Autoimmune conditions bring pain and misery to an estimated 20% of the population. They happen when our immune system attacks a part of our own body, mistakenly treating it as a foreign invader.
No one knows exactly when autoimmune diseases start up in one person and not in another, however recent scientific studies provide strong evidence that they originate in the gut.
There are many different autoimmune conditions but some of the most common are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Conventional wisdom handed down by the medical establishment is that these conditions are incurable.
But there’s a new school of thought that looks to find and deal with the root causes, led by pioneers such as Amy Myers. As a result, many people are making great progress in getting rid of these conditions.
One such person is Tracie from Colorado, USA. Read on to hear her story and find out how she did it!
You’ll want to pay close attention if you have:
- one or more autoimmune conditions
- intolerances or allergies to food, pollen or other substances – like I did – as these are early signs of your immune system misfiring
- a chronic gut issue such as Crohn’s or colitis. Doctors argue over whether they are true autoimmune conditions but for our purposes, the underlying healing principles are very similar.
Bugs Not Drugs
The standard medical treatment for autoimmune conditions is based in a large part on strong medications that work by suppressing our immune system. While these can be effective up to a point, they have downsides including:
- Potentially unpleasant side effects
- They make us more susceptible to other illnesses are our immune system is dialled down, putting us at risk of taking more antibiotics, never a good thing if we’re trying to heal the gut
- They only treat the symptoms of autoimmunity instead of solving the underlying issue
I’m going to run through 4 powerful strategies you can use that will turn the tables on conventional wisdom. These strategies work by supporting our gut bugs – also known as our microbiome – which are vital for making for immune system work as it should do.
We also explain more how this all works in Supercharge Your Body To Beat Autoimmune Conditions.
First of all, why me? Why am I fired up enough to be telling you about all this?
A few years ago, I was really struggling with my own health. My digestive system was completely in failure after taking antibiotics for acne for many years. My immune system was in a terrible state and I was getting ill all the time.
That was particularly bad news when I went backpacking in South America, as I caught salmonella from a bad chicken empanada, thereby making my gut situation a hell of a lot worse.
My problems had started a long time before I left, as I’d had chronic diarrhea for so long that I had normalised it in my mind, just accepting it as a fact of life.
I’d also had a severe pollen allergy for years, which I now know was a sign that my immune system wasn’t working properly, that it was misfiring. I took anti-histamines and steroids to dampen down the symptoms, just to stop the constant sneezing and streaming eyes.
Reacting to harmless pollen is a less extreme version of what happens in autoimmune diseases. Amy Myers describes it as being half way along the ‘autoimmune spectrum’.
Your immune system gets confused and starts something that doesn’t present a threat, in this case your own body.
Instead of attacking the dangerous, invading pathogens that it’s supposed to defend you against, the energy of the immune system is diverted inwards and starts causing pain and inflammation all over your body. Soon it can start damaging your organs.
Little did I know it but I was on the road to an autoimmune condition.
Fortunately I caught it in time by starting a super effective gut-healing protocol called GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) that completely transformed my health. Other people are not so lucky.
Tracie is a friend of mine and an amazing case study. She’s incredibly inspiring, a really wonderful lady, and I hope you find her as inspiring as I do!
In her blog Tracie talks about the struggles she’s had since as far back as 1980 when she first experience the symptoms of MS, an autoimmune disease.
She dealt with the MS with conventional medicine for many years and unfortunately in 2012 got a second autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. Can you imagine having both of these conditions at the same time?
With the effects of the MS, Tracie was already having difficulty walking, and then with the rheumatoid arthritis her hands became so painful, so swollen that she couldn’t use the cane she normally used for walking around.
You can imagine how badly Tracie’s quality of life was affected by this, how frightening it was, how miserable this tough combination of circumstances could make you!
Tracie, though, is a scientist and she took a rigorous, thoughtful approach to her illness. She tried lots of different things, until eventually, she hit on a recipe for success with these 4 steps, which I’m going to break down for you.
Step 1: A ‘Functional’ Approach
She found a Functional practitioner. This is important for two reasons:
a) You’re going to need guidance all the way through this process. It can get very complicated at times and you’ll need the help of a professional as you go.
b) Note that I said a functional practitioner. How is that different to a conventional medical practitioner?
