Here at Alkaline for Life®, we strive to share evidence-based information on nutrients crucial for optimizing health. However, we also understand the value of sharing our own stories as we, the creators and staff behind Alkaline for Life®, navigate our own health journeys.
Our Brand Manager, Jess, has graciously allowed us to share her experiences with autoimmune disease. The following blog details tips and tricks she has found helpful in managing her 10-year trek with autoimmune disease.
Jess’s journey with autoimmune disease has been a bit of a whirlwind. Her symptoms first started in the fall of 2013, as she was getting ready to start her freshman year of college. Her symptoms — extreme stomach pain, the urgency to use the bathroom, grogginess, and brain fog — were debilitating and affected her daily life. These excruciating symptoms drove Jess to seek medical help.
Jess had conflicting diagnoses from doctors and didn’t receive an official diagnosis for nearly 4 years. Jess was told that she had celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Hashimoto’s disease. These diagnoses were then retracted and reinstated. Celiac disease wasn’t officially off the table until Jess got a biopsy to confirm that she did not have it. Eventually, after her chaotic experiences with her doctors, Jess decided to see a holistic practitioner who, she says, saved her life. Jess describes her current diagnosis as “IBS and gluten intolerance with a sprinkle of hypothyroid and a possible side of colitis!”
Here are some steps Jess took to help relieve her autoimmune symptoms.
Tip #1: Eliminate Gluten
“This one I resisted for years, and it wasn't until I removed gluten completely this past January that my symptoms improved nearly 100%. From what I know/learned, gluten is super inflammatory, so even for people who don't have celiac or gluten intolerance, it can lead to issues like acne and headaches, etc. because of its inflammatory properties.”
Tip #2: Eliminate Dairy
“Similar to gluten, I've also had to eliminate dairy from my diet. I can tolerate most hard cheeses but any soft dairy — yogurt, milk, ice cream — I can't stomach. Instead, I've had to make the switch to oat milk or almond-based products. Removing both gluten and dairy are dietary changes that are in line with Alkaline for Life® diet, which also serves to reduce inflammation in the body. So it makes sense that I’ve seen such great results with these two things alone.”
Tip #3: Incorporate More Low-Impact Exercises
“Believe it or not, sometimes exercising too much can be a “thing,” and/or certain exercises can actually exacerbate symptoms. Again, this goes hand-in-hand with inflammation. Swapping out 5 days a week of HIIT training for a day or two of going for a long walk outside or doing some yoga has improved my symptoms so much. Listening to your body is the best guide for this.”
Tip #4: Eliminate Caffeine
“I personally had to remove caffeine from my diet. I think this might not apply to everyone, but not only was caffeine irritating my stomach, but it would cause anxiety for me, which made my autoimmune symptoms worse.”
Tip #5: Supplement
“Some supplements that have helped me are omega-3s, a good stomach enzyme, glutamine, and activated charcoal. Several studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in the management of autoimmune diseases, which are inflammatory in nature. Working for Alkaline for Life®, I was able to test this theory myself by trying our new Omega-3 Index+ At-Home Test Kit. As I began to supplement, my symptoms improved, and so did my omega-3 index score!”
Another key anti-inflammatory Jess takes along with omega-3s is vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form. As for alkalizing nutrients, in addition to glutamine, Jess supplements with vitamin C and magnesium. Other notable nutrients included in Jess’s supplement regimen are vitamin D, vitamin B12, and zinc.
Tip #6: Get the ELISA/ACT Test
Delayed hypersensitivities are linked to autoimmune diseases. Delayed hypersensitivities occur when the immune system is overworked and under-supported resulting in unpleasant symptoms. While several laboratories have tried to develop tests for delayed hypersensitivities, here at Alkaline for Life®, we have found the Lymphocyte Response Assay by ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies to be the most valuable.
According to Jess’s ELISA/ACT test results, she should avoid sugar cane, white rice, perch and mackerel, spinach, and red leaf lettuce.
If you would like to learn more about the Lymphocyte Response Assay created by Dr. Russell Jaffe, we invite you to visit the ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies website here. To learn more about delayed hypersensitivities, read our blog Are Your Mystery Symptoms a Delayed Immune Response?
Overall, Jess managed to take control of her autoimmune disease and wean herself off the multitude of medications she was prescribed just by listening to her body, eating good foods, and supplementing. She hopes that her personal discoveries can help you on your own journeys with autoimmune disease!