in depth


A Gut Feeling

Boost Your Immunity

Auto-immune conditions are a relatively new diagnosis in the past 50 years. Many people suffer unnecessarily from pain and inflammation. The good news is that improving the health of the digestive system can mitigate autoimmune symptoms and help relieve depression associated with “leaky gut syndrome.”

In my clinical practice, I have seen a direct parallel between autoimmune disease and the health of the gut. Most of the time, there is a certain level of permeability, causing microscopic particles of food to escape the gut, thus lowering the immune system. I recommend the amino acid l-glutamine combined with licorice and aloe vera to naturally support the intestinal lining. It is also important to work on any food allergies and sensitivities you may have. Then, add powerhouse foods like local bee pollen, medicinal mushrooms (like shitake and maitake), as well as oregano and garlic. Foods high in zinc, such as alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, yogurt and kelp are important as well.

Another reason to improve digestive health is that over 80% of serotonin is produced in the gut. When serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is considerably low, you can experience depression and lethargy. You may also notice sweet and carbohydrate cravings and digestive disturbances. To improve serotonin levels, feed the body foods high in tryptophan. Fantastic food-based sources of tryptophan are baked potatoes with the skin, bananas, beans, eggs, fish, hazelnuts, hummus, lentils, kelp, brown rice and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Lifestyle choices are key when it comes to autoimmune diseases and depression. Mind-body practices like yoga and tai chi move the lymphatic fluid throughout the body so it does not remain stagnant. Walking and light strength training also help reduce symptoms. It’s time to reclaim your vitality and health by boosting your immune system!

Christa Orecchio
The Whole Journey 
Recommended Read: Digestive Wellness: How to Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion by Elizabeth Lipski


Helen commented on 30-Sep-2011 06:24 AM5 out of 5 stars

I have a someone in my yoga class who I will be able to share this with who has just learned that she has autoimmune disease. Great timing! Thank you for this insightful column.

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