While research is still being conducted on the cause of several autoimmune diseases, doctors speculate that certain factors such as environmental triggers and bacterial infections are major predispositions. Interestingly, preventing these factors from occurring can be very simple with a healthy diet, consistent vitamin intake and exercise. For those unaware, the purpose of an immune system is to recognize the difference between healthy cells and foreign antibodies. When it detects foreign antibodies, it seeks out to destroy them in order to protect the body from infection. However, an abnormal immune system may not be able to tell the difference, thus accidentally destroying healthy cells and tissues that the body needs. This occurrence is called autoimmune disease. Depending on where the immune system attacks determines the type of autoimmune reaction that the body has. The cause of an abnormal immune system has always been a mystery in the medical field, however much progress has been made based on several studies. While more research has pointed to changes within the environment, some findings have revealed that many suffering with different autoimmune diseases have one thing in common: nutritional deficiencies.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, treating autoimmune diseases can vary from patient-to-patient, however we’ve also noticed several individuals lack essential vitamins and minerals that could help strengthen immunity and possibly prevent their conditions in the first place. Taking daily supplements can go a long way for one’s health, and when it comes to autoimmunity, there are some common nutritional deficiencies that are linked to the risks of developing these conditions. Below is a list of a few vitamins that many individuals with autoimmune conditions lack, in order for others to understand how to prevent it for themselves.
According to the Nutritional Magnesium Association (NMA), “magnesium deficiency can trigger disease development and worsen symptoms in hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s and other autoimmune disorders”¹. Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for cardiovascular health and is typically found within blood cells, muscles and the central nervous system. The mineral is used to provide a proper calcium balance for sufficient heartbeats and metabolic functions. Those with autoimmune diseases that impact the thyroid (such as Hashimoto’s) may have a deficiency in magnesium levels, thus magnesium supplements may help to reduce tremors, nervousness, muscle spasms and other hyperthyroid symptoms.
Omega 3 is considered one of the “essential” fatty acids that is needed in the system because the body cannot naturally produce it on its own. These minerals can be found in various species of fish such as tuna, mackerel, trout, and salmon and in fish oil supplements. While this mineral is normally recommended for those with cardiovascular conditions, studies have also shown that omega 3 supplements strengthen the immune system and can benefit those with several autoimmune conditions. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) listed several autoimmune disorders that can be treated with omega 3 including lupus, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.
What may seem like the easiest form of supplementation is actually one of the top nutritional deficiencies in those with autoimmune disease. As many know, vitamin D can be found in different sources of food and from natural sunlight. Therefore, one may believe that those who reside in sunny areas such as Florida, California, Nevada, Hawaii or countries such as Spain, Italy, or Australia, should have no issues receiving this vitamin. However, a 2019 report revealed that 50% of people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D, thus contributing to their autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is critical for one’s thyroid, bone density, brain health, and immune system. Certain autoimmune conditions that are associated with low vitamin D levels include inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
B Vitamins are vital for immune system functions, white blood cell production and hormones. Those who have a deficiency in vitamin B12 are likely to have a low white blood cell count, thus resulting in a vulnerable immune system. After a certain amount of time, the immune system could develop abnormalities and begin to attack itself, resulting in different forms of autoimmune disease. The United States National Library of Medicine (USNLM) stated that intakes of vitamin B6 and B12 have an influence on those with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and can even “prevent the occurrence of the active disease”².
Take Your Vitamins
At LifeWorks, one important piece of advice that we give to all our patients is to take their vitamins, maintain a healthy natural diet, exercise and drink water. Help Guide describes vitamins and minerals as “essential nutrients” due to their various roles that they assist in the body³. Hence, why during any treatment plan, we provide some form of supplementation to replenish the system’s nutrients. One vitamin that we highly recommend is BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino; vitamin tablets/powder that contain essential amino acids that contain necessary proteins the system lacks. Additionally, this supplement is meant to boost energy levels, strengthen immunity and improve muscle tone.
If you or someone you know is suffering from autoimmune disease or other chronic illnesses, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners at 727-466-6789.
Note: Before taking any supplements, it is highly advised to see a LifeWorks practitioner prior to starting a supplement regimen.