Do you or someone you know suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Celiac disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Psoriasis and Eczema?
If you nodded yes to any of this – then this is so for you!
There is a new functional medicine approach to autoimmunity that can be helpful in treatment and symptom prevention and Naturopathic medicine can be one of the best ways to finally see results!
Here’s how we do it:
Understanding the gastrointestinal effect on the immune system and support the microbiome – 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Yes, you read that correctly – 80%! Therefore, if there is inflammation in the intestinal tract, a decrease in mucosal integrity, a decrease in our digestive capacity or a disruption in our microflora (microbiome) – this will affect your immune system.
Stress Management – I explained the various ways stress wreaks havoc on the body and offered you some key things you can do every day to build a better resiliency. Check it out here.
Address inflammation – autoimmune conditions have a substantial amount of inflammation. One study done on Hashimoto’s patients found that taking a common anti-inflammatory proteolytic enzyme for 3 months decreased both anti-TPO and anti-TG in Hashimoto’s. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, there is a substantial amount of inflammation in the thyroid gland due to the immune reaction occurring. Therefore, addressing inflammation is critical in the treatment of all autoimmune disease.
Vitamin D Deficiency – associated with several autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. A 2016 study showed a link between people with low Vitamin D having high anti-TPO antibodies (found in Hashimoto’s disease). Vitamin D is a key player in immune modulation. I routinely test patient’s vitamin D through a simple blood test. For more info on vitamin D- check out my last blog which breaks down all the ways the sunshine vitamin impacts your health.
Identify possible food sensitivities – through blood testing of a simple celiac screen, it is easy to find out if you have a gluten allergy. Another excellent food sensitivity screen is the IgG food sensitivity test – this tests over 100 foods to assess if your body is mounting an IgG antibody response. If there is an increase in these antibodies, inflammation is increasing in the tissues. Removal these foods will decrease the inflammatory response in the body.
What you can do:
- Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet is getting a lot of attention recently as a way to decrease the immune system’s heightened response.
- Eat organic when possible and avoid processed foods.
- Limit soy, kale, broccoli, cabbage (or cook these). This is specifically for Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease.
- Avoid halides like chlorine which is found in drinking water AND shower. Also avoiding fluoride and understanding bromide dietary or environmental sources that can affect the thyroid and our immune system.
Other intestinal support includes “repairing” the gut with nutrients like L-glutamine, N-Acetyl-L-Glucosamine, bone broth, and many other natural health products in our functional medicine toolkit. Investigation into the microbiome or flora balance in the intestine is an important aspect as well as an imbalance in gut flora has been now suspected as an instigator in the immune activation, as well. For more information on testing watch for my upcoming blog on IBS and SIBO.
Remember that autoimmune conditions are a complex disease process that occurs usually over an extended period of time before symptoms are pronounced. Therefore treatment from a functional/naturopathic medicine perspective is also not a “quick” fix approach. Rather, it involves lifestyle changes and a complex treatment support regimen over time to change how the immune system reacts.
Throughout this process, I see my client’s learning and embracing a healthier lifestyle that produces, not only, amazing physical transformations but also increases their emotional well-being – more energy, lighter, brighter mood, and with an overall positive outlook.
Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539179/
Chaudhary S, Dutta D, Kumar M, Saha S, Mondal SA, Kumar A, Mukhopadhyay S.Vitamin D supplementation reduces thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease: An open-labeled randomized controlled trial. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016 May-Jun;20(3):391-8. PubMed PMID: 27186560.
Kim D. Low vitamin D status is associated with hypothyroid Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hormones (Athens). 2016 Jul;15(3):385-393. PubMed PMID: 27394703.
Kvantchakhadze R.G. Wobenzym® in the complex treatment of autoimmune thyroiditis. International Journal on Immunorehabilitation, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 114. [Czech abstract, Russian abstract] Research and Therapeutic Center of Rheumatology, Tbilisi, Gruzia. VIII. International Congress on Immunorehabilitation, Allergy, Immunology, and Global Net], April 21-24, 2002, Cannes, France