8 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease
8 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease – INFLAMMATION IS A “HOT” TOPIC IN MEDICINE. It appears connected to almost every known chronic disease — from heart disease to cancer, diabetes to obesity, autism to dementia, and even depression.
Other inflammatory diseases such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disease are increasing at dramatic rates. As physicians we are trained to shut off inflammation with aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Motrin, steroids, and increasingly more powerful immune suppressing medication with serious side effects.
But we are not trained to find and treat the underlying causes of inflammation in chronic disease. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, an inflammatory diet, and stress are the real causes of these inflammatory conditions.
Autoimmune diseases, specifically, now affect 24 million people and include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.
These are often addressed by powerful immune suppressing medication and not by addressing the cause. That’s like taking a lot of aspirin while you are standing on a tack. The treatment is not more aspirin or a strong immune suppressant, but removing the tack.
It you want to cool off inflammation in the body, you must find the source. Treat the fire, not the smoke. In medicine we are mostly taught to diagnose disease by symptoms, NOT by their underlying cause. Functional medicine, the emerging 21st century paradigm of systems medicine, teaches us to treat the cause, not only the symptoms, to ask the question WHY are you sick, not only WHAT disease do you have.
The focus of other doctors is on how to suppress the inflammation with medication, not finding and treating the cause. Functional medicine is a different way of thinking about disease that helps us understand and treat the real causes of inflammation instead of finding clever ways to shut it down. Medicine as it is practiced today is like taking the battery out of a smoke detector while a fire burns down your house!
Autoimmune conditions are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.
When a patient described how he cured his autoimmune disease by finding and eliminating the causes of inflammation in his diet and environment, it was dismissed as a “spontaneous remission.” In the face of a paradigm-shattering medical case, these doctors were hardly curious and quickly dismissive; describing what was shared as anecdotal. [These stories] are not anecdotes but a giant compass pointing us in the direction we should be looking to find answers to our health problems.
Autoimmunity: What it is and How it Occurs
We are facing an epidemic of allergic (60 million people), asthmatic (30 million people), and autoimmune disorders (24 million people). Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, and the many other hard-to-classify syndromes in the 21st century.
These are all autoimmune conditions, and at their root they are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.
Your immune system is your defense against invaders. It is your internal army and has to clearly distinguish friend from foe — to know you from others. Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and your own tissues get caught in friendly cross-fire.
Your body is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response — and somehow it redirects its hostile attack on your pancreas, joints, your brain, your thyroid, your gut, your skin, or sometimes your whole body.
Interestingly, autoimmune disorders occur almost exclusively in developed countries. People in poor nations without modern amenities like running water, flush toilets, washing machines, and sterile backyards don’t get these diseases.
If you grew up on a farm with lots of animals, you are also less likely to have any of these inflammatory disorders. Playing in the dirt, being dirty, and being exposed to bugs and infections trains your immune system to recognize what is foreign and what is “you.”
In this country, autoimmune diseases, when taken all together, are a huge health burden. They are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by eight years. The annual health care cost for autoimmune diseases is $120 billion a year representing nearly twice the economic health care burden of cancer (about $ 70 billion a year). (i)
Unfortunately, many of the conventional treatments available can make you feel worse. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, steroids, immune suppressants like methotrexate, and the new TNF-alpha blockers like Enbrel or Remicade can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, psychosis, osteoporosis, muscle loss, and diabetes, not to mention overwhelming infection and cancer.(ii)
When used selectively these drugs can help people get their lives back. But they are not a long-term solution. They shouldn’t be the end of treatment, but a bridge to cool off inflammation while we treat the root cause of the disease. There is another way to deal with autoimmune conditions.
If you have an autoimmune disease, here is what you need to think about and do.
Eight Steps to Treating Autoimmune Disease
- Check for hidden infections — yeast, viruses, bacteria, Lyme, etc. — with the help of a doctor, and treat them.
- Check for hidden food allergens with IgG food testing or just try a diet designed to eliminate most food allergens.
- Get tested for celiac disease, which is a blood test that any doctor can do.
- Get checked for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.
- Fix your gut.
- Use nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally.
- Exercise regularly — it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Practice deep relaxation like yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or massage, because stress worsens the immune response.
Give these steps a try — and see if you don’t start feeling less inflamed. As I said earlier, the answers are right in front of you. Treat the underlying causes of your illness and you will begin to experience vibrant health once more.
Functional medicine is a positive approach to rooting out the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases. We also think the Roman Diet and Health-e-Solutions lifestyle can help put the body in a position of strength by providing it with nutrient-dense, alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, very low-glycemic, low insulin demand foods that can help stabilize blood sugars.
The #TypicalWesternLifestyle is killing us with chronic diseases, and you can help lead the way in a healthy new direction. We have seen our two boys with type 1 diabetes grow and thrive since January of 2008 when we started on this journey with the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle. You can travel this road better equipped than we were! The Roman Diet Diabetes recipe e-books provide alternatives to the typical high-carb, low nutrition foods that are standard fare for the typical western diet.
Our Home Study Course teaches you how to implement the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle in a #PracticalLivableSustainable way for better #BloodSugarControl and thriving health. It will save you so much of the time and effort we spent learning, studying and experimenting to find the healthiest way possible to #MasterDiabetes.
Our support services can make the difference between success and failure during your transformation. And our Natural Solutions will take you deeper into practical application and underlying research. We think it can form the foundation for a natural, way to better #ControlDiabetesNaturally – all types of diabetes, even (and especially) type 1 diabetes.
- Nakazawa, D. (2008). The Autoimmune Epidemic. Simon & Schuster. New York.
- Siegel, C.A., Marden, S.M., Persing, S.M., et al. (2009). Risk of lymphoma associated with combination anti-tumor necrosis factor and immunomodulator therapy for the treatment of Crohn’s disease: a meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 7(8): 874-81.