In these two posts, Autoimmune and What to do about Arthritis, I tried to bring you up to speed on autoimmune disease. In another post I shared three autoimmune recovery stories and promised to post more. True to my word, here are three more. As before, the names are fictitious but the stories are true.
Recall that there are (currently) over 80 known autoimmune diseases and please know that I am not going to post that many examples.
Peter was in his 50’s, a regular bicycle rider, with no symptoms. And then, seemingly overnight, he found himself unusually tired after riding. A physical found him to be severely anemic. A hematologist gave him iron infusions but couldn’t figure out why the problem happened. So off he goes to a liver specialist (hepatologist) who diagnoses him with Celiac disease (although he had none of the usual Celiac symptoms) and autoimmune hepatitis. The good doctor suggests he stay away from wheat and take steroids to suppress the immune system.
When people with Celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine and absorb nutrients. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. Read more here.
In autoimmune hepatitis, your immune system attacks your liver cells, causing long-term inflammation and liver damage. Pete now have two, seemingly unrelated autoimmune diseases.
Having seen the result of steroid treatments with his parents, Pete declines the steroids. Side-effects from the steroids can occur, including ‘thinning’ of the bones (osteoporosis), weight gain, and increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma). Read more here.
Instead he found a functional medicine doctor who identified that he was reacting to all the proteins in grain (not just gluten) and had the nutrient deficiencies inherent in Celiac disease. Everything corrected with eliminating grain and adding dietary supplements. All issues resolved with no medication.
Miriam was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and given hormone replacement drugs for 15 years, remaining “exhausted” that entire time. A few years ago she started to look at food after discovering Dr. Tom O’Bryan, author of The Autoimmune Fix. The problem was not, in her words, “my thyroid, its my immune system.” Diet change, thyroid fixed.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough hormones for the body’s needs.
Poor Jack had psoriasis all over his body, lots of doctors but no solutions. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks skin cells. He also had many allergies, perpetual inflammation in his knee, alternating constipation and diarrhea. Elimination of gluten and dairy plus spending time in the sun eliminated all symptoms except psoriasis in weeks; the psoriasis took longer to resolve.
I have attached many links in this and other posts, all of which suggest adamantly that the causes of autoimmune diseases are unknown and drugs alone are the treatment, treatments that never work long term. Make no mistake, wonders can be wrought with diet.