How to Stop Attacking Yourself: 9 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease.

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Inflammation is a “hot” topic in medicine.

It appears connected to almost every known chronic disease—from heart disease to cancer, diabetes to obesity, autism to dementia, and even depression.

Other inflammatory diseases such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disease are increasing at dramatic rates. As physicians we are trained to shut off inflammation with aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Motrin, steroids, and increasingly more powerful immune suppressing medication with serious side effects.

But we are not trained to find and treat the underlying causes of inflammation in chronic disease. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, an inflammatory diet, and stress are the real causes of these inflammatory conditions.

Autoimmune diseases, specifically, now affect 24 million people and include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.

These are often addressed by powerful immune suppressing medication and not by addressing the cause. That’s like taking a lot of aspirin while you are standing on a tack. The treatment is not more aspirin or a strong immune suppressant, but removing the tack.

If you want to cool off inflammation in the body, you must find the source. Treat the fire, not the smoke. In medicine we are mostly taught to diagnose disease by symptoms, not by their underlying cause.

Functional medicine, the emerging 21st century paradigm of systems medicine, teaches us to treat the cause, not only the symptoms, to ask the question why are you sick, not only what disease do you have.

I recently participated in a group discussion with a conventional doctor, a rheumatologist, and patient with an autoimmune disease, and one of my patients who was cured of a complex autoimmune disease by addressing the causes.

The focus of the other doctors, however, was on how to suppress the inflammation with medication, not finding and treating the cause. Functional medicine is a different way of thinking about disease that helps us understand and treat the real causes of inflammation instead of finding clever ways to shut it down. Medicine as it is practiced today is like taking the battery out of a smoke detector while a fire burns down your house!

Autoimmune conditions are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.

When my patient described how he cured his autoimmune disease by finding and eliminating the causes of inflammation in his diet and environment, it was dismissed as a “spontaneous remission.” In the face of a paradigm-shattering medical case, these doctors were hardly curious and quickly dismissive, describing what was shared as anecdotal.

My patient on that panel, a hard-working 46-year old father of three, was once so inflamed he could barely function. By treating the underlying causes of his inflammation he is now in vibrant good health, enjoying his life with his kids and fully capable of caring for them.

Stories like these (and the many others I have shared in my blogs, books, and on television) are not anecdotes but a giant compass pointing us in the direction we should be looking to find answers to our health problems.

In today’s blog, I will explain what autoimmunity is, how inflammation spirals out of control, describe some of the underlying causes for these fires in the body, and provide you with nine steps to cool the fires of inflammation and overcome conditions that range from allergies to arthritis and more.

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Autoimmunity: What it is and How it Occurs

We are facing an epidemic of allergic (60 million people), asthmatic (30 million people), and autoimmune disorders (24 million people). Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, and the many other hard-to-classify syndromes in the 21st century.

These are all autoimmune conditions, and at their root they are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.

Your immune system is your defense against invaders. It is your internal army and has to clearly distinguish friend from foe—to know you from others. Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and your own tissues get caught in friendly cross-fire.

Your body is fighting something—an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response—and somehow it redirects its hostile attack on your joints, your brain, your thyroid, your gut, your skin, or sometimes your whole body.

This immune confusion results from what is referred to as molecular mimicry. Conventional approaches don’t have a method for finding the insult causing the problem. Functional medicine provides a map to find out which molecule the cells are mimicking.

Interestingly, autoimmune disorders occur almost exclusively in developed countries. People in poor nations without modern amenities like running water, flush toilets, washing machines, and sterile backyards don’t get these diseases.

If you grew up on a farm with lots of animals, you are also less likely to have any of these inflammatory disorders. Playing in the dirt, being dirty, and being exposed to bugs and infections trains your immune system to recognize what is foreign and what is “you.”

In this country, autoimmune diseases, when taken all together, are a huge health burden. They are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by eight years. The annual health care cost for autoimmune diseases is $120 billion a year representing nearly twice the economic health care burden of cancer (about $ 70 billion a year). (i)

Unfortunately, many of the conventional treatments available can make you feel worse. Anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, steroids, immune suppressants like methotrexate, and the new TNF-alpha blockers like Enbrel or Remicade can lead to intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depression, psychosis, osteoporosis, muscle loss, and diabetes, not to mention overwhelming infection and cancer.(ii)

When used selectively these drugs can help people get their lives back. But they are not a long-term solution. They shouldn’t be the end of treatment, but a bridge to cool off inflammation while we treat the root cause of the disease.

There is another way to deal with autoimmune conditions. Let me share the same story I told the doctors on that panel.

Recovering from Autoimmunity: Addressing the Root Causes of Inflammation

My patient Sam ended up on a long misadventure through the medical system before he came to see me. For years he went from doctor to doctor getting all kinds of labels for his problems but no real help in treating them.

This hard-working, once healthy trade professional had suddenly developed a series of inflammatory conditions including chronic sinus and prostate infections. Many doctors gave him many antibiotics for these infections.

Shortly thereafter, he developed severe chest pains and went to the emergency room. While he was there, doctors found swollen lymph nodes and told him he had lymphoma, a form of cancer. For three weeks he lived in despair until the biopsy results came back. It turned out he didn’t have cancer but an autoimmune disease. Which autoimmune disease? The doctors weren’t quite sure…

He had many abnormal blood test results—like low white blood cell and platelet counts, high levels of auto-antibodies of all types (antibodies that attack our own tissues), high immunoglobulins (the foot soldiers of the immune system), and autoimmune thyroid disease. But doctors had a hard time putting their finger on what was wrong. They couldn’t label him.

