A Functional Approach to Autoimmunity
The functional approach to autoimmunity could reduce the number and intensities of your flares. Further, it might stall the development of new autoimmune diseases. The functional approach goes beyond only treating the symptoms of your disease. Its primary goal is to find and reverse the imbalances that cause autoimmunity in the first place.
How Did I Get Autoimmunity?
The current research points to 4 common causes that crop up repeatedly. These seem create a perfect storm for disease in most cases of autoimmunity.
First, there is a genetic or familial predisposition. In other words, there is a tendency toward factors such as poor detoxification, higher sensitivity to allergens, greater inflammatory response, or more exaggerated stress reactions. This vulnerability might be from inherited genes or from family culture.
Second, you develop enhanced intestinal permeability. Everyone has a “porous” digestive system that lets nutrients into the bloodstream while keeping dangerous substances out. Those with autoimmunity just have “bigger holes in their strainer.”
Third, the immune system becomes weak or dysregulated. Since the immune system is a nutrient hog, it becomes feebler when it doesn’t have enough micronutrients to keep it buff. Then, enhanced intestinal permeability overexposes the whole body to things that should stay in the gut. So, the immune system gets hypervigilant. It stops tolerating what it should tolerate.
Finally, a trigger starts the cascade. The trigger can be anything inflammatory – toxins, trauma, infection, allergens, stress. These aggressively activate the immune system. Now, the body attacks itself. It does so because unwanted molecules (from the gut) are embedded in your tissue. Or because your tissue looks like the threat that crossed out of the gut into your bloodstream.
Why Do I Have More Than 1 Autoimmune Disease?
When you take the functional approach to autoimmunity, you understand that your disease isn’t so much about your thyroid or skin, or colon. It’s about a pervasive environment in your body. That environment could allow your immune system to attack any organ or tissue. If the conditions above go unaddressed, the environment is ripe for more autoimmunity of any kind. Thus, once you develop a single autoimmunity, you are more susceptible to another.
How Does the Functional Approach to Autoimmunity Differ from the Conventional Approach?
Functional practitioners take to heart the words of Dr. Alesio Fasano that the autoimmune process can be arrested. How? By preventing the interplay between your genes and your triggers. You stop this interplay by re-establishing barrier function. That is, you close the gate between your gut and the rest of your body.
Your practitioner may rely on medication to provide rapid relief from runaway inflammation. But he doesn’t stop there. He will take steps to keep inflammation from happening in the first place, rather than trying to quell it after the fact. He will also fortify your immune system with nutrients. Additionally, he will work with you to remove or reduce triggers.
Where Do I Begin?
The functional approach to autoimmunity is actually simpler than it sounds. Maximize the raw materials for thriving health. Minimize factors that are destructive to your health, including toxins, trauma, stress, allergen, and infections. Prioritize an environment for healing. That’s it! Your body does the rest.
You can start today with lifestyle choices within your control.
- Maximize hydration and oxygenation. Drink clean, pure water and take deep, long breaths. Eat nutrient-dense whole food to maximize vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins and essential fatty acids. Maintain positive beliefs.
- Minimize stress and automatic negative thoughts. Minimize doubts and fears. Take care to limit exposure to toxins through cleaning products and personal hygiene products.
- Prioritize sleep, recreation and movement. Seek joy, laughter, connection and mindfulness daily. Nurture wholesome relationships. Spend time in nature.
Then, begin working with a functional practitioner to assess where your unique imbalances lie. Contact me if you’d like a free discovery call to find out how I can help you regain your health.