Although these autoimmune diseases and Type 2 diabetes are not connected directly, there is a common link: cellular inflammation.
Cellular inflammation that develops and continues to progress over a period of years can wreak havoc and cause cell/tissue damage throughout the body.
This, in turn, causes the immune system to overreact and become imbalanced and Th1 or Th2 dominant. This imbalance and Th1/Th2 dominance can further fuel inflammation and cell/tissue damage, eventually triggering an autoimmune disorder or disease, such as lupus, MS, RA or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
In fact, inflammation can impact almost every system and every organ and major tissue in the human body!
As a result, an effective nutritional program must address and reduce inflammation as well as other biological processes such as excess oxidation.
Interestingly, some of the foods that are good for people with Type 2 diabetes are also good for people with an autoimmune disease because these foods have anti-inflammatory properties, e.g. leafy green vegetables, raw juices, garlic, extra virgin coconut oil, free range chicken, wild salmon.
Similarly, some of the foods that should be avoided by people with Type 2 diabetes should also be avoided by people with an autoimmune disease because these foods fuel inflammation in the cells.
Some of these foods include vegetable oils, canola oil, fried foods, processed foods, margarines (trans fats), cow's milk, rice, corn, soy, potatoes, potato chips, sugar, HFCS, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, Splenda), grains, bread, wheat, flour, animal meat, and other foods that contain gluten, trans fats, growth hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, and other chemicals.
If you have an autoimmune disease, I don't have to tell you that you need to stop the progression of the disease before it takes its toll physically and emotionally.
You need a diet, actually a nutritional program that will actually work and stop the progression while calming and rebalancing your immune system!
The DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program is that program. This program utilizes attributes of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and the Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program.
In order to successfully fight and defeat this disease, you need a powerful macronutrient and micronutrient dense, and comprehensive nutritional protocol that will stop the progress of your disease at the cellular level.
When I use the term "nutrient-dense and comprehensive" I mean that the nutritional program must be comprehensive enough such that it includes enough of the right foods so that you are dealing with any major vitamin/mineral/amino acid deficiencies, e.g. Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, CoQ10 and ALA; and, also Omega-3 EFAs.
Why is this important? Because most autoimmune diseases and other systemic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer can be linked back to these critical nutrients.
Now, some of you are taking supplements for most of these critical nutrients, but, most of these supplements are synthetic. Plus, these supplements contain additives, fillers, and heavy metals, which can trigger an autoimmune response!
And, don't be fooled by "natural" supplements. After all, coal tar is considered natural so it is used in manufacturing a lot of different so-called "natural" supplements.
In addition to a nutrient-dense program, you need a nutritional program that is science-based and is not the latest fad diet in a long line of failed fad diets.
You need a nutritional program that addresses more than the symptoms by addressing the 7 major biological root causes of your autoimmune disease: inflammation, oxidation, toxicity, hormonal imbalance, immune dysregulation, nutrient deficiencies, and cell communications.
You need a nutritional program that provides the structure (e.g. diagram model) and guidance (steps) to make it easy and straightforward to implement.
That program is the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program.
As you can see from the diagram (below), the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program identifies 4 key elements:
(1) The super foods that you should eat.
(2) The "trigger" foods ("dead" foods) that you should avoid.
(3) The key nutritional supplements that you require.
(4) The super food immune modulators and Th1/Th2 compounds to help customize the program to your specific needs and to rebalance your immune system.
These four key elements of this nutritional program will help to address the root causes of your autoimmune disease and the biological processes that fuel this disease, e.g. inflammation, oxidation, toxicity, dysregulation, hormonal imbalance, nutrient deficiencies.
The DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program is a comprehensive nutritional program that is flexible and customizable.
It is critical that the nutritional program be customizable because there is no one single nutritional program or diet that can meet the needs of every person with an autoimmune disease! Everyone responds differently to specific foods, supplements and herbs; also, everyone's experience with a specific autoimmune disease is different.
As a result, we have designed the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Disease Nutritional Program to address these issues and provide a customizable approach to modulating and rebalancing your immune system.
This nutritional program identifies the key super foods (or "allowable" foods) to eat, such as green vegetables, bright-colored vegetables, some low glycemic fruits,wild-caught fish, grass-fed animal meat, and plant oils such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.
This nutritional program identifies the "trigger" foods (aka "dead" foods) to avoid, such as sugar, flour, wheat, gluten and lectins.
This nutritional program identifies additional "trigger" foods that are traditionally "healthy" foods for most people. For example, most diabetics are able to eat nuts and seeds, which help with blood glucose control. However, if you also have an autoimmune disease, you may have to avoid most nuts and seeds or eat them in very small quantities.
This nutritional program identifies the key supplements, such as anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, probiotics, and detoxifiers that are required to close the nutritional gap and support the immune system.
This nutritional program identifies the immune system modulators, such as extra virgin coconut oil and magnesium that help to rebalance the immune response.
And, finally, this nutritional program identifies the Th1/Th2 stimulators/suppressors to stimulate or suppress the immune response, depending on whether you are Th1 or Th2 dominant.
The Th1/Th2 stimulators are specific foods and compounds that over-stimulate or suppress your immune system, such as echinacea (a Th1 stimulator) and green tea extract (a Th2 stimulator).
FYI: The DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program was originally developed for our diabetes clients who had a diabetes-related autoimmune disease, e.g. Type 1 diabetes, Type 1.5 diabetes. Then, because some of our Type 2 diabetes clients had thyroid issues, we expanded the nutritional protocol to address thyroid-related disorders and diseases. Then, because of so many requests, we expanded the nutritional protocol to include other common autoimmune diseases.
The DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program is very effective because it is specifically designed to address the root causes and biological processes that fuel most autoimmune diseases, including cellular inflammation, excess oxidation, heavy metal toxicity, leaky gut, and immune system imbalance.
For example, anti-inflammatory foods such as green vegetables, raw vegetable juices, cold-water fish, and plant oils will reduce inflammation. Not only can they soothe the over-active and misguided immune system, but natural anti-inflammatories can also help to restore the body’s self-healing mechanisms and natural balance.
The DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program provides an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids in order for the immune system to function normally. Micronutrient deficiencies and imbalances are key players in the development and progression of autoimmune disease.
Focusing on consuming the most nutrient-dense foods available enables a synergistic surplus of micronutrients to correct both deficiencies and imbalances, thus supporting regulation of the immune system, hormone systems, detoxification systems, and neurotransmitter production. This nutrient-dense diet further provides the building blocks that the body needs to heal damaged tissues.
Since leaky gut is a key facilitator in the development of autoimmune disease, this nutritional program supports the growth of healthy levels and a healthy variety of gut microorganisms. Foods that irritate or damage the lining of the gut are avoided, while foods and supplements that help restore gut barrier function and promote healing are endorsed.
This nutritional program regulates a variety of hormones that interact with the immune system. When dietary factors (like eating too much sugar or grazing rather than eating larger meals spaced farther apart) dysregulate these hormones, the immune system is directly affected (typically stimulated). Our nutritional program is designed to promote regulation of these hormones, thereby regulating the immune system by proxy.
These and other essential hormones that impact the immune system are also profoundly affected by how much sleep we get, how much time we spend outside, how much and what kinds of activity we get, and how well we reduce and manage stress.
In the end, this nutritional program helps to regulate the immune system. Immune system regulation is achieved by restoring a healthy diversity and healthy amounts of gut microorganisms, restoring the barrier function of the gut, providing sufficient amounts of the micronutrients required for the immune system to function normally, and regulating the key hormones that in turn regulate the immune system.
The following diagrams provide an overview of the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program and its structure.
The purpose of the first diagram is to give you a high level overview of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program and its major components.
The key elements of the nutritional program includes the specific super foods to eat, the specific trigger foods to avoid eating, the key nutritional supplements, the immune modulators, the Th1 stimulating compounds, and the Th2 stimulating compounds.
Note: Some of the specific nutritional strategies are explained below and in the Autoimmune Diseases ebook.
Please Note: If you don't have an autoimmune disease, but, if you have allergies or if you are hyperactive, have mood swings and/or crave sweets, you may need to eliminate what we refer to as "trigger" foods. Also, if you have any gastrointestinal problems, you may want to avoid these "trigger" foods.
A sound and effective nutritional program must have "max coverage".
My guess is that you probably haven't heard the term "max coverage" in relation to a nutritional program. Most nutritional programs don't talk about "max coverage" because most programs can't achieve max coverage!
"Max coverage" is a concept that I created years ago when I was designing my Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program for Type 2 diabetics.
There was a lot of controversy and conflicting information about what foods that i should eat as a Type 2 diabetic. So, I decided to do a "bottoms up" analysis of all foods and what nutrients they provide.
In addition, I did a root cause analysis of Type 2 diabetes at the cellular level to understand exactly what biological processes in the body actually fuel this disease, e.g. inflammation, oxidation, toxicity, nutrient deficiencies.
And, finally, I evaluated each food and its nutrient content to understand how that food/nutrient affected disease pathology at the cellular level.
During this last part of the analysis, this is where I discovered (or confirmed) that there were several critical vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that most diabetics were not getting, e.g. chromium, potassium, fiber, chlorophyll, biotin, zinc, selenium, glutathione, Omega-EFAs, etc.
I believe that in-depth analysis helped me to design a very effective program that has helped diabetics in the U.S. and now around the world. As a result, my Death to Diabetes book is now one of the top-selling diabetes books in the country; and, recently, went international! (yay).
Since that process worked so well back then (2002-2004), I decided to use the same process with autoimmune diseases starting around 2008 when some of my diabetic clients came to us with thyroid issues and chronic fatigue issues.
At that time, I didn't really expect to find any earth-shattering differences or discoveries that I wasn't already aware of. But, from a scientific perspective, I wanted to be certain of my conclusions. I didn't want to cause any unintended harm or embarrass myself at a conference because I had made some bad assumptions about the science.
