Achieving Autoimmune Freedom: Causes, Testing, and Treatment Options - Enlighten Functional Medicine

Achieving Autoimmune Freedom: Causes, Testing, and Treatment Options

Achieving Autoimmune Freedom: Causes, Testing, and Treatment Options

Almost 23 million Americans or about 14% of the total population, suffer from autoimmune conditions. Many don’t know they do. Are you one of them? 


When your body starts attacking its own cells, it’s called an Autoimmune Disorder. The causes are unknown in many cases, and the symptoms can be difficult to pin down. But there are tests and treatments available that can help you achieve autoimmune freedom. This blog post will explore the causes of autoimmune disorders, the different types of tests, and the various treatment options available. Read on to learn more!

Recognizing these disorders

You may be living with an autoimmune disorder, but not even realize it. According to the auto-immune registry, the top five most common autoimmune diseases are:

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis. 
  2. Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  3. Celiac Disease
  4. Graves’ Disease
  5. Type 1 Diabetes


Two of these conditions are thyroid-related. When you have one autoimmune disease, you are very likely to develop others. It’s something that is very commonly known that once your immune system is weighed down, you could start developing other autoimmune disorders. 

For example, maybe you have Celiac disease. Something that may start developing next is alopecia areata. This is a condition when your hair starts to fall out in different patches in your head. Then you may also start developing ulcerative colitis in your digestive tract, and that is another autoimmune disorder.


How do you test for autoimmune disease?


Assessment is the next step. This is how we would know if we have it. The modern Western way of thinking is, “I need to run an antibody test to see if I have that autoimmune disease.” That is a correct initial approach, but we want to know for sure.  

Intestinal Permeability

The best way that I do assessments with my patients in using functional medicine is to first take a closer look at leaky gut permeability or intestinal permeability.

We do this through different types of testing, stool testing, in particular. Another one is through blood testing. It’ll tell us different markers that we can actually use to test the absorptive ability of our gut.

We need to understand that when those digestive walls start breaking down, things start transuding in your immune system and may cause it to freak out. We need to rule that one out. 


Food Peptides Sensitivity

The next thing that I would do for testing is we need to assess food peptides. Think about this: the more food peptide sensitivities you have, the more likely you are to have an autoimmune disease.

Let’s talk about food peptides for a minute. You might’ve heard of food sensitivity testings out there. Most of the time they’re going to use an IgG (immunoglobulin) type of test to see if your immune system is reacting to a whole food protein structure.

The thing is, what they are testing is a structure – a clump of things together. Now, if your immune system sees that clump of things together and has this immune response, it’s going to show positive results on the test. You will then decide, “I can’t eat that certain food.” However, there are food protein structures that can be broken down into bits that make up that clump.

Those little bits are called peptides, and we can actually test those peptides in more extensive food sensitivity testing. It is the state of the art testing on food sensitivity. The protein clump is broken down into more specific components to see if your immune system is reacting to one.\


Thyroid Antibodies

We have to look at the thyroid condition especially when we are aware that you have one. There may be some factors that need to be further ascertained. One more consideration is the reassessment of antibody levels. We need to make sure that your test results are balanced. If you have anything positive, we will recheck them to know what levels of antibodies it shows in order for us to help fix the problem!

You may ask, “Are these autoimmune conditions going to go completely away with treatment? Working with lifestyle, diet, nutritional support, are they going to go completely away?” Most likely not. We may not be able to cure autoimmune diseases, but we can control them. 

Thank you for reading my blog post. I truly hope it was helpful to you. If you’re struggling with an autoimmune disease, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to hear your story and see how I can support you on your health journey. You can schedule a discovery call by clicking the link below. I look forward to hearing from you soon!


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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 


About Enlighten Functional Medicine

Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Dr. Emily Hecker and her team at Enlighten Functional Medicine combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

Our unique approach to diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders recognizes that lasting health depends on resolution of the root causes of your disease. Click here to learn more »

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