A conventional medical doctor will give you the mainstream medical advice on autoimmune diseases, that there is no cure and that the only way, broadly speaking, to treat these conditions is to suppress your own immune system.
But as you can imagine, by damping down your immune system, you become more susceptible to other illnesses that are around. You get terrible fatigue, you get lots of horrible side effects, you feel awful.
On the other hand, a functional practitioner is more interested in getting to the root cause of this conditions.
What are the root causes? That’s a difficult question to answer but it has a lot to do with the condition of your gut, the food you eat, the environment you’re in, and how much toxic stuff you’re bringing into your body one way or another.
We are all susceptible to these different trigger factors in different ways, depending on our genetics. It’s complicated, but it’s not impossible for an experienced practitioner to unravel.
The functional practitioner you choose could be either a doctor or a nutritionist. Here at Gut Geek we run a coaching program run by functional nutritionists who approach the healing process in exactly the way I describe here, and get fantastic results for our clients.
Step 2: Thorough Testing
Back to Tracie, our case study of someone who has successfully unravelled many of the causes of her conditions.
With the help of her functional practitioner, she got as many tests done as she could for all kinds of stuff that can contribute to the autoimmune disease: including hidden infections inside the body, parasites inside the gut, food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, toxic mould etc.
You also need to be tested for nutritional deficiencies because it’s common when your gut isn’t working, when you’re in this autoimmune zone, that you won’t be digesting all of the nutrients your body needs.
These tests will give you lots of clues as to what’s going on with your body and will highlight the areas that really need attention, for example with supplements. All these autoimmune conditions are different and everyone’s body is a bit different too.
Step 3: Diet
Follow a gut healing protocol that is recognised as being effective in treating autoimmune conditions such as Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet or the Myers Way and follow it strictly (links below).
AIP is one of the best diets for this kind of situation because it’s super clean, it’s incredibly nourishing and also very anti-inflammatory.
And Tracie will tell you to follow the protocol strictly for at least the first 30 days and maybe longer.
Why do we need to follow the diet so strictly? Because once we’re on the autoimmune spectrum our bodies have got into a very sensitive state.
Every single little thing that you can do to help clean your body, to help heal and seal your gut, to remove any obstacle to healing, will make a difference.
Consider yourself like an athlete training for a race. Every tiny little thing that you can do to get a 2-millimetre edge over your competitor will make a difference. Cumulatively these little steps will give you what it takes to win the race. That’s how careful you have to be.
But it will be worth it because you’ll start to get your energy back and start to feel more like your old self, like Tracie does now.
Step 4: Stress Strategies
Step 4 is to find your anti-stress strategies. Why is this important? Your body is only properly able to heal itself when it’s not stressed.
As soon as your body is feeling stressed, a whole lot of different processes are switched on. You get ready for fight or flight and your body switches off its long-term healing mechanisms.
Part of the problem with autoimmune conditions is that the body’s healing ability has been lost, so we need to remove every single possible obstacle in the way of our body healing. One of those obstacles is stress which, by the way, can also seriously harm our friendly gut bugs.
Here are some ideas for getting your body into a deeply relaxed state:
- restorative yoga
- deep breathing practice
Whatever it is, find the strategy that works for you.
The rheumatoid arthritis that Tracie had is now completely in remission! The excruciating pain in her hands has gone.
She is also in the process of reversing the MS and it’s a whole lot better! She’s got much of her mobility back, is no longer in pain all the time and her fatigue is way better.
Tracie’s body has been carrying the MS for a lot longer than the rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s not surprising it will take longer to reverse, but she has already made outstanding progress.
Here are Tracie’s 4 steps to reverse or even cure autoimmune conditions:
- Use a functional approach.
- Find a good functional practitioner and get him/her to help you through this entire healing process. It’s not going to be just one visit, it’s going to be all the way through.
- Get tested for as many things as you can, at the start and whilst going through the healing process. This will give you the clues you need to see what’s happening in your body.
- Use a gut-healing dietary protocol and follow it strictly for maximum results.
Tracie’s blog: www.incurablyrude.com