Meanwhile, Sam developed metabolic syndrome and weight gain (pre-diabetes) as a result of the runaway inflammation in his body.

Here is a quote from one his specialist’s notes:

“Whether he has lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome is a bit unclear. Regardless, he merely needs observation and no therapeutic intervention at this time.”

This unfortunately is all too common. What exactly did they plan to observe, how bad he felt? Or would they just wait for him to get worse before intervening?

That’s when he came to me. Using a functional medicine approach, a new way of thinking about the underlying causes and imbalances in chronic disease, I began by asking Sam some simple questions. Then I went hunting for toxins, allergens, and infections—all common causes of inflammation—and found the real causes of his symptoms.

He had taken so many antibiotics that altered his gut flora or bacteria and promoted yeast overgrowth. Fungus and yeast flourished in his body, growing between his toes, on his toenails, in his crotch, and scalp. He had Helicobacter pylori bacteria in his gut. He had a leaky gut and reacted to many foods, including dairy and gluten. He was exposed to toxins at his job and had high levels of mercury. And he had chronic sinus infections.

So we went to work cleaning house. I treated his yeast with anti-fungals and the H. pylori with antibiotics, got rid of his food allergies, fixed his gut, detoxified him from metals and cleaned up his sinuses.

Then I helped heal his immune system by supporting it with nutrients. I gave him zinc, fish oil, vitamin D, herbs, and probiotics, and put him on a clean, whole-foods, allergen-free, anti-inflammatory diet.

At his next follow-up visit, I asked Sam how he was doing, expecting him to say that he felt a little better. However, his response surprised even me. He said he felt fine.

“What about the fatigue?” I asked.

“I have great energy.”

“What about the bloating and gas?”


“What about the reflux?”


“What about your sinuses and chronic phlegm?”

“All clear.”

“What about your memory and concentration problems?”

“All better.”

And he lost 15 pounds.

When his labs came in, they confirmed what he told me—they were all back to normal. His white cells increased and his immune markers calmed way down.

Sam’s results simply reflect the application of a new model of thinking about problems called functional medicine—it’s a way to get to the root of health problems and treat the underlying causes of what ails you instead of suppressing symptoms with medications.

If you have an autoimmune disease, here is what you need to think about and do.

Nine Steps to Treating Autoimmune Disease

1. Check for hidden infections—yeast, viruses, bacteria, Lyme, etc.—with the help of a doctor, and treat them.

2. Check for hidden food allergens with IgG food testing or just try The UltraSimple Diet, which is designed to eliminate most food allergens.

3. Get tested for celiac disease, which is a blood test that any doctor can do.

4. Get checked for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals can cause autoimmunity.

5. Fix your gut. For details, see my blog on irritable bowel syndrome.

6. Use nutrients such as fish oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, and probiotics to help calm your immune response naturally.

7. Exercise regularly—it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.

8. Practice deep relaxation like yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, or massage, because stress worsens the immune response.

9. Tell your doctor about Functional Medicine and encourage him or her to get trained—go to for more information and to get a copy of the Textbook for Functional Medicine.

Give these steps a try—and see if you don’t start feeling less inflamed. As I said earlier, the answers are right in front of you. Treat the underlying causes of your illness and you will begin to experience vibrant health once more.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?

How is your doctor treating you?

Have you been frustrated by the medical advice that you’ve been given?

What steps have you taken to get to the root of the problem, and what have your results been?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!




(i) Nakazawa, D. (2008). The Autoimmune Epidemic. Simon & Schuster. New York.

(ii) Siegel, C.A., Marden, S.M., Persing, S.M., et al. (2009). Risk of lymphoma associated with combination anti-tumor necrosis factor and immunomodulator therapy for the treatment of Crohn’s disease: a meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 7(8): 874-81.



High fiber, low carbohydrate diet dramatically lowers inflammation. 


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Bonus: Interiews with Dr. Mark Hyman:


And The 3-Season Diet—How & Why to Eat Ayurvedically: 


Author: Dr. Mark Hyman

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s Own, Pixoto

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About Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman and his team work every day to empower people, organizations, and communities to heal their bodies and minds, and improve our social and economic resilience. Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and has been a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, CNN, The View, the Katie Couric show and The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Hyman works with individuals and organizations, as well as policy makers and influencers. He has testified before both the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine. He has consulted with the Surgeon General on diabetes prevention, and participated in the 2009 White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa nominated Dr. Hyman for the President’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. In addition, Dr. Hyman has worked with President Clinton, presenting at the Clinton Foundation’s Health MattersAchieving Wellness in Every Generation conference and the Clinton Global Initiative, as well as with the World Economic Forum on global health issues. Dr. Hyman also works with fellow leaders in his field to help people and communities thrive—with Rick Warren, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Dr. Daniel Amen,he created The Daniel Plan, a faith-based initiative that helped The Saddleback Church congregation collectively lose 250,000 pounds.  He is an advisor and guest co-host on The Dr. Oz Show and is on the board of Dr. Oz’s HealthCorps, which tackles the obesity epidemic by educating American students about nutrition. With Drs. Dean Ornish and Michael Roizen, Dr. Hyman crafted and helped introduce the Take Back Your Health Act of 2009 to the United States Senate to provide for reimbursement of lifestyle treatment of chronic disease. Dr. Hyman plays a substantial role in a major documentary, produced by Laurie David and Katie Couric, called Fed Up (Atlas Films, September 2014)which addresses childhood obesity. Please join him in helping us all take back our health at his website, follow him on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.


