Autoimmune Disease

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune (AI) disease occurs when the immune system begins targeting self-tissue of the body causing destruction of that tissue and related organ. AI diseases include: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (SLE), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), type I diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, psoriasis and celiac disease (CD), among others.

Conventional Treatment of AI Disease

Steroids and other immune-suppressing medication

Autoimmune disease is usually not identified until significant tissue destruction has already occurred.
Once AI disease has been diagnosed, the standard of care is steroids and other immune-suppressing medications such as DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) and biologics.

There really is little available in the conventional model of healthcare for patients with autoimmunity issues other than immune-suppressing medications with their serious associated side effects.

Functional Medicine Management of AI Disease

A comprehensive approach to the management of complex conditions such as autoimmune disease must take into consideration many aspects of health, including gut barrier integrity and imbalances of gut flora, liver detoxification capacity and toxic burden, hormone imbalances, energy production capacity, nutrient status and most importantly, immune imbalances which promote autoimmune states.  More specifically, Functional Medicine approaches autoimmune disease by identifying the triggers and mediators of the autoimmune attacks, minimizing the self-destructive immune responses and enhancing the body’s ability to recover from flare-ups.  

There are 4 areas of management of autoimmune conditions in the Functional Medicine approach:

  • Identifying and avoiding the triggers of autoimmune responses
  • Modulating the autoimmunity and reducing tissue destruction
  • Enhancing and supporting recovery from flare-ups
  • Addressing associated conditions that promote autoimmune responses
Functional Medicine seeks to restore normal body Function


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