5 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease - DrJockers.com

5 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease

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5 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease

We live in a world that puts high demands on our bodies to perform and produce all day long.  Many of us sacrifice rest in order to strive towards our goals.  We stay up late to work, watch movies, surf the web or spend time with family and friends.  When our body gives us signs of fatigue, we hit it with caffeine and energy drinks to keep on going strong.

What is the result?  We now have an epidemic of people with adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory issues.  Autoimmune diseases plague over 250 million people all around the world and many more suffer from a wide-variety of chronic inflammatory conditions (1).

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What is Inflammation

Inflammation is a condition where the body’s immune system attack various proteins that are seen as foreign and potentially dangerous to the body.  This includes things that really could be dangerous such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc.  But it can also include things that aren’t dangerous to the body such as pollen, dust, specific food particles and our own tissues.

Acute inflammation, such as when we have a splinter, is necessary in order to prevent against a dangerous infection.  The inflammatory storm that takes place when we have an open wound is nothing short of life-saving.

In fact, systemic infections have killed more people in the history of mankind than anything else.  So the body has adapted to become stronger over time and we have hardwired the inflammatory storm process to allow us to survive dangerous infections.  Unfortunately, this same strong internal military can be untamed and cause damage and destruction to our tissues.

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Chronic Inflammation vs. AutoImmunity

Chronic inflammatory processes and autoimmunity have a lot of similarity but also some differences.  Autoimmunity is usually associated with an overall chronic inflammatory process.  However, one could have a chronic inflammatory condition without having autoimmunity.

A chronic inflammatory process is when some sort of trigger (pollen, food particles, etc) initiates a strong inflammatory process that causes collateral damage to other tissues of the body such as the gut lining, blood vessels, the sinuses, the lungs, the joints, etc.  This would create conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, allergies, asthma, osteoarthritis, etc.

An autoimmune condition is when the bodies white blood cells produce a specific antibody to target a particular tissue or enzyme within a tissue of the body.  For example, in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis the body will produce an anti-body to attach certain enzymes such as thyroid peroxidase or thyroglobulin that work to produce thyroid hormone.

So the big difference between chronic inflammatory conditions (CIC) and autoimmunity is that in CIC’s we have tissue damage resulting as an indirect effect of the inflammatory process.  While in autoimmunity we see tissue damage as a direct effect of the inflammatory process.

Establishing Immune Tolerance

The key to reducing inflammation and autoimmunity is to improve the immune coordination within our body in order to establish immune tolerance.  Immune tolerance is where the body is able to effectively discriminate against self vs. non-self tissue and is able to create a more precise inflammatory process so as to not have significant collateral tissue damage (2).

The immune response is a remarkable network that depends upon trillions of unique enzymes, proteins and cell receptors to communicate and adapt at any given moment.  This allows for a steady acclimation to the constant alterations in the environment in order to give the body the best chance for survival.  Healthy immunity is dependent upon good communication and proper regulatory patterns in the immune system.

Regulatory T Cells

The body has a very intelligent cell called the T regulatory cell which is produced in the thymus.  This results in the body having the appropriate balance of T cells where we have the proper ratio of T helper, cytotoxic T cells, killer T cells and T suppressor cells.

One test used to look at this balance is the CD4:CD8 test.  T helper cells are in the CD4 category and the T suppressor cells are in the CD8 category.  Looking at this balance helps to understand how immune tolerant the body is (3).

When the body has elevated T helper, cytotoxic and killer T cells, we have an increased risk of developing chronic inflammatory conditions and autoimmunity.  On the flip side, if the body has elevated immune suppressor cells, the immune system lacks punch and the individual may be more susceptible to infection.

Fortunately, there are many lifestyle strategies we can take to maintain T cell balance and immune tolerance.

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5 Steps to Reduce Inflammation 

Here are the best action steps to get started with on your journey to prevent and/or heal chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease.  You should always consult with your physician before stopping or changing medications or taking on new health strategies.

Additionally, you should be working with a functional health practitioner to help guide you through these strategies.  This is not an exhaustive list and there are other natural therapeutic strategies that I and functional health practitioners will utilize to help individuals with chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders.

1. Heal Your Gut

Intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the intestinal lining is damaged.  The damage to the gut lining opens up the intestinal junctions and allows for large food particles, bacteria and environmental toxins to seep into the blood stream.

When the immune system recognizes that bacteria and large undigested food particles are in the blood stream, it will go on high alert, as this could be a life threatening risk.  So the body initiates a chronic inflammatory process in order to reduce the bacteria, toxic debris or food particles in circulation.

Keeping the gut lining healthy is of upmost importance to establishing immune tolerance (4).  In this article, I go over the top 10 foods to heal leaky gut.

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2. Eliminate Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities come about due to leaky gut syndrome and cause an inflammatory process within the gut when we consume them.  This inflammatory process further damages an already inflamed gut and creates a worsening condition of intestinal permeability.

