The avoidance of auto-immune disease requires that the body destroy abnormal lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that attack the person’s own tissues (autoreactive lymphocytes.) This process seems to occur in the thymus gland.
Omega-3 fish oil increases the process of destroying the autoreactive lymphocytes and fish oil has been shown to benefit rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) and ulcerative colitis. Flax seed is of benefit in lupus nephritis. Humans are inefficient in converting alpha linolenic acid to EPA and DHA. Fish oil provides EPA and DHA.
Androgens (male hormones) increase the destruction of autoreactive lymphocytes, and are believed to play a role in autoimmune diseases which are more common in women. Estrogen and progesterone play some role in immunity and may explain the role of pregnancy and the post-partum period in altering autoimmune diseases.
The typical western diet, with animal proteins, saturated fats and high glycemic index starches and sugars, reduces the thymic destruction of the autoreactive lymphocytes, increases the white cell activity and increases the risk and severity of autoimmune disorders. Habitual consumption of calories of animal origin correlates with the incidence of diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis.
Caloric restriction is of benefit in autoimmune disease by increasing the thymic destruction of autoreactive lymphocytes. In this way, caloric restriction has a cancer preventive and cancer retardant action.
Prolactin is a hormone that increases autoreactive lymphocytes and women who have high levels of prolactin have increased rates of autoimmune disease. Dopamine agonists are treatments for hyperprolactinemia (hyperprolactinaemia.) The Boswellic acids in Boswellia serrata work against hyperprolactinemia and down-regulate inflammation by 5-lipoxygenase inhibition. Clinical trials have shown the benefit of this Ayurvedic medication in ulcerative colitis and asthma. The dopamine drugs used in Parkinsonism may have cancer preventing activity by reducing prolactin. Prolactin receptors are suspected of playing a role in breast, prostate, and blood cancers.
Parathyroid hormone blocks the thymic effect of destroying autoreactive lymphocytes. Vitamin D activity decreases parathyroid activity. This reduction increases the thymic destruction of autoreactive lymphocytes and reduces the risk of autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease was once rare in rural sub-Saharan Africans, including the following: rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, pernicious anemia, Addison’s disease and multiple sclerosis. This is changing as these areas develop the typical Western diets with high animal product consumption.
CONCLUSION: “Regimens including whole-food, low-fat vegan diets, intermittent fasting, supplemental fish oil and dopamine agonists could represent a non-toxic approach to prevention and management of autoimmune disorders.”