243 Responses to “How to Stop Attacking Yourself: 9 Steps to Heal Autoimmune Disease.”

  1. Jill Elliott says:

    Hello, I live in the UK and for 52 years I was fit and healthy and working 2 jobs, I then moved to Brighton and Over 5 years I was told I had, Helibactor Pylori, Polymyalgia rheumatica, Pleurisy, Gallstones, Coeliac Disease, Fibromyalgia, Ostopinia, High Liver Function, Degenerative Disk Disease, Blocked Bile Duck, Carpal Tunnel, Cubital Tunnel, Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, all in 5 years, I was put on tramadol, citalopram,amitriptyline, I was either asleep or on the toilet, I slowley stopped all the opiots, and am trying to make my self better somehow

  2. Verena Maeder says:

    Can I heal celiac disease?

  3. Courtney Juarez says:

    Loved this article, I completely related to everything you said. My experience was very similar, I have the early stages of lupus and my RA Dr could care less about the natural way I went about healing myself. My RA Dr had no plan for me bit with a long list of drug Rx. I was not about to kill myself with drugs so I did research on my own and took my health in my own hands. I did a 7 day juice cleanse to clear as much inflammation as possible, I did a elimination diet to find what foods trigger flair up, I stopped my job that was causing me horrible stress and I drink tons of water, stretch daily, meditate and get massages. I get inflammation once and a while depending how good I stick to my diet but I treated myself and healed my self so much! I still have on set of lupus but I plan to stick to this forever. I Dont want to take the drugs and my main Dr is great and I work with her as new symptoms arise but its amazing how the specialist who is supposed to treat me and make me feel better, doesn’t care how I’m feeling better, he doesn’t want to know how I did it. I should get paid for treating myself. Sometimes Dr s Dont know what’s best for your own body. This article was so great!

  4. I am happy a friend posted this on FB. It has made me feel more sure that my Allergist is truly a partner in seeking the cause of my extremely elavated IGE count. ( 2500. but has come down to 1167). We are focusing on my response to Mold…particularly Aspergillus. While I have had to take steroids repeatedly to help me through flare-ups in my asthma, I know it is not his desired course of treatment. He has been very upset with my blood levels, but has encouraged me that we will find the source. My husband and I have been on ‘a mission’ to take room by room to see where it might be. We redid the bathroom shower area, and that seemed to help…now onto the other questionable areas. I also take a probiotic, and Vitamin D, as well as working on my stress response to caring for aging parents.
    Thank you for such an informative article.

  5. Ele says:

    I am just impressed, how is it, that doctors do not realize this? If your immune system is attacking something, it MAY be, it attacks you too. So simple!

    Raw-vegan did miracles for me. Probblem was, I did not realized, I was suffering all my life! I went vegan, and once tried something of milk – and an hour or so later, joint-pains came all over. I realized that in an instant, but more important, I suddenly understood, that for more than 20 years, as long as I remember myself, I USED TO GET that all the time. And took it as normal.

    People, stop attacking yourselves, and good health for all of you.

  6. Nayda says:

    Thank you – I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis last year. I wasnt surprised because at 56 I was well enough wasnt taking any form of medication because I was fine until my my kness and some finger joints started swelling. Anyway I was prescribed sulphalazine and steroids.

    I hated taking them so after 4 weeks stopped and decided to go to my locsl health shop.I had over the years been going there for advise and healthy alternatives to minor illnesses. I talked with Estelle n she advised a Gut Repair that supports intestinal wall repair and health and a Stress Zone tablet for Adrenal support. I have eaten ONLY organic wholefoods including meat & chicken lots of fruit and vegetables ans Paleo cereals and rolled oats for breakfasts for the last 3 weeks – I feel well and havent had any pain or swelling, no bloating and generally well. I have yet to weigh myself ( will wait a little longer – certain i have lost weight) .Its more expensive to eat these clean foods but well worth it.

  7. Carissa Bula says:

    I am 37 years old, and diagnosed with Celiac Disease 8 years ago. I follow a strict GF diet, but still experience terrible symptoms, such as chronic sinusitis, extreme fatigue, head aches, hand and feet pain, nausea, heartburn, MEMORY LOSS (the worst symptom), loss of what word to use, etc etc. I am at a loss. I was told I had MS, but the MRI was clean, so I was just depressed. Autoimmune disease runs rampant in my family. At this point, I would do anything to feel better. Anything.

  8. Cindy Perrick says:

    Manitoba, Canada. I am 49 years old. At age of 18, I was going through severe belly pains and nausea, my folks took me to doctor and food poisoning was one diagnosis. A few days later, same issue and same result, by this time I was vomitting as well. Ended up in emergency, took almost 2 weeks to find out I had a small hole in pancreas. For 11 years I was in and out of hospital, following their guide lines, do’s and don’ts.

    I was with a fella who was deeply into herbal, etc medicine. It saved my life. To this day doctors here do not acknowledge what I have accomplished in my research. I still suffer some problems and know I need to fix those underlying issues as you mentioned. BUT I have discovered recently that the test they do to diagnose pancreatitis now is NOT the correct enzyme for me. A different one was the one which almost killed me years ago. By the grace of God I’m still kicking and will continue to do more to “fix” myself. Thanks for the extra bit of knowledge. The research and hard work I’ve done WILL save others and that means so much to me.

