The shock of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and the overwhelm that happens upon arriving home and researching can leave a person feeling like they want to melt into a puddle on the floor. Relieved to have answers, it’s confusing to know where to go from here. Today I’m going to help you feel empowered moving forward.
DIAGNOSIS ISN’T A DEATH SENTENCE TO YOUR AMAZING LIFE
It’s easy to feel disheartened after researching your diagnosis. Most mainstream medicine doctors don’t really touch on diet other than “eat a low potassium diet” or “don’t eat gluten” and then throw a bunch of pills that may or may not help manage your symptoms. Some medications will suppress your immune system to the point that developing an aggressive form of cancer is a very real side effect. Where do you go from here?
Thankfully, you have SO MUCH in your control. What you eat and how you take care of yourself truly will impact how severe your autoimmune symptoms develop, how frequent or infrequent you have flares, how long you stay on medication and the quality of your everyday life. You’ll definitely need to make some adjustments, a lot of mental work to ensure you’re thinking positively (our body follows our minds), and building in a lot of self-care but you’re on your way to feeling better soon.
5 SUPPLEMENTS TO START IMMEDIATELY AFTER DIAGNOSIS
It doesn’t matter which of the 80+ diagnoses out there, the supplements I’m recommending will help ease your flare and help speed up your recovery. While I highly recommend switching to an Autoimmune Diet (this book helps make it easy), before even doing that I recommend starting on these 5 supplements. They are designed to help heal your gut (the foundational step to help to reverse autoimmune symptoms) and boost nutrients quickly so you can start feeling better immediately.
L-Glutamine the most abundant amino acid in the blood plays a vital role in the maintenance of the mucosal integrity of your intestinal lining (aka The Gut). Glutamine is considered a “conditionally essential” amino acid and has extensive research showing its role in helping to reverse the damage that stress, food sensitivities, viruses, bacteria, and toxins do(1). When your body is under the stress of a flare-up, it is unable to keep up with the demands for glutamine and supplementation is considered necessary. My practitioners typically recommend anywhere from 2-5g per day. Personally, I use 5g per day when I’m in a flare and 2g per day to maintain when I’m not. You’ll want to make sure you get a pure version unless you have a Naturopathic or Functional Medicine Doctor that recommends something like Gut Revive or another similar product that includes other healing herbs and supplements.
Collagen is the glue that holds your body together. It’s the fibrous protein found throughout your body, including in organs, muscles, skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones, blood vessels, tendons, joints, cartilage, and your digestive system. When you are diagnosed with autoimmune disease, it’s very likely that the stress has caused a leaky gut. The villi in your intestinal wall are built of collagen. When you supplement with collagen you are literally “sealing the leak” by giving your cells the fuel they need to repair themselves. When you no longer have a leaky gut it no longer needs to keep up on taking care of foreign invaders, the immune system can “relax,” and your body can start repairing the damage that has been done from your body attacking itself in a case of friendly fire.
Nutritional deficiencies are extremely common in those with autoimmune disease and by not addressing, will keep the body in a state of stress, thus you’ll never feel better. Don’t go and get something cheap from Costco or Target though. You need bio-available nutrients. If you aren’t partnered up with an Integrative or Functional Medicine Doctor, and don’t plan to yet, the two brands I personally have used and recommend are Ritual and Paleovalley Organ Complex. For a really nice boost, energy immediately, improved sleep and more I would suggest IV therapy. You’ll want to talk to an IV facility or your NMD about the right choice for you but it is a fantastic therapy that gives my clients the boost they need to tackle the other things they need to do like diet and stress management.
Low vitamin D levels have been shown to a risk factor in the development of autoimmune disease (along with cancer and other health conditions) and improving the numbers has been shown to help reduce symptoms and flare-ups in those with autoimmune disease (2). While mainstream medicine says anything between 30-100 is okay, the ideal range is between 50-90. If you are in a flare, between 70-90. You do not want to go above 100 as it causes health issues just like too low can. K2 is a necessary fat-soluble nutrient that is necessary is the role of calcium metabolism. It enhances vitamin D’s ability to do its job well. It also makes sure calcium ends up where it belongs, in the bones versus building up in other parts of the body. The amount you take per day of vitamin D depends on what your current tests tell you. If it is low you’re going to need a lot more per day than if you are in the ideal range. You’ll want professional guidance to ensure you do not take too little or too much.
Since your digestive tract is likely not functioning optimally, digestive enzymes are a way to boost the amount of nutrients you are able to get from the food you’re ingesting. Digestive enzymes help breakdown your food and increase the absorbability of the nutrients. You are not what you eat, you are what you are able to absorb. Total bonus would be adding in a separate probiotic supplement (not in one capsule as the enzymes eat the probiotics and you get nothing!) to help repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria.
Diagnosis is a shock but you have the power to reduce symptoms and reduce the severity and number of flares you have. This is just the beginning of your journey but if you include these supplements you’ll be off to a great start.