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Effingham Magazine

How a Nutritional Therapist Can Help With Your Autoimmune Disease

How a Nutritional Therapist Can Help With Your Autoimmune Disease

By Kerri Dodson, MNT, MCHWC, Master Nutrition Therapist

Autoimmune Disease Statistics

Almost 4% of the world’s population suffers with an autoimmune disease—approximately 5-8% of the US population is affected. That is about 50 million Americans with autoimmune diseases, striking women three times more often than men. In addition, if you have one autoimmune disease, the likelihood of developing a second is very high. The most common autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, scleroderma, IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and some types of Alzheimer’s. There are 80 known autoimmune diseases.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease is a condition in which a person’s immune system functions incorrectly, resulting in problems in the body. In effect, the immune system is attacking your body when its job is to protect you. With autoimmune disease, the immune system sees the cells of the body as foreign and begins to attack the cells.

Why do People Develop Autoimmune Disease?

We know three different factors that make someone more prone to developing an autoimmune disease. First is a genetic pre-disposition—one or several family members have had an autoimmune disease. Second, a trigger—this could be anything from a traumatic accident, emotional trauma, virus, or serious illness. Lastly, a leaky gut—as a Nutritional Therapist, I cannot change your genetics or take away your trigger, however, I can help you heal your leaky gut.

How Can a Nutritional Therapist Help with Your Autoimmune Disease?

Leaky gut—also known as gut permeability—means that the junctions of the gut epithelial wall lose their integrity, which allows for material (food, bacteria etc.) from the gut to enter into the bloodstream. This material causes the immune system to become chronically inflamed and overactive. Over time, the immune system loses its ability to recognize which cells it should be fighting, and which cells need to be protected. This is when autoimmunity occurs.

As a Nutrition Therapist, I can assist with specific nutritional protocols that will remove inflammatory foods, stop damage to the gut lining, allow the inflammation to calm down and then heal the gut lining. These protocols include non-inflammatory, non-immune trigger foods along with specific supplementation.

Different autoimmune diseases require different protocols and lifestyle adjustments. With a step-by-step approach to your specific autoimmune disease, I can assist you in helping your body heal by stopping the damage being done by your immune system and possible reversing the damage that has been done. The most important aspect is that you will feel better, have reduced inflammation, more energy and feel like your old self. It is possible to be in control of your autoimmune disease with whole food protocols and supplementation.
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