Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease
By Dr. Elizabeth Winter
Inflammation is a lot like many things: In small doses, it serves its purpose, but gone unchecked, it can lead to serious problems. We all know that autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mistakes our own bodies as foreign and mounts an inappropriate response. Whenever our body is under attack, inflammation is a result and, more and more, research is showing us that an abnormal inflammatory response is at the heart of almost all autoimmune disease.
But what is inflammation and where does it come from? Inflammation is the body’s way of signaling the immune system to fix and repair damaged tissue. It is designed to be a healing process. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to abnormal cells, tissue death, and the inappropriate remodeling of organs. This, in turn, just makes the outcome of any autoimmune disease worse.
So what do we do about chronic inflammation?
Many conventional medical doctors suggest heavy-handed medications such as steroids or immunosuppressants to squelch inflammation. And while these medications may have their place in dire situations, there is a lot else we can do to stop the inflammatory cascade. Turmeric, also known as Curcuma Longa, is king when it comes to halting inflammation in its tracks. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a common cooking spice and serves to reduce systemic inflammation, often significantly. Our Anti-Inflammatory Blend features turmeric front and center and for good reason. Likewise, crowd-pleasing cinnamon (also featured in our Anti-Inflammation Blend) is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, protecting tissues against the oxidative stress cascade that comes from any inflammatory response. Drinking a therapeutic dose of our Anti-Inflammatory Blend (1 tablespoon in 8oz of water daily) goes a long way to halting the inflammatory response.
Other therapies that any autoimmune patient may wish to consider include high doses of fish oil or other omega 3s and an anti-inflammatory diet. Undergoing reliable food intolerance testing such as the ALCAT food intolerance test is essential. (For more information on ALCAT testing, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Additionally, to truly treat the underlying cause of inflammation, we must address what is causing the dysregulation of the immune system to begin with. If you are struggling with an autoimmune disease, seek out a practitioner who knows how to approach autoimmune disease from a functional perspective. Looking into underlying infections, heavy metals, gut dysbiosis and leaky gut, food intolerances and a dysregulated T1/T2 response are all essential steps in truly healing any autoimmune condition.