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What is an Autoimmune Disease?

There are 80 known autoimmune diseases in which a broad range of symptoms can manifest in the body. In these cases, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue after a perceived threat from an otherwise normal food source. The most common food sensitives are gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.

Many factors may trigger an individual's immune system to function inappropriately such as infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses, genetics, and lifestyle factors. Although you can't change any predisposition that may make you susceptible to an autoimmune disease, you can change your lifestyle habits beginning with nutrition.

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The Immune System

The human body is naturally designed to detect foreign agents in the body such as toxins or cancer cells. Antibodies are created to seek and destroy these harmful invaders flagged as antigens. Although these foreign antigens are looking to fit in, once the antibody recognizes them as invaders they alarm other cells to attack and remove the antigen immediately.

When the immune system confuses normal antigens with harmful antigens such as gluten, its defense mechanisms maintain the body in a chronic state of inflammation. A cascade of destructive physiological effects occur which potentially leads to abnormal tissue growth or organ dysfunction.

 

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The Auto-Immune Nutrition Plan

 

The following is a list of common autoimmune diseases and autoimmune related disorders compiled by the National Institute of Health (1, 2). Chances are that you may suffer from one of the follow disorders yourself or you know someone who does.

  1. Celiac disease
  2. Type 1 diabetes
  3. Addison's disease
  4. Systemic lupus
  5. Multiple sclerosis
  6. Grave's disease
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Hashimoto's disease
  9. Ulcerative colitis
  10. Scleroderma
  11. Crohn's disease
  12. Chronic Lyme Disease

 

Heal with Dietary Lifestyle Changes

Many of these autoimmune complications are treated using immunosuppressive medications which can put the body at greater risk of harmful infections.

Fortunately, more evidence shows that dietary lifestyle changes can decrease the severity of these symptoms, halt the progression of disease and possibly prevent the problem from occurring from the start

 

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Omega-3 Fats Decrease Inflammation

The average American diet today consists of an unbalance proportion of omega- 3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally the human body requires omega-3 fatty acids in greater concentration because they produce anti-inflammatory effects. Although omega-6 fatty acids are necessary, a higher concentration of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet from processed foods, and high amounts of vegetable oils is associated with an increase in molecules which trigger inflammation. (1, 7)

Individuals with different autoimmune diseases have shown a significant improvement in their symptoms while taking fish oil supplements. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed a 73% decrease in their drug treatment use and 60% of patients who had Crohn's disease experienced a decrease in their relapse rate. (11)

Fatty acids are attributed to decreasing immune mediated inflammation. Fatty acids suppress antibodies that alarm the immune system for defense and improve the signaling pathways of cells which cause inflammation.