Keto Diet

How Keto Improves Autoimmune Disease

The keto diet is a low-carb lover’s dream, but a new study suggests that this popular eating plan may also improve some symptoms of autoimmune disease.

What is An Autoimmune Disease?

Our immune system is normally used to defend against bacteria and viruses, and when it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out its “little defenders” to attack them.

In general, the immune system is very intelligent and can distinguish between foreign cells and its body cells. However, in the case of autoimmune diseases, the immune system’s judgment may be wrong and it may mistake certain parts of the body, such as joints or skin, as foreign. When a misjudgment occurs, it releases autoantibodies to attack these healthy parts and appears to attack itself.

Some autoimmune diseases that target an organ, such as type 1 diabetes, can damage the pancreas, while some autoimmune diseases can even attack the entire body, such as lupus erythematosus. Many of the common diseases in our lives are autoimmune diseases.

Some of the most common autoimmune diseases are as follows:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Graves’ Disease (toxic diffuse goiter)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Myasthenia Gravis (myasthenia gravis)
  • Psoriasis / Psoriatic arthritis
  • Vasculitis (Vasculitis)
  • Vitiligo, Common Papulopapular Vitiligo
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Celiac Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis)
  • Addison’s Disease (Adrenaline overload)
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome (Chronic autoimmune disease with the predominant invasion of salivary and lacrimal glands)

The early symptoms of many autoimmune diseases are very similar, such as fatigue, muscle pain, skin redness, low-grade fever, difficulty concentrating, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, hair loss, and skin rashes. Individual diseases also have their unique symptoms, such as type 1 diabetes with extreme thirst and inflammatory bowel disease with abdominal pain and diarrhea.

So what exactly triggers an autoimmune disease, causing the body’s immune system to attack itself instead of attacking germs?


Causes of Autoimmune Diseases

There are no clear answers about the exact causes of autoimmune diseases, but scientists have tried to answer in these ways

  • Genetic factors (women are twice as likely to develop autoimmune diseases as men, and Caucasians are more likely to develop lupus than Blacks)
  • Viral infections (exposure to various chemicals)
  • poor diet/imbalance in gut flora
  • Stress

In short, it may be the result of an eventual confluence of factors, but fundamentally, it is an inflammatory problem. A growing body of research findings also suggests that an abnormal inflammatory response, and many chronic diseases, especially autoimmune diseases, are closely related. Many patients have successfully improved or even reversed their autoimmune diseases through lifestyle and dietary changes.

How Can Autoimmune Diseases Be Improved?

The keto diet itself is an anti-inflammatory diet that promotes the elimination of almost all inflammatory foods, such as processed foods, and encourages eating real foods such as green vegetables, grass-fed beef and lamb, and eggs …….

In addition, the keto diet emphasizes eating good fats such as butter, omega 3, coconut oil, and olive oil and firmly avoids trans fats, inflammatory fats high in omega 6. It has proven to be very effective in fighting stress, improving mitochondrial function, boosting the body’s immune system, improving brain function and skin health, and losing weight. The following are some of the areas that can be improved through a keto diet

No Sugar

As society grows and becomes more materially abundant, everyone has access to more and more sugary foods, but the body’s ability to process this sugar has not become infinitely more powerful.

An overload of sugar intake can trigger an inflammatory response time and time again, and the results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1973 showed that all forms of sugar (glucose, fructose, and sucrose) impair the function of the immune system and destroy the ability of white blood cells to fight threats.

No poor quality oils (e.g. trans fatty acids) and Reduced Intake of Vegetable Oils

Foods containing hydrogenated oils are ubiquitous in our lives, such as bread, cakes, cookies, and French fries, which are often rich in trans fatty acids that increase inflammation in the lining of blood vessels and decrease the body’s response in the event of injury. Another point is that most vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, canola oil, and peanut oil, contain high levels of omega-6, a fatty acid that increases inflammation.

So when it comes to choosing cooking oils, it is recommended to use high-quality olive oil, coconut oil, or animal fats. It is also recommended to eat more deep-sea fish, especially those rich in fat, which contain more omega-3s and have a good anti-inflammatory effect.

Avoid Gluten and Casein In Grains

Grains such as wheat and barley, in addition to gluten, contain inflammatory lectins and phytic acid, which are anti-nutritional compounds that inhibit your absorption of minerals and, over time, can not only affect your body’s mineral quality but also lead to increased intestinal permeability and “leaky gut,” which can greatly increase inflammation in the blood.

Casein is the main protein found in the milk of mammals, including cows, sheep, and humans. You may not notice the slight effect it has on your body, but most people are intolerant to casein and these intolerances cause the body to try to fight it, which in turn induces inflammation. While most dairy products are not recommended for intake, butter or ghee can be eaten because they are pure milk fat and do not contain casein.

Avoid Processed Foods and Eat More Fresh Foods

Most of the foods in our lives are processed and they are full of additives, sugars, preservatives, and trans fatty acids. A small intake in a short period may not be much, but accumulation in the body over the years can also lead to various chronic inflammatory diseases. It is recommended to eat more fresh foods, such as vegetables, grass-fed beef and lamb, and fish.

Drink More Bone Broth and Eat More Probiotics

One of the most valuable components of bone broth is gelatin, which acts as a soft cushion between the bones, helping them to “glide” without friction.

As found in a report published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, gelatin facilitates the restoration of strength in the inner layers of the intestine, fights indigestible food sensitivities (such as wheat or dairy), helps the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supports healthy levels of inflammation in the digestive tract.

And while probiotics are known for optimizing the intestinal flora (the digestive system, which houses 70% of the body’s immune tissue and whose health is therefore critical to immunity), they will boost the immune system overall and reduce chronic inflammation.

Ensure Adequate Intake of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system and it is important to get enough of it. There is growing epidemiological evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Stress Relief and Optimal Sleep

Under chronic stress, hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine are released, inadvertently affecting the digestive and immune systems and leaving them vulnerable to attack. When sleep deprivation occurs, a large number of interrelated systems are also affected, such as the digestive, endocrine, metabolic, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.

This is why learning to release stress and maintain positive social relationships while getting enough sleep is so important to improving autoimmune disease.

Increase Exercise

Exercise improves the body’s blood circulation so that white blood cells and other immune substances can be active, keeping a close eye on viruses, bacteria, and diseases. Therefore, it is recommended to exercise 2 or 3 times a week. HIIT training (high-intensity interval training) and high-intensity strength training are recommended.