Most of the patients I see for functional medicine have autoimmune diseases. If we know what causes the immune system to attack itself and we know some of the triggers for what causes a malfunction in the immune system, which we do, we can successful treat these conditions. There are different autoimmune diseases within all specialties and all of these are looked at differently, however, they all have the same common triggers. Therefore, we can take a similar approach in treating all autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmunity occurs several different ways. First, there can be a mistaken identity and the body attacks itself. This can occur with a virus where there is tissue destruction and its appears to be foreign to the body. In addition, this can happen with heavy metal toxicities such as mercury. Second, is called molecular mimicry. This occurs when the body makes an antibody (a protein in the body that attacks objects in the body that appear to be foreign) to a specific antigen. These antigens can resemble certain proteins in the body and the antibodies attack our body’s own tissues. Third, is the development of the T cells (the immune system). This can be affected by genetics, stress, and environmental triggers. Environmental triggers are what I work with a lot in functional medicine. These can be food triggers such as gluten or food sensitivities that can trigger inflammation as well as anything coming in with the food such as toxins or molds. In addition, the nutrient status of the person. This can be antioxidant status, vitamins, essential fatty acids, vitamin D, etc. Also, gut health. This includes “leaky gut” and dysbiosis. Finally, there are toxins that can be affect the status of the immune system. These are heavy metals, xenobiotics, as well as the total toxic burden in the body. What appears to happen with most autoimmune conditions is there are multiple triggers chronically stimulating the immune system over a long period of time in multiple ways and our immune system gets into overloaded, overwhelmed state and loses its ability to function.

All my patients with autoimmune diseases must do a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. I also do specific testing identifying nutrient status and food sensitivities. It’s important to restore proper gut health and lesser the body’s overall toxic burden. Please contact Dr. Jurgelewicz directly on our website for a consultation.


Immunity and Autoimmunity: A Four-Step Program for Restoring Immune Health and Treating Autoimmune Disease by Susan Blum, MD

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