“Autoimmunity is essentially when the body is under attack by the immune system.”
The immune system is one of the most complex systems in the human body, made up tissues, organs and cells working together to keep your entire body healthy. Everything from your digestive system, lymph nodes, skin to your throat, tonsils and more.
When you experience autoimmune conditions, it means that somewhere along the way your immune system went rogue and began attacking your own tissues, organs and cells. This usually happens when there has been long-term chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of our physiology but it should not become unbalanced. When we see severe inflammation in the body, that has been there for a long time, this is when autoimmunity may set in. The list of autoimmune diseases is long but some of the most common ones are arthritis, eczema, asthma, crohn's disease, hashimoto's/graves, type 1 diabetes, and celiac.
“80% of your immune system is located in your gut.”
Our immune system’s job is to fight against invaders, but in this modern day toxic world our immune system is getting confused between our own cells and those cells that we should be fighting against. This means that the root of the autoimmune condition is within your immune system, in which case, nurturing a healthy immune system is incredibly important. 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, which means supporting great gut health is the key to immunity.
“Supporting great gut health is the key to immunity.”
Research varies on the exact reason autoimmunity occurs, however, it is likely to be due to a variety of reasons such as toxins, overuse of antibiotics, lack of nutritious food and stress which are contributing to inflammation around the gut and in the body. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do...
Nurture your gut health
Autoimmunity almost always starts in the gut and as we know, the gut is the gateway to health. If your gut is inflamed from food intolerances, leaky gut or parasitic/bacterial infection such as SIBO, then the gateway is open for autoimmunity, amongst other chronic issues.
“If your gut is inflamed then the gateway is open for autoimmunity.”
The first step in nurturing your gut is to know what is at the root of your inflammation and take action. A good place to start is adding in nourishing nutrient-rich whole foods, probiotics and digestive enzymes, reducing toxins in your life and taking time to destress.
Eat whole food nutrient-rich diet free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar
As mentioned earlier, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, which means the foods you eat play an important role in your immune health.
You can nurture your gut by eating a wholefood diet free of inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar. Also, regularly include nourishing bone broths and fermented foods to support a strong gut lining and microbiome diversity.
Consult your holistic health consultant or health practitioner to see if a probiotic or digestive enzyme is right for you
If your gut is having trouble digesting and absorbing the foods you eat, you will be at more risk of further inflammation. If you have any suspicions that you’re not digesting food well (i.e gas, gut issues, undigested food in your stool) then we would highly recommend using a supplement to aid digestive function. Take a look at BePure Digest Assist and BePure Two Probiotic. If you are not sure what is right for you, sign up for a FREE 15 minute consultation.
You can also take the BePure Gut Health Questionnaire to start understanding the key areas of your gut health and whether it may be contributing to autoimmunity and other health concerns you are experiencing.
Supplement with vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key role in regulating your immune function. During winter (and even in summer due to the harsh rays of the sun and sunblock use), New Zealanders often have very low vitamin D levels. Along with being linked to low mood, low vitamin D status is clearly correlated with immune dysfunction.
“Vitamin D plays a key role in regulating your immune function.”
You can get your vitamin D levels tested as a self-requested blood test and while the medical ranges are 50-150nmol/L, we’d like to see anyone with autoimmunity up over 120.
In the 2008/09 the average adult mean of vitamin D levels is 63nmol/L - that means the chances are that you are lower in vitamin D that you should be!
Our BePure Vit D Restore is a natural vitamin D - just one drop of liquid sunshine a day will support your vitamin D levels.
Reduce exposure to toxins
Excessive toxin overload leads to inflammation in the body, due to liver load. When the liver is loaded, it has a hard time detoxifying excess hormones and toxins. This leads to inflammation as the excess hormones and toxins make their way into the bloodstream.
Reduce your exposure to toxins by drinking filtered water, avoiding plastic and by using natural skin care and cleaning products. Learn more about how to low-tox your life here.
Calm your nervous system
From our work in the BePure Clinic, there is no doubt in our mind that stress has a significant role to play in autoimmunity.
First of all, our body does not differentiate between real and perceived stress, which means no matter what kind of stress we experience, our body responds in the same way. This includes physical and environmental stress so think about what signals you are giving your body. Are you getting up early and going to bed late? Are you doing high intensity exercise? Are you rushing from one thing to the next?
“No matter what kind of stress we experience, our body responds in the same way.”
And even if you are answered no to the above questions, consider another stressor such as emotional stress and the impact your emotional stress has on your body. Now is the time to slow down, get good sleep and nourish your nervous system. Some tips we recommend to bring more calm into your life include; going for a walk in nature, breathing exercises or practicing restorative yoga.