More than 4 million people in the US alone are diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome , an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands.

What is and how to manage Sjögren’s syndrome naturally

This particular autoimmune disease attacks the salivary and lacrimal glands (which produce tears), making the eyes and mouth painfully dry . But like other autoimmune diseases, Sjögren’s syndrome is not limited to one area of ​​the body: it is a disease of the immune system as a whole and can progress causing damage to the kidneys , intestines, liver and other vital organs.

Contrary to what conventional medicine says, you can get to the root of the problem and recover from Sjögren’s syndrome. That is the central premise of functional medicine.

The conventional view is that once you have Sjögren, it will be there forever. Doctors prescribe toxic immunosuppressive medications to help you manage the disease. Instead, try some of these strategies to alleviate your symptoms as you work to find the root cause of your illness:

Hydrate

Dry eyes and mouth are the hallmarks of Sjögren’s syndrome. To lessen the severity of these symptoms, drink plenty of water.

Supplement with Omega 3

Taking a fish oil supplement every day will reduce inflammation and help your tissues stay moist.

Treat with homeopathic eye drops and stress pills

Ask your homeopathic medicine provider about these alternatives, they are usually very effective and natural. Homeopathic stress pills or mints not only relieve stress, but also increase saliva production.

The root causes of autoimmune disease

You have probably been informed that your genetics determine your health. That’s only partially true – in fact, your genetics account for only about 25% of your risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome.

The rest comes from environmental factors such as your gut health, diet, toxins, infections, and stress. These are often the mainstays of autoimmune disease.

Pillar I: Leaky intestine

Your gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb vital nutrients from food. In fact, the regulation of intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall.

Certain factors such as gluten , infections, toxins, stress, and age, can cause the tight junctions between cells to break, allowing toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream, this is called the intestine. permeable .

Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them, starting a cycle of inflammation that can lead to autoimmune diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome.

Pillar II: Diet

The root of autoimmune disease is chronic inflammation. Gluten, grains, legumes and other foods that are not easily broken down stress your digestive system, contributing to leaky gut and triggering a constant immune response from your body.

Chronic inflammation worsens Sjögren’s symptoms. Gluten has actually been linked to more than 55 diseases and is often called the “great masked man.”

That’s because most of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity are not digestive in nature, but rather neurological, such as pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue , depression, cognitive decline, and behavioral problems.

Pillar III: Toxins

You interact with thousands of toxic chemicals every day. Pesticides in conventionally grown foods, the heavy metals in your dental fillings, synthetic ingredients in your household cleaning products and body products – each one is a drop in the bucket that is your toxic load.

If your body has a tendency to store toxins, the buildup of chemicals in your system could push you to the brink of autoimmunity.

Pillar IV: Infections and stress

These two go hand in hand. Emotional, mental and physical stress reduces the body’s ability to fight infection, and infections put more stress on your body. Certain viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) have known correlations with autoimmune disease.

A functional medicine approach to the treatment of Sjögren’s syndrome

Heal your gut

80% of your immune system is in the gut, therefore, healing your gut is essential for restoring your immune system and your health. Follow these steps with your functional doctor: remove what is wrong, replace it with the good, give your intestine good flora, and repair.

Ditch gluten, grains, and legumes

It is recommended that you remove gluten from your diet because it is a very inflammatory food. For patients with autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome, it is recommended that all grains and legumes be eliminated from the diet as well.

Control toxins

Reduce your exposure to toxins whenever possible. Start with incorporating foods more organically into your diet and drink plenty of filtered water, both to provide moisture to the tissues and to help your body detoxify.

Heal your infections and relieve your stress

Stress can trigger or re-trigger infections, and in a vicious cycle, infections put more stress on the body. Prioritize stress reduction to give your immune system a healthy boost, and identify and treat any existing infections.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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