Wow! As it turned out, there were several significant nutrient deficiency issues! Some of these deficiencies had been discovered during my Type 2 diabetes analysis, but, they weren't as impactful to Type 2 diabetics (at that time) as they were to people with autoimmune diseases!
The Top 10 Vitamin, Mineral and Nutrient Deficiencies
The bottom-line here is that there are at least 10 major nutrient deficiencies that have a dramatic effect on people with autoimmune diseases. It turns out that these nutrient deficiencies also affect Type 2 diabetics, which is why I believe more Type 2 diabetics are coming to us with an autoimmune disease or leaky gut!
The critical macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies that must be addressed to defeat any autoimmune disease include the following:
- Vitamin A -- carotenes are not Vitamin A!
- Vitamin B12 -- not available within plants
- Vitamin C -- need for collagen production, avoid ascorbic acid
- Vitamin D -- make sure it's Vitamin D3
- Vitamin E -- most people take as alpha-tocopherol
- Vitamin K2 -- take with Vitamin D to redirect calcium!
- CoQ10 -- needed for mitochondria energy, mostly synthetic
- Glutathione -- unable to get into cells, use authentic liposomal
- Omega-3 EFAs -- supplements may be oxidized!
- Probiotics -- necessary especially if taking antibiotics
- R-Lipoic Acid (R-LA) -- may be unstable
- Amino Acids (proline, glycine) -- not synthesized as we age, not found in most conventional protein foods
- Collagen -- overlooked, especially for leaky gut, healing
- Iodine -- misused! -- don't take if not deficient!
- Magnesium -- overlooked, a major problem for most Type 2s
- Selenium -- avoid synthetic versions
- Zinc -- key for immune support
Most of these vitamin, mineral and nutrient deficiencies exist for 5 major reasons:
- Poor nutrition
- Poor health/poor absorption
- Overuse of prescription and OTC medications
- Misinformation about a specific vitamin/mineral
- Poor quality supplements
Of course, there are other critical nutrients (e.g. calcium, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin E, folate, biotin, fiber, etc.), but, they are usually not a major deficiency and are easily correctable.
Most of you are probably taking supplements to address most of these, but, most supplements really don't help because they're either "natural" or synthetic. In fact, supplements can make your autoimmune disease worse!
Instead, food sources such as vegetables, fruits, plant oils, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish,and grass-fed meats are the best options for most of these nutrients, especially Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, amino acids, collagen, gelatin, CoQ10, Omega-3 EFAs, and ALA.
Consequently, in order to defeat your autoimmune disease or any disease for that matter, you must include the super food that will provide "max coverage" of the macronutrients and especially the critical micronutrients built into the program, e.g. bone broth, beef liver, unprocessed cod liver oil.
So, do you have "max coverage"? If you're not sure, you'll need to do a nutrient gap analysis based on what you're eating; or, just get the Autoimmune Diseases ebook, which has the nutrient gap analysis built into the nutritional program.
Most people don't believe or are aware that they have a vitamin, mineral or some other nutrient deficiency. Ironically, this is one of the reasons why nutrient deficiencies are on the rise!
The other reason has to do with the testing. Since the blood test limit is set so low (usually based on RDA standards, which are out of date), most deficiencies are overlooked.
For more details about specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies, how they affect your health and how to treat them (especially if you have diabetes, an autoimmune disease, a food sensitivity issue or a leaky gut), refer to the Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies web page.
Based on the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) &Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program, the following nutritional strategies are designed to address inflammation, candida, and gut health associated with the specific autoimmune disease and to help calm, rebalance and strengthen the immune system.
These health goals can be accomplished through nutritional and lifestyle changes, but herbal supplements can help to accelerate the process.
Super Foods to the Rescue!
There are many superior foods (aka super foods) that offer an alternative to conventional anti-inflammatory medications, especially anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods such as green vegetables, bright-colored vegetables, seaweed, raw vegetable juices, bone broth, cold-water fish, garlic, and plant oils.
Not only can they soothe the over-active and misguided immune system, but natural anti-inflammatories can also help to restore the body’s self-healing mechanisms and natural balance.
Green vegetables include: anise, artichoke, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumbers, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, radishes, shallots, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, water chestnuts, watercress, zucchini.
These vegetables can be consumed in a variety of ways: raw, steamed, sautéed, baked and stir-fried. But, do not boil your vegetables! -- that destroys the water-soluble vitamins such as the B vitamins and Vitamin C.
Note: If possible, eat organic vegetables to reduce the exposure to pesticides and other toxins, which can trigger an autoimmune response.
Sea vegetables or seaweed is another excellent super food, which is loaded with essential minerals, carotenoids, and even long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, making it a powerful addition to your nutritional program. In fact, the benefits of seaweed are even greater than most of us realize.
Although each variety of seaweed has a different overall profile of vitamins and minerals, in general, you can expect these foods to be rich in: calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and dozens of additional trace minerals!
Numerous studies have shown that some components in seaweed help fight inflammation! For example, the fucoxanthin in seaweed can help reduce excessive inflammation in the body.
Another health benefit of seaweed is supporting cardiovascular health. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of fucoxanthin can halt the progression of heart disease, while also modulating immune function.
And, research has shown that a many seaweeds have hypolipidemic (lipid-lowering) activity, helping reduce levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. And, the DHA found in algae and algal oil can not only reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but also raise HDL cholesterol.
Believe it or not, bone broth is a super food that should be at the top of food list. For those of you who are old enough to remember, our grandmothers and great grandmothers (and, maybe some mothers) spent all day in the kitchen preparing various soups and stews. They would also cook and boil the bones, especially the bones from cows and chickens.
When I was growing up, one of my uncles had a big farm, and my father had a garden in the backyard where he grew vegetables. They didn't believe in throwing anything away. So, they along with my grandmother and mother would boil the bones while preparing various soups and stews. My father really liked making his own vegetable soup or stew, which would cook all day long.
I didn't realize it at the time, but, when they boiled the bones, it pulled out the collagen and other nutrients buried inside the bones and created this liquid (I don't remember any of them giving it a name, but, today that liquid is called bone broth. My grandmother or mother would add this to the soup or stew. This is one of the reasons why chicken soup was so nutritious back then!
The bones usually had some connective tissue, like joints and tendons, and some meat attached. These bones were boiled for all day long to liberate their nutrients and create this liquid.
From a nutritional standpoint, broth is rich in two valuable amino acids (glycine and proline) which help to heal internal wounds and a leaky gut!
We don't usually get these amino acids from eating regular meat, which is usually muscle meat. These amino acids are not classified as "essential" because our body is supposed to be able to manufacture it. But, the reality is that as we age and if we have any kind of disease, the body becomes inefficient at manufacturing these amino acids.
Now, if you can't see yourself in the kitchen for hours making your own broth (I know I can't) :-) -- you can buy bone broth online, e.g. Kettle & Fire, Epic. However, be careful because most of the online bone broth doesn't contain the collagen and gelatin, which includes these amino acids. Instead, try to find a place that makes its own bone broth and freezes it to lock in the nutrients, e.g. Peter's Paleo, U.S. Wellness Meats.
Fermented foods are another excellent super food. These foods include fermented cucumbers, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, pickled ginger, coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, organic/homemade yogurt, etc.
Fruits are okay as long as they are low-glycemic fruits. Fruits with a Low GI include: apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, other berries, dark cherries, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, peaches, pears, plums.
But, limit your intake to 1 fruit a day at the most. If you're diabetic, avoid fruit until you reach Stage 4 of the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program.
Note: If possible, eat organic fruits to reduce the exposure to pesticides and other toxins.
Use only plant oils, which include: monounsaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil); saturated fats (extra virgin coconut oil); unprocessed cod liver oil. Avoid all vegetable oils including canola oil!
Include coconut products, such as coconut butter, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, unsweetened coconut yogurt.
If you eat meat, only eat grass-fed animal meat. These meats include beef, bison, chicken, duck, fish, lamb, turkey, and venison.
Select grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats. Best choice is grass-fed and pastured meats from a local farm. Second best is organic.
Avoid factory-farmed meats that contain antibiotics and hormones.
Fish should be ocean-caught with a low mercury content, e.g. wild salmon, sardines. Avoid swordfish, most tuna, and king mackerel because they are very high in mercury.
When suffering with an autoimmune disease it is imperative to eat foods that aid and support the immune system. Foods that contain vitamin E and C are crucial for proper immune functioning, such as blueberries, oranges, papaya, and guava.
It is even more important to modulate and rebalance an over-active immune system. Why? Because immune system modulation helps to balance or modulate the immune system response instead of boosting or over-activating an immune response.
When you have an autoimmune disease, you do not want your immune system over-responding and attacking your healthy cells!
Ideally, immune modulation means having an aggressive immune system available for pathogens and foreign cells to be destroyed (i.e. cancer) but also turning off and not hyper-reacting to commonly occurring foods, allergies, environmental organisms and chemicals to prevent these cells from attacking healthy tissues. Immune modulation is all about balance, coordination and not over-reacting.
Examples of immune modulators include curucmin, blackseed oil, Vitamin D3, and magnesium-rich foods (i.e. spinach, kefir, raw pumpkin seeds).
Eat foods that help fight most autoimmune diseases (especially leaky gut) including: fermented vegetables, wheat grass, bone broth, extra virgin coconut oil, chlorella, spirulina, and unprocessed cod liver oil.
Also, eat herbs and foods and use compounds with antiviral properties such as licorice root, astragalus; garlic, onions, lemons, turmeric, extra virgin coconut oil, and medicinal mushrooms (i.e. reishi, shiitake, maitake); echinacea*; and colloidal silver. This, along with detoxing, will further help your immune system, especially if the primary root cause of your autoimmune dysfunction is virus/bacteria/ infection-related.
