A Functional Medicine Approach To Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases affect millions of people in the UK and on a global basis and are being reported at ever-increasing rates on a yearly basis. It’s also one leading cause of death in women under the age of 65. There are over 80 different types of auto-immune diseases including Graves disease, Psoriasis, Lupus, type 1 diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and so many more. Auto-immune diseases are multifactorial and are deeply rooted in systemic inflammation. They often begin from an allergen, pathogenic infection, toxin or a foreign food protein overoading the body causing an abnormal immune response.
A genetic disposition often comes into play. with secific variations in genes, known as polymorphisms, setting the stage for autoimmunity by altering the regulation of immune cells. Stealth infections such as undiagnosed bacterial and viral infections, which are often overlooked, play a huge role in autoimmune conditions with an accompanying leaky gut causing even more widespread inflammation. For example, H pylori infection can initiate thyroid autoimmunity. Lyme disease has shown to provoke autoimmunity in the cardiovascular system. Epstein Barr Virus infection has been linked to Hashimoto’s. RA has links to many gut infections. Chlamydia pneumoniae, Epstein-Barr and Human Herpes virus 6 are associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Once these pre-existing infections are treated, autoimmune tend to heal a lot quicker. Other issues that can cause autoimmune are mold toxicity, hormonal imbalances and mitochondria dysfunction .
Once the underlying condition is resolved and imbalances are corrected and the gut starts to heal, we are able to treat, support and manage the condition successfully.
While conventional medicine has limited options for the treatment for autoimmune disease, at the London Centre for Functional Medicine we always look to understand the imbalance that is creating the symptoms. We ensure we take a thorough client history and by looking at some of the triggers that may be causing their immune system to run out of control.
Treatments can include removing food triggers from the diet, treating gut infections and correcting gut permeability, addressing liver issues which affect detoxification, correcting hormonal imbalances and helping to stabilize stress responses. Any diet and lifestyle changes can be recommended with the aim of making any changes designed to fit the client’s needs and lifestyle.
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