The American Autoimmune-Related Diseases Association reported that even 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. These diseases develop when the immune system does not recognize healthy cells and decides they are harmful to the body.
Therefore, it attacks the healthy cells, and some other types of body tissue. There are 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, which fluctuate between periods of remission, causing no or few symptoms and flare-ups with worsening signs.
At the moment, these diseases are treated with methods focused on symptom relief, since there is no cure.
Autoimmune diseases usually run in families, and studies who that genetics only account for one-third of the factors that cause these diseases.
They can often be caused by diet, lifestyle, and environmental triggers, meaning that people who suffer from autoimmune disease might be able to alleviate the inflammatory attacks and try to put their autoimmune response into remission.
Dr. William Cole, a specialist in functional medicine and clinical nutrition, compiled a list of 5 nutrients which can be of great help in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, as they can fight the disease and eventually treat the issue.
These are the 5 foods he suggests:
The lack of micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, and magnesium is often linked to several autoimmune diseases, as the chronic inflammation is reduced due to the absorption of these nutrients.
They are vital for the healthy production of the thyroid hormone, and thyroid issues are among the most common autoimmune conditions. Nuts, seeds, and Brazil nuts are rich sources of micronutrients.
- Vitamin K2
The deficiency in this vitamin is common in people who consume the Western diet. The Journal of Neuroimmunology published a study that Vitamin K2 effectively inhibits the pro-inflammatory iNOS in the spinal cord and the brain immune systems – a gene which is controlled by various inflammatory mediators.
It is best to combine this vitamin with other fat-soluble vitamins like A and D, and it can be consumed through grass-fed oil and Natto, which is a Japanese superfood made from soybeans.
- Vitamin D
This vitamin is of high importance for numerous metabolic and immunological pathways in the body, such as Th17 cells. Th17 cells help T-cells that release inflammatory chemicals.
In the case of an autoimmune disease, theTh17 cells are uncontrolled, but studies have shown that vitamin D dampens the Th17 inflammatory response.
You should consume animal and dairy fats to increase the levels of this vitamin in the body, and you should also spend more time out in the sun.
- Vitamin A
The deficiency in this vitamin has been related to certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Experts suggest that Vitamin A helps regulate a “calm down” message to the immune system, which can tone down excessive immune responses that can harm the body.
You can consume it through animal products like liver, fish, shellfish, while carrots and sweet potatoes include plant carotenes, which is a precursor to Vitamin A.
The lack of iron in the body leads to numerous autoimmune diseases, as a large amount of stored iron is absorbed in the intestines, and the leaky gut syndrome and the damage of the gut lining are believed to be preconditions for autoimmunity. Iron-rich foods are spinach and grass-fed beef.
Furthermore, Dr. Cole suggests the following tips in case you are suffering from an autoimmune disease
- You should avoid trigger foods
- Try natural remedies to treat your issue
- Check the levels of nutrients in your body
- You should consider functional medicine evaluation
- Check if you have absorption problems