Where are YOU on the Autoimmune Spectrum?
March 29th, 2016 by admin
The question is not ARE you on the Autoimmune Spectrum, but WHERE are you on the Autoimmune Spectrum?
In case you’re not familiar, I’d like to introduce a concept put forth by a very brilliant and successful Functional Medicine physician, Dr. Amy Myers, in her book, The Autoimmune Solution. It’s called the Autoimmune Spectrum. It’s an interesting concept, and it totally changed my perspective on autoimmune dis-ease and inflammation a couple of years back. Dr. Myers believes that there is a progression toward autoimmune disease diagnosis, which involves increasing inflammatory symptoms. On one end of the spectrum, we have zero inflammatory symptoms (which is not highly populated these days), and on the other end, there is autoimmune dis-ease diagnosis.
What goes on in between, is all of the symptoms most of us are dealing with on a daily basis. For some, it’s migraines. For others, it’s heartburn, bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, arthritis, high blood pressure, fatigue, stubborn weight and more. You get the idea. The more inflammatory symptoms you are dealing with and the more severe, the further up the spectrum you are. Check in with your symptoms using my Medical Symptoms Questionnaire. You may be surprised by what you find. What are you passing off as “normal” that’s actually unacceptable?
Now, that sounds super depressing until you understand that you can actually move yourself BACK DOWN the spectrum. Even if you are already at the far end with an autoimmune disease(s), you can at the very least, reduce the severity and frequency of flares and calm your immune system. How do you do that? You know me well enough by now to know that I’m not going to suggest that medication is the answer!
Meds can certainly be helpful and necessary, but if you focus on healing the root causes of autoimmune dis-ease, you can reduce, and in many cases, even come off of the meds. This is a beautiful thing. Ask anyone living with a severe autoimmune dis-ease, and they’ll tell you that the side effects of immunosuppressive drugs are not pretty. In order to address the root causes of autoimmune dis-ease and get some relief though, you have to be ready and willing to do the work of healing.
Now, remember that 80% of your immune tissue is housed in your gut. This is why it is paramount to reduce inflammation happening (and originating) in the gut, no matter where in your body your symptoms are occurring. By now, if you’ve been reading my weekly newsletters, you know my approach starts with a gut-healing elimination diet ( I use the Autoimmune Protocol) and includes optimization of digestion and absorption. This is where it all starts. Of course, identifying infections, correcting nutrient insufficiencies, adding in gut-healing nutrients & foods, restoring gut microbial balance and addressing adrenal function are ALL key and must ALL happen in a coordinated fashion. That’s basically the Functional Medicine/Functional Nutrition approach to autoimmune dis-ease. I’ve seen it work, and it’s one of my greatest passions.
I hope that you will consider this information for yourself and your loved ones when deciding on a plan of action to treat inflammatory symptoms and/or autoimmune dis-ease. I’ve talked to many a person who says they desperately wish they had known about nutrition/lifestyle solutions to their autoimmune dis-ease when they were first diagnosed years ago. That doesn’t have to be you or your loved ones. Remember–you CAN resolve your symptoms naturally. It all starts with making the decision to move forward and a commitment to the process.
Here’s to wellness BEYOND the status quo….