In my nearly 20 years of practice I have seen our understanding of autoimmune conditions change dramatically. They used to be considered a lifelong affliction you could do nothing about but we now know this isn’t the case at all. Many autoimmune conditions can be halted and even improved with the proper interventions.
Why should you take action? Well, if you have one autoimmune condition you are at risk of developing others. Why would you want to let yourself become riddled with disease when you can take control of your health and thrive as you age?
Dr. Alessio Fasano, world-renowned gastroenterologist, Celiac disease and autoimmunity expert, describes autoimmunity as a three-legged stool that needs three things to be present to manifest:
The right genes
Genes– While some may say there isn’t anything we can do about our genes I would tend to disagree. Our genes are under the influence of our environment which has become a whole area of study called epigenetics. Our environment controls our genetic expression. This includes our physical, mental and emotional/spiritual environment. We know how important it is to take care of our bodies but our thoughts and feelings also influence our genes. A comprehensive program should address all these areas of health.
Trigger – The importance of gut health has really hit the spotlight in the last few years but it has been at the foundation of naturopathic medicine since the beginning. This is an area of health where naturopathic doctors excel. Why am I bringing up gut health? Well, the most common triggers of autoimmunity are related to the gut. Pathogens (organisms) who establish themselves in our digestive tract and food sensitivities (an immune reaction to the foods we eat) are the most common triggers of autoimmunity. Other triggers include toxin overload and nutritional deficiencies. More areas where naturopathic doctors really are experts.
Intestinal Permeability – Intestinal permeability can be caused by stress, medications, hormonal imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. If you address intestinal permeability many food sensitivities can resolve themselves.
People are complex and there are likely multiple factors contributing to the development of your autoimmune condition. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. That is why I developed a systematic approach to addressing all the factors that contribute to autoimmunity. My program involves testing to figure out what factors are affecting you, and addresses diet, stress/emotions, hormones, gut and detoxification, often in this order. You can take control of your health and you are worth it.