Whats at the Root of an Autoimmune Condition

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/22/2023

Ever felt like your body was fighting against itself? That's the grim reality for those with autoimmune diseases. Picture this: cells designed to protect you, instead turning rogue and attacking your tissues - a civil war in your body!

This isn't some sci-fi movie plot; it's the real-life role of TH17 cells in autoimmune conditions.

But what if we could flip the script? Imagine soothing that internal battlefront, easing inflammation, and reclaiming control over these rebel forces. How about wielding natural remedies as powerful allies or harnessing an innovative diet strategy?

This is not just a health journey but an exploration into our biology’s darkest corners where disease lurks. By understanding how TH17 cells function and using knowledge as our weapon, we can strategize to tame them.

Discover how chronic inflammation can affect autoimmune conditions in this journey. We'll also explore how high doses can influence this relationship.

Understanding Autoimmune Conditions and the Role of TH17 Cells

Autoimmune conditions can be a mystery, but one key player we've come to understand is the TH17 cell. When our immune system works correctly, it's like a well-trained army. It defends us from harmful invaders such as viruses or bacteria.

But in autoimmune diseases, something goes awry. The soldiers—our immune cells—mistakenly attack our tissues. Imagine if your home security system started seeing you as an intruder—that's what happens with autoimmunity.

Notebook with words autoimmune disorders

The Nature of Autoimmune Conditions

In autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the body gets its signals crossed and begins damaging itself. What causes this mix-up?

Research points towards various factors: genetics, environment, and even certain infections that could trigger this self-destruction mode.

The Role of TH17 Cells in Autoimmune Conditions

You might ask why these specific TH17 cells are essential. They play an active role when things go wrong.

These little guys are typically responsible for protecting us against pathogens—but when over-activated—they contribute to inflammation and tissue damage that characterize many autoimmune diseases.

Chronic Inflammation: The Primary Problem in Autoimmune Conditions

The villain of our story is chronic inflammation, a persistent and unwanted guest that wreaks havoc on your body. When you have an autoimmune condition, your home's security system turns against itself.

The Connection Between Chronic Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases

In simple terms, chronic inflammation occurs when the immune response doesn't turn off. It's as if someone left a tap running – this overflow can lead to tissue damage and eventually autoimmune diseases. But why does this happen?

Well, think about what happens when you cut yourself - swelling or redness around the wound are signs of acute inflammation working its magic to protect you. However, imagine this reaction happening inside your body non-stop.

Your cells become overworked from constant battle mode; they get tired and start making mistakes by attacking healthy tissues instead. That’s how chronic inflammation exacerbates autoimmune conditions.

Vitamin D as a Treatment for TH17-Mediated Diseases

Have you ever considered the power of sunshine? More specifically, vitamin D - its most natural source. It turns out that this humble nutrient can be an essential ally in managing autoimmune diseases.

The Importance of High Doses of Vitamin D in Managing Autoimmune Diseases

Comparing TH17 cells to an overly aggressive sports team, vitamin D can be considered the coach that helps manage autoimmune conditions by calming them down.

If TH17 cells are the overly aggressive players causing trouble on the field, vitamin D is the wise coach calming things down. Studies suggest that high doses of vitamin D can help tame these unruly cells and manage autoimmune conditions.

You might wonder if more sun exposure would do the trick. Well, not quite. You'd also need to get your daily dose from supplements or fortified foods because sunlight alone isn't enough.

This doesn't mean we should start popping pills without thought, though. Just like our tough but fair coach wouldn’t let his team run wild without a strategy, taking excessive amounts may have adverse effects.

Natural Remedies for Reducing Inflammation

It's no secret that inflammation can significantly affect autoimmune diseases. Have you ever thought about natural remedies to reduce inflammation? Let's take a closer look.

Curcumin's Role in Reducing Inflammation

Research shows curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is not just a spice for your curry. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and may help manage symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Isn't nature incredible?

The Benefits of Small Chain Fatty Acids and Sulforaphane

Moving on from spices to veggies - cruciferous vegetables pack quite the punch. They contain sulforaphane and small-chain fatty acids with potent anti-inflammatory effects.

You might know these as broccoli, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts. These don’t just side dishes anymore; they're superheroes fighting inflammation.. Now, that’s food for thought.

The Fasting Mimicking Diet and Autoimmune Conditions

But an exciting approach might help - the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD). It involves consuming very few calories for a certain period, tricking your body into thinking it’s fasting.

Understanding the Fasting-Mimicking Diet

The FMD, developed by Dr. Valter Longo at USC, is not your usual starvation spree. Instead of completely giving up food, you eat specific low-calorie meals for five days each month.

Our bodies switch from burning glucose to fat for energy using nutritional ketosis. What makes this relevant to autoimmune diseases? Well, research suggests that nutritional ketosis may help reduce inflammation, which often fuels these conditions.

FMD also promotes autophagy – our cells' cleanup crew – removing damaged components and reducing disease risk.

And guess what? A study showed potential benefits in managing multiple sclerosis symptoms through similar dietary measures.

So, while we need more research to fully understand its effects on other autoimmune disorders, "Food as medicine" could take on a whole new meaning with diets like FMD.

Intermittent fasting on a notepad

Intermittent Fasting and Autoimmune Disease

The question often arises for individuals with autoimmune diseases: Does intermittent fasting work for managing autoimmune conditions?

Intermittent fasting may offer some potential benefits in this context. While research is ongoing, some studies suggest that intermittent fasting could help reduce inflammation, a common hallmark of autoimmune disorders.

It's crucial to approach fasting carefully, ensuring it aligns with an individual's condition and consulting with a healthcare provider.

Autoimmune diseases are diverse, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Therefore, anyone considering intermittent fasting as part of their autoimmune management strategy should do so under medical supervision and tailor the approach to their unique needs.

While intermittent fasting shows promise in promoting health and wellness, it's crucial to prioritize individualized care and seek guidance from healthcare professionals familiar with autoimmune conditions.


So, you've journeyed through the complex world of TH17 cells and autoimmune diseases. It's been a trip into biology’s darkest corners where we’ve confronted rogue cells causing chaos within our bodies.

Understanding how these cells contribute to inflammation in autoimmune conditions would be best. Prolonged inflammation is more than just an unpleasant symptom; it can worsen the effects of disease and cause additional health problems.

We also dove into natural remedies that may help reduce this troublesome inflammation, like curcumin or small-chain fatty acids. We also highlighted Vitamin D - a potential game-changer for managing these conditions!

Last but not least, remember the fasting-mimicking diet? It might seem challenging initially, but its potential benefits are worth exploring.

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