Autoimmunity is the system involving responses of an organism against its own cells and tissues. Any disease which occurs as a result of such immune response is the autoimmune disease. The treatment of such a disease can be very complicated and it requires reducing of the inflammation of the body and the immune attack on your own tissue. That`s why going gluten free works well, right? Going gluten-free is the right step for most people, as gluten sensitivity means that your body is sensitive to the gluten protein. There is a huge crossover in people with celiac`s disease and autoimmune disease, so why isn’t it enough to remove it from your daily diet?
REASON 1 (You are doing it wrong)
If you don’t give up snacks and fake bread, it means that you are still eating hidden gluten and thus causing inflammation. Don’t be hard on yourself, as many people who go gluten free are actually doing it wrong. The following things will help you see if you are doing gluten free the wrong way:
– You went gluten free for a month but didn’t notice any difference and went back to eating it again
– You did well, going gluten free but still aren’t eating vegetables
– You are gluten-free most of the time but eat your favorite food once in a while
– You avoid sweets with gluten but still buy gluten free pastries, ice cream, cake mixes etc
– You avoid bread but don’t pay attention to other products, such as hot dogs, toothpaste, soy sauce or lipstick
Gluten is highly inflammatory food and it must be eliminated from your diet completely.
– You must avoid gluten for at least three months as a trial of a month will not do it
– Be extra cautious because gluten is hiding in many things you would never think of
– No cheating!
– Don’t avoid fruits and vegetables
– Gluten-free junk food is still junk food
REASON 2 (You Have Other Gut Imbalances (SIBO, Dysbiosis, Gut infections, Yeast Overgrowth)
Patients with autoimmune diseases are more susceptible to other gut issues, such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), Intestinal Dysbiosis (too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria), Gut Infections (like parasites), Leaky Gut and Yeast Overgrowth.
To diagnose many of these problems, you need a knowledgeable doctor. However, you can do a testing on your own by answering the following questions:
– Was I still constipated on a gluten free diet?
– Did I still experience gas and bloating 30 minutes to 1 hour after a meal?
– Do I still have abdominal pain?
– Are my bowel movements still irregular? Diarrhea one day, constipation the next?
– Do I have a personal history of lots of antibiotic use as a child or adult?
– Do I still experience unusual reactions to certain foods? Rashes, hives, swelling under the eyelids or in my arms/legs?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it is very likely that you have one or more of those gut related issues. It is highly recommended to get definitive testing and treatment.
REASON 3 (Your Immune System is Still on Fire Because of Physical, Emotional or Physiologic Stress)
It is a well-known fact that stress increases inflammation and activates your immune system. Even small amount of constant stress, such as work stress, financial stress, family stress or marriage stress, takes a toll on our gut.
Stress causes many negative changes in the gut, including the following:
– It can change the composition of your bacteria – in favor of bad bacteria
– Stress increases intestinal permeability, A.K.A causes leaky gut
– It has even been associated with an increased risk of GERD, peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis), irritable bowel syndrome and even food allergies
You can approach your autoimmune disease without addressing the stress levels. It is highly recommended to spend twenty minutes daily doing something you love, such as spiritual prayer, meditation, or yoga. Taking an Epsom salt bath with baking soda and lavender oil helps a lot as well.
REASON 4 (You’re NOT Avoiding Foods that Cross-React with Gluten or Directly Cause Inflammation by Themselves (Milk, Rice, Corn, Sesame and Gluten Free Oats))
Going gluten free is the first step into healing your autoimmune disease, but it shouldn’t be your last.
Many foods cross react with gliadin molecule, the part of gluten that some people don’t tolerate. In other words, the protein of gliadin and of milk, rice, sesame, corn, and gluten free oats looks very similar and the body cannot differentiate between them. Consequently, it may still react to these foods and cause inflammation.
For instance, milk contains lactose and casein, both of which are not tolerated by many people and result in inflammation.
In brief, removing these foods for a short period of time is not only beneficial but NECESSARY for some people to reduce inflammation. It is recommended to pick a diet that avoids these foods along with gluten and stick to it for at least three months.
REASON 5 (Autoimmune Diseases are Complex and Require a Multifaceted Approach to Treatment!)
As mentioned in the very beginning, autoimmunity is very complex disease and it requires a multifaceted approach.
From constant fatigue, lack of mental clarity, unexpected weight gain, depression, hair loss, brain fog to the roller coaster that comes with seeing many doctors after being misdiagnosed for years, it becomes evident that comprehensive approach to treatment is required for optimal results.
The recommended treatment includes 6 steps, all of which are critical:
1. Proper diet that is tailored to the individual and helps nourish the adrenals while focuses on nutrient deficiencies and reducing inflammation and autoimmunity
2. Addressing gut health and gut imbalances that may be accelerating inflammation in the body and reducing absorption of critical nutrients
3. Address adrenal status with adaptogens or glandular
4. Replete nutrient deficiencies, including Iron, B12, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, and Vitamin D3
5. Finding the right medications (if indicated) for each individual
6. Removing toxins that may be interfering with hormonal production or disrupting organ function