As the gut lining gets even more damaged, more bacteria and protein molecules are released into the blood stream causing amplified inflammation throughout different regions of the body.  In order for one to create immune tolerance, they will need to eliminate their food sensitivities for an undisclosed period of time (5).

This is called an elimination diet.   An elimination diet is simply a nutrition plan that eliminates the most common foods that contribute to inflammation along with other susceptible foods.  As you follow this for a period of time, the level of inflammation reduces and the body is able to repair and heal itself.   This article goes over 5 steps to following an elimination diet.

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3. Balance Your Blood Sugar

Blood sugar stability plays a huge role in the inflammatory process.  One of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds within the body is the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is called a glucocorticoid because it’s primary role is to mobilize glucose.

The antagonist to cortisol is insulin, which takes glucose and puts it into cells.  Insulin also has a pro-inflammatory nature, so that the higher the blood glucose, the increased need for insulin and the more inflammatory activity will be produced (6).

Elevated blood sugar also reduces the strength and tone of the immune system.  When the immune system loses its tone, it favors chronic inflammation as a way of prioritizing survival.

When we have blood sugar imbalances, we cycle through periods of both high and low blood sugar.  Low blood sugar, signals cortisol levels.  Overtime the body becomes resistant to both insulin and cortisol and we end up with increased inflammatory activity (7).

This article goes into detail on advanced strategies to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

4. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is considered to be more of a hormone than a vitamin based around its role in the body.  Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate with cell receptors to produce specific biological responses in the body.  In this way, calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D, has the ability to activate over 1,000 genes in the body (8).

All the major immune cells have vitamin D receptors and these immune cells are all capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite.  Vitamin D modulates the balance between the innate and adaptive immune responses.  Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with increased autoimmune development and increased susceptibility to infection (9, 10).

This article goes into more of the benefits of vitamin D and the best strategies to optimize your levels.

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5. Boost Up Your Glutathione

Glutathione is considered the “master anti-oxidant” within the body and is produced by every cell in the body where it functions to protect our DNA.  Glutathione is our cell’s security guard that protects the cellular components from outside free radical attack.  Longevity scientists now believe that the level of glutathione in our cells has a direct relationship with how long we will live (11,12).

Glutathione plays a very important role in establishing immune tolerance (13).  Studies have demonstrated that glutathione enhances the function of T cells and modulates immune activity (14).  In this way, optimizing glutathione levels are extremely important for reducing collateral damage associated with inflammation and autoimmune reactions (15).

This article goes into more detail on glutathione and its role in reducing inflammation.  This article here goes into 5 key nutrients needed to heal autoimmune disease

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Sources For This Article Include:

1. Schmidt CW. Questions Persist: Environmental Factors in Autoimmune Disease. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011;119(6):A248-A253.
2. Mackay IR. Tolerance and autoimmunity. Western Journal of Medicine. 2001;174(2):118-123.
3. Uppal SS, Verma S. Analysis of the clinical profile, autoimmune phenomena and T cell subsets (CD4 and CD8) in Takayasu’s arteritis: a hospital-based study. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2003 Nov-Dec;21(6 Suppl 32):S112-6. PMID: 14740436
4. Fasano A. Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Feb;42(1):71-8. PMID: 22109896
5. Manzel A, Muller DN, Hafler DA, Erdman SE, Linker RA, Kleinewietfeld M. Role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases. Current allergy and asthma reports. 2014;14(1):404.
6. Shoelson SE, Lee J, Goldfine AB. Inflammation and insulin resistance. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2006;116(7):1793-1801.
7. Collier B, Dossett LA, May AK, Diaz JJ. Glucose control and the inflammatory response. Nutr Clin Pract. 2008 Feb;23(1):3-15. PMID: 18203960
8. Genetic and epigenetic studies on Vitamin D Link Here
9. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research. 2011;59(6):881-886.
10. Agmon-Levin N, Theodor E, Segal RM, Shoenfeld Y. Vitamin D in systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2013 Oct;45(2):256-66. PMID: 23238772
11. Richie JP Jr, Leutzinger Y, Parthasarathy S, Malloy V, Orentreich N, Zimmerman JA. Methionine restriction increases blood glutathione and longevity in F344 rats. FASEB J. 1994 Dec;8(15):1302-7. PMID: 8001743
12. Glutathione – A closer look at the master antioxidant Link Here
13. Dröge W, Breitkreutz R. Glutathione and immune function. Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 Nov;59(4):595-600. PMID: 11115795
14. Chang WK, Yang KD, Chuang H, Jan JT, Shaio MF. Glutamine protects activated human T cells from apoptosis by up-regulating glutathione and Bcl-2 levels. Clin Immunol. 2002 Aug;104(2):151-60. PMID: 12165276
15. Perricone C, De Carolis C, Perricone R. Glutathione: a key player in autoimmunity. Autoimmun Rev. 2009 Jul;8(8):697-701. PMID: 19393193

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23 Responses to 5 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease

  1. Leah R. Epperson July 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi Dr. Jockers,
    I started following your website after I watched The Truth About Cancer.
    I am a cancer conquerer and now have a ministry for cancer patients. I try and encourage, educate and come along side those trying to overcome cancer. Your website, videos and health information has been very instrumental in helping me help them. Thank you for all that you do to help all of us stay disease and cancer free. I will continue to share your information on my facebook and website. I love that you are a man of faith. God has blessed you with a beautiful family. I pray the very best for you.
    Leah Epperson
    Heart Encouragment

    • Dr. Jockers July 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      Thank you SO MUCH Leah!!! I am so rewarded to hear messages like this. You are a blessing!

