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Autoimmune disorders

It is estimated that 25% of American women suffer with an autoimmune disorder; 10% of men. At the Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas, we have seen thousands of members with autoimmune disorders. Unfortunately, many patients go misdiagnosed for many years.   Once someone has 1 autoimmune condition they are 25-50% more likely to develop another one. 

Symptoms of autoimmunity include:

  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression & brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Headaches and or migraines
  • Temperature changes
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or loss
  • And many more

Conventional Approach to Autoimmunity

The conventional approach for autoimmunity is to suppress the immune system with steroids and other immunosuppresive drugs. These drugs may include Humira or chemotherapy agents that modulate the immune system (for example, methotrexate). Although the drug approach can save lives and help patients manage their autoimmunity better, it does not address the underlying causes and triggers of the autoimmune condition.

Basic Science to Autoimmunity

With any auto-immune disorder, one side of the immune system is dominant over the other side. Their are two main sides to the immune system: T-Helper cells (TH-1 and TH-2). TH-1 cells are the Natural Killer Cells (NK)TH-2 cells are all the B-cells, which identify pathogens.  Any imbalance in the TH-1 or TH-2 side of the immune system will result in a higher level of Th-17 cells (TH-17 cells can be thought of as the director of autoimmune attacks on tissue).  At the Holistic Wellness Center, we know exactly what herbal immune tonics stimulate TH-1, TH-2 and TH-17 cells; thus we are able to give the patient the opposite immune stimulants to balance out the immune polarity to reduce autoimmune flair ups, damage and symptoms.

Testing for Autoimmunity

Functional medicine is research-based. We use different lab ranges then mainstream medicine. Functional medicine uses tighter lab ranges to identify disorders. This is important due to the millions of Americans having lab work performed, still suffering with symptoms, but falling between the large ranges used in conventional medicine. This is even more evident in thyroid lab testing. For example: in mainstream medicine TSH levels can range from .4 – 5. Whereas in functional medicine, TSH levels should be between 1.8 – 3. This is a big difference and can help us identify thyroid patterns earlier in its progression.

We have found that, whenever managing auto-immune disorders such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s, Rheaumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis and more, it is always important to investigate and find out each patient’s underlying causes and daily triggers. 

The main underlying triggers to autoimmunity are:

  • Infections ( for example – there are 7 known infections as a potential cause of Hashimoto’s)
  • Chemicals and the inability to adequately detoxify
  • Food intolerance’s (through molecular mimicry or cross-reactivity).

Daily triggers for “flares” can include:

  • Infections (viral or bacterial)
  • Reactions to chemicals or heavy metals
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Blood sugar imbalances. All must be dealt with to reduce auto-immune flair ups.

Taking Control

Probably the most important statistic with autoimmunity is that once you have one diagnosed autoimmune condition, your odds of developing another is as high as 25%. For hormone /endocrine-based autoimmune conditions such as Addison’s, Grave’s and Hashimoto’s, it can be as high as 50%. 

This is why it’s so important to take control and identify your underlying triggers.

We implement functional herbal/nutritional protocols, nutrigenomic testing (genetic testing), infectious disease markers, sex hormone testing and food sensitivity panels with all our autoimmune members.  This helps us find the underlying causes and daily triggers of a autoimmune condition.  Furthermore, we empower our members with knowledge so they can handle their condition indefinitely through dietary and lifestyle changes.

With any auto-immune disorder, one side of the immune system is polarized and hyper-functioning. Their are two main sides to the immune system: TH1 and TH2. TH1 cells are the NK cells, cytotoxic t-cells and macrophages; TH2 cells are all the B-cells, which identify pathogens.  At the Holistic Wellness Center, we know exactly what herbal immune tonics that stimulate TH1 and TH2 cells; thus, we are able to give the patient the opposite immune stimulants to balance out the immune polarity to reduce auto-immune flair ups. Furthermore, we know through years of research which supplements and herbs stimulate TH3 cells which balance out both TH1 and TH2 cells. Any imbalance in the TH-1 or TH-2 side of the immune system will result in a higher level of Th-17 cells. TH-17 cells can also be modulated through the use of herbs and supplementation (th-17 cells can be thought of as the director of autoimmune attacks on tissue).

Since we utilize functional medicine at The Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas as a result we use different lab ranges then mainstream medicine. Functional medicine uses tighter lab ranges to identify disorders. This is important due to the millions of Americans having lab work performed, still suffering with symptoms, but falling between the large ranges used in conventional medicine. This is even more evident in thyroid lab testing. For example: in mainstream medicine TSH levels range from .4 – 5. Whereas in functional medicine, TSH levels should be between 1.8 – 3. This is a big difference and can help us identify thyroid patterns earlier in its progression.

Unfortunately, many patients go un-diagnosed for many years and once the auto-immune expression has been turned on they will start to develop other organ/system failures and symptoms such as: leaky gut, adrenal dysfunction, allergies, pain, depression, and memory loss.  Once we are able to calm down the auto-immune ‘flair-up,’ we are then able to focus directly on these systems and regenerate some of them back to their normal capacities.

We have found that, whenever managing auto-immune disorders such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s, Rheaumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis etc, it is always important to investigate and find out each patient’s underlying causes and daily triggers. The main underlying triggers to autoimmunity are: Infections ( for example – there are 7 known infections as a potential cause of Hashimoto’s), chemicals and food intolerance’s (through molecular mimicry or cross-reactivity). Daily triggers of “flair ups” can be various including allergies, infections (Viral or bacterial), reactions to chemicals or heavy metals, hormone imbalances, stress and or blood sugar imbalances. All must be dealt with to reduce auto-immune flair ups.

Probably the most important statistic with autoimmunity is that once you have one diagnosed autoimmune condition your odds of developing another is as high as 25%. For endocrine based autoimmune conditions such as Addison’s, Grave’s and Hashimoto’s it can be as high as 50%. This is key since if the underlying causes are not found they will linger and often be the cause of future autoimmunity.

We implement functional herbal/nutritional protocols, nutrigenomic testing (genetic testing), infectious disease markers, sex hormone testing and food sensitivity panels with all our auto-immune patients which help us find the underlying causes and daily triggers of a autoimmune condition.  Furthermore, we empower our patients with knowledge so they can handle their condition indefinitely through dietary and lifestyle changes.

 

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