The other day I sorted through my medical records for the first time in a long time. What I discovered blew my mind. It has been seven years since my medical adventure began. Seven years of testing, diet changes, disgusting drinks and being poked and prodded by doctors I truly don't have much faith in anymore. I seem to finally have a handle on what's going on internally (every thanks to the support I have at home and my own research), and after having to advocate for myself time and time again, I have finally been diagnosed with: celiac, hypothyroidism & ulcerative colitis, as well as SIBO & leaky gut, all which undoubtedly stem from my low IGA (immunity) levels.
Whew. When it's all spelled out like that, I realize just how much I've been through, + I want to take a moment to say if you feel that something is wrong, don't ever let a doctor tell you otherwise. If they send you home saying "there's nothing else I can do" - find someone else. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, reach out to random strangers. I'm not kidding. And always feel free to reach out to me. Trust your gut (literally, no pun intended) - even if you're going to see the best doctor in the world, I promise you no one cares as much about your health as you do.
With that being said, these are the supplements I use to get my health and life under control while living with autoimmunity:
1. I start my day with shot of apple cider vinegar (get the one with cinnamon so you won't gag). This routine started as a way to "lose weight" (I still have no idea if apple cider vinegar boosts your metabolism, but I sure read a lot of articles saying it does). The more I researched, the more I DID find evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar can help combat leaky gut/SIBO. What I can understand is that there lies a connection between autoimmune diseases and stomach acid. In fact, up to 50% of people with an autoimmune disease have autoimmunity against their stomach cells, which can over time interfere with your stomach's ability to release digestive acid... WHICH can allow for the overgrowth of bacteria, candida, etc. A shot of ACV in the morning can raise stomach pH levels, in turn killing that pesky bacteria.
2. Next on the list is Vitamin D. In the winter months I take about 5000iu, and about about 2000iu in the summer, but again, these are just the levels set for me by my endocrinologist. As a rule of thumb, especially if you live in northern climates, you'll absolutely want to be taking more in the winter, but for exact numbers and recommendations, you'll want to see a doctor or licensed nutritionist of your own!
3. Magnesium & zinc! Both used to boost immunity. The magnesium also helps ward off the migraines I seemed to have developed this spring.
4. Anywhere between 1-2 hours after waking up I finally sit down to eat a quick breakfast. With breakfast, I take 3 tsp of buffered ascorbate Vitamin C mixed with water (I use Alkalini-C). You can find out just how much vitamin C you need daily but completing a vitamin C flush (just follow the easy step-by-step instructions here).
5. Throughout the day, I take a few other key supplements. Just for the heck of it, I decided to try Care/Of for one month to see how I liked it/see what other vitamins I wanted to add to my daily routine. For obvious reasons, I chose their immune-boosting blend which includes elderberry, garlic, vitamin B12 & turmeric - all great for the gut.
6. Activated charcoal throughout day as needed. Activated charcoal is often used to combat food poisoning + overdose, due to its ability to flush toxins out of the body. (Quick science lesson: "activated" charcoal works in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It's this porousness that makes it effective at attaching to and absorbing toxins, flushing them out of the body). In this same way, it can be used to ease bloating, relieve stomach discomfort and expel diet irritants. Basically, it sucks all of the bad out of your gut. You can purchase the exact brand I use daily here.
7..To end my day, I take a probiotic recommended to me by my doctor right before bed. There's mixed reviews about taking probiotics at night, but this seems to work for me - I wake up feeling less bloated and tend to also have better sleep. You can buy the same probiotic for yourself easily at Target.
While these are the wholistic remedies I use, I wholeheartedly believe in a combination of wholistic and modern, pharmaceutical medicine. I'm not going to pretend I could go a day without my doctor-prescribed Mesalamine for my UC, or my Levothyroxine to regulate my thyroid. But there's plenty of research that shows the benefits of supplementation if you choose to seek it out!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or dietician. The information I provide is based on my personal experiences and meant to educate on what supplements have worked for me to promote my immunity & gut health.