Autoimmunity and Nutrition Supplementation
Posted by Designs For Health Research & Education Blog
Posted on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

In our last installment I wrote about how our food choices impact our immune health and immune function. This week, I’d like to more specifically address various autoimmune conditions and the role supplementation plays in certain autoimmune disease states.

Incidences of a range of autoimmune-related conditions continue to rise in spite of more attention from both science and the media, as well as an increased awareness and education of healthcare professionals. What we do know is that nutritional interventions can have a profound effect on many autoimmune disorders, giving hope to millions of people.

For instance, peroxynitrite, a potent oxidant that is formed by the rapid combination of nitric oxide with superoxide, can be formed in an inflammatory response and can cause a variety of toxic effects, including lipid peroxidation and tyrosine nitration. It has beenimplicated in the pathogenesis of both encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis.

Inosine and uric acid levelsInosine

Uric acid has been shown to be a peroxynitrite scavenger and in patients with multiple sclerosis. The nutrient inosine has been shown to raise serum uric acid levels, thereby decreasing inflammatory markersthe rate of disease progression and number of related lesions.

Curcumin, boswellia and IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another type of autoimmune condition, rates of which continue to spiral out of control. The polyphenol curcumin, the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found in the Indian spice turmeric, has been found to effectively modulate a multitude of inflammatory cytokines that have been associated with IBD while also decreasing the number of relapse.

Boswellia, another herb used in traditional Indian medicine system known as Ayurveda, has similar properties to curcumin and has also shown potential in a variety of inflammatory bowel conditions.

Fish Oils and Lupus

Fish Oil 3Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE is an autoimmune condition that can affect multiple systems most notably resulting in musculoskeletal and joint symptoms. SLE is also characterized by fever, skin lesions, joint pain, and anemia, and will often affect the kidneys, spleen, and various other organs. In patients suffering with the condition, a modest dose of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil taken daily for 24 weeks improved various markers of the disease including endothelial function.

Sjögren’s syndrome and green tea extract

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease featuring inflammation in the glands of the body that are responsible for producing tears and saliva. This leads to decreased water production for tears and thus leading to dry eyes. The disease also attacks the glands that produce saliva in the mouth including the salivary and parotid glands. The primary mechanism of destruction of the condition is infiltration of the salivary glands and lacrimal ducts by inappropriately high numbers of lymphocytes. Use of green teaextract reduced lymphocytic infiltration of the lacrimal glands while demonstrating protection of the salivary glands from TNF-alpha-induced cytotoxicity.

It is important to note that by modulating the various inflammatory cascades involved in the disease process, these compounds are affecting and balancing different aspects of the immune system, primarily Th-1 and Th-2 immunity, and thereby balancing the immune response.


Michael Fuhrman D.C.


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