  9. Please help me ! I’m almost 40. After a car accident 3 years ago my left hand swelled up and I had TMJ and neck problems. After 3,years of ortho surgeons giving me cortisone injections, I saw one that referred me to. Rheumatologist this Jan. test came back positive and since then it’s spread to my right hand – left wrist and fingers. Whenever I get stressed – my whole body gets inflamed. I exercise (lift weights) regularly and this has caused me to be so depressed and scared.

    I’m on Humira and don’t want to stay on this. I’m not sure where else to turn

    Please give me advise


  10. Jo says:

    Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 20 years ago. Take azathiaprine and steroids and also various vitamins and iron. I am vegetarian as meat seems too dense for me to process. I do yoga and swim. I am single and have to work so have not been able to come off medication as they seem to keep me upright and functioning. The lethargy gets me though. No energy for interests or hobbies at the weekends. Female, age 48,UK,

  11. Carole Goodley says:

    How refreshing to hear a doctor confirm that the solutions offered for autoimmune problems by the medical profession are not a cure. Something I had to painstakingly research and find out for myself.
    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about ten years ago, although I suspect I had it longer. The pain was mainly in my hands and wrists and it was only when I was wiped out by periods of fatigue that I sought help. I was offered drugs that I was told were used for cancer treatment and not to worry, they'd check my liver for damage
    With blood tests every month. No other remedies were discussed and the rheumatologist almost scoffed at my suggestion of alternative therapy, as though I would be taking my life into my own hands.
    After going onto RA forum and reading people's comments, I came to the conclusion that no-one was cured and they now had a different set of problems to deal with – the side effects of the drugs. Often worse than they originally had. Instead of taking responsibility for their illness and being curious about what caused it, they seemed happy to join a club of sick people and compare ailments. That was not for me.
    I read and researched as much as I could on the Internet, convinced that diet and exercise had to be the answer, but I needed proof of it working to continue on what seemed to be a lonely path. Friends and loved ones thought I was bonkers for refusing the drugs. Then I remembered my friends detox retreat. She'd been studying nutrition for the past 7 years, raw food diets. Maybe I should talk to her.
    She booked me into the retreat for 5 days and I began a programme of juices, disgusting green stuff, spirulina or wheatgrass (all I remember is it made me retch) and colonics. I was also given a live blood test and told I had a leaky gut. Something my research had brought up. After the second colonic, one with coffee added, I took to my bed with the worse headache I'd ever experienced. It continued for two days. I told my friend I thought I was dying, she told me I was having a healing crisis.
    On the fifth day, the headache was gone, I felt energised, re-born even. Although that could be the euphoria of not having died. But what was most amazing was the lack of inflammation in my hands and wrists. I hadn't seen them looking so normal in ten years. That was my eureka moment. When I knew I could cure myself.
    To begin with, I went on a completely vegan diet, believing it to be the way forward. For me, it wasn't. I became too weak and too thin. That's when I realised it was not going to be as easy as I thought.
    Then I became a little more systematic. Gradually reintroducing food groups but not before I got checked for intolerances. Alcohol was high on that list – not just wine, but beer and spirits too. No wonder I suffered such awful hangovers. I'd gone through periods of cutting down but this time I knew I could give it up if it made a difference to my RA.
    Having some control over what had previously seemed hopeless, gave me the impetus and faith to carry on. I began to realise that I needed to treat my whole self and that meant mentally as well as physically. I tried homeopathy, crystal healing, Bach flower remedies, massages. You name it, I tried it.
    My daily run and sessions with my personal trainer we're making me more and more exhausted so I swapped them for two yoga sessions per week and walking.
    My diet is gluten free, weighted more towards vegetarian with a small proportion of red meat. I eat plain organic full fat yoghurt and milk in my tea and coffee. Dairy wasn't one of my intolerances although coffee was. I keep it as a treat and a trade off for not drinking alcohol. Water is my main drink, I don't have juices, sodas or anything that contains sugar.
    I'm currently working on getting meditation into my daily life as I know I have a tendency to worry. I've learned that healing is an ongoing process. I'm very happy with the choices I made and continue to make as I am mostly pain free, and you certainly wouldn't know there was anything wrong with me to look at me.
    So thank you for believing.

    • Ann-Marie says:

      wow, you are amazing! Everything you said just confirmed that I am NOT crazy! You gave me a lot of hope and inspiration with your comments 🙂 I felt like you were my twin somehow! I knew I had to change mind and body to get better. Thank you for confirming! (most of what you said was in my head) Now I just have to figure out what fits me (I am very thin already, can't afford to lose any pounds) and start heading toward a healthy life! Thanks again!

  12. rosross says:

    Give up vaccines for starters and never take antibiotics unless your life literally depends on it. Make sure you drink pure water and eat food which is as natural and chemical-free as possible and as varied as possible. Avoid medication wherever possible including painkillers which damage soft tissue.

    Reduce chemicals in cleaning and skin products and ensure any electrical equipment in the bedroom is turned off at the socket before sleep. Make sure you have sunblock effectiveness so the room is dark, ensuring sound sleep which is when the body repairs and restores.

    Ensure time outdoors and open windows in the home to improve oxygen levels.

  13. Emily Donofrio says:

    Thanks for this article. Very interesting. I was brought up on the farm. I’m almost 82 years old and still working part time (my choice) and take only one pill. It is a diurectic that I take 2 or 3 times a week. I will absolutely inform my friends of this article as I think it would be so helpful to so many people. Thanks again for posting.

