Autoimmune diseases have surged in prevalence, impacting millions of individuals worldwide.
These conditions arise when the immune system misguidedly targets healthy cells. While the
precise origins of autoimmune diseases are multifaceted, research underscores the profound
influence of lifestyle factors.
Environmental risk factors such as toxins, infections, stress, poor diet, and a leaky gut can all
trigger the immune system to attack it’s own tissues. Whether it manifests as inflamed joints,
skin rashes, thyroid self-attack, or painful intestinal problems, the root cause is the same: the
immune system is running amok. By supporting the immune system, we have the capacity to
potentially alleviate symptoms and perhaps keep the autoimmune disease in remission.
By implementing these five essential pillars, individuals can improve their autoimmune
symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Pillar 1: Diet
Diet wields considerable influence over inflammation, a pivotal factor in autoimmune diseases.
An anti-inflammatory diet takes center stage, emphasizing whole, nutrient-dense foods like
fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These nutritional powerhouses provide
essential nutrients and antioxidants that bolster immune function. Incorporating Omega-3 fatty
acids from sources such as salmon and flaxseeds can further quell inflammation. It’s crucial to
restrict the consumption of processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. For some, a
reduction in gluten and dairy intake may be beneficial, as these substances can trigger immune

Pillar 2: Stress Management
Stress serves as a well-established trigger for autoimmune flares. Chronic stress disrupts the
immune system, leading to heightened inflammation and the exacerbation of symptoms.
Effectively managing stress and its adverse effects involves practices like mindfulness,
meditation, and relaxation techniques, which help regulate stress hormones. Gentle forms of
exercise, such as yoga and Tai Chi, not only enhance flexibility but also aid in stress reduction.

Pillar 3: Sleep Hygiene
Quality sleep assumes paramount importance for individuals grappling with autoimmune
conditions. During the sleep cycle, the body undergoes vital repair processes, while the
immune system carries out critical functions. To optimize sleep quality, it’s imperative to
maintain a consistent sleep schedule, establish a bedtime routine, and create a comfortable
sleeping environment. Limiting screen time before bedtime is advisable, as it promotes the
production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.

Pillar 4: Exercise
Engaging in regular physical activity offers a multitude of health benefits, including enhanced
immune function and a reduction in inflammation. The recommended approach involves
participating in moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking and light weight training.
It’s equally important to allow for sufficient rest intervals between workouts to prevent

Pillar 5: Gut Health
Maintaining a well-balanced gut microbiome stands as a cornerstone of autoimmune health. To
achieve this, consider incorporating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which
support beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, as well as
prebiotic-rich foods like garlic and onions, nourish the beneficial gut bacteria. Integrating antioxidants and polyphenols from sources like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea can help
reduce inflammation and bolster immune function.

Now that we’ve delved into the importance of dietary and lifestyle adjustments to manage
autoimmune diseases, you might be thinking, what about supplements? Which ones are best
to provide the body with the extra support it needs when dealing with an autoimmune disease.
Whether you’re grappling with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s, Multiple Sclerosis,
Celiac disease or another autoimmune condition, there are five key supplements that can work
to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and restore balance to the body for
brighter, healthier days ahead.

1. Glutathione
Glutathione is the body’s most potent antioxidant, playing a pivotal role in detoxification by
binding and eliminating toxins. While the body does produce some glutathione naturally, a poor
diet, chronic stress, prescription medications, and diseases can rapidly deplete glutathione
levels, leading to an increased inflammatory response. Many autoimmune diseases, like
rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, are often the direct result of chronic inflammation.
Without enough glutathione, the body can’t effectively detoxify, resulting in the accumulation of
toxins in the tissues, putting added stress on the immune system and potentially leading to
disease. It’s important to note that the mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of the cells,
and glutathione serves to protect them. Therefore, supplementing with glutathione is vital to
safeguard the mitochondria, promote tissue recovery, and regulate the immune system to
prevent autoimmunity and control inflammation

2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern worldwide. While it was once known primarily for its
role in bone health, we now understand that it offers significant benefits for the skin, brain, and
the immune system, particularly in modulating autoimmune diseases. Although we can
produce vitamin D from sunlight, it can be challenging to obtain sufficient active vitamin D from
sunlight alone, as it requires several conversions before your body can utilize it. Vitamin D plays
a crucial role in regulating gene expression, inflammatory markers, and immune cells, all of
which are directly involved in the autoimmune cascade. Research has shown that individuals
with lupus and multiple sclerosis often have low serum vitamin D levels, implying a potential
role in preventing and protecting against autoimmunity.

3. Curcumin
Curcumin is the highly concentrated active compound found in turmeric. This herb is renowned
for its anti-inflammatory properties and its significant role in dampening two major
inflammatory pathways in autoimmune diseases. Research has demonstrated that curcumin
also has a substantial impact on the immune system by supporting and regulating the immune
cells’ response to invaders. Studies have shown favourable outcomes in reducing the
symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus nephritis, such as pain, proteinuria, hematuria, and
blood pressure. Notably, curcumin is not easily absorbed in the gut and requires fat for
absorption. Absorption can be improved by taking it in a liposomal form to ensure it reaches
the cells and tissues that need it before it’s detoxified by the liver.

4. Probiotics
What aren’t probiotics good for? Autoimmune diseases are closely linked to gut health, and
since the gut is a major hub of our immune system, it’s safe to say that probiotics are good for
your immune system and gut health. Research has shown that probiotics can improve health
outcomes for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple
sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Specific probiotic strains can also reduce
inflammation, lower oxidative stress, and balance the adaptive immune system.

5. Resveratrol
Resveratrol, well-known for its presence in red wine, boasts antioxidant properties, but the
amount found in red wine is quite low (so don’t count on wine as a health strategy!).
Resveratrol can help balance the immune system by supporting white blood cell activity and
inhibiting the production of autoantibodies, key factors in the progression of autoimmune
diseases. Moreover, resveratrol has been found to be a dominant inhibitor of inflammatory
cytokines, which play a significant role in autoimmune diseases. By regulating the immune
system and reducing inflammation, we are better able to gain control over the progression of
the disease.

Many of these supplements work on the same pathways to assist the body’s response to
autoimmunity. They can all work synergistically to support the body’s immune system, reduce
inflammation, and help the nervous system cope with the heightened demands of

Supplements are meant to be just that; they are there to lend a helping hand to the problem.
It’s important to note that these supplements won’t single-handedly cure autoimmune disease,
but when combined with the dietary and lifestyle modifications they can go a long way when it
comes to symptom management and halting progression of the condition.
In conclusion, managing autoimmune diseases demands a multifaceted approach,
incorporating dietary and lifestyle adjustments along with strategic supplementation. By
steadfastly adhering to these principles and initiating the essential transformations, we can
actively take charge of the autoimmune condition and elevate overall well-being.

Furthermore, it is strongly recommended to collaborate with a knowledgeable healthcare
practitioner, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, who can provide expert guidance and tailored
support on your journey towards managing autoimmune diseases. Their expertise and
personalized insights can be invaluable in navigating the intricacies of your unique health
challenges, ensuring that you are on the right path to wellness.

In health & happiness,

Dr. Barb Woegerer, ND