Autoimmune diseases are the third largest cause of morbidity in the industrialized world surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. Autoimmune conditions can arise at any point in a person’s life. Often, there is genetic predisposition combined with an environmental insult. For example, a person may develop gut inflammation from poor food choices. This may cause the gut to become ‘leaky’ which allows undigested food particles to move across the intestinal barrier. The immune system mounts an inflammatory response. Some of these particles look similar to bodily tissues which the immune system then may attack. So one strategy to heal an auto-immune condition would be to remove offending foods.
At the International Clinic of Nutrition, we use a new way of thinking of dealing with autoimmune diseases that differs from the conventional method of suppressing the immune system with drugs. Following the functional medicine approach, we look for underlying factors they may be contributing to the miscommunication in the immune system. This may be dietary or environmental. Certain herbs and nutrients can further help the immune system to come back into balance.
Some of the most common approaches we take are assessing gastrointestinal health (including leaky gut), uncovering hidden bacterial or viral infections, heavy metal toxicity, chemical sensitivities, balancing hormones and discovering food intolerances including gluten sensitivity. We eliminate potential triggers from the diet and often use testing to discover any potential hidden agents.
An autoimmune diet will normally consist of the avoidance of foods that trigger symptoms. Food intolerances are often a major part of balancing a hyperactive immune system. A low lectin diet is often a good starting place which is the thinking behind the autoimmune paleo diet. Diets will be specific to each individual and will form part of your personalized plan to relieve symptoms and bring you back to good health.
Pathogens may also be the trigger for an auto-immune condition. This may be something you contracted earlier and your body developed an immunity to and is suppressed, but is still lurking around. The pathogen may resemble, to some degree, a tissue in your body and so your immune system attacks that tissue in a case of mistaken identity. Eliminating the pathogen will reduce the immune response that is affecting the tissue.
At the International Clinic of Nutrition, we work with you to get to the root cause of your condition. We work to identify the contributing factors in your diet and lifestyle, improving these to reduce symptoms and restore health.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you then simply request a free 20 Skype call to access your situation and talk about how we can work with you.