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How to Normalize an Overactive Immune System

If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease, you may feel tired, sick, irritable, or foggy. You may also experience hair loss, dry skin, weight fluctuations, or joint pain. These are signs that your immune system could be overreacting and attacking your own tissues. But there is hope. You can normalize your immune system and reverse your symptoms with a 3-step action plan based on food, exercise, and stress relief.

This plan is based on the work of Dr. Susan Blum, a functional medicine doctor and author of The Immune System Recovery Plan and co-founder of Organic Pharmer. She used this program to treat her own autoimmune condition and help thousands of patients heal their immune systems and prevent future illness. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Use food as medicine

Food can either trigger or calm inflammation in your body. To normalize your immune system, you need to avoid foods that cause inflammation and eat foods that support your gut health and detoxification while in your healing stage. Dr. Blum recommends an elimination diet where you remove gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs for at least three weeks and then reintroducing them one by one to see how you react. She also suggests eating foods that support your immune function and calm inflammation, such as lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, and healthy fats. These foods provide antioxidants, fiber, omega-3s, and probiotics that nourish your gut and liver and help them eliminate toxins. All of Organic Pharmer's foods are approved for an elimination diet, making it easier to stick to it for the full 3 weeks!


Organic Pharmer makes normalizing your overactive immune system easy with all our organic, plant-based and elimination diet approved programs and foods. 

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Step 2: Managing the stress connection

Stress is a major factor in triggering autoimmune flare-ups. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase inflammation and suppress your immune system. To normalize your immune system, you need to find healthy ways to cope with stress and relax your nervous system. Dr. Blum recommends practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing, gratitude journaling, cognitive behavioral therapy, or any other technique that helps you calm down and feel positive. She also suggests getting enough sleep, spending time in nature, and connecting with supportive people.


food as medicine

Step 3: Healing your gut and digestive system

This step involves restoring the health and balance of your gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in your immune system and overall health. Dr. Blum explains how gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, and food sensitivities can contribute to autoimmune disease, and how to heal them with supplements, herbs, and dietary changes. She also provides a gut repair protocol and a gut healing diet to help you repair your intestinal lining and replenish your beneficial bacteria. 


Step 4: Optimizing liver function

This step involves supporting your liver’s ability to detoxify and eliminate toxins, hormones, and inflammatory molecules that can trigger or worsen autoimmune disease. Dr. Blum explains how environmental toxins, medications, alcohol, and infections can impair your liver function, and how to enhance it with nutrients, herbs, and lifestyle changes. She also provides a liver detox program and a liver support diet to help you cleanse and protect your liver.


By following these four steps, you can normalize your immune system and improve your quality of life. You don't have to suffer forever. Take charge of your health and heal yourself with food, movement, and stress relief.

Broadening the Benefits: Why Dr. Blum's Plan is a Win for Everyone's Health

The plan outlined above for normalizing an overactive immune system through food, exercise, and stress relief offers benefits that extend far beyond those with autoimmune disease. This holistic approach to health maintenance is advantageous for anyone looking to enhance their overall well-being. The emphasis on a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats supports optimal nutritional intake which can improve energy levels, enhance mental clarity, and gut health. Furthermore, the elimination diet component of the plan helps individuals identify and avoid foods that may cause subtle adverse reactions, leading to better digestive health and reduced inflammation throughout the body.

In addition to dietary benefits, the stress management techniques proposed in Dr. Blum's plan, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, are universally recognized for their positive effects on mental and emotional health. These practices can reduce stress and anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance overall quality of life. Similarly, the focus on gut and liver health with specific diets and supplements can lead to improved detoxification processes and a balanced gut microbiome, crucial aspects for anyone aiming to maintain long-term health and prevent various chronic conditions. Thus, adopting Dr. Blum's integrative approach can serve as a proactive strategy to safeguard one's health, promoting longevity and vitality irrespective of an autoimmune diagnosis.


FAQ: Managing Autoimmune Diseases with Dr. Susan Blum's Plan

Q. What are common symptoms of autoimmune diseases?
A. Common symptoms include fatigue, irritability, mental fog, hair loss, dry skin, weight fluctuations, and joint pain. These symptoms may indicate an overactive immune system attacking the body's own tissues.

Q. What is the core idea behind Dr. Susan Blum's autoimmune treatment plan?
A. Dr. Blum's plan focuses on normalizing the immune system and reversing symptoms using a holistic approach that includes dietary changes, stress management, and gut and liver health improvements.

Q. How does food play a role in managing autoimmune diseases according to Dr. Blum?
A. Food can either trigger or reduce inflammation. Dr. Blum recommends an elimination diet to avoid inflammatory foods and emphasizes consuming vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, fish, and healthy fats that support immune function and gut health.

Q. What is the elimination diet recommended by Dr. Blum?
A. The elimination diet involves avoiding gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs for at least three weeks. After this period, these foods are reintroduced one at a time to identify potential adverse reactions.

Q. How can stress affect autoimmune diseases?
A. Stress can trigger autoimmune flare-ups by increasing the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which enhance inflammation and suppress the immune system. Managing stress is crucial for normalizing the immune system.

Q. What stress management techniques does Dr. Blum recommend?
A. Dr. Blum suggests practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing, gratitude journaling, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She also emphasizes the importance of adequate sleep, spending time in nature, and nurturing supportive relationships.

Q. What steps are involved in healing the gut and digestive system?
A. Dr. Blum's plan includes restoring gut microbiome health through dietary changes, supplements, and herbs. This step addresses gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, and food sensitivities to enhance overall immune function.

Q. How does optimizing liver function help in managing autoimmune diseases?
A. Supporting liver function helps detoxify and eliminate toxins and inflammatory molecules that can exacerbate autoimmune conditions. Dr. Blum's liver detox program includes specific nutrients, herbs, and lifestyle adjustments to improve liver health.

Q. How long should this plan be followed for?
A. The duration of the plan can vary based on individual needs and responses. Initially, the elimination diet should be followed for at least three weeks, after which foods are reintroduced. For lasting benefits and to fully normalize immune function, many elements of the plan, such as mindful eating and stress management, may be incorporated as long-term lifestyle changes.

Q. What supplements does Dr. Blum recommend for an overactive immune system?
A. Some supplement recommendations that are typically safe to add into your diet are probiotics, omega-3 (fish oil or algae derived), vitamin D, vitamin B12. For a more comprehensive list read her post titled Tips for Boosting your Immune System.


 Written By

michael petronaciMichael Petronaci is the CEO of Organic Pharmer. With an undergrad in Biology and Chemistry he worked in finance, ran il Buco Group in Manhattan and now geeks out on all the food as medicine programs and products he helps to create at Organic Pharmer.


  • This strategy for an overactive immune system is excellent. Her method involving diet, stress management, and gut health provides a comprehensive way to decrease inflammation and enhance overall well-being.

  • Very informative and encouraging . I have had a flare up but want to stop using prescribed drugs. This site provides hope.

  • Thank you so much for this,it will help a lot.

    Iffy Julia Patrick

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