Four Supplements for Autoimmune Healing

As I’ve said many a time before, I am not an expert or a nutritional therapist, but I’m certainly turning into a professional autoimmune patient. I’m a full-time AIPer constantly looking for new ways to boost my health and keep autoimmunity at bay. In response to your questions about what else I am doing alongside the AIP diet to help with healing, I have outlined the benefits of four supplements I take on a daily basis for both Alopecia Areata and Crohn’s Disease. There are many other benefits to taking these supplements but I have limited the information here to that which is most conducive to healing from autoimmune disease. Please be aware that these are self-prescribed supplements that I have read about across a number of books related to gut health and are not necessarily needed by everyone. Please do your research and make decisions that are right for you.

Vitamin D3

  • Vitamin D deficiency may be a factor in the development of inflammatory bowel disease and might also prove to be an effective treatment[1]
  • Vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to autoimmune disease[2]
  • It helps control cell growth which is essential to healing
  • Regulates the immune system for normal function
  • Maintains bone health by promoting absorption of calcium.

Note: Recent blood test results were conclusive proof that I am slightly deficient in vitamin D. I therefore take a relatively high dosage of 2200ug per day. Oily fish is the best natural source of vitamin D. I take this vitamin D by Solgar. 

Gelatin

  • Source of amino acids (glycine and proline) for optimal immune function and regulation
  • Heals a leaky gut (a cause of autoimmune disease) by restoring the mucosal lining
  • Heals damaged cells and tissues affected by inflammation
  • Source of collagen (great for aging skin!)
  • Strengthens bones and joints
  • Relieves pain and improves joint function in arthritis
  • Aids digestion by regulating the synthesis of bile salts and the secretion of gastric acids
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Supports healthy functioning of the nervous system

Note: Gelatin powder is essentially dehydrated broth powder, which is made up of bones, cartilage and collagen. If you’re really not keen on the idea of bone broth, this is an alternative source that is quicker and easier but I PROMISE you that bone broth tastes great and is very useful when making stews and other AIP dishes. Get both into your diet and you’ll be winning! I use Great Lakes Grass-fed Gelatin – a teaspoon mixed in with a mint tea in the evening. This gelatin is also a fantastic egg replacement for AIP baking. Offal (liver, heart, kidney) is another great source of glycine as well as other types of connective tissue like skin and joints (e.g. chicken wings).

L-Glutamine

  • Reduces intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
  • Vital nutrient to rebuild and repair the intestines
  • Essential for proper immune function
  • Glutamine supplementation has been shown to benefit patients with inflammatory bowel disease as well as a variety of other conditions affecting the integrity of the gut[2]
  • Improves IBS and diarrhea (balances mucus production for healthy bowel movements)[3]
  • Provides energy to lymphatic cells that will allow them to detoxify the body

Note: L-glutamine is an essential amino acid (the building blocks of proteins found in the body). It is essential because it is used so abundantly but also because it must be sourced from a protein-rich diet. Foods high in L-glutamine are bone broth, grass-fed beef, spinach, red cabbage, parsley, fish, venison and turkey. I use this one by Solgar.

Probiotics

  • Replenish healthy intestinal flora (good gut bacteria)
  • Correct gut dysbiosis
  • Modulate the immune system
  • Decrease intestinal permeability
  • Speed-up cell healing
  • Some strains are anti-inflammatory

Note: I recently wrote a blog post about probiotic supplementation here. The best sources of probiotics are fermented foods such as raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut or other fruits and vegetables, water kefir, coconut kefir and kombucha. I take these probiotics by Solgar.

*If you find this blog helpful and you like to see more content from me, please consider a donation. The funds will help pay my tuition fees at the College of Naturopathic Medicine so that I can become a Nutritional Therapist and thus be better able to help you.*

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[1] Cantorna, M.T., C. Munsick, C. Bemiss, et al. “1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol Prevents and Ameliorates Symptoms of Experimental Murine Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” J Nutr 130:11 (November 2000): 2648-2652.

[2] Ballantyne, S. (2013) The Paleo Approach, Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal your body. [Vitamin D – pg 76, Glutamine – 319]

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14583848

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11 thoughts on “Four Supplements for Autoimmune Healing

  1. Hi Stella,

    I have been having female pattern baldness from past 8 years with 2 pregnancies during this period and loss of my mum. So much of stress and I have absolutely reached a point where I am hopeless regarding my hair problem. I know that stress play a big role in hairfall , but as we live in UK without any family around , its been stressful managing the kids and work. I am really happy that I saw your blog and it definitely has inspired me to go on a healthy diet. Of course the change has to begin within inside.
    I just want to check with you if the probiotic supplement and the AIP diet is still safe while I am breast feeding? I would like to give a go for AIP diet even for FPHL ( Female pattern hairloss) and see if it helps out people with this problem too. I will update you at different stages.

