Certain nutrients can help ease symptoms of autoimmune disorders
By SUZY COHEN Dear Pharmacist 8/9/2008 Tulsa World
Q: I have MS and I've taken the medicine Copaxone. Last year, you said not to rev up my immune system with vitamins. Can you explain why and tell me what kinds of supplements are safe? — R.T., Decatur,Ill.
A: Imagine looking into the mirror, but instead of seeing your sweet self, you see a creepy robber and then start punching yourself — and it hurts. That's autoimmune disease — your immune system perceives its own tissue as an invader, then seeks to destroy it, little by little.
With rheumatoid arthritis, the joints are primarily affected;
Hashimoto's, it's the thyroid;
MS, it's the brain and spinal cord nerves, and so on.
Avoid high doses of vitamin C, beta carotene, cat's claw, echinacea and ginseng, among others. Why add fuel to the fire? Doing so may cause you to slip out of remission. Copaxone has become a popular prescription drug choice for MS sufferers because it seems to spark some relief in patients, plus its side effects are reportedly less disabling. . I'll share some tips in the space provided, but there are so many other nutrients.
For now, consider a gluten-free diet and any of these nutrients:
DHA: A type of essential fatty acid found in fish oils that helps nourish nerve cells and balance angry inflammatory chemicals.
Vitamin D: The sunlight vitamin seems to help with MS.
Melatonin: It's your sleep hormone, and people with MS seem to lack it.
Methylcobalamin: It's a form of vitamin B12 that helps you remyelinate.
Padma Basic: This centuries-old formula was handed down from Tibet. It's sold without a prescription in the United States, but overseas, it is called "Padma 28." It's all-natural, with 20 herbs and spices that balance your immune system and squash inflammation. It helps autoimmune sufferers because it's "cooling" to an immune system that's on fire. It's also great for the blood circulation and heart.