Autoimmune Diseases and Inflammation

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What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease results when the immune system gets out of control and mistakes the body’s cells as foreign invaders, attacks them as it would a virus, and causes damage to healthy tissues. The job of the immune system is to protect you from disease and fight off infections, but when it starts attacking its own healthy cells it becomes a real problem. Researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have noticed that autoimmune diseases are on the rise and aren’t sure why. In particular: lupus, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. Studies in the past have shown that factors such as environment and genetics play a role in autoimmune disease development. Our rapidly changing environment may be to blame for the increasing rates.

Who can develop an autoimmune disease?

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Anyone can develop an autoimmune disease at any time in their life. Genetics has been shown to play a role, therefore some people may be more prone to developing certain diseases than others. In other situations, a viral infection such as mononucleosis, may be enough to trigger the onset of an autoimmune disease.

There are over 80 autoimmune diseases and one variable that nearly all of them have in common is inflammation. Controlling inflammation is so important and aside from prescription medication, nutrition can play a huge role. Anti-inflammatory diets typically consist of fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), healthy fats (oils), fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits (full of antioxidants). Foods to avoid include: processed foods, foods high in saturated fats and sugars.

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Studies have been done on meatless diets such as vegan and vegetarian, and the effectiveness in reducing inflammation, pain, and morning stiffness. In a small study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2015, on a vegan diet, the C-reactive protein was greatly reduced in participants after only three weeks. In another study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2010, 53 participants followed a vegan diet for three and a half months. The participants experienced improvement in tender/ swollen joints, morning stiffness, and grip strength compared to the control group. Even after a year, and transitioning to a lacto-vegetarian diet, they continued to see improvement in symptoms. One downfall to vegan and vegetarian diets are deficiencies in vitamins such as B-12, which is plentiful in meat. It’s important to mention to your doctor if you do decide to cut meat out entirely, so they can monitor your B-12 levels if needed.    

Supplementation:

So, you’re implementing an anti-inflammatory diet and want to add in something extra to fight inflammation, here are a few options!

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Boswellia

  • Supports joint health and mobility

  • Natural anti-inflammation support

  • Supports healthy immune function

  • Assists in curbing joint pain

  • Supports a stronger metabolism

Curcu-Gel® (curcumin)

  • Helps maintain healthy joints

  • Supports cardiovascular health

  • Supports a healthy immune system

  • Helps neutralize damaging free radicals

  • Assists the body's natural response to inflammation

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Omega-Gel® (fish oil)

  • Omega-3 from wild caught fish

  • Highly purified Omega-3*

  • High potency - 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA

  • Promotes heart health

  • Supports brain cell function

  • Contains anti-inflammatory properties

  • Assists healthy cholesterol levels

  • Promotes healthy immune function