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  2. Hi Stella,

    Thanks so much for your blog! I’ve been living with Alopecia Areta since I was 12, and it’s always grown back, but I noticed a small patch at the back of my head last year and now that has spread to cover mostly all of the back of my head (much the same as yours was before). So, thank you for giving me hope 🙂

    I meant to ask, I know dairy isn’t good on AIP, but would you still say that yogurt was okay? I know you’ve mentioned in one of your videos that you were still going to have yogurt, but I just wanted to check.

    Thanks Again!

    Caitlin

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  3. Hi Stella,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience it has really helped me become hopeful in fighting my alopecia universalis which I have been struggling with for the last 3 years. You never think these things could happen to you and sometimes I look in the mirror and still can’t believe I am going through this- but I remain hopeful and know everything happens for a reason.
    Please will you be able to share where you get your gelatine from as I have been searching everywhere and can’t seem to find it. Also I have been trying to follow the AIP diet as strictly as possible but have also been taking kefir with goats milk. I know dairy is not allowed on the diet but I can certainly feel a world of difference when I take it and when I haven’t had any for a few days. Any thoughts?

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  4. Hi, 2 months ago I was diagnosed with rosacea and now I’m having dry eyes/mouth and Dr. added Sjogrens to the dx. I just can’t believe how two different autoimmune diseases hit me in less than 2 months, I was very healthy but I had depression and anxiety/stress episodes during last year. Doctors just prescribe meds but I need to know if changing my diet could help to minimize or reverse the symtoms. Thank you.. and btw, stress continue now more than ever, it is a very unhealthy cycle cause stress is a major trigger for my rosacea.

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    • Hi Annie, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been diagnosed with 2 autoimmune disorders. Same here – crohn’s and alopecia. Life is tough at times but it does make us stronger! I absolutely believe that AIP can help with both of your conditions. People are using it to treat a whole host of disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, hashimotos, psoriasis etc. But you’re absolutely right – stress, anxiety, depression and all other negative emotions play a massive role. They’re the biggest trigger for me. Even harder still is trying not to stress about your health – vicious circle right?! But please know that it is possible and it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. They’re lots of support out there. Chin up, I hope you feel better soon xx

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  5. Hi!Stella I’m Bea from Philippines I’m a mother of two.. and I read and watch your blog and video..Im diagnosed with Alopecia Areata last November 2015 I do some research,how to treat Alopecia. About 75% of my hair lost and it’s getting worst I do some treatment like Minoxidil,Clobetasol Propionate ( Topical Corticosteroid ),Hair Grower Shampoo (Henna),and Herbal Treatment like AloeVera and I drink more Vitamins but months later its getting worst and my hair are still falling I go to my derma and she told me that I have to know if my Thyroid is fine I don’t know.. Days past by I’m so stress about what really happen to me.. My second problem is my sleeping pattern and how to avoid stress.. Hoping you can teach me or suggest anything that I can do how to cure my self..Thanks!

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  6. Hi Stella,

    I was actually making my own AI/Neurological stack just based upon my own intuition.

    Everything here is the same, the only thing I didn’t think of was the gelatin. However, I had some others that I was wondering what you think about them/if the conflict with the AI diet (which I haven’t read or looked into at all yet):

    1. 5-10g daily Vitamin C as it’s a precursor to collagen synthesis among many other things.
    2. Collagen powder (haven’t look into its effectiveness beyond reports of thicker hair/nails)
    3. Dessicated Liver Pills
    4. Multi-vitamin (obvious purpose but not mentioned here)

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    • Hi Jack! Thanks for your message.

      I haven’t chosen to supplement vitamin C or take a multivitamin purely because I believe I get plenty from my diet. I always choose to eat nutrient dense foods – plenty of vegetables, all colours of the rainbow. Now that I’ve worked so much on healing my gut I don’t believe I have any problems absorbing nutrients either (which would be one reason to supplement). The paleo diet is so rich in vitamins you shouldn’t really need to supplement though. Except vitamin D which is actually considered to be a hormone and sufferers of autoimmune disease are increasingly known to be deficient.
      As for collagen – the gelatin powder actually contains this and I also regularly make bone broth, eat animals skins or fat and connective tissue such chicken wings. Again, it’s another case of saying that it’s better to get it from your diet if you can.
      I haven’t heard of desiccated liver pills but I’ll have a read up on them – I’m certainly interested to know more because I’ve totally gone off of eating liver. I think I over did it at the beginning of AIP and now the thought of them makes me feel sick! I’m actually looking at purchasing some vitamin K2 supplements next (which livers and all offal are rich in) because like I said, I don’t think I’m eating enough these days. You just have to be careful about which product you choose because many vitamin k2 supplements are sourced from soya or other non AIP foods.

      I hope that helps. Do let me know if you find any more info on the liver pills 🙂

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