Functional Medicine for Autoimmunity

"Yes, there is a genetic component in autoimmune disorders. However, twin studies have shown that autoimmunity is only 25% heritable, which means that the environment is a far more significant part of the picture: 75%, to be exact. Moreover, as we have learned from the brand-new field of epigentetics, genetic expression can be modified. Certainly you cannot change your genes. You can, however, turn some genes on while turning others off, thereby changing your genetic expression -the extent to which your genetic qualities are actually expressed".  - Amy Meyers, M.D in her book "The Autoimmune Solution". 

Note: Autoimmune disorders are not the same as experiencing suppressed immunity

If you've been experiencing repetitive colds, flus, and other infections in the last few months, your immune function may be suppressed. There are many reasons that explain a suppressed immune function like history of several courses of antibiotics; phyiscal or emotional stress; alcohol consumption; nutrient deficiencies; lack of proper rest, mold exposure, a high sugar diet; etc. 


Likewise, many are the natural ways to strengthen your immune response that don't require the use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications that can actually lead to undesirable side effects, addiction, toxicity, organ failure when taken for long periods of time, and that don't really tackle to root of the cause. If this is your problem, please get in touch with me asap and we'll work on an immune-boosting program for you!


Conventional medicine defines autoimmune diseases as "those diseases which result when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus".1


To this conventional view, autoimmune diseases are chronic conditions with no cure. In line with such an approach, the typical treatment involves attempts to control the process of the disease and to decrease the symptoms, especially during flare-ups. 2


But functional medicine understands autoimmune dysregulation from a different perspective. As Dr. Terry Wahls M.D and functional medicine practitioner simply puts it:


 "we seek to understand the disordered biochemical pathways that lead to the broken chemistry at the root of many chronic symptoms across many diagnoses"3.


There is extensive scientific research that supports the functional medicine paradigm which proves how our diet and environmental exposures4 are responsible for activating our unique genes making us more vulnerable to developing an autoimmune disease. Within the frame of this innovative understanding of the aetiology of autoimmunity, the treatment to any autoimmune disorder is based on addressing root causes of immune dysfunction (toxins, infections, hormonal imbalances, gut health, abnormal microbiome, properly unmanaged stress, poorly treated genetic predispositions, etc.) and not just on masking symptoms with suppressive chemical agents that don't actually really deal with the underlying causes and triggers of the disease.






3. The Wahls Protocol, Wahls, Terry, MD; Penguin Group 2014; pg. 49. 

4. Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases - Dr. Alessio Fasano -  Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Jul; 1258(1): 25–33. 


Drugs and autoimmune diseases

"The drugs conventional doctors prescribe for an autoimmune disease make the immune cells weaker so that they cannot attack the body as vigorously. All of the disease -modifying drugs for autoimmune conditions focus on blocking some part of the body's immune response, using various mechanisms. Some disease-modifying drugs for autoimmune disorders act as poison to rapidly dividing cells (the immune cells are some of the most rapidly dividing cells in the body) so that they cannot work as effectively at attacking (or protecting)the body. Some disease-modifying drugs are designed to block a specific pathway in the immune process. Because our immunity has evolved to play a protective role through multiple channels, however, all drusg that target our immune cells will have an extensive list of side effects, many of them having major negative impacts on quality of life".        - Dr. Terry Wahls, M.D, and Functional Medicine Practitioner, author of the groundbreaking "The Wahls Protocol" (Dr. Wahls cured herself of Multiple Sclerosis with Functional Medicine & the Paleo Diet)




My functional medicine program for autoimmune disorders


Functional medicine practitioners seek first and foremost to re-establish homeostasis in the 'dis-eased' individual's body. Homeostasis is a Greek word that means "to remain the same", or in other words, to maintain balance among the parts that compose the whole. Homeostasis is achieved by a series of behavioural adjustments based on information about the body's internal and external environments. 1   

In order to bring homeostasis back into the individual's body, functional medicine practitioners address the inflammatory response which is a normal response to the progression of the disorder through a series of steps that tackle the problem at its roots:


A) Removal of offenders to support healthy G.I function.


B)  Replacement of lacking enzymes, bile salts, or stomach acid secretions, as needed individually.


C) Re-insemination of a healthy microflora to support a normal autoimmune function.


D) Supporting the regeneration and repair of a healthy mucosal layer of the G.I tract so as to ensure proper G.I function and avoid recurrence of symptoms in the future. 2


E) A therapeutic diet tailor-made according to each client's individual nutritional needs and constitutional type.


F) Targeted nutrients to support immune function (not to suppress it).


G) Important recommendations on lifestyle change like exercise (the most appropriate style, duration & intensity for your specific body type and current physical capacity), relaxation techniques, and the practice of a spiritual activity will occupy an important part of my prescribed health plan. 




1. Textbook of functional medicine - Institute for Functional Medicine,2010; chapter 23, pg. 318. 

2. Intestinal Permeability and its Regulation by Zonulin: Diagnostic And Therapeutic Implication- Dr. Alessio Fasano - Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Oct;10(10):1096-100.


"You can arrest the development of autoimmune disease -which includes thyroid autoimmune disease- by healing the gut". - Dr. Thomas O'Bryan  Chiropractor, Functional Medicine Doctor, DC, CCN, DACBN

Interesting new research on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

"Acclaimed virus hunter Dr. Ian Lipkin has launched a crowd-funded project to study the microbiome in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Putting aside the idea of viral etiology, Lipkin and his team at Columbia hope to find a unique dysbiotic signature in these patients ( An exciting 2013 study in Belgian and Norwegian patients, found altered intestinal microbiota that may be linked to the pathogenesis of the illness (13)."

