When it comes to pain management for those suffering from autoimmune diseases, much research still needs to be done, especially within the realm of gut microbiome and the role it plays in managing pain and the corresponding symptoms; however, there are some ways that the digestive system and overall immune system can be boosted while also dealing with pain that results from autoimmune diseases!
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system within the body essentially turns on the host, when it is actually supposed to fight off or defend against invaders like bacteria and viruses. It’s thought that the immune system and its subsequent collapse onto itself either has a part in making an autoimmune disease worse, or even causing it in the first place.
There are many different types of autoimmune disorders that can cause pain within the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s hypothyroid, lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. Dr. Fassano and many experts appear convinced at this time autoimmune disease ignites from an interplay between genetic susceptibility, environment and triggers leading towards “intestinal permeability”, aka “leaky gut”. Many of these autoimmune disorders and the corresponding pain levels are often treated pharmaceutically, which aim to help suppress the immune system (with evidence from research that this guarantees a long term diagnosis). (1)
However, using medications like NSAIDS to help with pain in patients with autoimmune disease has shown to cause intestinal permeability/leaky gut. When the lining of the intestinal tract works as it should, there is a barrier between what goes into the bloodstream and what doesn’t. (2) With leaky gut, there are holes or cracks in the lining (broken cells or fissures between), meaning that toxins and food can get into other tissues, which can cause inflammation and unnecessary changes in the microbiome within the gut – which can in turn exacerbate these autoimmune diseases. (3)
Granted, NSAIDS can be effective at reducing pain in autoimmune patients; but there are other natural options available to those suffering from pain with these diseases, while limiting or eliminating the side effects of these drugs. Thankfully, incorporating compounds like anti-inflammatory phytonutrients into one’s diet can be a huge help in boosting health and reducing pain. These phytonutrients include such things as probiotics and resveratrol, as well as flavonoids (olive oil has one of the highest if the right product is utilized). (4) Phytonutrients can be found in foods like spices, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
Yogurt, kimchee or sauerkraut have a vast majority of probiotics that are highly beneficial to gut health. These probiotics play an anti-inflammatory role, which can help to reduce or prevent changes within the microbiome of the gut. Studies have even shown a positive response on the balances of intestinal inflammation with probiotic consumption (5).
Resveratrol is most likely known for being present in wine and grapes, and is an antioxidant that has multiple health benefits….one of which is an anti-inflammatory. Incorporating resveratrol into the diet has shown to possibly change the development and progression of inflammation, which can be the foundation of many different types of chronic diseases. (6)
Flavonoids have several different subgroups, but they are typically found in foods such as legumes, ginger, green tea, and apples, just to name a few. These anti-inflammatory components also double as antioxidants, and have positive effects on the immune system. Studies have even shown that flavonoids have the ability to possibly reduce the start and progression of diseases that cause inflammation. (7)
Along with these phytonutrients, patients can also work on improving their gut health by incorporating whole, nutrient-dense foods into their diet, and hopefully manage pain associated with autoimmune disorders without the use of pharmaceutical drugs! If you need more information or would like to learn how to incorporate these tips into your daily routine to reduce pain, speak with your local certified functional medicine doctor in Boulder!
Side bar: Dr. Autoimmune specializes in chronic pain. From Neuropathy, knee or back pain to chronic conditions stemming from autoimmunity it has been our goal to determine the root cause as a basis of our treatment plan. We incorporate a detailed assessment, labs or diagnostics plus high tech machinery like low level laser therapy, shock wave therapy, Pulsed electromagnetic wave therapy or even regenerative medicine in tough cases. Rest assured we are quite capable of finding the problem, isolating it and developing a treatment plan that is cost effective while producing results! You don’t have to suffer anymore! Contact us at 303-882-8447 and get ready to let Your health soar!