  14. Jill says:

    I’ve had decades of migraines with absence seizures, IBS and GERD, plus depression and anxiety, along with decades of neurologists, gastroenterologists, psychiatrists and counseling, hospitalizations, and too many prescriptions to list. I blacked out and ran into a pole while driving, lost my livelihood, and am now on disability. I have read everything i can on these subjects. I finally found info on Functional medicine and found a local Functional practitioner who has currently found other deficiencies and sensitivities that can cause all of the above problems. Ive eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, chocolate, corn, soy, and added probiotics ànd vitamins. The only prescriptions Im on are for migraine relief ( imitrex), and a small dose of hydrocortisone for adrenal deficiency. He is still testing for more and treating underlying, or causes for my symptoms. I meditate daily, daily walks, and I was doing yoga until a fall took me out of commission until I see an orthopedist. The biggest change so far is that my IBS hardly effects me anymore. Ive lost some weight and migraines are fewer. I understand its a process and that he is still identifying other underlying problems that still need to be addressed ( hypothyroidism and menopause). I’m so thankful to have found this doctor!

  15. lindsay clarke says:

    I was diagnosed with an autoimmune last November and have yet to receive a diagnosis or have any treatment or ideas after hundreds of tests including, blood, stool, and urine lab work I hae paid for out of pocket. I have had Chronic fatigue since 2007 and chronic mono since then as well… it is now 8 years later and I still am on my own, even though I have a naturopathic primary (who put me on HRT unnecessarily) I am 28 and have been to doctors all over the country for my medical mystery dilemma…I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on supplements that have never once improved my quality of life and am scehdualed for surgery in August to get my tonsils removed due to chronic tonsil stones and now a bad bacterial infection in my throat and toungue. I have given up on medicine, after 8 years of nohing but being run around by these so called health care professionals. I am trying to figure it out on my own since doctors don’t have any leads or even seem somewhat interested in figuring me out, but instead send me off to this or that kind of specialist. I am being treated by a naturopath, ENT, fertility specialist , rheumatologist, and dermatologist…in 8 years I have had no clear diagnosis other than the common, oh its fibromyalgia (which we all know is just a cop out diagnosis for lazy doctors) chronic fatigue, and my autoimmune (whatever it is) is stress induced, as well as my mono and CFS..

    I have lost all hope in medicine since it seems all the doctors don’t know jack shit, but also have their own agenedas of pushing tons of worthless and unhelpful supplements.

  16. Angelina McMichael says:

    Curious if all functional medicine doctors are equal? I went to see one when I first started with my symptoms, she gave me a prescription for a heavy duty fungus killing medicine. It seemed to push me over the edge resulting in a trip to the ER.
    When I went back to her she couldn't really offer anything thing to help. I paid $500+ for my 20%, insurance paid the rest thankfully. That's a lot of money for one apt that made me sicker.

  17. Megan says:

    During an intense sinus infection that caused a double ear infection my lips started to swell. The lip swelling then progressed to outbreaks of hives. It has been a year and a half and I have hives almost daily. Along with angiodema/deep tissue swelling. Hives don't "sound" to bad, but living with them day in and day out has greatly reduced my quality of life. They also come with many of the other autoimmune symptoms such as heartburn, brainfog, fever, fatigue, stomach issues etc. I have not been able to work, often times I must spend the day unclothed and in bed. I have been to 9 doctors, allergist, immunoligist, internalists, DO's, functional, etc. All my thyroid and IGE tests come back normal. Endless blood tests. I found your article very very interesting. The best relief I have found is cleaning my gut and avoiding ALL antibiotics. While taking antihistamines and anti inflammatory drugs. My question refers to your chart, hives are labeled to be helped with massage. However with the intense inflammation in my vascular system (causing my blood cells to burst, making hives) I feel massage would amplify the problem. Also NSAIDS are one of the worst medications for our condition. The frustrating part for me, as well as 1500 people worldwide in my support group, is the disease isn't well known. Chronic Urticaria isn't necessarily recognized as an autoimmune disease in the medical community. About 40% can attribute it as a symptom to some other autoimmune disorder. The rest idiopathic. Education in the medical community is none existant. I would be so interested in any research you have on this issue. I believe many of the things you mention are essential to autoimmune health. It is certainly refreshing to read this point of view. Please respond if you have any information that might help. Thank you for your time and research. I'm sharing this article with my support community.

  18. Greetings,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I was diagnosed with Shulmans Syndrome (Eosinophilic Faciitis) 3 years ago. They started me off on 60mgs of prednisone and now I’m down to 20mgs a day. My rhumitologost wants me to try biologics to get off of Prednisone.

  19. nan mooney says:

    Most of this is rubbish. Yes, treat the inflammation… but the root cause is not as simple as this. These issues are biochemcal which are not going to be healed with yoga!!! Steve Jobs thought that and an apple a day would cure him and didn’T. These are at best adjunct modalities and this man may be sending many a person doen a serious health path. Would a Type 1 diabetic try to heal his inflammed beta cells? Until we can shut off the autoimmune mechanism that starts on the genetic and cellular level we will be plagued with these illnesses. To say that undeveloped countries do not have these is misleading at best.

  20. Debra McElhaney says:

    I recently tried to go off Methotraxate for severe psoriasis. It was a nightmare. I ended up in the ER my body exploded within days. I had cleaned up my diet to whole fruits and vegetable no meat and I was mostly clear. I had no idea what I was about to experience.

