The main function of the immune system is to defend against foreign invaders, things like viruses and bacteria. Our defenses are made up of specialized white blood cells and organs that directly assault invaders and produce antibodies to fight off infection.
But sometimes, the immune system becomes overactive and targets the body’s healthy cells, tissues, and organs rather than infections and viruses—basically, the immune system fails to sense the difference between self and non-self.
When this reaction occurs, it is known as autoimmunity.
Autoimmune diseases are complex dysfunctions of the immune system involving an imbalance of the Th1, Th2, and Th17 immune cells. Let me explain further.
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Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that can be divided into 3 groups: B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells.
Within the group of T cells are white blood cells called T-helper cells. T helper cells are divided into Th1, and Th2 cells.
Now, autoimmune disease develops from an abnormal immune response in the body when there is an imbalance of Th1 and Th2 cells and the chemical messengers they release.
In people with autoimmune dysfunction, there is usually a dominance of either TH1 or TH2 cells.
The onset of autoimmune disease can be triggered by gluten, dairy products, leaky gut syndrome, infections, chronic stress, and vitamin D deficiency.
Now Among its countless benefits, vitamin D is also a powerful manipulator of the immune response.
A deficiency of vitamin D—lower than 30ng/ml in the blood—is associated with increased susceptibility to infections and autoimmunity.
Here’s how that happens. Many tissues in the body, including the brain, intestine, breast, pancreas, bone marrow, skeletal muscle, and immune cells, express the vitamin D receptor (VDR)—a protein responsible for sensing vitamin D.
The VDR, once activated by vitamin D, forms a complex that finds its way to the cell’s nucleus and its DNA. Here, specific genes are turned on to produce proteins for different functions in the body.
Vitamin D can boost your immune system, while simultaneously regulating the arm of the immune system involved in autoimmunity.
To prevent an autoimmune response, vitamin D regulates Th1 and Th2 cells, the white blood cells that are programmed to attack the cells and tissues of your body, thus causing an autoimmune response.
Low vitamin D is linked to autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease, Sjogren’s disease, and systemic lupus.
If you are challenged by any one of these TH1 dominant conditions, get your vitamin D levels measured.
Research is now showing a vitamin D level of 30ng/ml or below, puts you at major risk for developing autoimmune disease or preventing your recovery from one.
So, to rebuild from an autoimmune disease, you must get the vitamin D levels in your blood up to 60-90ng/ml. This is the therapeutic range to normalize the immune dysfunction seen in Th1 dominant conditions.
To do this, start by eliminating foods contain gluten and all dairy products. Then, increase your sun exposure, and eat foods high in vitamin D including (salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, shrimp, eggs), and last, supplement with vitamin D.
If your vitamin D levels are below the recommended range, I would start by taking 4-5000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D3; daily for adults, and 2000 IU for children.
After supplementing for 2 months, get your vitamin D measured to check the levels. If it is still below 60ng/ml, increase your intake by 2000 IU and then retest in the future until you are within that therapeutic range of 60-90ng/ml.
Vitamin D is fat soluble, so it’s best to take it with your food. If you have gut issues, a leaky gut, a history of gluten sensitivity, or, you had your gall bladder removed, consider taking digestive enzymes to aid in digesting your food, and absorbing that vitamin D.
While there are multiple reasons for the development of autoimmune diseases, vitamin D deficiency is top of the list. To rebuild from an autoimmune disease get your vitamin D levels up to the therapeutic range of 60-90ng/ml
I hope this helps to rebuild your body and your mind.
Fore information on resolving you autoimmune disease, go to drzembroski.com/rebuild