Treating autoimmune disease naturally a functional medicine perspective

Treating autoimmune disease naturally a functional medicine perspective

Nov 22, 2019

Are you struggling with an autoimmune disease but can’t find a doctor who knows how to treat it? You’re not alone. Up to 50 million Americans experience autoimmunity, but conventional physicians aren’t always trained on how to recognize the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. As a result, many people have a hard time getting an accurate diagnosis.

Even if you are lucky enough to find a physician who can correctly diagnose an autoimmune disease, mainstream medicine often falls short when it comes to treatment. Rather than addressing the causes of autoimmunity, many conventional practitioners choose to use extremely strong immune-suppressing drugs. While this may help alleviate some symptoms, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Mark Hyman, MD compares this approach to using aspirin to treat a person in pain caused by standing on a tack, when clearly the best treatment would be to remove the tack.1

Like Dr. Hyman, I practice functional medicine here at My Pure MD. This means that, rather than using “aspirin” to suppress the symptoms of autoimmune disease, I work with my patients to determine what could be causing the illness. Once we’re able to root out causes, we can formulate a natural treatment plan.

What works best to naturally treat autoimmune disease depends on what’s triggering it, so a personalized approach based on your own unique symptoms and causes is ideal. That said, there are a number of things everyone experiencing autoimmune disease can do to manage their illness. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Adjust your diet to control inflammation

Inflammation is one of the primary triggers of autoimmune disease, so adjusting your diet to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods (while avoiding inflammatory ones) is an excellent first step in managing your symptoms.2 Focus on foods like:

  • Organic greens and other vegetables
  • Pasture-raised, grass-fed meat
  • Organic berries and other fruits
  • Olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, and other “good” fats

At the same time, you should work on cutting out inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy products, alcohol, refined sugar, processed foods, GMOs, artificial flavors/sweeteners, and trans fats.

Work on healing and strengthening your gut

Adjusting your diet may not have much of an impact on symptoms of autoimmune disease if your gut is unhealthy. Your digestive tract is an immune barrier that protects your body from pathogens and other invaders. If the lining of your digestive tract is porous—a condition known as leaky gut—the barrier is compromised, allowing intruders like bacteria and undigested food to enter your bloodstream. This causes your immune system to launch an attack on these intruders, which may lead to autoimmune disease.

Nourishing your microbiome with prebiotics and probiotics can help promote the growth of “good” bacteria in your gut, while collagen-rich foods like bone broth and supplements like L-glutamine can help strengthen the lining of your digestive tract. It’s also important to treat infections like SIBO when dealing with autoimmune disease.

Get tested for food allergies and toxicity

A functional medicine practitioner can test you for Celiac disease as well as other undetected food allergies and sensitivities that may be triggering an inflammatory response in your body. Functional medicine practitioners can also test for heavy metal and mold toxicity, both of which can cause extreme inflammation.

Exercise, but also rest

Physical activity has been shown to help reduce inflammation, so regular exercise may help alleviate symptoms of autoimmune disease while boosting your physical and mental health. On the other hand, the body needs adequate rest to rejuvenate and repair itself, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Manage your stress

The more we learn about chronic stress, the better we understand just how much havoc it wreaks on the body. Stress is associated with a number of inflammatory conditions, so figuring out a way to keep yours under control can help relieve current symptoms of autoimmune disease while potentially preventing future illness.

Consider supplements

I mentioned prebiotics, probiotics, and L-glutamine for helping to repair the gut, but there are other supplements that can be useful for those with autoimmune disease. They include:3

  • Vitamin D
  • Fish oil
  • Vitamin C
  • Quercetin
  • Rutin

Natural healing through functional medicine

If you’re tired of seeing doctors who can offer you nothing more than medication to treat your autoimmune disease, give us a call here at My Pure MD. Together, we can get to the root of what’s causing your illness and collaborate on a natural treatment plan.

You have the option to schedule a free phone consultation with me to learn more about our practice and approach. To schedule an initial consult use the link listed below or, if you prefer, contact our office at 346-240-4911 during business hours and we will be happy to assist you.

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November 22, 2019

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