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Category Archives: Celiac Disease

Intermittent Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases

Intermittent Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases

Fasting is a hot topic these days, especially intermittent fasting. There are many benefits to fasting, some of which can include weight loss, reduced bloating, gas, abdominal pain and blood sugar regulation. But for those with autoimmune diseases, fasting can also help to reduce inflammation, especially during a flare. The months between October and January also tend to be the worst for those with autoimmune diseases. The cold temperatures, dry air, viral infections and change in dietary habits can all be triggers for autoimmune flares.

So what is intermittent fasting? In general, it is a pattern of eating that creates longer periods of fasting in between the last and first meals of the day. Because humans have evolved to go long periods without eating, it is thought to be a more natural way of eating. During periods of fasting, your metabolism changes, and you are more likely to burn stored fat. You are also more likely to reduce your immune system response during a fast, which can be beneficial for autoimmune diseases.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

The most common intermittent fasting methods are generally either 16/8 or 18/6. This means that you are not eating or drinking anything other than water for 16 to 18 hours of the day. Your period of eating for those fasts would be 8 or 6 hours respectively. For most people, this means that they are generally skipping a meal during the day, usually breakfast. This can be for multiple days in a row, or periodically throughout the week.

For those doing the 16/8 method, a typical eating period would usually be sometime between 11a – 7p with fasting between 7p and 11a. The 18/6 method is a little more strict, and most people doing this one will usually have an eating period later in the afternoon, between 12p – 6p or something similar.

Other methods of intermittent fasting could also involve pulsing full day fasts. This might look like fasting for a 24 hour period, 1-2x a week. Fasting mimicking diets have also become pretty popular. This involves extreme caloric restriction (500-600 calories) for 5 days a month, 1-3 months in a row (more to come on this in a future blog).

Benefits of Fasting

There are many benefits for fasting. The biggest and most commonly studied benefits are for losing weight and reducing insulin resistance. But there are several studies that show reductions in inflammatory markers. This can be antibodies or other inflammatory markers in the blood stream.

Fasting can also help reduce the severity of a flare for those with autoimmune diseases. It helps to reduce potential dietary triggers. It can also help to increase cortisol, which can suppress the immune system during a flare.

There are other benefits to fasting that can include improving cardiovascular, brain and gut health. Fasting though does change blood sugar and can cause aggravation of some symptoms. The most common side effects of fasting are dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, headaches and nausea. It is important that if you plan on doing any form of intermittent fasting that you work with a healthcare provider that knows your particular health concerns.

Intestinal Candida – What it Looks Like and What You Can Do About It

Intestinal Candida – What it Looks Like and What You Can Do About It

Intestinal candida has been a hot topic in the past couple of years.  There have been many claims about intestinal candida including suggestions that everyone should be on an anti-candida diet.  Candida overgrowth can be responsible for many of the symptoms that are lingering after other treatments have failed.  It’s important to understand the possibleContinue Reading

Type 1 Diabetes and Gluten – the Autoimmune Connection

Type 1 Diabetes and Gluten – the Autoimmune Connection

Type 1 diabetes is an increasingly common childhood condition.  It is caused by an autoimmune reaction against beta cells, which make insulin in the pancreas.  This cell destruction leads to the inability of the pancreas to make insulin, which is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels in our body.  While little is known about whatContinue Reading

Autoimmune Diseases – What Are They?

Autoimmune Diseases – What Are They?

Autoimmune diseases are quite common in our community, but the terminology “autoimmune” is still unrecognizable by many people.  Why is that?  In general, most people who suffer from symptoms of an autoimmune disease have never actually received a specific diagnosis.  Also, many of these types of diseases were discovered before modern medicine determined that theyContinue Reading

Food Allergies during the Holidays: a Delicate Situation

Food Allergies during the Holidays: a Delicate Situation

The holiday season is upon is.  For most people this means extensive time spent with family and friends, shopping and running errands, and of course eating plenty of delicious food.  Oh the food.  It dominates most of what people do during this time of year.  I believe that our propensity toward food begins at HalloweenContinue Reading

Intestinal Bacteria and the Immune System

Intestinal Bacteria and the Immune System

The medical community has known for a long time that the bacteria in our intestines is important for a healthy body.  With the emergence of antibiotics, we have seen that overuse of these types of medications can lead to severe health consequences, especially from depleting the bacteria in our intestinal tract.  From yogurt to probiotics, more people areContinue Reading

Managing Multiple Food Allergies

Managing Multiple Food Allergies

We have a lot of patients who deal with multiple food allergies.  This can be a very challenging thing to live with, especially when the food allergies consist of common, everyday foods such as gluten, corn or dairy.  Although finding out that you have multiple food allergies can be incredibly stressful and life-altering, once you learn howContinue Reading

Going Gluten Free – A look into the most talked about diet

Going Gluten Free – A look into the most talked about diet

It seems as though a gluten free diet has been the topic of most nutrition conversations of late.  There have been many that claim that going gluten free is just the newest fad, and those that say that a gluten free diet is the healthiest way to live your life.  These assertions can be incredibly confusing forContinue Reading