The 5 Best Supplements for Autoimmune Disease
February 26th, 2018
One of the most common question I get asked by my patients with autoimmunity is, “Which supplements should I take?”
As I explain in my New York Times bestseller, The Autoimmune Solution, if you’re dealing with autoimmunity, the true source of your condition is your immune system going awry. Environmental factors such as an inflammatory diet, leaky gut, toxins, infections, and stress have caused your immune system to go rogue and attack your body’s own tissues.
In the case of Hashimoto’s or Graves’ it’s your thyroid that’s being attacked, in rheumatoid arthritis it’s your joints under fire, with psoriasis it’s your skin, and so on and so forth. However, no matter what particular organ or tissue is being attacked, it’s your immune system that’s doing the firing and it’s by supporting, rather than suppressing, your immune system that you are able to eliminate your symptoms and reverse your condition.
Whether I’m seeing a patient with Hashimoto’s, Graves’, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or any of the other hundreds of autoimmune diseases, there are 5 key supplements that I always recommend they take to support their immune system. These supplements all work to optimize your immune system so that it is no longer attacking your own body. Plus, the first three supplements on this list (glutathione, curcumin, and resveratrol) potentiate one another when taken together, meaning their effect is even more powerful!
I talked all about this in a Facebook Live on my Facebook page and you can watch the video here:
Glutathione is your body’s biggest detoxifier. While glutathione is concentrated in your liver, it is actually found in every cell in your body, and plays a critical role in helping your immune system fight off infections. The three key amino acids in glutathione (cysteine, glycine, and glutamate) help bind free radicals and toxins to safely and effectively flush them out of your system.
Your body does produce some glutathione naturally, however a poor diet, toxins, medications, stress, and illness deplete your glutathione levels, or stop the production altogether. Other factors that lead to glutathione depletion are exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, or arsenic.
Depleted glutathione levels are a critical factor in the initial onset of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis.1 Without enough glutathione, your body cannot properly detox which means the toxins linger in your bloodstream or even get stored in fat, wreaking havoc on your immune system and setting you up for chronic illness.2
I recommend a glutathione supplement for all of my patients dealing with autoimmunity, toxic mold, heavy metal overload, or general toxin exposure. Glutathione is so powerful that I even recommend it to anyone who wants to reach peak optimal health. When buying glutathione supplements, you have to be careful though. I have tried a LOT of different types of glutathione with my patients and myself, especially when I was dealing with mold exposure, and found it very challenging to get one that actually worked.
Intravenous (IV) glutathione supplementation is considered the gold standard, however it is expensive and can be inconvenient. Meanwhile, most oral supplements that are not in the liposomal or acetylated form get broken down before your body can properly utilize them.
The “liposomal” form of glutathione is in a fat-soluble membrane that is supposed to help protect it from getting broken down in the gut so it can penetrate your cell walls. However, after working with thousands of patients, I didn’t really notice any difference in their glutathione levels when using the liposomal form.
Instead, you want to look for the “acetylated” form, which does not break down and is easily absorbed by your body. Adding an acetyl group makes the molecule more stable and enhances its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.3 The type of glutathione I carry in my store is acetylated in nanotechnology, making it even more bioavailable than other acetylated forms. Because of the complexity involved in the production of acetylated glutathione using nanotechnology, it tends to come at a much higher price. It’s really a situation where you get what you pay for though, and so it’s not worth throwing your money away on inferior products that don’t work.
There’s a lot of hype around curcumin these days, and for good reason. Curcumin, which comes from a highly concentrated extract of turmeric, plays a huge role in promoting a healthy inflammatory response, a healthy immune system, and healthy aging. Studies have shown that it is more effective at fighting inflammation than NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and it can positively impact the expression of genes that regulate systemic inflammation, which is a major factor in anyone with autoimmunity.4
Similar to glutathione, curcumin in supplement form is typically not well absorbed and is often metabolized by your liver before it can be utilized. That’s why I recommend a fat-soluble form of curcumin. Since curcumin naturally dissolves in fat, taking it in fat soluble form allows it to remain intact until it can actually be absorbed by your cells.
The curcumin supplement I carry in my store is not only fat-soluble, it comes from a very unique turmeric extract that is comprised of 86% curcuminoids and up to 9% turmerones, the natural essential oil found in turmeric that also improves its absorption. And, this specific extract, BCM-95, is the only curcumin complex to pair the two together in such a high concentration.
Resveratrol is the potent polyphenol found in red wine. Known for its anti-aging benefits, resveratrol stimulates production of SIRT1, a serum that blocks diseases by speeding up the cell’s energy production centers known as mitochondria.5 Research has shown that resveratrol can reduce the progression of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes.6
Resveratrol is a powerful free radical scavenger, which means that it neutralizes unstable molecules that can damage your cells and DNA, cause premature aging, and trigger leaky gut and systemic inflammation, both of which can lead to autoimmunity. It also helps modulate your immune system by regulating the activity of specific white blood cells called natural killer cells. This helps balance your immune response if your immune system is overactive or suppressed.
And resveratrol has amazing benefits for heart health, which is key because people with autoimmunity are more likely to develop heart disease. Specifically, it helps protect the innermost layer of your arteries called your endothelium. Plus, it increases your endothelial production of nitric oxide, which supports balanced blood pressure.
Fortunately you can get all of the health benefits of resveratrol without the sugar, alcohol, sulfites, and histamines found in red wine by taking a resveratrol supplement.
4. Immune Booster
Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, are proteins used by your immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. There are four types of immunoglobulins (IgA, IgE, IgG, IgM) and they are the first line of defense in your gut, where nearly 80% of your immune system lives.
However, I often see that my autoimmune patients are low in immunoglobulins. Many people find this surprising because they think that if they have an autoimmune disease then their immune system is TOO strong and that’s why it’s attacking them. In reality the opposite is typically true, and their immune system is attacking them because it’s over stressed and needs to be supported rather than suppressed.
That’s why I recommend my Immune Booster supplement for patients dealing with autoimmunity. Immune Booster contains whey peptides from supercharged colostrum, which is a very special kind of mammalian milk produced only immediately after giving birth. It offers concentrated amounts of all four immunoglobulins to support immune function and your body’s normal gut repair pathways. It also helps you maintain a healthy inflammatory response in your intestinal tract and colon.
If you have an autoimmune disease, I recommend you take this supplement all the time. For everyone else, Immune Booster can be very helpful during the winter months when your immune system tends to be more vulnerable to seasonal illnesses.
The last supplement I recommend to all of my patients with autoimmunity is L-Glutamine. L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps seal the tight junctions in your gut. Your gut cells naturally turn over every 48 hours, which is why it’s possible to repair your gut in 30 days following The Myers Way®. L-Glutamine works by speeding up that process even more, helping to restore your gut lining if you’ve got a leaky gut, which is a precursor to autoimmunity.
As I lay out in my book The Autoimmune Solution, repairing your gut is the first step in overcoming autoimmunity. Remember, nearly 80% of your immune system lives in your gut, so maintaining a healthy gut is key for anyone with an autoimmune condition. It’s why I always say the gut is the gateway to health!
In addition to promoting optimal gut health, L-Glutamine supports thyroid and immune system function, and helps you beat sugar cravings and maintain a healthy weight.