I have spent two years, studying the work of experts in the field of autoimmunity and have combined what I’ve learned, in 24 steps. I’ll be sharing one step every week for the next 24 weeks, on my website and social media platforms (starting Monday 18 May 2020). This is step 18 of 24.
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STEP 18: HEALING SUPPLEMENTS
According to Dr Amy Myers (Functional medicine physician and author of The Autoimmune Solution) the simple truth is that you can’t always get everything you need from your diet as your body works hard to fight your daily toxic burden, overcome genetics, recover from chronic stress, and reduce inflammation. Even if your diet did provide everything your body requires, you might not be absorbing those nutrients if you have a leaky gut or weak digestion. That is why supplements play an important role in your healing journey.
Keep in mind that we all have different needs and what works for me or a friend, might not work for you. Talk to your functional medicine practitioner about the following supplements:
1. FOR EVERYONE
- Probiotics. Our gut is full of “good” and friendly bacteria that help us properly break down and digest our food. They help keep our gut in check and prevent ‘bad’ bacteria from overgrowth. Unfortunately, these friendly bacteria can be depleted and disrupted by taking antibiotics, steroids, or acid-blocking medications, eating a poor diet, and many other factors. Taking a highly concentrated dose (50-100 billion units a day) of probiotics on a daily basis can help you regain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
- Omega 3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for reducing inflammation. You can take up to 4 grams of these anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
- Multivitamins. Make sure that your multivitamin is free of food based additives from foods from the “food to avoid” list.
- Vitamin D. Most people are deficient in Vitamin D. Even if you are in normal range you are likely not optimal. Your levels should be at 60-90 ng/mL. Vitamin D can be toxic so make sure you work with your doctor to recheck your levels every few months.
- L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. Glutamine is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by leaky gut, and reducing sugar cravings. Dr Myers recommend 3-5 grams a day.
- Glutathione. It plays a crucial role in helping your immune system fight off infections and help bind free radicals and toxins to safely and effectively flush them out of your system.
2. FOR INFLAMMATION AND IMMUNE SUPPORT
- Liposomal Curcumin. Curcumin comes from turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family, and is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Your body and your taste buds will thank you for fighting inflammation with this supplement. Dr Myers recommends supplementation because Liposomal Curcumin is in fat-soluble form that is able to penetrate into the cell — you would need to take a lot of pills or eat a lot of turmeric to get the same effect.
- Omega 3’s. Don’t forget that you can take up to 4 grams of these wonderful anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
The following supplements work synergistically to sway your immune system to get back on track.
- Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a great antioxidant to support your immune function. Dark chocolate and red wine contain resveratrol, but you would have to drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of dark chocolate to receive these benefits. At least for now, while you’re healing, it’s probably best taken as a supplement.
- Acetyl-Glutathione. Supporting your body’s detox pathways is one of the best ways to support your body’s immune system.
3. FOR GUT HEALTH
Since in functional medicine we believe everything starts in the gut, this is a high priority category for most people, especially if you have an autoimmune condition and/or gut infections like yeast overgrowth, SIBO, and parasites. The following supplements are recommended for at least 30 days or until infections and digestive issues are gone:
- Collagen. These amino acids from grass-fed beef provide nutrients to help with healing a leaky gut, repairing damage to joints, and detoxing for the liver. This supplement is especially helpful for those that have Rheumatoid Arthritis or joint pain.
- Digestive enzymes. As the gut is healing, it is important to restore enzymes that are necessary in breaking down your food for proper absorption. You will be taking these enzymes with your meals until your gut is working properly to produce enough of these enzymes on its own.
- HCL. Just as many people need digestive enzyme support, many benefit from restoring stomach acid, or HCL, for optimal digestion. Your stomach should be an acidic environment to breakdown nutrients, particularly proteins.
4. OTHER SUPPLEMENTS
- Licorice root or aloe vera – To soothe the gut and cool the inflammation.
- Vitamin C and D – To calm your immune response naturally.
- Prebiotics – To feed the good bacteria in the probiotics
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This list of supplements should not be seen as a prescription. You should always first consult with a professional medical practitioner before taking supplements.
Supplements only really work if you’ve already addressed the basics. These basics include the food you eat, leaky gut, infections, toxins and stress. To learn more about the basics, I invite you to sign up for the 6-month online course, The Autoimmune Way from as little as $7 per month.