*Please Note: However, if you have an autoimmune disease, be careful with herbs such as echinacea, which may over-stimulate the immune system and trigger an over-response with increased inflammation.
Autoimmune Protocol (AIP): Avoid the Trigger Foods ("Dead" Foods) Like the Plague!
As part of the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Nutritional Program, it is also important, actually it's very important that you avoid the "trigger" foods -- that is, the foods that can trigger an autoimmune response.
These foods contain specific ingredients or chemicals that can irritate the gastrointestinal system and trigger an allergic or immuneresponse.
Even if you don't have an autoimmune disease, but, if you have allergies or if you are hyperactive, have mood swings and/or crave sweets, you may need to avoid these "trigger" foods. Also, if you have any gastrointestinal problems (such as leaky gut), you may want to avoid these "trigger" foods.
These trigger foods include: white flour (alloxan), wheat, gluten, grains, cow's milk (casein), cow's cheese, other dairy, vegetable oils, canola oil, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.
There are some "trigger" foods that are usually identified as "healthy" foods, but, if you have an autoimmune disease, it is highly recommended that you avoid these so-called healthy foods, including wheat, grains, flour, cereals, breads, pastries, cow's milk, cheese, etc.
Sugar foods to avoid include: All sweets, artificial sweeteners, cakes, candy, diet soda, bottled fruit juices, pies, pastries, soda; anything with glucose, sucrose, etc.
Processed meats to avoid include: lunch meat, ham, pepperoni, salami, bologna, sausage, bacon, hamburger, etc.
Flour, grains, gluten-based foods to avoid include: bread, cereals, corn, pasta, rice, potatoes, wheat, processed foods, fast foods, etc.
FYI: Grains contain a compound called lectins, which are not broken down in the normal digestive process. These compounds activate the resident immune cells of the gut, which respond by producing inflammatory cytokines (the chemical messengers that circulate in the blood and tell white blood cells to attack) as well as antibodies against these foreign proteins.
The causes damage to the gut lining, creating very small holes in the intestines, allowing the entrance of food particles, toxins, drugs, etc. that are not supposed to get into our blood stream.
Gluten is the most common food sensitivity and is by far the most damaging. In many individuals, gluten can create a space in between the cells through which gut contents can escape, adding yet another way that this particular lectin can cause a leaky gut.
Once gluten has passed through the gut lining, it stimulates the resident immune cells of the gut to start producing antibodies. Gluten is especially insidious because parts of this protein closely resemble many proteins in the human body, so there’s a high likelihood that some of the antibodies produced to target it will also target human Healthy cells!
If you are sensitive to gluten, then the irritation of the mucus in the gastrointestinal tract causes the production of a substance called zonulin, a protein that widens the spaces between cells. As a result, little particles and toxins are able to filter into the blood and the organism starts to produce antibodies against these uninvited guests.
Intolerance to gluten is an autoimmune disease that provokes different symptoms, with the most severe form of gluten intolerance being a disease called Celiac Disease.
In addition to grains, legumes (especially soy and peanuts) are very high in lectins, which have the greatest negative impact on the barrier function of the gut.
And, if damaging the gut lining and causing systemic inflammation isn’t enough, lectins are also anti-nutrients, which means they stop us from absorbing many of the vitamins and minerals in our food like calcium!
Additional Possible Trigger Foods
There are other trigger foods that are primarily healthy foods for most people. For example, most diabetics are able to eat nuts and seeds, which help with their blood glucose control. However, if you also have an autoimmune disease, you may have to avoid most nuts and seeds or eat them in very small quantities.
Depending on your autoimmune disease and other health issues, you may have to avoid some or all of these foods -- especially if you have a leaky gut or an autoimmune disease associated with the digestive system (e.g. Crohn's disease, Ulcerative Colitis), you should avoid the following possible trigger foods.
These additional trigger foods include nightshade vegetables, legumes, eggs, spices.
Nightshade vegetables & fruits include: capsicum, cayenne pepper, chili powder, curry, eggplant, Goji berries, gooseberries, okra, white potatoes, paprika, red peppers, other peppers, tomatoes; and, herbs including: ashwagandha.
Nightshades contain lectins and saponins (which can increase gut permeability and act as an adjuvant, exaggerating immune responses).
Lectins resist digestion (typically due to high proline content), and have the ability to strongly interact with proteins in the membrane of the cells that line the intestine (and some can even bind to receptors in those membranes and be transported intact across the intestinal barrier), causing a leaky gut.
Legumes that may need to be avoided include: beans, lentils, nuts, peas, and seeds.
Beans slow down the sugar transport from the gut to the bloodstream, which is beneficial for diabetics. But, the irreversible increase in gut permeability is just not worth it!
Soaking beans before cooking them definitely reduces many of the more problematic proteins and antinutrients, while also making them more digestible and the nutrients in them more bioavailable.
So, many people can tolerate soaked/sprouted grains and beans -- especially if they are also fermented and cooked for an extended time. The key is to find out as an individual what works for your own body but also what makes good diet choices sustainable
If you’re planning on eating beans or lentils as a large portion of your diet, then, it’s worth knowing that you’re not actually absorbing a lot of the minerals.
This is particularly important if you’re considering replacing meats and animal fats with legumes, since (grass-fed, organic) meats and animal fats are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat.
In addition, phytates within the beans and legumes also inhibit the functioning of certain enzymes that are critical to digestion, such as pepsin and amylase.
When you eat lectins, you may or may not feel any immediate effects, but lectins often lead long-term to all sorts of problems, such as not being able to properly absorb vitamins and minerals, food allergies, arthritis, and a variety of other issues.
Still, it’s something to consider. In particular, if you have any existing gut issues (IBS, for instance) or any autoimmune conditions (like Crohn's or Hashimoto's), then lectins are probably going to be far more problematic for you.
PLEASE NOTE TO CURRENT DIABETIC CLIENTS: There may appear to be some conflicting information on my website concerning what foods to eat vs. not eat. As part of the original Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program that I designed years ago for Type 2 diabetics, I included beans, nuts, seeds, and eggs as healthy foods.
However, if you are a Type 2 diabetic and have an autoimmune disease or a leaky gut, then, you should avoid these foods. I realize that this is confusing, but, for those of you who called, emailed or attended one of our autoimmune disease classes, you now understand why these foods can be problematic and should be avoided -- at least until your immune system is back in balance.
If you read my Death to Diabetes book closely, you'll notice that I mention (in Chapter 17) to soak beans and to avoid roasted nuts and buy only raw nuts -- but, I didn't bother to explain that the reason was due to an autoimmune issue. I also mentioned in the earlier chapters to avoid cow's milk, cheese, flour, grains, wheat, and cereals. Again, I didn't really explain the rationale behind this in any detail, so some of you may have overlooked the importance of this information.
At this point, if you are still struggling with your autoimmune disease, as I mentioned in class, I strongly recommend that you get the new and expanded version of my Autoimmune Diseases book -- it will clarify and explain all of this for you.
Nutritional supplements that can help to fight most autoimmune diseases (especially leaky gut) include: l-glutamine, magnesium, probiotics, MSM, alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin D3, CoQ10, collagen protein powder, systemic enzymes, and digestive enzymes (see below for more details).
Use raw juicing and green smoothies to infuse your body with key nutrients that will help to strengthen, modulate and rebalance your immune system.
Perform a periodic cleanse and detox to help remove accumulated toxins within your cells that may contribute to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Use herbs such as sarsaparilla and yarrow, which can be used to detoxify the bloodstream. These herbs are able to cleanse the blood and act as natural anti-inflammatories for muscles and joints.
Other herbs that are effective for treating the symptoms of autoimmune disorders include Boswellia, Devil’s Claw, ginger and turmeric.
Herbs such as yucca can reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and if used as a shampoo, may help those who suffer from skin disorders.
Just make sure that the herbs are organic and don't conflict with any medications that you may be taking -- always consult with your physician and a naturopathic doctor if possible.
Tissue salts and homeopathic ingredients are also highly effective aids to restoring balance, health and vitality, as they do not over-stimulate the immune system. They are nutraceuticals (nutritional substances), which can help to relieve the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases and improve functioning.
Ingredients such as Natrium sulphate, Kalium phosphate and Natrium phosphate can optimize the nervous system and lift the mood. Consult your physician, herbalist or homeopath about the best treatment for your needs.
Now that you know what to eat and what not to eat (as defined in the Nutritional Program flow chart), you need a methodology or tool to help you design your meals in order to provide a balance of macronutrients and micronutrients.
As a starting point, we used the Death to Diabetes Super Meal Plate (from the Death to Diabetes book) as a guide. It provides a balance of macro and micronutrients to nourish your cells and tissues while helping to calm and rebalance your immune system.
Based on autoimmune disease pathology, cell biology and nutritional science, we modified the DTD Super Meal Plate to align with and support autoimmune diseases and their root causes.
As depicted in the diagram (below) of the new Super Meal Plate for Autoimmune Diseases, your meals should include a balance of healthy carbs (vegetables, seaweed), healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil/avocado oil) and healthy proteins (wild-caught fish, grass-fed animal meat, bone broth).
As far as we know, this is the only program that includes a meal plate model to help you with your meal palnning.
Of course, there are exceptions, depending on the autoimmune disease and your specific food allergies, intolerances, and whether you are Th1 or Th2 dominant.
Types of nutritional supplements for this nutritional program include antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, natural antibiotics, detoxifiers, digestive aids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
In addition, for each specific autoimmune disease, there are different targeted supplements for each disease pathology and whether you are Th1 or Th2 dominant.
However, several supplements appear to address almost every autoimmune disease, e.g. Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Omega-3 EFAs, magnesium, selenium, probiotics, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for boosting the immune system. Omega -3 can be found in cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. If you don't like fish, try adding flaxseed to a green smoothie.
