If you haven’t been told or haven’t realized yet – digestion is the key to overall immunity – and that means autoimmune symptoms as well. You may or MAY NOT know you have digestive imbalance, BUT if you have autoimmunity – I am here to tell you that YOU DO!
As this post indicates I am about to tell you how to maximize your digestion to help control autoimmune symptoms! This post ties directly into my NEW BOOK! Take a Functional Approach to Autoimmunity. You can check out what it is about on my site here – or you can pop over to my sister site here and grab the E-Book. (It is also available in print from amazon.com).
What is the tie in to digestion and autoimmunity?
Evidence continues to grow that the gut microbiota influence things like a predisposition to autoimmunity. We can influence our gut microbiota by what we eat – our diet. This means that YOU HAVE some CONTROL over what is signaling your body with your disease.
This doesn’t only apply to autoimmunity, but also obesity. The microbiome of obese people is signficantly different than that of of the normal weight counterparts.
With this said, when we develop imbalance in the gut this is a sign that the biome is probably not at it’s best and there may be dietary changes we need to get this balance back to alleviate symptoms. If you are showing active autoimmunity symptoms, and you can’t get control, changing dietary factors is THE step to correcting gut imbalance.
Digestive imbalance is directly tied to the ability of your body to have proper immunity. If you struggle with symptom control, and you also get a lot of colds and other things going around, this is from digestive distress, and an influence on the biome.
Common Things We Feel that Show Digestive Imbalance in Autoimmunity
When it comes to digestion it is a top down (head and going south) exam to find imbalance. We often find some imbalance right at the start with feelings of “reflux” or burning. This type of imbalance can come from a number of things. These would be identified on your own personal assessment because each person has different influencing factors from diet, to drug-induced imbalance to pain, and more.
Reflux pain and burning sensations
These often come from use of NSAIDs which are commonly prescribed in autoimmunity. These can damage stomach mucosa (lining) which we need to prevent infection and have proper digestion leading into the lower southern places like the intestines. There can also be an acid problem in the stomach. More often than not there is LOW stomach acid. Acid blockers, and antacids make the stomach pH higher and create low acidity. This creates all types of imbalance in nutrient and food breakdown and beyond.
Gassiness, Bloating, Gurgling, Upset, Diarrhea and more
These next symptoms can come from a number of imbalances as well. From the low acid not properly breaking the food down enough before it leaves the stomach, to leaking in the gut and beyond. Some might even be eating too quickly or the types of food we ingest. Processed foods create a lot of imbalance from inside the stomach to the intestines. Even certain whole foods may have the same effect. Your individual assessment is the only way to determine what is the cause of your imbalance.
With a balance of nutrient dense, properly prepared foods you can improve your digestion, and by slowly eating and being mindful many symptoms can get better. But if you have used NSAIDs and other autoimmune drugs for many years that is a good chance that some imbalance has come from a depletion of mucosa or microbiota changes.
The intestines may have inflammation that is causing leaking. You may have hidden food sensitivities causing MORE inflammation, and more. It is important to address the root causes of the digestive imbalance and target nutrients to those imbalances.
Have you used a lot of antibiotics or use them regularly?
If you keep getting reoccurring infections and have autoimmunity you likely have used a lot, or continue to use regularly, antibiotics. Your fear of complications even from simple things like colds that turn into bacterial infections is real. But the more times you use those drugs the MORE problems you will have down the road.
Each time you take those antibiotics you kill off MORE microbiota you need to have a strong immune system in ALL ways. Not just for autoimmunity but for fighting off germs. We want to populate, not kill off our gut microbiome.
Using probiotics is one way to help with this, along with regular diet and supplement use. There are so many probiotic (and prebiotic) strands that it is a personal assessment that tells me what you need to balance your gut.
If you MUST take an antibiotic it is ESSENTIAL that you are also taking pre and probiotics between doses. But if you can work on your digestion and healing those imbalances your need will decrease because your immunity for germs will improve!
What does all this mean for autoimmunity and the gut?
They are all tied in. If you work on lifestyle changes and nutrition changes specifically targeted to your imbalance you can improve your autoimmune symptoms, WHILE improving your immunity to germs.
Not only this, but you have a chance to stop signalling your body to be autoimmune with better digestion and adjusting your diet. When your gut and biome are well fed and happy, so too will be your immune system.
Tip 1: Eat Real Food and Lots of It
Eat a real food, nutrient dense diet. This means you have a TON of vegetables in your daily routine. For each meal of the day. It means you have an adequate variation of proteins in your day at all meals, and even between meals with supplementation for most people. This means you have only healthy fats like butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow, olive oil, avocado oil and omegas that come from fish and seafood. Notice there isn’t anything in here that doesn’t come from nature (whether it is plant or animal). There are no ingredients lists to read. Just food.
Tip 2: Stop eating all processed food
This is probably THE MOST important tip that I could give you. And it will be challenging for you if you eat primarily that today. What does this mean? Stop eating cereal. Stop eating our of boxes and bags. No more chips, no more cookies from the store in packs that last years before they expire. Stop eating processed grains and refined flours like white pasta, white rice, breads that have extended shelf lives. You will be choosing only sprouted items, or nuts and alternative flours. You no longer need to shop the shelves in the store – just the outer ring and aisles, or better yet – your local farmer and market.
Tip 3: Focus on stress management
So this wasn’t a huge focus in this post, but gut is also highly influenced by stress. By having regular movement in the day (walking is a great start), along with a great bedtime, and management techniques like meditation you will balance out your gut and the adrenal system. This helps with digestion as well. Being mindful at meals, slowing down and enjoying the food with your family will also help with this.
These three things will get you started on the right path to balancing your gut. Each person has a different gut, and a different need. To really get to the root cause of your imbalances, check out the FREE strategy appointment I offer.