Autoimmune diseases are on the rise. In fact, the incidence of autoimmune disease has tripled in the last few decades and is the second leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, psoriasis and myasthenia gravis (see below for a personal story) are just some examples of autoimmune disorders where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. This happens when something triggers the immune system such as environmental toxins, genetics, food allergies/sensitivities, vaccines, or infections.
People who suffer from autoimmune diseases often experience loss of function, disability, increased hospitalizations and outpatient visits, decreased productivity, and impaired quality of life. Treatment involves removing triggers, taking medications, making diet modifications, and supplementing with beneficial nutrients in order to control symptoms, slow the autoimmune process and reduce inflammation.
Diet and nutrient therapy can be an effective means of managing an autoimmune disease. Studies have shown that oxidative stress and low antioxidant activity occur in autoimmune diseases. Therefore, eating nutrient dense, antioxidant rich, and anti-inflammatory foods can help to promote a healthy immune response and promote optimal digestive function. Diet recommendations include identifying and eliminating troublesome foods, such as gluten, wheat, eggs, soy, dairy, and corn. In addition, eliminating processed and refined foods can be beneficial. Foods that support health include dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and healthy fats, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fiber.
Here is a very inspirational video from Dr. Terry Wahls who was confined to a tilt-recline wheelchair for 4 years due to severe multiple sclerosis. She created a healing protocol based on functional medicine and the Paleo diet, and has since restored her health.
Closer to home, one of Village Green’s own, Michele Allan, has been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is a very rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder. With MG, the immune system blocks the connection between nerves and muscles causing weakness, fatigue, slurred speech and can affect all voluntary muscles in the body including those used for breathing and even smiling. MG is not that well known by the public or health professionals. People with MG suffer with a range of debilitating symptoms, often consulting numerous physicians before the right diagnosis is made. Many are unable to enjoy their daily lives, work, or attend school.
Inspired by Dr. Wahls and her own research, Michele made big changes to her diet and found that they made a huge difference in her symptoms. You can read Michele’s story here. Michele will be supporting the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) by participating in their MG Walk on Saturday, September 21. The MGFA is the only national volunteer health agency in the United States dedicated solely to the fight against myasthenia gravis. MGFA is committed to finding a cure for myasthenia gravis and closely related disorders, improving treatment options, and providing information and support to people with MG through research, education, community programs, and advocacy. If you’d like to register to walk with Michele’s Crew or make a pledge to help Michele reach her goal, please click here. Thank you for your support!