- Excerpt of an article by Courtney Craig published by


More recently... This has been published in the prestigious Nature Magazine, on 28 March 2017 (read extract here-below):


"Lipkin has identified a distinct set of intestinal bacteria in 21 people with chronic fatigue syndrome who also had irritable bowel syndrome — conditions that often occur together. His study, accepted for publication in the journal Microbiome,also links both diseases to changes in body processes influenced by gut microbes, such as the production of vitamin B6 (D. Nagy-Szakal et al. Microbiome; in the press). And a study by another team, published in December 2016, finds problems with the function of an enzyme that is crucial for the process by which cells create energy"


Ø. Fluge et al. JCI Insight 1, e89376; 2016.

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and would like to explore a different approach with innovative solutions, please get in touch with me asap:

+ 44 07 87 20 22009 


+44 078720 22 009

"Meta-analyses showed that flavonoids have a promising role in improving visual function in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension (OHT), and appear to play a part in both improving and slowing the progression of visual field loss".


-Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2015 Sep 4. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PMID: 26340868

"Animal studies show that holy basil helps the body maintain homeostasis of the stress hormone cortisol.1 It rebalances mood-associated neurotransmitters in the brain—specifically ones that can produce feelings of hopelessness, which is a key component of stress-induced depression."2

1- Phytother Res. 2016;30(5):805-14

2-Indian J Med Res. 2012;135(4):548-54




"EGCG (from green tea extract) regulates genes involved in fat oxidation and storage, as well as genes involved in insulin signaling and glucose metabolism."

-Planta Med. 2004 Nov;70(11)


"Effect of unsaponifiable extracts of avocado and soybean (Piasclédine) on the collagenolytic action of cultures of human rheumatoid synoviocytes and rabbit articular chondrocytes treated with interleukin-1."

- Rev Rhum Mal Osteoartic. 1991 Apr;58(4):241-5. PMID: 1647544

"This meta-analysis showed a significant effect of supplementation with Spirulina in reducing plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and elevating those of HDL-C."

- Clin Nutr. 2015 Sep 25. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID: 26433766

"Supplementation with olive leaf polyphenols for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity and pancreaticβ-cell secretory capacity in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing the metabolic syndrome."

- Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Dec 31, 2012


"A coconut extra virgin oil-rich diet increases HDL cholesterol and decreases waist circumference and body mass in coronary artery disease patients."

- Nutr Hosp. 2015 ;32(5):2144-52. Epub 2015 Nov 1. PMID: 26545671

"Lycopene, the predominant carotenoid in tomatoes and tomato-based foods, is reported to protect against various cancers, especially prostate cancer. 

Cell growth was inhibited 20% at 0.2 microM lycopene and 40% at 50 microM lycopene after a 24-hr incubation. In the Comet assay, lycopene-treated cells showed less DNA damage than did placebo-treated cells. The inhibition of Hep3B cell growth in this study demonstrates the antitumor properties of lycopene."

- Biofactors. 2005 ;23(3):129-39. PMID: 16410635

"Accumulating evidence indicates that abdominal adiposity is positively related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and some other diseases independently of overall adiposity. However, the association of premature death resulting from these diseases with abdominal adiposity has not been widely studied, and findings are inconsistent. In a prospective cohort study of 44,636 women in the Nurses' Health Study, associations of abdominal adiposity with all-cause and cause-specific mortality were examined. During 16 years of follow-up, 3507 deaths were identified, including 751 cardiovascular deaths and 1748 cancer deaths. After adjustment for body mass index and potential confounders, the relative risks across the lowest to the highest waist circumference quintiles were 1.00, 1.11, 1.17, 1.31, and 1.79 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.47 to 1.98) for all-cause mortality; 1.00, 1.04, 1.04, 1.28, and 1.99 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.73) for CVD mortality; and 1.00, 1.18, 1.20, 1.34, and 1.63 (95% CI, 1.32 to 2.01) for cancer mortality (all P<0.001 for trend). Among normal-weight women (body mass index, 18.5 to<25 kg/m(2)), abdominal obesity was significantly associated with elevated CVD mortality: Relative risk associated with waist circumference>or = 88 cm was 3.02 (95% CI, 1.31 to 6.99) and for waist-to-hip ratio>0.88 was 3.45 (95% CI, 2.02 to 6.92). After adjustment for waist circumference, hip circumference was significantly and inversely associated with CVD mortality."

-Circulation. 2008 Apr 1;117(13):1658-67. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739714. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

"Major changes in self-reported eating behaviors included eating only when experiencing true physiological hunger and stopping when sensing a feeling of fullness. Self-efficacy for these behaviors was reported to be enhanced by observing weight loss for themselves or others. Support from other group members, the simplicity of the program, and spiritual benefits through prayer and scripture reading were also reported to enhance confidence. Women indicated that they relied on an internal locus of control based on a sense of self-discipline.


Traditional means to enhance self-efficacy were important for all women; however, for some women, spirituality was also an important aspect of adhering to program principles."

- J Nutr Educ Behav. 2004 Jan-Feb;36(1):13-5.

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