Garlic can be used in a number of dishes not only to add flavor, but also to stimulate infection-fighting cells. Garlic is known as nature’s antibiotic, due to its abilities to attack bacteria and virus.
Selenium-rich foods like red snapper, lobster, egg yolks, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts all help to boost the immune system.
Note: In order for T4 to get converted to T3, an enzyme that contains selenium is necessary. As a result, a deficiency in selenium can affect this conversion process, and thus impair thyroid function. The good news is that you can obtain all of the selenium you need by consuming one ounce of raw Brazil nuts every day. If you don’t like Brazil nuts then garlic is also a good source of selenium.
Eating foods that contain the B vitamins or taking a wholefood-based Vitamin B-Complex is also important for optimal thyroid health. Like magnesium, B vitamins are important for anyone supplementing with iodine.
The reason for this is because the B Vitamins (specifically B2 and B3) help with the utilization of iodine at the cellular level. But even for those people with a thyroid condition who are not iodine deficient, it still is a good idea to take B vitamins on a daily basis.
Vitamin D is key for proper immune support on many levels. Eat foods that contain Vitamin D, such as wild salmon and egg yolks. If you take a Vitamin D supplement, make sure that it's Vitamin D3, not D2.
But, the best way to obtain Vitamin D (besides sitting out in the sun), may be cod liver oil. However, use unprocessed cod liver oil, because conventional cod liver oil is overly-processed and over-heated, destroying its key nutrients (e.g. Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Omega-3 EFAs) and replacing them with their synthetic versions.
Systemic enzymes help to build and maintain overall health and provide general support for processes such as the breakdown of excess mucus, fibrin, many toxins, allergens, and clotting factors.
Systemic enzymes have also been found to be helpful with:
- Fibrosis conditions caused by the hard, sticky protein called fibrin.
- Reduction of scar tissue, also made up of fibrin.
- Cleaning the blood of cellular waste and toxins, also supporting normal liver function.
- Promoting immune system response by helping white blood cell efficiency.
- Managing the overgrowth of yeast, putting less stress on your liver.
Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods are fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested foods particles and proteins are damaging your gut wall.
Digestive enzymes help the body break down fiber (cellulase), protein (protease), carbohydrates (amylase), and fats (lipase). They do all their work in the gastrointestinal tract and can help combat common issues such as indigestion, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and gas. Many people find that they require fewer medications and antacids when their digestive enzymes are in check.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that helps to heal the intestinal lining and improve its mucosal structure, so it is critical in healing a leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants.
Licorice Root is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. Licorice root supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress.
Probiotics and fermented foods are recommended for gastrointestinal health and healthy immune system function. Probiotics are reported to normalize immune responses, inhibit chronic inflammation and improve inflammatory conditions with an autoimmune component including asthma and Crohn’s disease.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), according to the Arthritis Foundation, is as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain reduction and improving joint function for people with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia
Glandulars refer to raw animal glandulars and non-glandular tissues or extracts of these tissues that are normally dried and ground; and, are used to treat problems such as adrenal fatigue, underactive/overactive thyroid, and other hormone/gland-related issues.
Organic Cannabidiol (CBD) Oils contain plant compounds and anti-inflammatory properties that may help with rebalancing the immune system and achieving homeostasis.
However, due to the numerous scams and poor quality products in the CBD oil market, make sure that the company performs independent testing and provides their lab test results on their website before you purchase anything. Also, google the product to discover any reviews from 3rd-party agencies.
FYI: Medical science has discovered that the human body does in fact have an Endocannabinoid system (ECS). The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own.
This is why quality CBD compounds have been shown to be an effective form of alternative treatment. The Endocannabinoid system is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain, the central and peripheral nervous systems, and other organs including the liver. The ECS has two receptors for cannabinoids, called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CBD compounds specifically interact (indirectly) with the CB1 and CB2 receptors that send signals to wake up and strengthen the immune system naturally. The boost of the immune system can help the body fight off the unhealthy cells that are weakening it in the first place.
CB1 receptors are found all around the body, but many of them are in the brain. The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, among others. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflammation and pain.
It used to be thought that CBD compounds acted on these CB1 and CB2 receptors directly, but it appears now that CBD compounds do not act on either receptor directly. Instead, it seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
Concerning how to use CBD, as long as you can afford it, use a combination of delivery methods to obtain the best overall benefits, e.g. tinctures, topicals, capsules, edibles, vaping, patches, etc.
Dental care: Avoid the traditional abrasive toothpastes with fluoride. Instead, use an herbal-based tooth powder or baking soda. Use a pH-balanced mouthwash to lower acidity; or, try ¼ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in ¼ cup of warm water. If possible, avoid mercury-filled tooth fillings and use a green food such as chlorella to help remove mercury from your body.
One of the common problems that most people with an autoimmune disease has is a leaky gut.
In addition, people without an autoimmune disease (especially young children) may also have a leaky gut, especially if they have allergies, skin problems (e.g. eczema); or, if they are hyperactive, have mood swings and/or crave sweets.
A leaky gut (often referred to as increased intestinal permeability), occurs when the tight junctions within the small intestine become damaged and develop microscopic holes.
These microscopic holes allow bacteria, toxins, proteins (such as gluten), undigested foods particles and other chemicals to pass through into the bloodstream.
The following flow chart provides a high level depiction of the stages in which leaky gut develops within the body.
This is important because it shows that you can exhibit some of the symptoms associated with food sensitivities without having developed a leaky gut yet. Consequently, if you catch this early before it gets out of control, you can stop the progression to a leaky gut as well as stop the development of an autoimmune disease.
Initially, there is a gut lining disruption due to the consumption of trigger foods and/or OTC/prescription drugs.
Some of the trigger foods include gluten/wheat, milk, cheese, ice cream, cereals, other grains, etc. Some of the drugs include antibiotics, metformin and NSAIDs.
Eventually, you start to experience a lot of gas, bloating, fatigue and/or other symptoms of discomfort, including nausea, stomach pain and cramping. And, this may lead to bowel problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
Over a period of time, as the inflammation becomes chronic, you start to have more negative reactions to more foods, compounds, and medications.
The inflammation causes damage to the gut lining, creating microscopic holes in the gut lining -- this is called leaky gut. It is called "leaky gut" because the small holes allow food particles and chemicals or toxins to leak into your bloodstream.
When this happens, your immune system attacks the intruders, thinking that you're being invaded by a dangerous pathogen of some kind. This can lead to a host of symptoms.
And, if the leaky gut persists for years without any proper intervention or if the intervention includes drugs to try to "fix" the problem, then, this can eventually manifest itself as an autoimmune disease such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, lupus, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, or Type 1.5 diabetes.
Leaky Gut Pathogenesis Flow Diagram
The following diagram provides a little different perspective on how leaky gut is triggered by stress, toxins, food particles, drugs, pathogens, infection or organ malfunction.
When this happens, the immune system assumes that your body is being attacked, so it mounts a counterattack, causing inflammation of the GI tract.
This inflammation can lead to stomach discomfort, digestive problems, food sensitivities, an allergic response, and/or an autoimmune response. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of your intestinal wall into your bloodstream causing an immune reaction.
In people with an immune system dysfunction, food proteins such as gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining.
As depicted in the diagram (above), other factors — such as bacteria, viruses, other pathogens, infections, heavy metals, other toxins, stress and drugs — can also cause these tight junctions to break apart, causing leaky gut.
When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream.
Your immune system marks these "foreign invaders" as pathogens and attacks them. The immune response to these invaders can appear in the form of any of the following signs that you have a leaky gut:
- Autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
- Candida overgrowth
- Celiac disease
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Food allergies or food intolerances
- Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
- Thyroid problems
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 1.5 diabetes (LADA)
- Type 2 diabetes with uncontrolled blood glucose despite eating healthier foods
What Causes Leaky Gut?
The main culprits are foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut. Other inflammatory foods like dairy or toxic foods, such sugar and excessive alcohol, are suspected as well.
The most common infectious causes are candida overgrowth, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Toxins come in the form of medications, like Motrin, Advil, steroids, antibiotics, and acid-reducing drugs, and environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides and BPA from plastics. Stress and age also contribute to a leaky gut.
As depicted in the diagram, leaky gut can be addressed and repaired with specific foods and compounds, including vegetables, probiotics (e.g. fermented vegetables, yogurt), l-glutamine, bone broth, and key vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D3, curcumin, quercetin, zinc,and ginger.
Just as important, "trigger" foods such as gluten, flour, wheat, grains, cow's dairy, sugar and trans fats should be avoided.
If you suspect that you have a leaky gut, then, get the author's How to Treat Autoimmune Diseases, PCOS & Thyroid Issues Naturally ebook.
If you have a leaky gut, you can repair your gut by following the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program.
The side benefit of repairing your gut is that it will either prevent the development of an autoimmune disease or help to reverse your autoimmune disease.
Most experts in functional medicine recommend that you follow a 4R program to heal and repair your gut. The 4R program is as follows:
1. Remove: It's very important to remove the bad. Get rid of foods, chemicals, toxins and drugs that damage the intestinal lining, such as gluten, grains, sugar, trans fats, MSG, OTC drugs, prescription drugs (especially antibiotics), and intestinal infections.
2. Replace: Next, it's just as important to replace the good. Add back or reintroduce the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption, such as digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids.
3. Reinoculate: It’s critical to restore the gut flora balance with good bacteria by using a high quality probiotic supplement to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria.
4. Repair: It’s essential to provide the key nutrients necessary to help repair the gut. Key foods and supplements include bone broth (glycine, proline), digestive enzymes, licorice root, quercetin, and l-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the lining of the gut wall.
