Our bodies require the right nutrition and nutrients to function correctly. When we do not get the proper intake of these things, different functions and responses stop working correctly. Not only does maintaining the right levels of nutrients help strengthen the body’s immune system, but it can also reduce the risks of autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease is a category of conditions classified by a dysfunction in the adaptive immune response, where the body’s immune cell have decided to target it’s own tissue. Its suggested that autoimmunity may be triggered by viral infections, dysbiosis, chronic stress, vaccines, or occupational/environmental exposures, but the full mechanism of action still remains unknown. In response to triggers, the immune system begins to treat healthy tissues as invaders and attacks them. Essential nutrients can help restore balance to the immune system, as well as repair the tissues it damaged. It may also help prevent these conditions from occurring.
Six nutrients people with autoimmune disease seem to lack include:
1. B Vitamins
All of the B vitamins serve important purposes inside our bodies including:
2. Vitamin D
Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. However, most people do not receive enough sun exposure to produce sufficient levels of this important vitamin. Interestingly enough, vitamin D has improperly been named a vitamin, and functions more like a hormone in the body. It helps teach the T-cells how to distinguish between invaders, like viral and bacterial infections, as well as cells that are identified as “self”. As such, it helps prevent the immune system from attacking itself.
Zinc helps support multiple components of our bodies’ immune systems. It works at multiple layers from the skin cells to our lymphocytes. Zinc also works alongside B12 in promoting cell production of white blood cells.
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Most people’s diets do not have sufficient Omega 3 fatty acids anymore, since our foods have higher levels of polyunsaturated and saturated oils in them. Omega 3 is a healthy animal fat found in fish and other foods like nuts and seeds. It helps support the absorption and utilization of B vitamins by the cells and promotes the production of appropriate antibodies and short term inflammatory prostaglandins.
Magnesium is a critical mineral for every day bodily function. Magnesium levels can quickly be depleted from eating diets high in sugars and from high levels of stress. Reduced magnesium levels have been found to result in more pro-inflammatory cytokines to be produced, which has an underlying correlation to of autoimmune disease.
Selenium helps regulate thyroid functions as well as immune responses. Proper levels of selenium help reduce thyroid antibodies and reduce risks of autoimmune disease.
To help prevent or reduce the risks of autoimmune disease you need to make sure you are getting these six essential nutrients every day. Also take note that individuals currently suffering from digestive autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease may be experiencing impaired nutrient absorption, making appropriate doses of these critical nutrients through food and supplementation every more important.
For more information about naturopathic therapies for autoimmune disease or to find out what nutrient deficiencies you have, please feel free to contact Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND at 647-351-7282 to schedule a consultation appointment today!