Autoimmune Disease - Does Nutrition Play a Role?

Autoimmune diseases are conditions where the immune system attacks the body's own cells. The disease condition is given different names depending on what part of the body the disease attacks. If the joints are attacked, it's rheumatoid arthritis, if the thyroid is attacked it's Hashimoto's thyroiditis, if the large intestine is attacked it's ulcerative colitis.

Autoimmunity is a relatively new phenomena, with the first documentation in the literature dating back to about 1940 and the explosion of it really not happening until the 1990s.

With that said, we still do not really understand the cause or causes. Many environmental factors play a role such as exposure to toxicity in the air, water and food. The HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) genes do pre-dispose some people to autoimmune conditions but are not a guarantee to get the disease. Likewise, people can get the disease without having the gene. Sometimes these diseases come on after a severe acute illness, or a stressful traumatic event in one's life.

The mainstream medical strategy is generally to try to suppress the immune system with drugs. By suppressing the immune system, we can lessen the attack that it makes on the body's own cells, thus lessening the severity of symptoms. However, there is one caveat... you kinda need your immune system. When immunosuppressed a person cannot fight off infection as well and sometimes is vulnerable to a whole host of other diseases and infections.

This playing whack-a-mole with symptoms leaves many feeling frustrated. Many are seeking wellness without drug side effects.

Many seeking a better solution turn to alternative means. Most alternative modalities focus on building the body's level of health instead of trying to fight disease.

While many see some relief from a myriad of alternative treatments, only 2 method have been shown in the scientific literature to actually reverse autoimmune disease. These methods are medically-supervised water fasting and a raw, plant-based diet.1,2 Both of these are dietary interventions. The water fast MUST be supervised by a doctor with clinical fasting experience, preferably a member of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians. DO NOT attempt a water fast without proper supervision.

Note that disease reversal is not the same as a cure. With a dietary intervention the patient must continue a very health-promoting eating pattern such as a whole-food plant-based diet in order to maintain the reversal. If the patient regresses back to processed food, animal products and the standard American diet the disease condition will more than likely come back.

References:

1 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f0d7/e27d460154e2558f0547fb65c7bf544e7d9a.pdf

2 https://ijdrp.org/index.php/ijdrp/article/view/47