Improving Immunity & Gut Health through Diet

by Crystal Jancovic, LAc, LMT

If our immune system is weak it is susceptible to food-borne illness, and if it is over-reactive, allergies, asthma and eczema present themselves. Asthma, allergies and skin rashes are the body resisting the environment. Diet can either create or prevent the immune system from weakness and overreacting.

Vitamins A, D3 and K2 are critical in supporting the immune system and were plentiful in primitive diets, with people more connected with food, nature and the soil. Staying away from sugar, white flour, industrial fats and oils is important as these cause inflammation in the body and deplete the body’s immune resources. Milk should be consumed raw since it builds the immune system but pasteurized milk products require the body to produce an immune response every time they are consumed, producing phlegm and exhausting the immune system.

Good gut flora is essential for immune health. Beneficial bacteria live on and inside our physical bodies. The bacterial cells residing in our GI tract and a healthy gut contains five to seven pounds of a biofilm of microorganisms helping us with the digestion of food, secreting vitamins that we absorb into the bloodstream, detoxifying the body, producing the “feel-good” chemicals,  making anti-bacterial/anti-fungal/anti-viral substances that prevent the growth of pathogens and maintaining the good health of our intestinal lining.

In cases of disrupted gut flora and poor conditions of the gut wall, the biofilm and villi it resides on become damaged. The villi are flattened and can no longer do their job. Poor diet, antibiotics, fluoridated and chlorinated water can all disrupt the biofilm.  Without a diet plentiful in fats, cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins, the connection between the cells of the gut usually becomes weakened.

Healthy villi are in charge of producing enzymes which break down complex carbs in grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes and milk products. When the villi are damaged it will be very difficult for the body to properly digest these foods and the body experiences immune system dysfunction such as allergies, asthma and/or skin rashes. Behavior and emotional issues usually will present themselves as well due to the gut/brain connection.

Using the GAPS (Gut and Pyschology Syndrome) Diet can be life changing for people experiencing allergies, eczema and asthma and is particularly effective in children. The goal of therapy is to stop the introduction of antigens into the bloodstream by healing the leaking gut and restoring the gut flora. Pregnant and nursing mothers should not follow a GAPS diet since it promotes detoxification.

The GAPS diet involves: 

-Eliminating all processed foods for good and temporarily removing foods with complex carbs (all grains, potatoes, parsnips, seaweeds, milk and dairy products).

-Adding bone broths to soothe and protect the intestinal lining.

-Cholesterol rich foods such as ghee, egg yolks, liver pate and fatty meats help heal the gut wall since the cells of the guy are rich in cholesterol.

-Cod liver oil supplies vitamins A and D.

-Probiotics and lacto-fermented foods: sauerkraut, beet kvass, marinated fish, yogurt & kefir (made with raw milk) provide the gut with good bacteria.

Mild dermatitis could clear up in two weeks with this diet whereas chronic, severe cases of asthma could take up to two years. Initial improvement can be seen within a few days to possibly a few months from starting the lifestyle shift. Studies show that improvement excels when treatment is in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal formulas.

Important add-ons with the GAPS diet:

For eczema: include an essential fatty acid blend, sea vegetables, sea vegetable baths to exfoliate the skin, Dermatrophin between meals to stop inflammation in the skin, Dermrash topical cream and Andrographis if there is infection in the skin.

For asthma: mustard compresses to the chest, Brochafect as an expectorant, Essential fatty acid blend, Pneumotrophin to strengthen the lungs, Phytocort combining anti-allergy effects and cortisone-stimulating effects for treatment of asthma (especially pediatric asthma).

For allergies: include probiotics and Echinacea by Mediherb to strengthen the immune system.

Lakewood Community Acupuncture carries other helpful herbal formulas to help with skin rashes, allergies and asthma but this article focuses more on the treatment through diet and nutritional supplements. Acupuncture and herbal medicine both have shown major benefits in treating these conditions. Schedule at

Michelle Astringer
Michelle Astringer
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Dani Zocante
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ashley snider
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Carrie Butler
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Sarah Llerena
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Liz Spanos
I have been going to Lakewood Community Acupuncture for over a year and can’t imagine my life without it now!! It can truly help with so much - from physical pain (I have issues with my pelvic floor and multiple herniated discs) to emotional blocks, energy deficiencies and more! I ALWAYS feel better after acupuncture. I’ve seen all the practitioners and they are all extremely skilled, but Crystal is my go-to. She is not only very gentle and effective but always a delight to connect with. For the quality of service, atmosphere and price, you cannot do better. It’s been a game changer for me. Wholeheartedly recommend!!


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