  21. Sarah Glennane says:

    My consultants response to me asking about underlying causes and holistic approach to my r.a. was to explain that he can only advise medicated response namely get me on methotrexate as quick as possible. He said if alternatives were working for people they weren’t returning to him and so he had no experience of other treatments working bar drugs. It strikes me as crazy that someone with his level of training is so limited. The only study the hospital is doing is for people on methotrexate. I will try more research myself and maybe ask my gp to help me. I know there is a link to my hormonal cycle and i have sneezing attacks and other signs of being more prone to allergic reactions since just prior the onset of my r.a. . Also preceded by two pregnancies in quick succession. would love to participate in regulated study that into alternative or holistic treatments into R A. thanks Sarah.

  22. Dave says:

    I had acid reflux for years and was taking a prescription. I finally made a correlation between the reflux and hearty – heavy wheat breads. After eliminating something I really loved to eat I no longer have the problem and nor meds.

  23. Colleen Devaney says:

    Thanks for the article! Diag w/psoriatic arthritis (finally) 3 yrs ago. I suspected as much, but a top rheum missed the diag exclusively based on my labs. Subsequently dispatched him and 2 others who merely wanted me to accept and adapt to the progression of my disease. Tried methotrexate and every Rx antinflammatory to no avail. Dropped the drugs, started on turmeric, krill, Vitamin D and starting testing which AI foods work on me (cherry juice mixed w red wine is my A+ combo). Also started warm water exercise classes. After getting “clean”, I interviewed rheumatologist stop see if they would partner w/me on combo therapy. I finally found one! I have Enbrel and it has helped me get my life back. However, the goal is to knock this into remission, not stay on it terminally. It really irritates me that my ins will shell out several thousand per month for my Enbrel, but won’t cover most of my supplements, my super foods or my water classes.

  24. Carmen Palacio says:

    Díagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis a little over 2 years ago. It's a vasculitis disease which nearly killed me, I was given a 5 percent chance to survive. Although I'm so thankful that my doctors at Emory University Hospital saved my life, this has been so overwhelming since I basically woke up from a month long coma to find out what had happened to me. The last thing I remembered was being admitted to the hospital after I'd finally taken myself to the hospital after multiple signs something was wrong … My stubborn self just thought I was getting old, I'd had joint pain,sinus problems, love st my sense of smell and terrible night sweats.
    It would turn my kidneys were shutting down , everything's a blur after that, I called my family and 3 days later both lungs collapsed and I woke up over a month later to find find out I'd almost died. They treated me with, ECMO, a tracheotomy, plasmapheresis, blood transfusions, chemo, and high doses of steroids. I' m very blessed to be alive! And this has been hard! So, please contact me…I am still overwhelmed but not giving up!

  25. AJ says:

    Very very interesting! I’ve been to many doctors for 23 years. I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease almost three years ago and have been off and on antibiotics ever since. I see a reputable Lyme doctor who has me on antibiotics and probiotics and many vitamins. I’ve gotten much better but still struggle with terrible fatigue and joint pain. I avoid gluten and sugar and eat organic whole foods. I also do yoga and a weight lifting class. But, I do wonder if there are other issues causing my body fatigue that my doctor can’t see. I wonder if I have leaky gut or allergies. How do I know? What can I do? This article brings back some of my list hope.

  26. liz landon says:

    I was recently diagnosed with Lichen Planus and Psoriatic arthritis. I am currently on methotrexate but do not like how it makes me feel. I want to take a more natural route. I am going to start Probiotics and clean eating tp hopefully bring down the swelling. Thank you for this article. It was very informative.

  27. Meggin A. says:

    Great article and I’ve been that road. Two years ago, I was Dx with a “nonspecific autoimmune disease” however we are treating it like Lupus. I couldn’t take the initial treatmentme (methotrexate) which was originally a chemo drug so Doc put me on hydroxychloroquine. Helped but not completely. Through doing some research, I added fish oil, vit. D, a woman complete with lots of B vitamins, a kelp supplement and instead of using soap on my body I wash with 3 parts EVOO to 1 part Tea Tree Oil, swim three days a week (25 laps in 30 minutes) and gym twice a week. BINGO! 90% of the issues went away, but I still have some flares (swollen hot joints in my back and hands) which aren’t controlled with OTC anti-inflammatories. Contemplating natural “herb” but will lose my job if there is a random drug test and would prefer to not go that route! After reading this article, I will do the ultra simple diet and see what happens! Thanks for all the wonderful info!

  28. zelda says:

    ok mr miracle doctor so you cured crohns because far as i know there is no cure and i tried every which way to cure it myself so dont be so righteous unless you can prove to me the cure.

  29. Jkallen says:

    This post is amazing.I live in Jamaica and i have been "sick" since age 16 or 17..and noone can tell me what's wrong with me. Each flare up is worse than the one before and i am going downhill.I now suffer faily from anxiety and depression and am so underweight it makes me doctor keeo saying i have an autoimmune condition…he has been testing me for lupus for results now he thinks i have fibromyalgia.I too like sam have chronic sinus infections…behind my eyes look like racoons…the ethmoids they say are infected.and I too have had lots and lots of antibiotics..and I too have yeast in my body.i suffer from upper and now also lower GI issues.i cannot seem to process stress anymorw.Its like my stress levels are permanently high and if a leaf falls off a tree it will send me spiralling.i suffer from fatigue and have to take b12 shots.Aside from that..i also have motion sickness and eustacian dysfunction.i am just so sick of being sick.and no one can seem to tell me why nor are they trying to find out.They just treat symptoms until the next flare up..but I am really really concerned about my weight.I am a very very petite girl from afamily of petite women…but in the last 5 years or so..i have been losing body mass..people keep asking me if i am shrinking and it had made me so self conscious. I need a solution to this.

