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 D deficiency may be a factor in the development of inflammatory bowel disease and might also prove to be an effective treatment
- Vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to autoimmune disease
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- Improves IBS and diarrhea (balances mucus production for healthy bowel movements)
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
 Ballantyne, S. (2013) The Paleo Approach, Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal your body. [Vitamin D – pg 76, Glutamine – 319]