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Autoimmune Center

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Wellness Plan | Pharmacist Recommendations | Related Health Concerns | Additional Information

General Health Information

The immune system is a highly sophisticated defense system that attacks and removes dangerous bacteria, viruses, cancerous cells, and many other undesirable substances and organisms from our body. Sometimes our immune system goes awry and mistakenly attacks our own tissues, resulting in a variety of what we call autoimmune disorders. When the immune system attacks bones and joints, we develop rheumatoid arthritis. When the immune system attacks a variety of our body?s organs, we develop a chronic inflammatory disease known as lupus. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are closely related conditions.

Other autoimmune disorders include chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, two closely related disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome probably has some autoimmune components to it, as well. All of these disorders are complex, so we cannot pinpoint their exact origins. But the latest theories indicate that they all seem to involve defects in the immune system, hence are called autoimmune disorders.

Many of the symptoms of these autoimmune disorders overlap and so do their treatments. Since many of these disorders have food allergy triggers, it is important to eat a healthy well-balanced hypoallergenic diet. Avoid food allergens, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. A healthy lifestyle, with moderate exercise, helps in general to support a good energy level.

More specifically, chronic fatigue sufferers are usually nutritionally deficient, especially magnesium deficient. Daily vitamin and mineral supplementation helps greatly. Siberian ginseng is an immunomodulating herb that may be useful in chronic fatigue. Licorice may be beneficial in supporting the depleted adrenals of chronic fatigue sufferers. Avoid hypoglycemic-inducing sugar and adrenal-depleting caffeine, too.

Fibromyalgia sufferers are also usually low in magnesium, so magnesium supplementation is beneficial. They are also generally low in levels of serotonin. Supplementing with 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) can help to raises low serotonin levels, and aid sleep, too. St. John?s wort also raises serotonin levels, and fights depression at the same time.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is often helped by increasing fiber intake. Sufferers should also eliminate food allergens, processed foods, and sugar from their diets. Peppermint oil may help those with irritable bowels because it inhibits smooth muscle action to reduce gastro-intestinal spasms. Lactobacillus and other probiotics are also helpful in restoring normal intestinal flora. (See our Digestive Health wellness center for additional information.)

The inflammatory nature of rheumatoid arthritis is often diminished by curcumin, bromelain, and ginger. Fish oil, high in omega-3 fatty acids, is also helpful as an anti-inflammatory in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Avoid nightshade plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Lupus sufferers also benefit greatly with the anti-inflammatory actions of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Individuals with lupus generally have low levels of antioxidants. Supplementing with antioxidants rich in vitamins C and E, betacarotene, and selenium may be helpful in cases of lupus.

Wellness Plan

  • Balanced diet
  • Moderate exercise
  • Avoid sugar and caffeine
  • Avoid food allergens and processed foods
  • Pharmacist’s Supplement Recommendations:
    • Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements  - all are important, but especially magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamins C & E, betacarotene, pantothenic acid
    • Herbs and Phytonutrients - Siberian ginseng, licorice, St. John’s wort, peppermint oil, boswellia, turmeric (curcumin), bromelain, ginger, devil’s claw, 5-HTP, L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, gamma linolenic acid, gamma oryzanol, fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
    • Fiber - soluble and insoluble
    • Antioxidants - vitamins C & E, selenium, betacarotene, grape seed extract

Wellness Centers Related to Autoimmune

Allergy Arthritis
Bones and Joints Digestive
Endocrine and Glandular Pain and Headaches

Additional Information on Autoimmune

  • Understanding Autoimmune Diseases - detailed information from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Understanding the Immune System - detailed information from the National Cancer Institute