Often, when we see patients in our office with medical mysteries, we find that they have one or more autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disease occurs when the body attacks itself. It is often the result of something called molecular mimicry. Common autoimmune diseases which you may be familiar with are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune thyroid disease (hashimoto’s disease) and multiple sclerosis. One of the blood tests which may be abnormal (elevated) in patients with autoimmune disease is an “ANA” test (antinuclear antibody test). An elevated ANA, along with other antibodies and symptoms of joint pain, rash, and fatigue are used to establish the diagnosis of lupus. Often patients with lupus are placed on medications to manage symptoms or on medications to stop the overactive immune response… such as pain medications, steroids, and other immune suppressing medications.
In order for autoimmune disease to develop, three different things need to be present – a genetic predisposition, intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) and a “trigger.” In the case of celiac disease, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks itself – the lining of the small intestines after consuming gluten – the trigger is gluten. Other common triggers we see in our practice are occult infections like Lyme disease or reactivated Epstein Barr virus, toxins, certain food proteins, among others. Also, patients with mold (mycotoxin) exposure, commonly develop unhealthy immune systems and sometimes develop autoimmune disease or immune deficiency. In fact, one mycotoxin found in some water damaged homes (and in patients living in these homes) is mycophenolic acid. This compound is actually used to manufacture a drug called “CellCept.” It is given to patients as a powerful immunosuppressant – especially in those folks who have had organ transplants. It helps to prevent the immune system from rejecting the transplanted organ.
Recently, I saw two patients in follow-up whom I had been treating for a few months. Both had presented with digestive issues, anxiety, joint pain, and severe insomnia. Laboratory testing revealed that each patient had Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and had an elevated ANA test, suggesting some other autoimmune process in the body. Autoimmunity begets autoimmunity and it is not uncommon for people with one autoimmune disease to actually have others. The first patient had a very abrupt onset of symptoms after hiking in the woods and ultimately being diagnosed with Lyme disease – a tick-borne illness. The other developed symptoms after living in a water damaged, moldy environment. Both were found to have leaky guts. Both had family history of autoimmune disease. We began the process by addressing each patient’s gut health by using our personalized 6 R Gut Healing Process.
REMOVING inflammatory foods, infections, toxins, stressors, etc., REPLACING nutrient deficiencies and digestive enzymes, REPAIRING the lining of the gut, REINOCULATING with probiotics, REBALANCING with stress reduction and hormone rebalancing and ROTATING the foods they were eating so they weren’t eating the same things every day.
I am happy to report that I recently saw these patients back in the office (both on the same day, in fact) and both had complete resolution of their symptoms. Repeat blood testing revealed normal ANA tests. In conventional medicine, autoimmunity is not known to be reversible. Fortunately, we have helped thousands of patients return to optimal health through our proprietary Fully Functional® process.
In order to become Fully Functional® – your most healthy, productive and joy-filled – there are five essential steps.
IDENTIFY the root causes and in these cases it included Lyme disease and mold-related illness as well as poor gut health.
REDUCE things that are negatively impacting your health. In these cases we eliminated inflammatory foods, further mold exposure and mycotoxins from the body, tick-borne infections, and stress.
We also need to OPTIMIZE our natural detox processes – urinating, bowel movements, liver biotransformation, lymphatic drainage, breathing, sweating, sleeping and dreaming. We did this by using infra-red and ozone sauna treatments, intravenous nutrient therapies, lymphatic drainage massage, improving sleep quality with an FDA approved device called Alpha-Stim and specific supplements (sleep and dreaming are a ‘mental detox’) while we also made sure they were adequately hydrated and moving their bowels on a daily basis.
We also need to SUPPORT the immune system through certain supplements and intravenous treatments as well as through encouraging a healthy diet rich in phytonutrients. Structural support to our bodies are critically impact – not just muscles and bones but cell membranes and mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. One of the most crucial aspects of support is what we refer to as ‘personal support.’ We provided the necessary ‘hand-holding’ through this process of changing lifestyle and diet so that our patients could be successful.
PERSONALIZE the process. It is essential that we create personalized plans for our patients because no two individuals are the same….but it is just as important for you to personalize or internalize this for yourself. You must learn from this process so that you can navigate your health journey differently in the future.
We are nationally recognized experts in chronic illness and complicated medical conditions, including environmentally acquired illness. We are passionate about bringing hope and healing to those who are hopeless and overwhelmed…especially when conventional medicine has been unable to find a cause or cure for their illnesses. We partner with people who are “falling apart” so they can be Fully Functional® for life.
Visit www.vinehealthcare.com or call 317-989-8463 to see us in the office and find the solutions to your health concerns.