How to Manage Autoimmune Conditions - dummies

How to Manage Autoimmune Conditions

By Wendy Warner, Kellyann Petrucci

Part of Boosting Your Immunity For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Autoimmune disorders, like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, are much more prevalent in women than in men and tend to run in families. Although these conditions all look different, what they have in common is an overactive immune system that can no longer distinguish “self” from “non-self.” When this reaction gets triggered, it’s hard to make it completely go away, but you can do the following to modify the course of the disease and minimize any damage:

  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods. Foods like fatty fish, loads of brightly colored vegetables, and minimally processed foods go a long way toward slowing down the immune system’s overreaction.

  • Avoid gluten. Research shows that continuing to eat gluten stokes the fire of inflammation in those with autoimmune conditions and leads to further cell damage.

  • Adjust the proteins you eat. Arachidonic acid, found only in animal products, is inflammatory. Less of this acid exists in red meat than in chicken and even less in fish, turkey, and pork.

  • Balance your hormones. If your estrogen and progesterone are out of balance, they push the immune system to overreact in women who have autoimmune conditions. Work with a holistic practitioner to lower that estrogen!

  • Get the mercury out of your life. Mercury has specifically been shown to stimulate the immune system in a negative way, so if your old dental amalgams are cracked, get them out of your mouth.

  • Supplement with fish oil, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatories, such as turmeric, rosemary, and green tea. These supplements all work to improve immune function directly as well as lower inflammation. Better immune function and less inflammation means less autoimmunity.