    • Lord Fnord August 15, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

      “A ministry for cancer patients”? What a brilliant strategy!

      No collection plate needed: just ask ’em to include your ministry in their wills: a breakthrough in philanthropic thinking!

  2. leta February 6, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    bad stomach pain after eating with brain fog!

  3. Susan February 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    How much to you charge for 30 days of coaching for severe leaky gut? What tests do you need to run and how much do they cost? How do you handle that long distance? I seem to be reacting to everything including healthy stuff like coconut, ginger and bone broth(glutamic acid). How do you handle that? I am already very thin and need to eat something?

    Thank you, Susan

    • Dr. Jockers February 14, 2017 at 11:30 am #

      Sorry to hear about the issues you are dealing with Susan. I would recommend emailing our functional diagnostic nutritionist Haley so she can get you on a program. Nutrition@drjockers.com

  4. Muniba Rafique March 13, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

    Bundle of thanks to you Dr. I am a patient of ADEM or multiple sclerosis and from last 2 months i got paralysed due to ADEM attack. But now i am almost 85% recovered due to steriods and vitamin D intake. I also follow all your suggestions specifically of diet like bone broth etc. I really felt more healed and energetic. You are just like a grou
    Great helper for all us.

    • Dr. Jockers March 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

      Thank you Muniba!

    • Jacqueline M Henry August 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

      Not all persons with autoimmune disease can use bone broth. I have rare autoimmune disease Stiff Person Syndrome with positive Anti GAD65, which means my body produces too much glutamic acid which reduces GABA

  5. Elaine April 29, 2017 at 3:46 am #

    I just came across your site today. I suffer from Hashimoto disease as do both my daughters age 19 and 29
    I was disappointed after submitting my email address I didn’t get the free download on inflamation.

  6. Vijay May 14, 2017 at 11:16 pm #

    My mother in law is a diabetic patient-aged 62 years. Some 5 years back she sufferred a major heart attack and her EF came down to 35% . Now it is around 30%. But some 2 years back she had developed rheumatoid arthritis as well . Now we are stuck as statins given for her heart condition aggravate the pains. Please suggest.

    • Dr. Jockers May 16, 2017 at 9:34 am #

      Hey Vijay, thank you for reaching out. It is hard to make any suggestions without knowing exactly what is going on. Send an email over to nutrition@drjockers.com and we can work on this!

  7. Deniece June 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    Hi dr jokers,

    I’ve been diagnosed with scleritis and it’s comen out in my eyes any suggestions what I need to do

    • Dr. Jockers June 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

      Hey Deniece, Scleritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that is commonly an autoimmune issue. I would suggest following the strategies in this article and possibly following an elimination diet to remove inflammatory foods from your diet and allow your body to downregulate inflammation.

  8. Jan Zirilli June 20, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Hey Dr. Jockers, I was wondering if you would recommend Kombucha on the Keto diet, since it is made w/ sugar and has 2 to 10-20 g of sugar ?
    Thanks Kindly, Jan

    • Dr. Jockers June 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

      Hey Jan,

      Look at the nutrition label, I would look for something under 10 grams total and even lower if possible. It should be okay for many people but to be sure you may want to measure your ketones to be sure in your case!

  9. Saad June 28, 2017 at 1:49 am #

    hello doctor

    this is the first time I see your website, so thanks for the articles.

    My niece is suffering from Scleroderma for the past 5 years, her skin is hardening all over her body, her face is icy and the color of the skin is converting to black!
    her skin is so itchy. I really need your help if there is anything we can do.

  10. Chuck July 22, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    You don’t need to take probiotics if you manage your lectin consumption. Before I became aware of the insidious effect of lectins on the body I was taking probiotics to try to control my gut and candida. After eliminating the high lectin foods from my diet my candida went away and I experienced relief from a host of other conditions that had been plaguing me for years!

    • Dr. Jockers July 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      Great to hear about your resolution Chuck! Removing food sensitivities as well as restoring healthy gut flora are both important factors in healing autoimmunity, sometimes this needs supplemental support.

  11. Debra Garcia July 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    My husband is suffering with systemic lupus since March 2016 started with 4 blood clots in his lungs was put on warafin and now methotrexate Because he was in great shape Dr’s said saved his life now always in so much pain he has pretty much all the symptoms gained so much weight he just can’t move about I have made him many of your recipes will he ever go into remission Thank you Dr. Jockey I love all your websites

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