Douse Inflammatory Disorders Without Drugs
You may ease your symptoms of colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and other inflammatory disorders without taking drugs. That‘s what new scientific research out of Australia suggests.
But before we get into the details, let‘s get a grip on how these problems take hold in the first place.
Why your immune system goes rogue...
A healthy immune system defends you against diseases, bacteria, and toxins. But sometimes, it becomes confused. It attacks the very stuff it‘s supposed to protect.
So, for example, if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system strikes your joints. Your bones and cartilage also come under attack. Then, your body reacts with inflammation to fix the damage. As a result, your joints become swollen and sore.
Now -- most conventional treatments for autoimmune disorders focus on drugs that suppress your immune system. So, for instance, if you‘ve got RA, your doctor has probably told you to take a drug like Humira or Enbrel to ease the pain.
And sure, these drugs may control your flare-ups. But, remember, they also suppress your immune system. And this comes with its own fair share of problems. In fact, new evidence suggests that taking these drugs (called TNF blockers) may increase your risk of getting a certain type of skin cancer by 50 percent.
Scary stuff, I know. But, according to new research out of Australia, you may be able to bring your symptoms under control without resorting to drugs.
Control your inflammation with food
Australian scientists found that mice that eat plenty of insoluble fiber have healthier immune systems with less inflammation.
Sounds too simple, I know. But stick with me.
Insoluble fiber comes from fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. Your body converts the insoluble fiber you eat into ‘short-chain fatty acids.‘ Scientists believe these fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body. In fact, previous studies have shown that these compounds ease the inflammation of colitis.
Sure, that makes sense. Eat more fiber and your colon problems settle down. No big surprise there. But what about other inflammatory disorders? Does insoluble fiber work on them too? Turns out, it does!
In fact, it appears insoluble fiber has a calming affect on your immune system. That‘s because short-chain fatty acids bind with a molecule in your body called GPR43. And according to the new research, your immune system needs GPR43 to function properly.But if your body doesn‘t make enough GPR43, your immune system goes haywire, attacking its own tissues and creating inflammation. The good news is, by getting more insoluble fiber, you make more GPR43 available to your body.
According to Professor Charles Mackay, one of the study authors:
"The notion that diet might have profound effects on immune responses or inflammatory diseases has never been taken that seriously. We believe that changes in diet, associated with western lifestyles, contribute to the increasing incidences of asthma, Type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Now we have a new molecular mechanism that might explain how diet is affecting our immune systems."
Immune health starts in your gut
According to the new research, there‘s one other factor critical to keeping your immune system toned down. And that‘s healthy bacteria. You‘ve got to get plenty of it.
According to Kendle Maslowski, the other lead author in the study, "Changing diets are changing the kinds of gut bacteria we have, as well as their by- products, particularly short chain fatty acids. If we have low amounts of dietary fibre, then we‘re going to have low levels of short chain fatty acids, which we have demonstrated are very important in the immune systems of mice."
Now, I‘m the first to admit it. Mackay‘s research is just a drop in the bucket. And they used mice, not humans.
Nevertheless, I‘m a believer. And that‘s because naturopaths have preached this same stuff for decades. Your gut is the frontline of your immune system. And certain foods help tame an inflamed immune system. Mackey‘s just added the scientific proof.
If you‘ve got an autoimmune disorder, go ahead and boost your intake of insoluble fiber (good sources include: dark greens, beans, broccoli, zucchini, celery, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and the skins of fruits). And take a daily probiotic with billions of active units of healthy bacteria. What‘s it going to hurt? And besides, if Mackay‘s research is on target (and I think it is), it just might help tone down your symptoms.
About the author
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as our Chief Research Advisor.
Dr. Spreen also writes the Guide to Good Health.