  30. Deb says:

    I would like to know if autoimmune dysfunction caused by radio iodine treatment responds to these interventions or if it is somehow different because of its resulting from thyroid cancer treatment.

  31. Sophie says:

    I enjoyed this article, as I have allergies and they make my life miserable, although it bothered me a little bit that it recommends an allergy free diet, but then recommends fish oil, which fish allergic people can not eat and is one of the “big 8”. Otherwise its great to know that there is work, however minimal, out their being done to try and fix these types of the disease. It gives me some hope

  32. KG says:

    Autoimmune friends, don’t lose hope!!! I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease 15 years ago,

    and have spent half of my life battling all of the terrible symptoms of the disease, mixed with the symptoms of all of the prescribed medications (Prednisone, Asacol, Sulfasalizine, Imuran, Remicade, Humira, etc). I have also battled with kidney stones, pyoderma, fistulas, anemia, anxiety, all extra bonus side effects when your body is deficient in nutrients and attacking itself. I decided I did not want to be injected with meds and covering up the symptoms, not being able to listen to my body. I started taking Balanced Green ( daily, while still taking my biweekly Humira shots. It is so much easier than juicing or smoothies, and costs fractions compared to prescriptions and doctor visits/procedures. I got to a point where I felt no Crohns symptoms, and had my blood drawn to check for inflammation. My iron levels were normal (finally!) and my inflammatory markers were almost nonexistent. I made the decision to start managing my disease naturally, and stopped taking the Remicade shots when my yearly prescription ran out. That was almost 2 years ago, and since then I have not been on ANY prescription meds. I feel great, have normal energy levels, and am not living in fear of being hospitalized. Many friends and family members are now on it, and are reducing their symptoms of autoimmune response and diseases. I also take liquid Vitamin D and Vitamin B, and Fish Oil supplements daily. I am not as careful as I could be with diet restrictions, and I know I would feel that much better if I did find out what my trigger foods are. This has been a game-changing, life-saving experience for me! It feels so good to be able to listen to my body, instead of put silencing the natural alarms. Like it said in the article, heavy duty drugs can be used to help you get your life back, but no one should ever have to base their quality of life on a drug. We can do so much more for ourselves by listening to our bodies!

  33. Candace says:

    The antibiotics, additives and food coloring the FDA allows is slowly making all of us sick. But that's not all, it is also leading to psychological issues in our society. My son was almost put into an impatient mental ward at the age of 9 because he would flip out at school when he ate something that would set him off and the chemicals they use to clean were also causing him issues. Thank God we found an environmental doctor who did food allergy testing on him and gave him preservative free antigen therapy. He literally saved my son's life. We tried everything through main stream medicine and it only made him worse, all they did was push more drugs with more side effects. I applaud you and the other doctors out there that are taking a stand against the pharmaceutical companies and working to find the root cause instead of push pills. Keep up the great work!
    Another great website:

  34. Jennifer says:

    This was very eye opening for me. I have recently fell ill due to an infection that I knew nothing about an in result they lost me twice on the table. Not knowing this myself of course. But I've takin metitre ate for over a year an I strongly think thats what messed wit my immune system. Five yrs to this day Im able to now walk talk an go on bout my new life. I have not takin any meds in 4yrs but still suffer in alot of pain. I would luv to learn more so I can better my health for myself so I can better care for my children. I've been diagnosed wit dvt, 3rd neverve pasly, neuropathy, mrdo klebsiella pneumonia thats just to list a few. I can't wait to learn more. I faught a long fight so Im not giving up now. Thank you an GOD BLESS US ALL

  35. Rupert Gomer says:

    My friend and i also have been simply discussing above this unique problem, linda is consistently planning to demonstrate myself incorrect! I am going to show her this type of article and also apply it in a little!

  36. perfectstorm15 says:

    I had a bacterial infection is my nose, then broke out in a rash on my face. Went to doctor – blood test – all negative. left hip would go out when I got in and out of my car. Couldn't sleep – couldn't move in bed – roll to my side, etc. Need support get up & down from seated position. Horrible pain, aching, shooting pain. Diagnosed w/ tick-born illness – 3 wks ceftin – still sick after 2 weeks – go see neurologist – nothing Now I can barely walk/move – go to new really great doctor – puts me on doxy – 30 days, which was a good thing! . See a rheumatologist – polymyalgia – prednisone – blow it off – yeah right! – Cardiologist / lyme specialist – all about my heart – stress tests – I'm in pain – no way to that! – Now into this 3 months! Go to yet another new doc. – 5 minutes – diagnosed my with polymyalgia -now it's just my shoulders – arms & right knee in pain. prescribed prednisone. Here I am – I've been sick since May 15 2015. All my blood work shows is that I have an elevated ESR. Lyme doesn't have enough bands to be positive – CDC b.s. Refuse to give in & give up & take drugs to treat my symptoms. Following Naturopathic doctor's recommendation – activated charcoal – naturopathic mold kit – coiling – chinese traditional healer – all else fails – the Morrison Center in NYC. Mostly all out-of-pocket & I'm on unpaid medical sick leave from work! Things need to change!!!!

