More and more people are suffering because an immune system that once offered protection is now attacking the body’s own tissues. Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system can no longer tell the difference between healthy cells and harmful invaders. Autoimmune diseases range from type 1 diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis. Environment as well as genetics play a role in the development and progression of autoimmune diseases.
Conventional medicine mainly relies on medication to manage symptoms, but a functional approach addresses the underlying mechanisms responsible for autoimmunity and may—in some cases—reverse autoimmune diseases.
Common Autoimmune Diseases we treat with functional medicine
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Type I Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s Disease
- Crohn’s & Colitis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Celiac Disease (CD)
Why do autoimmune diseases develop?
Your immune system employs a number of complex cells & tissues to protect the body against pathogens. The immune system produces antibodies that detect and attack any harmful invaders. A genetic predisposition sets the stage for autoimmune diseases by altering the development or function of cells within the immune system.
Chronic inflammation is also linked to a majority of autoimmune disease incited by ongoing changes or internal stress. This can be the result of chronic infections, obesity, poor diet, exposure to toxins, and the aging process.
For an autoimmune disease to occur, there are typically two triggers:
A genetic predisposition (such as gene variants involving MTHFR or TYK2)
A triggering event such as an illness or stressful life event
Many autoimmune diseases arise from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
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Who's at risk for developing an autoimmune disease?
Genetics vs. Environment
The exact cause of all autoimmune disease is unknown, but the most recent evidence suggests it’s likely due to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Things like environment, stress, inflammation, and diet play a role. You’re more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder if the following risk factors apply to you.
Overall, women are at a much greater risk of developing autoimmune diseases. About 78% of people who have an autoimmune disease are women. In the case of some autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s, women are up to 8 times more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Autoimmune disease risk factors:
- Certain medications
- Having relatives with autoimmune diseases (some are genetic)
- Already having one autoimmune disease
- Exposure to toxins or heavy metals
- Being female
- Previous infections, such as Epstein-Barr or Mononucleosis (Mono), Covid-19, or measles
Functional Medicine Treatment for Autoimmune Disorders
Though there is no absolute “cure” for all autoimmune diseases, a functional medicine approach is an effective way to address symptoms, improve quality of life, and in some cases attain remission. Your functional medicine team may recommend:
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)
- Supplement recommendations such as probiotics, magnesium, curcumin, and vitamin D
- Nutrition counseling
- IV Therapy
- Heavy metal toxicity and detoxification function
- Auto-antibody tests
- Comprehensive thyroid panel
- Gut function analysis
- Comprehensive metabolic panel
- C-reactive protein (CRP) or hs-CRP
- Genetic testing (TYK2)
- Glutathione status
Supporting Services for Autoimmune Treatment
Acupuncture has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. Acupuncture releases neurotransmitters called endorphins and enkephalins, which scientists believe reduce the sensation of pain. Research also shows that inserting an acupuncture needle induces the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps control inflammation. Acupuncture may stimulate activity of other pain-relieving chemicals in the body as well.
Benefits of acupuncture for autoimmune disease:
- Pain relief
- Immune system support
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved mood
Our treatments are exquisitely designed to bring clinical relief while providing you the opportunity to relax and refresh your body and mind.