Auto-immunity: Management through Nutrition
by Daniel Czelatdko,DC, CCSP, DACBN, Tenold Chiropractic
Auto-immunity occurs when our system develops antibodies to attack its own tissues. The body does not recognize its own tissue and perceives it as foreign. The body then wants to destroy this particular tissue because its main goal is to survive infection. In case you haven’t noticed, the frequency of auto-immune diseases appears to be increasing. Despite poor reporting on auto-immune diseases, there is a trend showing an increase in its incidence. Conditions like Crohn’s disease have more than tripled in the last thirty years, and multiple sclerosis (MS) has more than doubled.
So what are some possible reasons as to why auto-immunity occurrence has increased? Auto-immune conditions are nothing more than undifferentiated immune failure, ultimately leading to defined cancers, infections, and degeneration. One possible cause is the lack of cell membrane integrity due to bad fats in our diets. Fats such as trans fats tend to form poor phospholipid barriers. This allows DNA to leak out of the cell, and then our immune system recognizes the DNA as being foreign. DNA in the blood like this is unmethylated. So let’s say some unmethylated thyroid DNA is floating through the blood and the body recognizes that as possible infection. It then mounts an immune response to that particular DNA. The problem then becomes any DNA that is related to thyroid is attacked and hence we get a condition called Hashimoto’s syndrome. Along with a poor diet, other contributors are genetic predisposition to methylation difficulty, overburdening of the body with toxic chemicals, psychological stress, and immune dysregulation due to the burdens put on it through the intestinal track. Conditions such as leaky syndrome are a prime example.
Every person has a normal amount of auto-immune activity, which is vital for immune management. Normal sampling of genetic material in the bloodstream provides feedback to the immune system. The body will interpret genetic material in the blood as upstream tissue damage and degeneration vulnerable to infection and disease. Auto-immune conditions such as psoriasis, Grave’s disease, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus all then have the opportunity to form.
So what are the goals of managing this condition? In any of these cases, the employment of therapies seeking to balance all systems of the body can help bring a resolution of auto-immune conditions. Down regulation of the immune activity by reducing inflammatory and chronic infection burdens while also balancing the intestinal track can gradually improve symptoms and result in a remission. Realize that it’s difficult to repair tissue that has been attacked and damaged by auto-immune responses. However, the goal here is to stop the progression and begin the healing process.
This article does not permit the ability to go into extreme detail on each case by case basis, however there are some keys to managing auto-immunity. One step is to improve lipid membrane reinforcement, and this can be done via essential fats like omega 3s. The fats will allow a better phospholipid membrane, preventing unmethylated DNA from escaping. Supporting methylation of circulating DNA is also important, so utilizing foods that are methyl foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, garlic, or spanish black radish, are helpful. Third, one must reduce the body’s inflammatory and immune burdens, such as food allergies. Each body system is then supported to promote healing of particular target tissues. This could include specific glandular support for the thyroid, the gut, bone, etc. Typically the gut has to be repaired, and this would be done via pre- and probiotic efforts along with other support to heal the intestinal tract.
Although detailed and systematic, auto-immune conditions can be managed and placed into remission if done with proper nutritional therapies that systematically stop the immune response to its own body tissue and heal that particular tissue with specific nutraceuticals.
Dr. Dan Czelatdko is a board-certified clinical nutritionist from The American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He has been practicing nutrition and chiropractic for the last twenty-three years with an emphasis on hormone health at Tenold Chiropractic in Eau Claire.