Can You Alleviate Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases with Probiotics?
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Women who have autoimmune diseases may have their symptoms worsen as they age. They suffer from fatigue and joint pain, which impacts their self-image and quality of life. These disorders are more common among women than men, and people believe that is related to estrogen. Our life span has increased, and many women spend now more than a third of their lives in menopause. Does that mean that women’s autoimmune diseases will worsen during that time, or can you find relief with probiotics?
What Are Autoimmune Diseases?
Your body is made of many systems through which different organs connect to each other. They all work toward the same goal so that you can live a longer and happier life. Your immune system is on duty every day. It protects you from viruses, microbes, and bacteria that could harm your body. But the way in which it works is very complex.
The immune system is not perfect, and sometimes its function can fall out of its healthy balance. When this happens, your immune system thinks of your own cells as invaders. As a result, it attacks them as if they were bad cells in an attempt to protect your body. This is how autoimmune diseases are born. They can happen to multiple organs and even systems of organs. And they could cause damage to the heart, lungs, or joints, or several organs at once.
How Is Autoimmunity Related to Menopause?
No one knows for sure why your body would suddenly attack itself. But your hormonal balance can play a role in the severity of the disease and its symptoms. As you age, more symptoms of the disease can appear, or they can worsen. It seems that women who have either had longer exposure to estrogen during their life, were pregnant, or had hormone replacement therapy (HRT), were less likely to have their disease become more severe.
So there is no clear answer to how menopause affects these diseases and vice versa. Though there is a link between the severity of the symptoms and hormonal balance which you should not ignore. Another thing you should keep in mind is that menopause affects several systems or organs. These may include nervous and skeletal systems, your heart health, and your urinary tract (1). As a result, menopause would put the systems under much more stress, which are already damaged by autoimmune diseases.
There is also an opinion that estrogen improves the response of the immune system to invaders. So when the body mistakes its own cells for bad ones, estrogen makes things worse by enhancing the killer cells’ response. But when estrogen levels decline in menopause, the immune system weakens. And that could mean relief to some extent for people with autoimmune diseases. Because of how these diseases work and what their triggers are is so unclear, it is not certain what really causes them.
Measures to Support Immune System
You cannot entirely control autoimmune diseases. But you should still do your best to keep your immune system healthy so that it works at its best. Try to avoid chemicals and toxins around you, such as heavy metals, poisons, or mercury. Eat a healthy diet to get vital vitamins and minerals your body’s defenses need to function. Keep fit by exercising at least 30 minutes a day, which will give a significant boost to your overall health. And promote healthy habits by giving up smoking and avoiding alcohol.
Alleviating Symptoms of Autoimmune Diseases with Probiotics
Gut microbiome, which is the good and the bad bacteria living in your gut, plays an essential role in your overall health. And because improving your gut balance might help reduce inflammation, there is also a chance that it could help you find relief from autoimmune diseases. Good probiotic bacteria regulate the immune system helping it function properly, so using them can be an excellent complementary therapy in the alleviating of those conditions.
Genetics play a role in autoimmune diseases, but they do not determine everything. Gut microflora in a way “educates” your immune system, because it adjusts the way your body responds to health, diet, and antibiotics, making it more mature (2). In this way, it can help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of a disease through various approaches and pathways.
Another study also recognizes how probiotics can impact the immune system (3). By restoring the balance of the gut flora and giving it important nutrients, probiotics regulate your immune response to various invaders. Trials have shown that modifying gut flora could improve inflammation in colitis, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, along with other autoimmune diseases.
Probiotics have the potential to become helpful additions to autoimmune disease therapies. For every disease, a specific strain of a probiotic can be more helpful than another. This is why you need to consult with your doctor to find the best option for your case. Eating more probiotic-rich foods is very good for your gut health in general. So, if you have any digestive health issues, you may find them helpful for those problems too.
Where to Get Probiotics for Autoimmune Diseases
You should not find it difficult to get probiotics, because they are in many foods you can buy from your local grocery store. For example, you probably have eaten live yogurt, pickles, or sauerkraut before, but have you also heard about miso, kombucha, kimchi, and tempeh? These are all the foods that have live bacteria to help balance your gut flora so you can be and feel healthy.
If you are not getting enough probiotics from food, you should consider taking a supplement. MenoLabs knows the specific needs of women in menopause. That is why we have created a line of probiotics to help women with autoimmune diseases as they age. Probiotics also can help improve symptoms of menopause you might have such as mood swings, hot flashes, or weight gain. Find relief and feel better without harmful side effects.
(1) Lisa Sammaritano. “Menopause in patients with autoimmune diseases.”
(2) Bahman Yousefi et al. “Probiotics can really cure an autoimmune disease?”
(3) Yuying Liu et al. “Probiotics in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disorders.”