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Empowering Autoimmune Wellness: Understanding and Addressing Underlying Factors


with Luke Szabo

Described as your body mistakenly attacking its own tissues and organs, the diagnosis of autoimmune disease can feel somewhat disempowering for many people, walking away thinking that their own body has turned against them for some unknown reason and there is nothing that they can do… I truly believe this is not the case.

When diagnosing an autoimmune disease in a mainstream medical setting, there are 2 key components – signs and symptoms plus pathological evidence i.e. blood tests to confirm autoimmune antibodies are present. On occasion, a genetic study may also be looked at to see if there is a higher susceptibility for autoimmunity, but rarely is any further investigation provided to figure out why this happened.  Why all of a sudden are you hit with an autoimmune diagnosis at 30, 40, 50?  Unlucky?  Genetics?  Karma?  NO!!!

Your body has an inert intelligence, your immune system are the warrior cells that keep things in check, working tirelessly night and day your entire life with the job of protecting your cells from attack. Viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, chemicals, certain foods and yes, emotions are all well known to be major contributors and underlying factors in the development of autoimmune disease.

Toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic are capable of altering the immune response, and have been implicated in influencing autoimmunity. Tests such as hair tissue analysis or blood/urine/faecal toxic metal testing can provide valuable clinical insight along with patient specific detoxification protocols that can be implemented to reduce the total toxic load in you.

Gut bacteria such as klebsiella that can translocate from the gut and affect the joints if gut barrier function is not optimal and has been associated with ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Tests such as the Complete Microbiome Map not only look for potential autoimmune triggering bacteria such as klebsiella, but also markers for leaky gut, levels of beneficial probiotic bacteria that balance the immune response, and immune reactivity to gluten which is another well-known trigger for some autoimmune conditions.

Another well-known association with the diagnosis of autoimmunity is acute and chronic stress, such as PTSD or adverse childhood experiences.  Underlying emotional trauma is a major consideration in all conditions I treat, and is never overlooked, especially in anything relating to autoimmune.  Think about what your immune system does, it is your protector from external attack both physical and emotional, and unprocessed emotions and trauma I believe to be a major underlying factor of autoimmune disease. I encourage my patients to explore their emotions with a holistic counsellor or psychologist trained in EMDR therapy, and I support my patients with flower essence therapy and vagus nerve therapy to help re-regulate the stress response in the body.

As an Integrative Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist, food as medicine is always part of the plan when working with my patients given the autoimmune diagnosis. Certain foods are known to make autoimmune conditions worse, and many, many foods are known to make the condition better, with real healing taking place when you get the diet right. Food allergy testing is also available where we can assess direct immune responses to many foods and create a nutrition plan that works for you.

Just remember, the body is intelligent, I do not believe the body attacks itself for no reason, and taking the time to invest in your health and wellbeing to explore some of these additional factors known to be associated with autoimmunity could very well be a game changer for your health if identified and treated appropriately.

To learn more about Luke and his services, click here

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