Over 80 different diseases occur that involve the disruption of the normal functioning immune system. The cases worldwide are on the rise. It is time everyone focuses on eradicating the underlying causes and not just treatments that work only some of the time and for only some individuals.

Here is a list of the things you can do right away to reduce inflammation. These are beneficial to those with autoimmune conditions, but also good for anyone with joint pain or stiffness.  Then see below for the list of causes.

Cetyl-myristoleate (from beef tallow). This product is sold in supplement form and is getting great results as it lubricates the joints and modulates the immune system. Very promising.

Curcumin. Strong anti-inflammatory and modulates the immune system. It specifically blocks some of the inflammatory pathways in autoimmune conditions. The form with lipids such as phosphatidylcholine, is best for absorption into the blood stream to reach the joints and tissues. For colitis or Celiac, curcumin that is not absorbed as well is best as it will work directly on the gastrointestinal lining.

Boswellia.  Another wonderful plant proving to be very anti-inflammatory and modulates the immune system.. Dosing of both curcumin and boswellia must be high at first, then you can reduce when inflammation improves. They work synergistically. As always check with your holistically minded physician to see if these are right for you, especially if you are on prescription medications.

AutoImmune Paleo diet – aka AIP Diet is a strict anti-inflammatory diet that has proven to improve the symptoms of autoimmune conditions.  The premise is to eliminate all foods that tend to aggravate the immune system. Thanks to Unbound Wellness for the pdf!

Heal the gut lining.  Most people with autoimmune will notice that foods bother them, and makes their symptoms more pronounced, like having more pain for example. This is due to the poor integrity of the gut lining, some call this ‘leaky gut’.  There are many formulas out there claiming to heal leaky gut.  To heal the gut is wonderful but there can be many causative factors to this, and if they are not addressed, you get no where. Factors such as yeast or bad bacteria, lack of good bacteria, lack of good fiber in the diet, eating toxic foods, stress and many others can be involved.  I would need to talk to you to decide what would be best for you.  It is likely that everyone needs a slightly different approach. 

Fasting.  I have not had one autoimmune patient who did not benefit from periodic fasting.  Even one day per week of water only fasting can be enough to dramatically improve your condition. Thank you to our naturopathic predecessors!  It makes sense, the body gets to utilize the energy that would have gone to digestive processes, for growth, repair, rejuvenation of the body. Stay tuned for more blogs on fasting!

While you are getting the inflammation under control, you can explore the underlying causes that might be at play.

5 Underlying causes

In autoimmune there is likely one or more of the following contributing factors at play.  Sometimes there is a genetic cause, but not always. Even if there is a genetic cause, getting rid of other causes will still help quite a bit. Of course if one is eating a diet including processed foods and few fruits/veggies, this needs to be corrected. The AIP diet is a great place to start.

  1. Chronic infections – this can be tested in the blood.  When the body is constantly dealing with infections, the immune system is taxed and cannot do as well at it’s normal job.  Chronic infections are the kind that are virtually impossible to eradicate completely. When the immune system is compromised, or the body is weak, these infections become more active and drain the system of vital resources. These are Epstein-barr/Mono, HHV6, Shingles, Herpes 1 and 2, Strep, Mycoplasma and CMV. 
  2. Heavy Metals.  These can poison and block the proper functioning immune system. Heavy metals include Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, Aluminum, Cadmium, Uranium and others.  Once found via urine test, the process of chelation (getting rid of the metals) can begin safely. This involves time and supplementation specifically to pull out each of the heavy metals. Here is a handout on the High Mercury content of certain fish.
  3. Environmental toxins.  These are pesticides, insecticides, solvents, plastics, glues, exhaust, chemical fertilizers and more.  Again, once a urine test is done, the process of eliminating these can take place with time and supplementation.  The best thing for these is usually Liposomal Glutathione supplementation, far infrared sauna, and colonic hydrotherapy. Here is a Tips to Avoid Toxins handout for you.
  4. Optimizing gut health.  Stool testing can be done to see what are the ‘bad bugs’ and or parasites in your system, then we can kill them and replenish with good bacteria.  The good bacteria is the immune system’s first line defense.  A good probiotic will be multistrain, and have at least 25 billion per cap, and be enteric coated.  Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete caps is a good one. **In the case of Ankylosing Spondylitis, a ‘bad bacteria’ called Klebsiella Pneumoniae is commonly found in their stool. 
  5. Food Allergies.  If in fact you have food allergies, food will exacerbate your autoimmune or inflammatory symptoms. If this is the case, then it’s best to do an IgG blood test to determine which foods you have reactions to, and heal the gut lining.  You may be asking, why does my food bother my joints? Food allergies happen when the gut lining is porous or ‘leaky’, so the larger foreign particles of food cross from the gut into the blood and the natural immune system attacks it and forms a large complex around it and this large complex deposits in the joints and causes pain. Once you eliminate the food and heal the gut lining, many find their pain and inflammation decreases significantly.

Hope this helps! 

Image credit: https://panaxlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/5-Underlying-Causes-to-Autoimmune-Disease-1024×683.jpg