Auto-immune diseases

An auto-immune disorder is one in which the body’s immune system attacks itself. There is still a lot of conjecture around what is the cause/s of auto-immunity, although it is widely thought to have an infectious origin, as almost all autoimmune diseases have now been linked to infectious causes. One theory is, that it is possible that the auto-immunity has been caused by the original infection NOT being completely resolved.

Examples of common auto-immune conditions are SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), Rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, Grave’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis. All these can be very unpleasant and debilitating and are not the easiest of ailments to treat.
However I have seen improvement in many patients using the following type of regime.

– An effort needs to be made to improve the immune status of the body as a whole as in my view, it is the only way in which the body can protect itself. (This has always been my own personal belief but is admittedly the opposite of the more usual immune suppressant treatment proposed by ‘modern’ medicine. However more recently the premise that the immune system is over-active and therefore needs immune suppressants, is being questioned and science is now questioning whether the immune system may be under active rather than over reactive).

The first thing is to make sure that minerals are at the highest possible level
. Take Colloidal minerals all the time, at least 1tbsp daily Stress, illness and pain will always cause levels to drop, so the intake has to be kept high and constant.
See page on ‘Minerals- Facts’ and ‘Minerals- Why we need to Supplement’
Barley grass or Spirulina are also very good supplements and can be taken as well as Colloidal minerals if dietary intake of proteins is inadequate or weight loss is severe.

Secondly use herbs to improve immune function: There are many herbal products that can assist and some have been found to help even when the body is in an extremely debilitated state.  Bacopa is one of these.
Other herbal products include those that incorporate Olive leaf, Andrographis, Echinacea, Astragalus, Phyllanthus, Reishi or Shitake mushroom or Propolis extracts. Many of these can be used in an on-going manner, others are better used as a course every few months.

Herbal treatments can work very well in situations of on-going and severe inflammation. I have found products containing Olive Leaf can reduce pain quite dramatically and it has the added advantage that it also improves the immune system.
Tart Cherry can work wonders in helping ease inflammation and to help promote sleep.

Additionally Evening Primrose Oil used at a rate of 3000mg two to three times daily greatly helps ease inflammation and can be used as needed.

Thirdly, make sure the bowel is functioning well: There is evidence to show the correlation between intestinal malfunction and arthritis (and also I suspect other auto-immune disease). Many of the theories as to the pathogenisis of arthritis and other inflammatory disease include specific bacterial infections and/or an altered intestinal bacterial flora.

Often good results are obtained where a specific probiotic is used to improve bowel flora. See page on Probiotics.
Some Colostrum products also can be excellent for improving the immune status of the bowel.

Improving the diet can make a huge difference to immune status, to the bowel and to inflammatory symptoms.
It is important to make sure that the diet is completely free of all added sugars and refined foods (which significantly promote inflammation and oxidative stress).

– Take food enzymes with each meal. These must be very high in protease in order to make sure that all proteins are fully digested. Partially digested proteins are known in some people to activate an immune response and may be responsible for precipitating inflammation promoting reactions. Also once foods are again being fully digested, weight, if too low, usually starts to increase.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts‘.

In some cases there will be true allergies to such things as tomatoes and their associated family of foods (potatoes, eggplant etc) and to additives such as Sulphites in foods.
Check all food labels.
See page on Sulphite allergy.

These are all very basic recommendations that are needed to regain the body’s strength. However you need to do more than this often to get the pain/inflammation under control.

Increasing fish oils in the diet also helps. Fish oils contain Omega- 3 and have been shown to reduce inflammatory symptoms and morning stiffness. They also contain Vitamin D which has been implicated in the aetiology of RA and other auto-immune diseases.

Flaxseed oil also comes into this category and as well as being mildly anti-inflammatory, helps blood flow around the joints.

Another supplement that I have found works well in many cases is Quercetin, which is very strong anti-oxidant, anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.

Up-dated January 2016