The Leaky Gut 4RRepair Process Diagram
Note: If you still have symptoms after following the above recommendations, get the author's Autoimmune Diseases ebook, which goes into a lot more detail. Another option is to contact a Functional Medicine physician in your area to work with you and to order a comprehensive stool test.
Key Dietary Changes for Leaky Gut
Follow a nutrient-dense diet such as the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program (described above). This nutritional program includes lots of vegetables, cold-water fish, plant oils, filtered/distilled water. This nutritional program also recommends that you avoid milk, other dairy, gluten, wheat, flour, grains, sugar, trans fats, excess animal meat, and prescription/OTC drugs.
Here is a list of foods that specifically support healing the gut because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.
Bone broth: contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls, because it contains the key amino acids (e.g. proline, glycine) and key minerals (e.g. magnesium, potassium, zinc) that help to heal a leaky gut, improve mineral deficiencies and even help with some autoimmune diseases.
Coconut oil: extra virgin coconut oil is especially good for your gut because of the medium-chain-fatty-acids, which are easier to digest than other fats and work well with healing a leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.
Healthy fats: Consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, wild salmon, avocados, ghee and virgin coconut oil are easy on the gut and promote healing.
Raw cultured dairy: contains both probiotics and short-chain-fatty-acids that can help heal the gut. Probiotic-rich foods like kefir, raw butter, raw cheese and yogurt can help heal the gut by destroying bad bacteria like candida.
Fermented vegetables: contain probiotics and organic acids that balance the pH in the stomach and small intestines to help heal the gut. Try to add fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut or kimchi to your diet.
Steamed vegetables: that are steamed (not boiled!) are easy to digest and provide key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as chlorophyll to help heal a leaky gut.
Fruit: Consuming 1-2 servings of a low-glycemic fruit (e.g. berries) daily is good on a leaky gut diet. But, if you're diabetic, you should avoid fruit until you reach Stage 4 of the Death to Diabetes Program for Type 2 Diabetics. You can steam apples and pears to make homemade apple sauce or fruit sauce. Fruit is best consumed with a few raw nuts (assuming you're not allergic!) because the protein, Omega-3 fats and fiber in the nuts offset the sugar in the fruit.
Note: This leaky gut protocol can also be used for treatingceliac disease and other autoimmune diseases.
Foods to Avoid that Cause Leaky Gut
The major foods to avoid (as defined in the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program) that cause a leaky gut by creating intestinal inflammation and candida include the following:
Gluten: is the sticky protein found in most grain products including wheat and is difficult to digest. Avoid all foods that contain gluten and wheat.
Cow's Dairy: contains a protein called A1 casein, which can trigger a a more powerful inflammatory reaction than gluten and therefore should be avoided. Avoid cow's milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.
Soy: except for fermented soy such as tempeh and miso,should be avoided, because it contains phytic acid which can irritate the intestines causing leaky gut.
Sugar: feeds yeast and bad bacteria that can damage the intestinal wall creating a leaky gut. If you are going to use a sweetener, avoid artificial sweeteners like the plaque! Instead, try stevia, xylitol or raw (Manuka) honey, but limit your daily consumption to 1-2 tbsp, especially if you're diabetic.
Grains: should be avoided because they contain phytic acid which can irritate the intestines causing leaky gut.
GMO: Genetically modified organisms contain herbicides and pesticides that damage the gut lining. Studies out of the Journal of Environmental Sciences have found that GMO foods (e.g. corn, potatoes, soy) destroy the probiotics in your gut and cause organ inflammation.
Key Supplements for a Leaky Gut
After you change your diet to stop any further damage to your gut, taking the following supplements can be very beneficial with aiding in and speeding up the recovery process of healing a leaky gut.
Bentonite Clay: which is made from volcanic ash, loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals such as copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, and more.
Since bentonite clay has a strong negative charge, it acts as a magnet for positively charged toxins, bacteria, pesticides, pathogens, and healthy metals. Once bentonite clay is moistened, it immediately binds to nearby toxins. According to researchers, this is great for flushing out potentially harmful substances in the gut.
Additionally, by removing harmful toxins and bad bacteria in your intestines, you are allowing your gut’s good bacteria to flourish.
If you have Leaky Gut Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the increased permeability of the intestinal wall may provide little resistance to the re-absorption of heavy metals, which then travel back to where they came from – the brain, kidneys, liver, connective tissue, etc., or are deposited into previously healthy tissue.
The problem with leaky gut and bowel inflammation in general, is that they are very difficult to treat while the metals are still present in that tissue and continuing to cause inflammation. Mercury is known to create antibiotic resistant bacteria, so, the presence of mercury in the bowel could therefore contribute to the severity and duration of intestinal infections.
When consumed, bentonite clay and the toxins it binds to move through the intestines. Eventually, they are both eliminated from the body via the colon. Researchers say it has shown to be promising in relieving nausea, acid reflux, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Leaky Gut Syndrome, but, needs more research.
Warning: While bentonite clay is beneficial for digestive health, one of the main side effects is constipation. That’s because the clay pulls water from the colon as it passes through the intestines. For this reason, it’s important to drink a lot of water when consuming bentonite clay. Also, mix in 1 tablespoon of psyllium fiber or drink a separate glass of fiber and water to help move the bentonite clay through your colon.
Before taking bentonite clay internally we recommend consulting with your doctor.
Note: Bentonite clay can also be used externally (on the skin, in a bath, in a poultice, etc.) for face masks, bath/shower cleansing, wound healing, insect bites, and a variety of other therapeutic purposes.
Betaine Hydrochloric Acid (HCL): promotes optimal gastric acidity for support of protein digestion and absorption of minerals and other nutrients such as vitamin B12.
Caprylic Acid: is a naturally occurring fatty acid that comes from coconut oil; and, is known for it’s antiviral and antifungal activity. For those who feel that you may be suffering from Candida or yeast overgrowth this is a safe, effective and natural way to treat Candida.
Curcumin: can prevent chronic inflammation by controlling the inflammatory pathways which leading to tissue damage, histamine release, immune cell activation and digestive disturbances.
Associated with improving the immune response of patients with autoimmune diseases in clinical trials, curcumin heals leaky gut in much the same way as does quercetin.
Curcumin regulates a healthy concentration of macrophages and does not interfere with the immune’s response to normal infections. Adding curcumin to your diet will equip your body with a powerful compound to scavenge free radicals and prevent tissue injury along the digestive tract.
Digestive Enzymes: are plant or microbial-based supplements that support the breakdown, absorption, and utilization of macronutrients. Taken with meals, they work with the body’s own reduced supply of enzymes to achieve maximum digestion and support intestinal repair mechanisms.
Ginger: can be used to treat pain associated with intestinal inflammation by relieving contractions of the gut lining. For this reason, ginger has traditionally been used to treat nausea, relieve symptoms associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle and treat morning sickness.
Ginger exhibits powerful antimicrobial properties which not only make it an economical treatment but highly effective and natural antibiotic as well.
Ginger has been extensively found to combat strains of bacteria linked to leaky gut. Unlike synthetic antibiotics, ginger has been effective against both standard and drug resistant microbes in treating gastrointestinal infection.
Ginger contains the active component, 6-gingerol, enabling it to exhibits comparable inflammation prevention control as do drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, but, without the side effects. Ginger is a digestive stimulant that promotes gastric flow and contains enzymes which aid in proper digestion.
L-Glutamine: is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine powder is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining.
L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants; and, reducing sugar cravings.
Licorice Root: or deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL): is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach.
DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress.
Magnesium: A healthy gut environment is necessary for proper absorption of magnesium. Irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, candidiasis and other gut disorders can severely limit the amount of magnesium that the body will be able to absorb.
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones. Magnesium is also involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
A deficiency in magnesium can lead to muscle spasms, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction.
Older adults often experience decreased stomach hydrochloric acid production, which can impair mineral absorption in general. And with so many treating their “heartburn” with antacids, a healthy digestive environment is hard to maintain.
Magnesium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, avocados, and yogurt.
Marshmallow Root is a multi-purpose supplement that can be used for respiratory or digestive relief. Like slippery elm, it contains a high mucilage content. It eases the inflammation in the stomach lining, heals ulcers, and treats both diarrhea and constipation by creating a protective lining on the digestive tract.
Probiotics: Our gut is full of “good” and friendly bacteria that help us properly break down and digest our food. They help keep our gut in check and prevent ‘bad’ bacteria from overgrowth.
Unfortunately, these friendly bacteria can be depleted and disrupted by taking antibiotics, steroids, acid-blocking medications, eating a poor diet, and many other factors. Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria.
The part that most people often leave out is re-inoculating their gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay.
So load up on both probiotic-rich foods (e.g. fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kefir) and take a highly concentrated dose (25-100 billion units a day) of probiotics on a daily basis to help you regain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Quercetin: has been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have shown its effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis.
Quercetin supports a proper immune response by reducing macrophages during situations of over production as seen in autoimmune conditions. However, unlike many drugs, quercetin does not adversely affect the release of inflammatory cells required to fight infectious agents like cancer cells. In fact, quercetin stimulates apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells. Within the digestive tract, quercetin improves the tight junction barriers lined by proteins
Dietary sources of quercetin can be found in apples, capers, onions as well as berries, herbs like parsley, sage and even green tea.
Slippery Elm: has been used as an effective gut healer for centuries in the United States. This supplement both contains mucilage and stimulates nerve endings in the body’s intestinal tract to increase natural mucus secretion, which is an instrumental part of the stomach’s protective lining and helps combat ulcers and excessive acidity in the digestive system. It also contains important antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel symptoms.
Zinc: is able to improve intestinal permeability and heal leaky gut. Patients with Crohn’s disease have successfully used zinc supplementation to decrease the ulcerations of the gut associated with leaky gut and support immune system function.
