Autoimmune diseases, despite being confusing and complex, can actually be helped by supplements in some cases. Many start using supplements for autoimmune diseases to get a certain level of relief and to manage symptoms. However, some supplements for autoimmune diseases are more useful than others and others should actually be avoided completely.
A holistic approach to an autoimmune disease can be beneficial. The following are the best supplements for autoimmune disease
and supporting autoimmune health.
Why Supplements are Helpful for Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system essentially attacks itself. In this process, the body destroys healthy cells. A healthy immune system produces antibodies – the job of which is to attack foreign invaders. In autoimmune disease, those antibodies attack its own tissues, organs, and cells.
Why are supplements helpful for autoimmune disease? Approximately 80% of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and dementia are affected by lifestyle choices including certain foods. Nutritional supplementation is one lifestyle choice that can have a profound impact on autoimmune diseases and conditions. They can regulate the body’s inflammatory response, help with pain caused by chronic diseases, improve gut health and nerve health, and balance any nutrient deficiencies.
Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease
In a healthy body, autoantibodies are kept under control through immune function. However, when an autoimmune disease development occurs, whether this is through genetic predisposition or environmental factors, these autoantibodies malfunction.
Below are the best supplements for autoimmune diseases, immune system function, and chronic illness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-2 fatty acids are also known as essential fatty acids and are absolutely crucial for human and immune system health. The nutrients found in omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate physiological processes in the body including the inflammatory response, brain function, and metabolism.
A study found that omega-3 fatty acids
help to protect against rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. For example, fish oil, in particular, has been beneficial for those with chronic inflammatory issues. The benefits to brain function also make omega-3 supportive for those who suffer from brain fog due to their chronic illness.
Certain foods include omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flax seeds, seaweed, and tuna. Supplementation in a pill form is also possible for vegans
, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike.
Vitamin D is essential to the body’s health and function. It plays a crucial role in immunologic and metabolic processes. Studies have found that
there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and the development of certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Chron’s disease.
Vitamin D also works with other vitamins such as vitamin A to decrease the inflammatory response of helper T cells. It is these helper T cells that are overactive in common autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin but can also be found in foods such as eggs, beef liver and salmon. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for many people, especially those living in colder climates with less sun.
Curcumin is the compound best known for giving turmeric its yellow colour. It has become increasingly popular in recent years for its health benefits, including its ability to reduce inflammation. It has antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties so much so that it is considered a good alternative to anti-inflammatory diseases.
Trials have been conducted that show that curcumin can reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis as well as help symptoms of lupus. Inflammatory symptoms such as muscle stiffness, fatigue, and joint pain can also be helped with the use of curcumin.
Foods that contain curcumin are ginger, turmeric, and mango. However, it can have side effects such as bloating and nausea and should be avoided if somebody suffers from ulcers.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in the defence system of the body. In fact, it is the primary detoxifier in the body and heavily impacts our entire health. Glutathione is made of three amino acids – cysteine, glutamate, and glycine and is concentrated in the liver.
The antioxidant defence system is normally lacking in those with chronic inflammatory diseases which makes maintaining glutathione levels even more important for those with chronic inflammation and other autoimmune diseases.
Glutathione levels can be depleted by medication, illnesses, stress, and inadequate nutrition. Those with multiple sclerosis, lupus, Chron’s, and rheumatoid arthritis have inflammation and oxidative stress. Supplementing glutathione can help with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
The amino acid N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used in medicine for a long time because of its antioxidative properties. In particular, NAC has been found to reduce TCE-triggered oxidative stress and reduce autoimmunity markers.
TCE can be found in common household products such as cleaning wipes, paint, and stain removers. Being exposed to TCE can be made less harmful by NAC, for this reason.
NAC can be found in lentils, eggs, grass-fed meat, and tuna. NAC supplements can also be found and are highly recommended for those with high inflammatory markers.
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex is a group of vitamins that have been shown to help maintain optimal health. B vitamins can help to maintain a healthy gut, supporting metabolism and preventing the growth of negative bacteria. For this reason, these vitamins are great for those with inflammatory bowel disease – one of the most common autoimmune diseases.
As well as gut health, B vitamins are also beneficial for those with multiple sclerosis. Vitamin B deficiency can damage the protective layer of fat that keeps nerves healthy.
For those with gut and nerve issues or an autoimmune disease such as Chron’s Vitamin B dietary supplements are highly recommended. Foods such as broccoli, cabbage, oysters, and nutritional yeast also contain Vitamin B complex.
Can the Best Supplements for Allergies Also Help with Autoimmune Disease?
For individuals with autoimmune diseases, finding the best allergy supplements suggested can also offer relief. Certain natural supplements like quercetin, probiotics, and vitamin D have been found to help with both allergies and autoimmune conditions by modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Zinc is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system but it is estimated that 30% of people worldwide have a zinc deficiency. This is particularly a problem as zinc deficiency can increase inflammation and gastrointestinal problems. It also makes those with an autoimmune disease more vulnerable to infections.
Zinc plays a vital role in immune system function by protecting cells from free radical damage and fighting off viruses. This is especially important for those with an autoimmune disease.
A poor diet with a lack of zinc can affect immune health, which is why natural supplements are recommended. Mushrooms, spinach, and oysters also contain zinc.
Taking supplements for an autoimmune disease can be effective in reducing symptoms and improving overall autoimmune health. However, it is always important to consider individual needs and biological functions as well as the potential for supplements for autoimmune diseases to interact negatively with medications.
Maintaining a healthy gut and improving digestive function are important when you start taking supplements for autoimmune diseases. A healthy digestive system enables the body to absorb the nutrients.
Incorporating the mentioned supplements for autoimmune disease can help with optimising overall health, reducing inflammation, and promoting healthy aging. Research suggests that these supplements can help with supporting immune system function, improving gut and nerve health, reducing brain fog, and lowering autoimmune markers. These should complement exercise, nutrition, and medication and a healthcare provider should always be consulted before starting a new regime.
What are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system wrongly attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease.
Can supplements help manage autoimmune diseases?
While supplements can’t cure autoimmune diseases, they may help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Should I take supplements in addition to prescribed medications?
It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your treatment plan. Supplements should not be used as a replacement for prescribed medications, but rather as a complementary approach.
Some supplements can interact with medications or cause adverse effects. Some supplements, like echinacea, may stimulate the immune system and could potentially worsen autoimmune symptoms. It’s essential to discuss potential risks and benefits with a healthcare professional to ensure the supplements are safe and appropriate for your specific condition.
Are there dietary changes that can complement supplement use for autoimmune diseases?
Yes, a balanced diet that is low in processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates and rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can be helpful for managing autoimmune diseases. Your healthcare provider, such as a rheumatologist or immunologist, can recommend a specific diet or supplements based on your condition and individual needs.
How long should I take supplements for autoimmune disease management?
The duration of supplement use varies based on the individual and their condition. Your healthcare provider will provide guidance on the recommended duration and may periodically reassess your needs.