This little girl found a cure for her disease only by avoiding certain foods. When Dr. Mark Hyman first saw Isabel, ten years old at the time, she had a severe case of an autoimmune disease, classified as a mixed connective tissue disease.
The MCTD diagnosis includes rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and other similar diseases with extremely debilitating side effects that can drastically reduce the quality of life. The disease is deemed to be incurable.
The disease affected her whole body from top to bottom: blood vessels, white and red blood cells, liver, and muscles. Her skin was inflamed, and face and joints swollen. Isabel came to him on steroids, aspirin, and acid blockers.
None of the medications were making her any better, and her former doctors wanted to put her on a TNF-alpha blocker – an immune suppressant that while may reduce some symptoms, adds a great risk of cancer and death from the infection.
Refusing to accept that as her fate, she was brought to Dr. Hyman and less than a year later, she was symptom-free, her blood tests were normal, and she was off all her medications.
Isabel had to adjust her diet – avoid gluten, dairy and sugar, and take a few supplements to cleanse the body and help it heal itself (a multivitamin, vitamins D, B12, and folate, fish oil, anti-inflammatory evening primrose oil, an anti-fungal, a probiotic, and a mercury chelating agent).
Autoimmune Diseases in America
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system, meant to protect the body, repeatedly and mistakenly attacks healthy cells. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and they can affect different body parts.
These diseases include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and type 1 diabetes. The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA) estimates that about 50 million Americans live with an autoimmune disease. At least to mainstream medicine, the cause of this disease is unknown. The major symptom uniting all autoimmune diseases is inflammation.
Medical treatments differ depending on the disease but often include immunosuppressant drugs, pain medications, hormone replacement therapy, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Functional Medicine: A New Approach to Health
Functional medicine is a fairly new global movement that instead of just looking at the symptoms, takes into consideration the synergy of the whole body and its interaction with the environment. Its goal is to restore balance in the body as a whole instead of focusing on one organ or one issue.
Treating Autoimmune Disease Naturally
Dr. Hyman lists a few steps to consider in order to treat an autoimmune disease. First of all, any hidden issues in the body need to be addressed: yeast infections, viruses, bacteria, or Lyme disease.
Second, it is important to check for any allergies, gluten and dairy being the two most common ones. Then, the person should get a heavy metal testing, especially for mercury. Mercury can enter the body from flu shots, fish, amalgam fillings and other sources.
It is vital to take care of your gut and make sure the whole digestive tract is working properly. A quality probiotic is very helpful, and other vitamins are needed to help restore the immune system.
And finally, the person should not forget to exercise regularly and take care of their stress levels by adding yoga, meditation, simple hobbies that allow them to let go of worries and other relaxation techniques to their lifestyle.