Zinc glycinate is one of the most bioavailable forms of zinc because it is readily absorbed and retained. It helps to counter the phytates found in foods like nuts, which can pull vitamins and minerals like zinc out of the body’s stored reserves.
Caution: If you are taking any medications, make sure that you consult with your physician, since some supplements can interfere with the effectivity of the drugs and cause an adverse reaction.
Celiac disease, which is also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine when the diet contains gluten. Gluten is the protein in wheat that makes dough elastic. It is also found in rye and barley. Oats and other grains may trigger celiac disease in some people.
What are some celiac disease symptoms?
Celiac disease manifests differently from person to person. It can cause a long list of symptoms both in and out of the gastrointestinal tract. Celiac disease symptoms include recurring abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, foul-smelling, fatty or discolored stool, weight loss, anemia, bone pain, fatigue, and in children and infants, delayed growth and failure to thrive.
Autoimmune damage causes the loss of tiny protrusions in the small intestines called villi, which are essential to the proper absorption of nutrients from food. This can lead to malnutrition, no matter how well you’re eating.
Damage to the intestinal lining can also make the gut less able to protect the internal environment, and disrupt its ability to filter nutrients and other biological substances that pass through it. This can potentially allow certain bacteria and their toxins, as well as incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed to “leak” from the intestines into the blood stream. This process can trigger additional immune responses, thus worsening symptoms and contributing to the cycle of intestinal discomfort.
Although leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, evidence is accumulating that it is a measurable condition affecting the lining of the gut.
What are the causes of celiac disease?
Celiac disease tends to run in families and, like other autoimmune conditions, can be triggered by physical stress such as surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, car accident, and viral infection. Sometimes, severe emotional stress can also trigger it.
A gluten allergy (or sensitivity, meaning the type that isn’t celiac disease) increases the production of inflammatory cytokines. These are sent out from the immune system in order to attack perceived threats throughout the body. This happens in certain people due to a combination of both environmental and genetic factors.
People with celiac disease usually have a genetic predisposition to having a gluten allergy (including abnormalities in human leukocyte antigens and non-HLA genes), although having celiac disease in the family alone doesn’t mean someone will necessarily be diagnosed.
One of the hallmarks of celiac disease is high levels of antibodies resulting from contact with gliadin, one compound that makes up the protein gluten. Exposure to gliadin can turn on specific genes in someone’s immune cells that trigger the release of cytokine chemicals.
Cytokines are normally beneficial when they do their intended job — helping repair and protect the body from things like bacteria, viruses, infections and injuries. However, we know that cytokines are also pivotal players in causing chronic inflammation, the root of most diseases.
High inflammation levels are tied to generally poor health and higher rates of disease. High inflammation ups the risk for myriad health problems, including mental disorders, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. Research also suggests that people with other autoimmune disorders and diabetes are at a higher risk for having celiac disease because they share some of the same genetic factors and immune reactions.
Until recently, celiac disease was thought to be uncommon in the United States, but recent data suggest about 2 million Americans have it – about 1 in 133 people. Among those with a first-degree relative diagnosed with celiac disease, the prevalence can be as high as 1 in 22. Celiac disease can be under-diagnosed for a variety of reasons, from its confusion with other intestinal disorders to doctors’ having limited knowledge of the disease and limited access to laboratories experienced in testing for it.
Do people with celiac disease have a higher risk for other diseases?
While not everyone with celiac disease will experience such drastic symptoms or problems, it’s possible that the underlying inflammatory reactions to gluten will cause health problems within the gut microbiome, brain, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, smooth muscle and even the nuclei of cells. This is why celiac patients are at a higher risk for numerous diseases, including:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash)
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines
- Intestinal cancers
- Growth issues in children due to poor nutrient absorption
What is the best treatment for celiac disease?
The best natural treatment strategy for celiac disease is to follow a balanced and comprehensive autoimmune nutritional protocol such as the DTD AIP Nutritional Protocol that will actually help to repair your gut.
Following a gluten-free diet is simply not good enough. Although a gluten-free diet will help to control and manageyour celiac disease, it won't prevent flareups and progression of the disease -- because there are other foods and toxins that can trigger an autoimmune attack on his gastrointestinal system.
In addition, a gluten-free diet is not comprehensive enough to repair your gut or address one of the more serious issues associated with most people suffering with celiac disease -- intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
Eating even a small amount of gluten and other trigger foods can result in damage to the intestine. You can’t eat regular pizza, or sourdough bread, on a gluten-free diet. You must avoid all foods containing wheat, oats, barley, rye and possibly other grains.
Read labels carefully because gluten can turn up where you don’t expect it: in cold cuts, soups, candies, and even soy sauce. Be aware of ingredients such as starch, modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP), binders, fillers, excipients, extenders, malt, and natural flavorings, all of which may indicate the presence of gluten.
Also, beware of some"gluten-free" foods! -- Some of them contain ingredients that are not healthy for you!
Following a comprehensive autoimmune nutritional protocol diet will greatly improve and may even completely resolve celiac disease symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further problems. Improvements can begin within days of starting the diet.
Many people with celiac disease also need to take supplements to help rebuild their nutrient stores and heal symptoms caused by malabsorption. This can include deficiencies in iron, calcium and vitamin D, zinc, B6, B12, and folate. These are a common celiac disease symptoms because the digestive tract cannot absorb nutrients as well when damage and inflammation occurs, which means even if you eat a great diet otherwise, you might still have deficiencies.
Avoid Other Household or Cosmetic Items Made with Gluten
Surprisingly, it’s not just foods containing gluten that you need to avoid in your daily life. There are also many non-food items that can contain gluten and trigger symptoms including:
- Glue on stamps and envelopes
- Laundry detergent
- Lip gloss and lip balm
- Body lotion and sunscreen
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Healing completely involves a restoration of the intestinal villi that can absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream as well as keep the gut from leaking. This usually takes place faster in children than in adults – kids having resolution in as little as 3 to 6 months while older adults may need as much as 2 years.
Here is a list of the top 10 super foods from the DTD Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) & Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program that you should include as part of your nutritional program to help reverse your autoimmune disease and rebalance your immune system.
Bone Broth: is the liquid made from boiling bones in water anywhere from a few hours to 40 or more hours to liberate their nutrients and create a nutritious liquid that contains collagen, gelatin and other key nutrients.
From a nutritional perspective, bone broth contains minerals and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, used in every cell in our bodies!
Bone broth is rich in two very valuable amino acids that we don't get from our diets: glycine and proline. These amino acids are identified as "conditionally essential" or non-essential because the body is able to manufacture these amino acids from the 9 essential amino acids that we can get from animal and plant sources.
However, as we get older or when we have a disease, the body struggles with being able to manufacture these amino acids.
Both of these amino acids are found in connective tissue, which is the biological “glue” that holds our bodies together and play major roles in healing, especially if you have a leaky gut.
We need these two amino acids to heal wounds and the microscopic damage done to blood vessels and other tissues in our body caused by inflammation and infection.
In fact, glycine is known to reduce the activation of inflammatory cells from your immune system, which is important if you have an autoimmune disease.
Whether you are trying to heal from an infection, address an auto-immune disease, or reduce inflammation, high levels of glycine and proline are critical.
If you're diabetic, glycine provides a benefit by helping to regulate blood glucose levels by controlling gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from proteins in the liver).
Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone (HGH) secretion from the pituitary gland.
Proline helps in reversing atherosclerotic deposits, which is important if you have diabetes or heart disease. Proline enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages in your heart and the surrounding blood vessels.
Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.
Brazil Nuts: contain selenium, which is required for thyroid hormone production, for protecting the brain against oxidative damage, and for protection from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The good news is that you can obtain all of the selenium you need by consuming one ounce of raw Brazil nuts every day. If you don’t like Brazil nuts then garlic is also a good source of selenium.
Chlorella: is a blue-green algae that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to provide energy faster and build immunity.
Chlorella also helps to remove toxins such as heavy metals, which are one of the major triggers for autoimmune diseases.
Spirulina is another blue-green algae with a higher protein profile that also helps the immune system.
Chlorella, spirulina and wheat grass contain high levels of chlorophyll, which helps to cleanse and detox the body and stabilize blood glucose levels; and, provide a balancing and calming effect on the immune system.
Coconut oil (Extra virgin): can be helpful to the thyroid because of its high content of medium chain fatty acids and lauric acid. Also, coconut oil helps to promote your metabolism by providing thyroid support.
Coconut oil acts in tandem with the thyroid to improve sensitivity of tissues to thyroid hormones and maintain an optimum metabolic rate.
More importantly, you should avoid canola oil and most of the vegetable oils that we use to cook food and those used in commercially-prepared foods. These polyunsaturated vegetable oils have a negative affect on the thyroid and may in fact be the worst villains in the spread of thyroid diseases.
Fermented vegetables: contain probiotics and organic acids that balance the pH in the stomach and small intestines to help heal the gut. Fermented foods include coconut kefir, kvass, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Fruits: with a low glycemic index (GI) include: apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, other berries, dark cherries, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, peaches, pears, plums.
But, limit your intake to 1 fruit a day at the most. If you're diabetic, avoid fruit until you reach Stage 4 of the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program.
Note: If possible, eat organic fruits to reduce the exposure to pesticides and other toxins.
Plant oils: include monounsaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil); saturated fats (extra virgin coconut oil).
Grass-fed Animal Meats: include beef, bison, chicken, duck, fish, lamb, turkey, and venison. Select grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats, preferably from a local farm.
Avoid factory-farmed meats that contain antibiotics and hormones. Fish should be ocean-caught with a low mercury content, e.g. wild salmon, sardines. Avoid swordfish, most tuna, and king mackerel because they are very high in mercury.
Grass-fed Organ Meats: Compared to the muscle meat we are used to eating, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and the very important vitamin B12.
Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source. Organ meats also contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, including arachidonic acid and the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
Surprisingly, some organ meats such as kidney and pancreas even contain Vitamin C!
Note: If you don't like organ meats, then, try a desiccated liver supplement. But, make sure the supplement comes from grass-fed animals.
Sea Vegetables or Seaweed: is loaded with essential minerals, carotenoids, and even long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, making it a powerful addition to our diets.
Although each variety of seaweed has a different overall nutrient profile of vitamins and minerals, in general, you can expect these foods to be rich in: calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6),Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and dozens of additional trace minerals!
Numerous studies have shown that some components in seaweed help fight inflammation! The fucoxanthin in seaweed can help reduce excessive inflammation in the body.
Another health benefit of seaweed is supporting cardiovascular health. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of fucoxanthin can help thwart multiple processes involved in the progression of heart disease, while also modulating immune function.
And, research has shown that a many seaweeds have hypolipidemic (lipid-lowering) activity, helping reduce levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. And, the DHA found in algae and algal oil can not only reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but also raise HDL cholesterol.
Turmeric: contains essential oils and the powerful active ingredient curcumin, which is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that protects the liver.
Over the last few decades hundreds of studies have proven scientifically what Indian people have known for centuries -- that curcumin has the ability to halt or prevent certain types of cancer, stop inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, prevent cataracts and kill or inhibit the toxic effects of certain microbes including fungi and dangerous parasites.
Vegetables: should be your primary carbohydrate to better manage your autoimmune disease as well as other diseases.
Vegetables provide anti-inflammatories and antioxidants to help modulate your autoimmune disease. However, you should go with organic vegetables -- to reduce your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.
Anti-inflammatory properties abound in such foods as spinach, broccoli, peppers and kale. Set the goal of filling at least one-half of your dinner plate with vegetables, one-third of your plate with sea vegetables, and the remaining third with some form of lean protein.
Wild Salmon: is rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats that are readily used by our body to fight inflammation.
The shorter chain omega-3 ALA, which is in flax, chia and walnuts, is actually not easily used by our body because it must first be converted into DHA or EPA, which is a very inefficient process.
If you don't like fish, then, try an Omega-3 EFAs supplement. However, unprocessed cod liver oil may be a better option that a supplement because the oil in many supplements is oxidized.
Fish is also a good source of the nutrient selenium, which is most concentrated in the thyroid. Selenium also helps to decrease inflammation.
Yogurt: with active cultures are a good source of probiotics, beneficial bacteria which help keep the immune system and digestive system functioning at their best.
However, most store-bought yogurt contains a lot of sugar and fructose corn syrup, and, not enough “live” cultures – most are either killed during the pasteurization process or die by the time they reach the grocery shelves. Use the organic or low fat versions without the extra fruit and sugar, or consider making your own yogurt.
Now that you know what foods to eat, it's just as important, maybe even more important, to know which foods to avoid.
There are many foods that can trigger an autoimmune response. As a result, you must avoid these foods and chemicals to prevent the immune system from over-reacting or from fueling cellular inflammation.
Most of these foods should not surprise you, since they were originally identified as "dead" foods more than 12 years ago in the author's Death to Diabetes book and his Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program.
All of these foods (except one) have two things in common:
1. These foods cause inflammation.
2. These foods are all man-made.
One of the key components or goals of the DTD Autoimmune Diseases Wellness Program is to help the immune system achieve balance.
As depicted in the diagram (below), an over-reaction by the immune system leads to an autoimmune disease or an allergy. If the immune system under-reacts, then, this can lead to an infection or something more serious such as cancer or TB.
The immune system has two ways of dealing with bacteria, viruses and other foreign pathogens.
The B-lymphocytes (B cells) synthesize specific antibodies called immunoglobulins. This is known as humoral immunity.
The other system involves T-lymphocytes (T cells), which regulate the synthesis of antibodies as well as direct killer cell activity and the inflammatory response of delayed type hypersensitivity. This system is known as cell-mediated immunity.
The T-cells are further divided into helper lymphocytes (Th) and cytotoxic cells (Tc), also known as suppressor cells. Tc cells are also known as CD8 T cells.
When the T-cells encounter a foreign pathogen (antigen) they further secrete a number of communication molecules called lymphokines, cytokines, interleukins or interferons. These factors further elaborate and direct the immune response to a specific antigen.
The T-helper cells are directly involved in assisting B-cells as well as coordinating their own cell-specific defense. Th cells are also known as CD4 T cells.
Th1 and Th2 Portions of the Immune System:
The T-helper cells are further divided into two distinct lines of defense.
The Th1 cells promote the cell-mediated line of defense and inhibit the other line known as Th2 cells, which regulate the humoral defense.
The Th2 cell lines control the B-cells and inhibit the cell-mediated response of the Th1 lymphocytes. A careful balance between these two functions is achieved and must be maintained for a properly coordinated immune response.
In addition, some of the T-helper cells become Th17 and Treg cells, along with several others, e.g. Th3, Th22, etc.
However, we will primarily focus on Th1 and Th2 cells; and, Th17 and Treg cells.
The key to a healthy and effective immune system is the balance and coordination of the T-helper (Th) cells, specifically the Th1 and Th2 cells, along with the Th17 and Treg cells during an immune response.
Th1 Cells: are called “cell mediated” immunity, which typically deals with viral and gram-negative bacterial infections. This is the first line of defense against pathogens that get inside of our cells. This is called the body's innate immune response. This consists of Killer T cells, T helper cells and T suppressor cells. It is also supported by cytokines such as Interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-12, gamma interferon, IgA and sIgA.
Th2 Cells: are responsible for the “humoral-mediated” immune response. This system stimulates the production of antibodies in response to pathogens found outside the cells. This is called the body' acquired immune response. This system is supported by cytokines IL 4,5,6, 10 and alpha interferon.
FYI: In addition, there are other T cells that may affect the balance of the immune system, including the Th17 cells and Treg cells.
Th17 cells (when in abundance) have been associated with autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis, autoimmune uveitis, juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease.
Treg cells inhibit the activation of Th1, Th2 cells and Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs) that are required for cell-mediated immunity, inflammation and antibody production. In other words, in most cases, Treg cells help to regulate and suppress an autoimmune response!
Immune System Th1-Th2 Balance for Autoimmune Diseases
T lymphocytes activate and regulate the immune system by making cytokines, which are chemical signals that tell other cells in the immune system what to do.
Of all the types of cells in the body, T Helper cells are considered to be the biggest producers of these cytokines. There are several types of T helper cells, but, there are two main types: Th1 cells and Th2 cells.
Th1 cells work to eliminate invaders that occur inside our cells (viruses and some intracellular bacteria). Th2 cells aim to destroy pathogens that occur outside our cells (bacteria and parasites). Th1 cells and Th2 cells each create different cytokines which trigger different effects in the body.
Why is this important?
A healthy immune system can “choose” which types of cells to produce and can easily switch back and forth between Th1 and Th2-type responses. An unhealthy immune system can get “stuck” in one of these responses – leading to excessive production of only one type of cytokines.
Some people get “stuck” in a Th2 dominant response because their bodies are not exposed to as many parasites and bacteria as in the past (thanks to Lysol, toilets, and water sanitation systems).
An immune system without an invader to fight will start attacking anything it can – pollen, food particles, dust, dander, etc. When Th2 becomes switched on, it activates immune cells called eosinophils and IgE-type reactions which leads to the symptoms we recognize as “allergies”. For some people this can become severe, leading to food allergies, asthma, eczema, and anaphylactic reactions.
On the other hand, some people get "stuck" in a Th1 dominant response. If Th1 is always switched on, it activates macrophages, neutrophils and other immune cells to over-respond to a food particle, medication, toxin, infection, etc. and can develop into an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, lupus or MS.
Much of the balancing of the Th1/Th2 response occurs in early infancy for most of us and in pregnancy for some women. Once the immune system gets “stuck” in Th1 or Th2, we have a much more difficult time correcting it.
More specifically, when we have too many T suppressor cells our immune system is too weak and we get colds, fevers, influenza (flu), TB, cancer, etc.
When there are too many Killer T cells or there are too little T helpers and T suppressors, we end up with a poorly coordinated immune response that damages our own tissue, causing an autoimmune disorder.
So, when one line predominates, there is the opportunity for immune dysregulation to occur, resulting in either a hypo-immune response resulting in an allergy, infection, cold, tuberculosis, cancer, etc. or a hyper-immune response causing an autoimmune disease.
Scenario Example: Here is a simple scenario that describes how these immune cells function to protect us and try to maintain a balanced immune response:
Let’s say you cut yourself with a dirty knife. Bacteria penetrate your skin, engaging a first line of defense from your immune system called a macrophage (picture Pac Man).
Macrophages are like big, fat security guards wielding tiny billy clubs –- ineffective, but they’ll slow an invader down while they call on more sophisticated security guards by sending out chemical signals (cytokines).
When confronted with an invader, macrophages call on their friends, the T helper (Th) cells. The Th cells tell the entire immune system through a series of chemical signals that there has been an invader that has crossed the barrier.
Specifically, the Th cells call directly on two types of cells, cytotoxic T cells (Tc) and natural killer cells (NK), both soldiers with muscle that live up to their name and help attack and kill the bacterial invaders.
Once the bacteria have been killed, it is time for the immune system to call off the attack, which is the job of the T suppressor cells (Ts), who “suppress” the fight.
In the event that the bacteria is too powerful for the T cells, or if the T cells have a difficult time finding the invader, as in the case of a virus, the B cells are called to join in the fight.
B cells make antibodies for a given invader based on instructions from the T helper cells.
In other words, if the T helper cells (Th) tell the immune system that the invader is a guy wearing a red sweater, the B cells will create antibodies for a guy in a red sweater, so that when they meet him, they can latch onto him and wave a flag, making it easier for the cytotoxic T cells (Tc) and natural killer cells (NK) to find the invader.
