometimes you can't get all
the servings of fresh fruits
and vegetables you need daily.
This mix is made from powdered
raw, organic juices that
dissolve completely in water
so you get all the nutrients
without the grit. This green
drink is also dairy-free and
Stop Sickness With Our Immunity-Boosting Kit Looking for the winning combination to knock out your cold or flu? Our
staff members get the sniffles, too and have put our top-selling
products to the test. Find out which immunity boosters can really help
your body fight back.
10 Important Facts About Meningitis With news of a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis dominating the
news, many are wondering what the tell-tale signs of this rapidly
progressing disease are. Learn more about meningitis and how to
protect yourself and your family.
eVitamins Peru, Derechos de Autor 1999-2018. Todos Los Derechos Reservados
Las declaraciones hechas sobre vitaminas, suplementos, procedimientos u otros artículos vendidos a través de este sitio web no han sido evaluadas por eVitamins o por la Food and Drug Administration de Estados Unidos. Éstos están destinados para diagnosticar, tratar, curar o prevenir enfermedades. La información proporcionada en este sitio es sólo para fines informativos. Como siempre, por favor consulte con un médico o un médico autorizado antes de comenzar cualquier dieta, ejercicio o suplementos, antes de tomar cualquier vitamina o medicamento, o si usted tiene o sospecha que puede tener un problema.