Which immune supplements are best for autoimmune disease?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I have heard that if you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it's important to avoid immune-boosting supplements. Which immune supplements are best for autoimmune disease?

Expert Answer

Isaac Eliaz, MD, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment. For more information, visit www.dreliaz.org.

Medicinal mushrooms can be excellent for people with autoimmune diseases. Rather than simply being "immune boosters," medicinal mushrooms are considered "immune modulators," which means that in situations of immune dysfunction or autoimmune disorders, they can work to calm an overactive immune system and bring it back into a healthy balance, while also promoting overall health and wellness. The immune-modulating activity of medicinal mushrooms relates to their effects on immune effector cells, such as hematopoietic stem cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells, dendritic cells (DCs), and natural killer (NK) cells, involved in the innate and adaptive immunity, resulting in the production of biologic response modifiers that can help restore a healthy immune response. Research has shown that compounds in medicinal mushrooms have properties which can provide a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of autoimmune disorders such as T cell-mediated inflammatory autoimmune diseases, among others.

Modified citrus pectin is another compound that can be used in autoimmune diseases. Its unique ability to bind to Galectin-3 molecules decreases the inflammation and fibrosis which are hallmarks of autoimmune diseases.