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 using conventional medicine for many years but it never got better and unfortunately in 2012 she developed 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
Tracie on her rheumatoid arthritis
Tracie on regaining her mobility
Tracie on testing her biochemistry
The Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet: autoimmune-paleo.com and AIP Lifestyle
45 thoughts on “Four Powerful Steps to Reverse Autoimmune”
So much information, and so very useful as well in today’s world where we keep hearing of cancers and other immunity related issues more than ever before
A very useful informative sharing with your own experience story & guided many of us on Autoimmune conditions & tips to manage it. Also now only i realized that antibiotics taking may be one of the cause factor. Cheers Siennylovesdrawing
Such a comprehensive write-up. I certainly plan to share this article with a relative who has an auto-immune disorder.
One of my friends has autoimmune disease, I am sharing this article with him. Hope it helps him.
such an interesting topic with lots of information, I didn’t know about these
Wow, incredible information, useful tips and wonderful remedies! I think it will be useful to many readers and I am one of them! – knycx journeying
I’m sorry you had to go through it and thank you for sharing it with the world to be aware.
Thanks so much for sharing this useful & informative post here, never know can reverse autoimmune, learnt a lots more
This will help a lot, my sister has been diagnosed with mild autoimmune disease. I will save this and show it to her, thank you.
I don’t know so much about the topic so your post is an informative one for me, thanks for sharing it. I liked to read it. – Paolo
There is so much new and interesting to me in this post. I wish my country had a better medicine to at least start thinking of such protocols
So informative! I’m not so knowledgeable in this condition, so glad that I had read this.
Such an interesting read. I have suffered from gut problems and I know so many people who do. So much if it relies on our diet and daily habits. Thank is for this post!
I am a pharmacist who focuses on autoimmune disorders, so this is very interesting and insightful!
Okay, avoid chicken empanadas in South America… Got it. JK That sounds like a wild adventure. I know this is not exactly the same. Since I had my gallbladder removed I have had to play the game of can I eat that or not. Certain foods make my tummy grumble.
I’ve heard about functional medicine recently, and it sounds like a useful resource for those who need it. I’m glad to read that Tracie’s case has improved so drastically for her.
Great post! Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I found them very useful.
I have have pain in all my joints from the time I was young. Autoimmune disease came out negative. I’m trying to find out what more tests I can do.
I have lived with this pain from the time I was young.
Very insightful post. It appears your family has managed this on a high level therefore giving you the experience to share with us these helpful methods and resources.
This is very helpful. Also, sharing your story about it. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for this valuable information. I was of the impression that autoimmune disease was chronic and could not be cured. This gives a lot of people, including my friends, hope. Thanks again.
Very helpful post! So much valuable information and insights as well. I don’t know of anyone who’ve encountered this before, but this will be a nice resource if ever.
Really interesting article. Very helpful to people that suffer with these issues.
very interesting info here indeed. Never heard of autoimmune. will try out the 4 steps
Our diet always plays a major role in making us sick or getting us on the recovery path. Thanks for sharing this with us.
I’ve never heard this before but it sounds like it’s related for allergies which is I have allergies too. Awesome post.
So glad you were able to manage your conditions. Sounds truly exhausting to deal with. Thank you for sharing!
This is a fantastic post, you’ve provided a lot of helpful information and a lot that I didn’t know. Thanks for sharing this!
Wow, very informative article. Honestly, I’m not sure I understand at all. I think you should make it more easier to read.
This post is full of great information! It is vital that we are aware of what we put into our bodies and the effects it has on our health. I had my gallbladder removed (emergency surgery) and have been way more conscious about my gut ever since.
This is an extremely informative post. I learned a lot through this. Thank you!
I never knew that autoimmune could be reversed. This is a whole new information for me. But great detailed pieces of information.
TThanks for sharing this useful & informative post here, never know can reverse autoimmune, learnt lots here. cheers, https://siennylovesdrawing.wordpress.com
thanks for sharing this useful & informative post here, never know can reverse autoimmune, learnt lots here. cheers, siennylovesdrawing
thanks for sharing this useful & informative post here, never know can reverse autoimmune, learnt lots here. cheers,siennylovesdrawing
It’s not easy to be constantly battling with our own body that’s why this article has been really helpful to have a different approach on how we can reverse our autoimmune system! I’m so glad for Tracie’s transformation and hope this will continue permanently.
Preventing auto immune deficiency should be everyone’s concern. It is costly to be hospitalized.
I didn’t know you could try to reverse autoimmune – thanks for the tips!
The functional approach just makes so much sense here. Focusing on addressing the root cause of the problem and testing around this for treatment really seems quite obvious when you think about it. Following this up with appropriate diet and getting rid of stress to help your body cope sounds so good to me. I’m not surprised that this 4 step approach really did wonders for Tracie’s rheumatoid arthritis. So great that this worked so well.
I did not know you could reverse autoimmune. I found this very informative and shared it with my fiance because he suffers from severe allergies.
Great post! This post is so informative and you put so much work into it. I found this really helpful as I’ve struggled with allergies and digestive issues for as long as I can remember. I can’t agree enough about the anti-stress strategies, however I’m guilty of forgetting this myself sometimes too as I think I often let stress get the best of me (which doesn’t help my health!) thanks for the great tips!
l like your blog, Adrian and I am so pleased to find more people in the UK embracing this protocol. We haven’t had the help of a Functional Medicine practitioner directly but as a Nutritionist and nurse I have followed Mark Hyman for several years and that has lead on to many other sources – but all from USA. I am at present on The Digestive Intensive course from Andrea Nakayama. We have a strong family history of Autoimmune disease and my son was diagnosed with Reiter’s syndrome that was triggered by a nasty gastroenteritis. Keep up the good work – comrade!I will link to your site when I next Post something appropriate.
Hi Linda! Thanks for the support! It’s interesting to hear your experiences and your website millenniumhealth.co.uk looks like it contains a ton of useful information on natural health! Your family history of autoimmune disease sounds very challenging. I’m sure you’ve made a huge difference with the diet systems you’ve embraced. How’s the Digestive Intensive course going?
The Digestive Intensive was full of first class information but the delivery system was crap. They did the presentations over phone or Skype and due to the difference in time zones and the poor quality of the technology it was impossible so I ended up printing most of it and doing it in my own time. Since then I have bought ‘The Paleo Approach’ book by Sarah Ballantyne PhD and it is literally the only book you ever need by on Autoimmune nutrition with good scientific back up to everything. My take on it though is that it all comes about by being mineral deficient and that is what makes digestion faulty in the first place. The Paleo diet helps with that but may not be enough if you already have chronic disease or a very badly damaged Gut. I had been searching for awhile for a really good mineral supplement as most of them are chelated and you only absorb about 20%. Found Sizzling Minerals by Simply Naturals, a relatively new UK company, and they really have been the icing on the Paleo cake! Energy improved within 4 days of taking them. My son walked 5 miles the other day with no ill effects – something he hasn’t been able to do for years. Check them out at http://www.healthcoach2000.com where there is a video and then online shop. If you would like some free samples I could send some (as long as you are not still in Bolivia!)
Hey Linda! Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ve added it to my reading list! 🙂 That’s very interesting what you say about minerals. Mark Hyman also talks quite a lot about vitamin and mineral deficiencies being at the root of health problems, for example in his Ultramind book. Low-nutrient food and malfunctioning gut may be root causes. I’ve been taking Dr Mercola’s wholefood multivit + minerals for a while for this reason, although I can’t take the full dose as it upsets my digestion! Cheers for the link to the mineral supps. Yes, I’d be very interested to try those! (I’m in the UK right now 🙂