We’ve all heard the claims of miracle supplements healing everything from cancer to autoimmune disease. An online search of any one of the autoimmune diseases will pop up at least one of these miracle supplements. In our search for a cure, we grab ahold of the hope that these supplements promise. The problem is, many of these supplements may cause more harm than good to those of us with autoimmunity.
When people come to me for help, one of the first questions I ask is what supplements they’re taking. Usually, they come back to me with a long list of herbal, vitamin, and nutritional supplements they’re taking. Every single time, I find at least one supplement that may actually be making their symptoms worse. Unfortunately, it’s usually more than one.
While on the elimination phase of the AIP, I did an extensive search for supplements that fit into the ingredient guidelines of approved foods. Time after time, I would fail, always finding at least one ingredient that didn’t comply. I also discovered information about some well-known herbal supplements that could potentially be overstimulating my already over-stimulated immune system, making my symptoms worse. One of these herbs is turmeric. Most of us know that turmeric boosts the immune system. Why would we want to boost an immune system that is already out of control?
For me, the answer was to completely remove all supplements for the first couple of months on the AIP. That was the best thing I could have done! By doing this, I could begin to see which foods and supplements were causing problems for me. I knew I was eating all of the nutrients I needed with the AIP. When you’re eating nutrient dense foods on a daily basis, most of us don’t need to supplement with a multi-vitamin. After a couple of months, I slowly started to reintroduce supplements. I began taking my vitamin D, pro- and prebiotics, some herbal teas (chamomile, peppermint), and White Willow Bark (for menstrual cramps). All of them have been successful, except for the vitamin D. By removing these supplements, I was able to quickly identify the problem my body has metabolizing vitamin D, in supplement form. Now, when my levels are low, I have an infusion, overseen by a professional.
Most people are surprised, when they ask me for supplement recommendations, when I say, “none”. In fact, I usually make the suggestion to get off all the supplements they’re taking. This is very odd, coming from a certified herbalist and homeopath. But, the truth is, my autoimmunity has caused me to reevaluate many things. One of those things is supplements, herbal and otherwise. It has made me see the value in certain supplements, and the complete waste of money of others. Now that I’m in remission, I can use specific supplements for particular conditions, and not as miracle supplements.
Truth is, the AIP healed my autoimmune symptoms, not miracle supplements. No one should be taking any supplement without a full knowledge of what each ingredient in that supplement can do to a person with autoimmunity. The fact that you have an autoimmune disease changes your supplement needs immensely. Sales people for supplement companies and most everyday herbalists don’t have the expertise or knowledge to deal with autoimmunity or any life-threatening disease. If you really feel as though you need supplements, please find a professional practitioner to work with. I see so many people supplementing with vitamin D, who simply do not need it. After becoming the buzz supplement a couple of years ago, everyone decided they needed it. Most people don’t need the dosages they’re taking. By working with a professional, who can check your levels, you can receive the dosage you need, if you need it.
Currently, I still don’t take many supplements. I’ve added a few very pure supplements that help with my active lifestyle. Other than that, I continue to take my pre- and probiotics, magnesium (for sleep & bowel regulation), and herbal teas (for sleep, relaxation). When needed, I take pure herbs that I grind and capsulize myself, for whatever ailment I am treating (usually a cold or menstrual cramps). When I can, I simply use food to heal what ails me.
Looking for a miracle in supplements will most likely leave you disappointed. Make the changes in your diet and lifestyle that are most likely to provide the healing you’re looking for. I’m so glad I did!
As always, I wish you good health……and, good food!
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