But here’s what you really need to know:
The initial T cell response is called a “Th1 response”. The secondary B cell antibody response is called a “Th2 response”.
In a healthy body, there is balance between the Th1 (T cell) and Th2 (B cell) parts of our immune system. And that’s the desirable state.
If there is a dominant response from either Th1 or Th2, this will trigger inflammation and cause a flare; and, over time can lead to allergies or an autoimmune disease.
So, how do we address this? Unfortunately, until recently, most of us either went to the doctor or the local drugstore to get a specific medication. For example, if we had an allergy, we went to the drugstore for an OTC drug such as Claritin or Allegra. If we had an autoimmune disease, we went to the doctor to get some kind of drug that would suppress the immune system or reduce the symptoms.
However, most of us have come to realize that drugs are not the best answer, especially given some of the side effects that can affect the heart, liver and other organs.
This is one of the reasons why natural remedies (e.g. super foods, herbs, supplements) are more in demand. In addition, natural remedies can help to balance the Th1/Th2 ratio without the side effects. The only downside is that it takes time and patience for this to work. So, it is very important to stick with the program to reap the benefits!
The first step to determine whether your immune system is Th1 or Th2 dominant. Usually your doctor will give you a blood test to check for antibodies; and, then, prescribe a medication that suppresses your immune system.
Instead, you should request tests for Th1/Th2 cytokines, CD4/CD8 ratio panel, and Vitamin D. If your doctor resists, you can order these tests from an online laboratory.
Here is some additional information about Th1 and Th2 dominant conditions and why it's important to understand which one you are dominant.
TH1 Dominant Conditions:
Auto-immune conditions are typically related to overactive cellular immunity and weakened Th2 humoral immune response. Th1 dominant individuals rarely ever develop cancer but are unable to handle parasites and they develop chronic autoimmune conditions.
Th1 Dominance typically occurs with extreme vitamin D deficiencies along with an immune assault such as vaccine injury or chronic pathogen that irritates the immune system. These individuals typically have food intolerances to gluten and pasteurized dairy among other things.
TH2 Dominant Conditions:
Allergic conditions are typically related to weakened cellular (Th1) immunity and overactive TH2 responses. This can be related to vaccine injury and overuse of antibiotics. Individuals who are Th2 dominant will over respond to environmental toxins, allergens, normal bacteria and parasites. Th2 dominant individuals will under-respond to viruses, yeast, cancer cell formation and intracellular bacteria.
When the TH2 system is dominant the body tends to rely on it when it is threatened in anyway. A common example is allergies. When we are exposed to the allergen the TH2 system goes into overdrive causing a massive inflammatory response. This is due to poor balance between the TH1/TH2 system and then a poorly coordinated TH2 response that creates a systemic inflammatory reaction in response to a very minor threat.
Certain herbs are known to stimulate the TH1 response while others stimulate the TH-2 pathway and a third group helps to balance and coordinate both pathways. This explains how one individual can take Echinacea and feel terrible while others see an immediate boost in their immune function.
It explains why one individual can do great with coffee and green tea while others do awful with these TH2 boosting stimulants.
In addition, based on new research, there are other T helper cells that must also work together, e.g. Th17, Treg, Th22.
In the following square model, the 4 T-cell types (Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg) antagonize each other.
Th1 cytokines are inhibitory to Th2-cell development, whereas the Th2 cytokines block Th1-cell development. Th1 cytokines block Th17-cell development, while Treg inhibits the development of both Th1 and Th2 cells by direct contact.
Immune System Th1-Th2-Th17-Treg Balance
Consequently, as you can see, you need a flexible and customizable nutritional strategy (such as the DTD Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program) that will allow you to get your immune system under control and back in balance, based on whether you are Th1 or Th2 dominant.
By using compounds that are known to modulate the balance between Th1 and Th2, the autoimmune attack is lessened and the body is able to function closer to normal.
For more details, refer to Chapters 3 and 4 of the How to Treat Autoimmune Diseases Naturally ebook.
In addition to an effective nutritional strategy, there are other lifestyle changes that may help with treating most autoimmune diseases.
Exercise on a consistent basis. Try to get regular physical exercise on a daily basis, but be careful not to overdo it. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about what types of physical activity you can do.
A gradual and gentle exercise program often works well for people with long-lasting muscle and joint pain. Some types of yoga or Tai chi exercises may be helpful.
Get sleep and rest. Make sure that you're getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep. But, it's not just about the number of hours -- it's also about the quality of sleep. For example, if you are able to get a deep sleep, your body goes into REM, which allows the body to repair and heal itself while you're sleeping.
Get enough rest and learn how to relax. Rest and relaxation allow you to destress and not get too wound up during the day. If we're too wound up, we tend to come home and have an alcoholic beverage to wind down or we eat a comfort food like mac 'n cheese or ice cream to soothe ourselves. But, this is problematic, because it usually leads to addictive habits, insomnia and poor health.
Reduce stress. Stress and anxiety can trigger symptoms to flare up with some autoimmune diseases. So finding ways to simplify your life and cope with daily stressors will help you to feel your best.
Meditation, prayer, and listening to soft music are simple relaxation techniques that might help you to reduce stress, lessen your pain, and deal with other aspects of living with your disease.
You can learn to do these through self-help books, tapes, or with the help of an instructor. Joining a support group or talking with a counselor might also help you to manage your stress and cope with your disease.
Note: If you have an autoimmune disease such as Type 1 diabetes, get the How to Treat Autoimmune Diseases Naturally ebook. It addresses Type 1 diabetes as well as other autoimmune diseases including:
-- Addison's disease
-- Celiac disease
-- Graves disease
-- Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
-- Multiple sclerosis
-- Rheumatic disease (incl. Rheumatoid arthritis)
-- Sjögren’s syndrome
The Immune System: Levels of Defense
Note: The following diagrams provide a high level overview of the immune system, its components and how it operates.
This diagram shows that the immune system consists of 3 lines of defense: the skin, white blood cells close to the skin (e.g. macrophages), and specialized white blood cells (e.g. B and T cells).
As depicted in the following diagram, your immune system is divided into two different types of immunity: Innate Immunity and Adaptive Immunity .
Innate Immunity is something already present in the body. As soon as something enters the skin, blood, or tissues, the immune system immediately goes into attack mode and provides a rapid response.
It does this by identifying certain chemicals in the substance that tells the innate response it shouldn’t be there. One example would be white blood cells fighting bacteria, causing redness and swelling, when you have a cut.
Adaptive Immunity is created in response to exposure to a foreign substance. When a foreign invader enters the body, the immune system takes it in and analyzes its every detail. Then the adaptive immune response organizes cells to attach that foreign substance every time they enter the body.
The adaptive immune cells actually have a memory and know how to fight off certain invaders. One example is the chickenpox vaccination so that we don’t get chickenpox because adaptive immunity system has remembered the foreign body.
Immune System Cells
The following chart provides a list of the major immune cells within the immune system.
The first box identifies the major immune cells (lymphocytes) in the adaptive immune system, particularly the B and T cells.
The other boxes identify the major immune cells involved in the innate immune system, particularly, the macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils, and natural killers.
The following diagram depicts how the immune system operates, in performing three keys functions: (1) to protect the body from invading pathogens; (2) to help repair and heal damaged cells and tissues; and, (3) coordinate and balance the immune response between the Th1 and Th2 immune cells and between the immune system and your healthy cells.
FYI: Most people are aware that the immune system protects us from colds and the flu (invading bacteria, viruses and pathogens). However, most people are not aware that the immune system has two other major roles: initiating the body's repair and healing processes; and, coordinating and balancing the immune response.
This is one of the reasons why the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program emphasizes the importance of a strong and balanced immune system when fighting a disease like Type 2 diabetes, or any disease for that matter.
Based on the success of the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program for Type 2 diabetics, it was used as the basis for developing a nutritional program for Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease.
In addition, because many of our clients were struggling with thyroid issues, this nutritional program was expanded to address thyroid problems. Then, it was expanded to address PCOS, MS, and lupus to support our clients.
Eventually, that led to the creation of the DTD Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program. This program identifies the super foods to eat, the dead foods to avoid, the key supplements, and the immune modulators in order to address most autoimmune diseases. In addition, the nutritional program identifies the Th1/Th2 stimulators and suppressors.
When most of us acquire a disease, it usually weakens the immune system. This creates two additional health problems: (1) the inability to defend the body against colds, flu, allergies, infections, etc.; and, (2) the inability to repair and heal the damaged cells and tissues. This, in turn, allows the disease to progress and cause even more damage.
The DTD Autoimmune Diseases Wellness Program and Nutritional Program addresses these additional problems.
If you have an autoimmune disease, allergies, PCOS, or thyroid issues, get the author's Autoimmune Disease and Natural Treatments book/ebook.
This book addresses how to calm and balance the immune system by identifying what foods to eat and avoid, what key supplements to take, and what immune modulators will help with Th1 dominance and Th2 dominance. This book also addresses how to repair a leaky gut.
In addition, be proactive and prevent the onset of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems by getting one of the following author's books, which address inflammation, oxidation, toxic load, etc.:
- Death to Diabetes book or ebook.
- DTD Juicing Book/Ebook
- DTD Raw Food Diet Book/Ebook
- DTD Cleanse & Detox Book/Ebook
Note: For information about the immune system and how to strengthen it, refer to the Boost Immune System web page.
For information about autoimmune symptoms, diagnosis and treatment strategies, refer to the Death to Diabetes Blog.
For more details about the operation of the immune system and its cells, also,refer to the Death to Diabetes Blog.
Note: For information about Autoimmune Diseases and Glycobiology, refer to the Death to Diabetes Blog.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Copyright © 2018. Death to Diabetes, LLC. All rights reserved.