  37. Let maintaining health before the disease came to us

  38. Heather says:

    I am 42 and have had alopecia areata since childhood. I was also diagnosed with crohns 2 years ago. I do not like taking immune suppressants but it works. I was also put on pentasa 8 pills a day. I haven't been taking them. I try to keep my dress levels down but that proves to be difficult.

  39. Rex Key says:

    Like any biological system, our immune system evolved to work on it's own without help from pharmaceuticals. In the last 100 years, medical practitioners decided that what took millions of years to evolve needed help in the form of antibiotics. We feed them to our babies, ourselves, and even our food supplies. If you confined a child to a wheel chair, he would never learn to walk. The same holds true for our immune systems. Given the crutch of antibiotics our natural immune systems weaken. We get sick and take even more antibiotics. We become allergic to everything under the sun. I'm not saying they should never be taken but only in the direst situations. Not because Stevey has a sniffle or Sally has a sore throat. Or because corporate food producers want to maximize their profits. I'm 57 and have taken antibiotics twice in 32 years. I'm alive and well. But what do I know? I'm not a doctor.

  40. Lisa Wray says:

    Hello, first of all! Thank you so much for writing this article; I feel
    this could change the course of my life with a little further research and some dedication. I am a 35 year old female from upstate NY in a smaller town. I have a difficult time finding non-traditional doctors therefore do a lot of research on my own. I have been diagnosed with the following disorders/disorders.
    Multiple Sclerosis dx 2002
    Thyroid Disease dx 2002
    Depression began treatment 2007
    Anxiety began treatment 2007
    Rheumatoid arthritis dx 2004 via X-ray; was shown in all joints
    Lyme disease dx 3 separate times this past year
    Severe fatigue I’m whooped and don’t remember what it is like to feel good
    So, if you’d like to give me any further recommendations I could and would surely use it!!!
    Thanks Again!!!

  41. stmess yahoo says:

    Autoimmune disease is due to heavy metals in your body that amplifies the effect of immune problems. This steps might help.

    1. Remove heavy metals in your body using this method.

    2. Drink natural anti-inflamatory tea – Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, etc

    3. Cleanse your Lymphatic system, liver, kidneys …

    I will post easy to make the teas later @

    4. Stop eating, drinking processed food, canned / bottled drinks, GMO foods … those have a lot of presticides, herbicides

    5. Eat only organic, fruits and veggetables

  42. rapasc says:

    I was diagnosed with a periodic fever syndrome in 2008 after having been wrongly diagnosed and treated for Hodgkins Disease in 2000. Chemo and everything. I experience episodes of inflammation ranging from pericardial effusion, meningitis, and high fevers and sweats. With a gene mutation such as this, can these natural remedies make a difference?

  43. Mikaela says:

    I was a personal trainer for 5 years when I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. I had exercised regularly for 20+ years out of high school, yoga, strength training, swimming, etc. It was my daily routine and I loved every minute of teaching.

    Being diagnosed with AS definitely changed my life. I am now on etodolac and Humira and those two medications have saved my life. I am now at 85% improved health but have had to change my routine quite a bit but am slowly working back to my normal routine again. My rheumatologist helped me immensely and didn’t stop with tests until he knew for sure what I had developed. Seeing as I don’t carry the gene or follow the normal “image” for AS, he was able to figure it out in a timely manner. I am not happy about my diagnosis and the changes I’ve had to make but I am happy I’ve been able to be rid of so much of the pain now- when I was diagnosed I could hardly walk, blink, or breathe.

    I know other people have different experiences but I am so happy with my rheumatologist, he’s been fantastic.

  44. Deb says:

    Almost 3 years ago I started having unexplained facial swelling. My Dr. said that it was a food allergy and sent me to an allergist. The allergist did not do the food allergy tests thinking it was an autoimmune disorder. She only treated me with antihistamines. I then went to an endocrinologist to get my thyroid tested as I was already taking levothyroxine for hypothyroid. He only increased they levothyroxine. My Dr. still thinks it's a food allergy, but I can find no connection as I have eliminated some of the foods that I thought might have triggered the swelling. When the swelling occurs I just use an epi-pen to reduce it. I have started using Keto/OS to reduce swelling. It seems to be working. I also have gut issues so need to change my diet to try to fix that. Has anyone else experienced unexplained facial swelling?

  45. Luke says:

    I completely agree, all the western medical system does is treat the symptoms, and not the root underlying causes. 6 weeks ago i was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and told i there is no cure and i was going to live with it for the rest of my life. At first i was very shocked and started to accept it was the truth. Until my step-mother mentioned that she knew a Chinese Traditional Medicine Naturopath, which has successfully treated her thyroid issue, and her sons golden staff disease. After 3 days in hospital and 2 days at home taking insulin injections i went to see this doctor and he put me on a very intense herbal detox and treatment. I am now 6 weeks into the treatment and although still on small amounts of food, haven't had any insulin since, and my pancreas is slowly recovering. I am keeping positive and believing that i am going to fully recover and i think that is also a major contribution to my healing. The question i have is that i have done a lot of research, and have seen many studies linking A1 cow's milk proteins linked to triggering diabetes if entered into the bloodstream through leaky gut (which i definately had as i was perscribed multiple rounds of antibiotics over the course of 2 years and did not look after myself or take any probiotics to restore my gut microbes) as the casein may contain a similar structure to those of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Although i have been completely fine with drinking milk all my life, would testing for a dairy allergy or intolerance possibly determine weather this was the case for me? Would love to hear anyones thoughts!

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