Overview

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced.”

– James Baldwin, essayist & playwright

 

Perhaps you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. Maybe you have been experiencing symptoms for some time. Or maybe you are worried because autoimmune conditions “run in your family.” Take heart: There is more than hope that freedom from disease is possible! In fact, in recent years, science has finally caught up with loads of evidence of people halting and reversing autoimmune disorders, even if your doctor is not yet aware of the exciting science.

Lifestyle Choices Matter More Than Genes

Until recently we all thought that our genes (our DNA) controlled our destiny. Research now reveals that our behavior and lifestyle are more important than whether we have “bad” genes. The science of how genes get expressed – that is, which genes get “expressed” based on our behavior and lifestyle choices — is called epigenetics. 1The Social Life of Genes, Pacific Standard, David Dobbs, Sept 3, 2013, http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/the-social-life-of-genes-64616  While those of us with autoimmune disorders will always have the genes for our conditions, the empowering science of epigenetics means we can control to a great degree how those genes get expressed.2  The role of epigenetic mechanisms and processes in autoimmune disorders; Greer, J., et al.; Biologics. 2012; 6: 307–327; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459549

Environmental Factors You Control

The CDC reports that 90% of health outcomes are due to environmental factors: what you eat, drink, think and do, and only 10% are due to genes. 3Exposome and Exposomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/ What are these disease-causing “environmental factors?” Research shows that the major culprit categories include food, infections, gut health, hormone imbalance, toxins, and stress, which can be abbreviated as F.I.G.H.T.S.™ 4Environmental Determinants of Chronic Disease and Medical Approaches: Recognition, Avoidance, Supportive Therapy, and Detoxification, Margaret E. Sears and Stephen J. Genius, J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 356798.
Published online 2012 Jan 19. doi: 10.1155/2012/356798, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270432/

 

The 6 Keys to Beat Autoimmune: F.I.G.H.T.S.™

If you’re plagued with frustrating or debilitating autoimmune symptoms, like profound fatigue, aches and pains, or brain fog, and believe there must be some way to heal, you’ve come to the right place. Despite what you may have been told, you don’t have to live like this.

The Autoimmune Onset Equation

Thanks to research conducted by Alessio Fasano, MD, renowned pediatric gastroenterologist and research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, we now know of a necessary third element in the autoimmune disease equation: increased intestinal permeability, commonly known as a leaky gut. Our best understanding of how most autoimmune disorders occur is the following equation:

Here’s how it works:

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    Genetics

    There is growing scientific agreement that genetics play a small role — maybe up to 10% — of the risk for developing an autoimmune disorder.5CDC: Exposome and Exposomics https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/

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    Environmental Factors (a.k.a., “Triggers” or “Root Causes”)

    The huge percentage of the equation, and often one of the toughest to pinpoint, is exposure to, and perhaps lack of ability to adapt to those F.I.G.H.T.S.™ factors: food, infections, gut health, hormone balance, toxins and stress.6 Environmental Determinants of Chronic Disease and Medical Approaches: Recognition, Avoidance, Supportive Therapy, and Detoxification, Margaret E. Sears and Stephen J. Genius, J Environ Public Health. 2012; 2012: 356798.
    Published online 2012 Jan 19. doi: 10.1155/2012/356798, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270432/

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    Leaky Gut

    Central to the autoimmune equation is intestinal hyper-permeability, a.k.a., “leaky gut.” Once the gut becomes leaky, a cascade of immune reactions follows and the body loses its ability to distinguish between “self” and “non-self” (where “self” is the body’s own tissue and “non-self” refers to invaders like viruses that the immune system is programmed to attack) which is the hallmark of the autoimmune process.7 Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases; A. Fasano, et al., Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol.; 2005 Sep;2(9):416-22; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16265432

The Autoimmune Reversal Equation

The beauty of an equation like the one above implies that by reversing the equation, you can unwind the outcome. The reversal equation is:

Here are the 3 key steps to autoimmune reversal: Detect, Remove, Repair!

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    Detect Your Triggers

    Step One is to detect your triggers. Everyone’s triggers may be different, but they often fall in the same general FIGHTS categories. A root cause practitioner can help you discover your personal triggers by asking the right questions and ordering the right tests. Cyrex Laboratories, for example, specializes in autoimmune-specific tests that uncover sensitivities to toxins and foods.

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    Remove Your Triggers

    Step Two is to remove your identified triggers, sometimes for 6 months, but often permanently. If you have autoimmune issues, gluten needs to go for good; and chances are, cow dairy and sugar do too.

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    Repair Your Gut

    Step Three is paramount to halting and reversing the autoimmune process. Your digestive tract is the epicenter of your immune system, and the key to a well-functioning immune system is the health and integrity of your gut. This means not only sealing the leaky intestinal barrier, but also cultivating a diverse and balanced microbiome. A sealed and healed gut has profound effects on your immune system and well being, including calming immune reactions to foods, and turning off the autoimmune cascade.

Empower Yourself

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    Educate Yourself

    There’s much to learn about the environmental factors you can control. Check out and print out our Healing Manifesto to see the layers that must be addressed, and keep reading our Beat Autoimmune Blog to learn more about to how to reverse and prevent autoimmune conditions.

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    Assemble Your Team

    Consider finding a root cause practitioner (titles might include Functional Medicine, naturopath (ND), integrative MD, functional chiropractor (DC), or certified nutritionist) who can run needed tests and offer a comprehensive  (i.e., mind-body-spirit) treatment plan. You may also benefit from working with a therapist who can help you reduce and better manage stress. If you’re concerned about the costs of all of this and prefer a DIY approach, there is good information available online and in books. Check out the Beat Autoimmune Resources section for ideas.

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    Stay the Course

    Healing from an autoimmune condition is a multi-layered journey, not a linear sprint. It likely took years for your autoimmune condition(s) to develop and it’s going to take time to heal. It is possible for your body to heal if given the right conditions over a long enough period of time. Wherever you are on the path to health and wellbeing, we believe there are new levels of freedom you can reach, whether it’s eliminating your symptoms completely, or simply gaining greater peace of mind.

Have you made the connection between food and mysterious autoimmune symptoms? If you haven’t yet figured out your food triggers, I’m excited for you to try the elimination diet. Give yourself 30 days and commit to doing it 100%. Functional Medicine autoimmune experts observe that their clients experience 60-100% recovery from autoimmune symptoms just by addressing food. To help you get started, please accept our FREE gift: Your Optimal Food Guide ebook, which can help you figure out which foods can help you reverse autoimmune conditions or just optimize your health.

If you are proactively seeking to heal from any autoimmune condition naturally and want community, support and valuable information, please join our free, private Facebook group, Transcend Autoimmune.

My hope is that you empower yourself to get the knowledge and support you need, take the right action and achieve the outcomes you desire.

Take good care!

palmer-purple

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