Part 3: Natural Solutions to Treat and Reverse Autoimmune Disease
THE ROLE OF CHINESE MEDICINE
In Chinese Medicine, so-called auto-immune diseases are treated as misbehaving or weak immune systems, and as an Acupuncture Physician, I am trained to use specific acupuncture points to perform what is termed “Tonifying or Strengthening Defensive Qi”. This treatment creates a boosting effect and helps the immune system behave more correctly. For example, acupuncture frequently demonstrates immediate results in pain reduction in the joints….pain and inflammation which may be caused by an “auto-immune condition” such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Studies have validated some of these effects by measuring reductions in inflammation and natural opiate production by the brain.
It is humbly gratifying to see and hear relief and joy in a patient’s eyes and words following their first or second Acupuncture and/or Tui-Na treatment–which is a typical occurrence in my practice–and it is why I continue to love and practice this ancient medicine. It is real medicine that works.
Local Help: Our practitioners Dr. David Martin (acupuncture) and David Maile (massage) are approved providers of the MS Center of Southwest Florida. If you know someone who deals with MS, they can receive treatments at our clinic for $10 per session.
IS ACUPUNCTURE ENOUGH?
As an example, for an MS patient, the pain can show up in muscles, joints, nerves…everywhere. An acupuncture session can temporarily relieve various pain symptoms for a week, or even longer, by retraining the body to operate in a more normal state. Another typical effect of acupuncture is to boost the patient’s mood. However, to actually resolve these health conditions long-term, it is usually necessary for patients to combine acupuncture sessions with some herbs and key supplements…..and especially by learning to use Food as Medicine.
In many cases, due to the severity of discomfort with the effects of the disease, there will be an Integrative Medicine approach to managing and healing auto-immune conditions. Pharmaceuticals may be used as well. And our hope is that the patient is able to work with their body and their doctors to minimize and even reduce/eliminate many condition-management pharmaceuticals as they heal using acupuncture, food, and other natural medicinal approaches.
RUBBER-MEETS-THE-ROAD: HEALING THERAPIES
Let’s get down to some basics you can apply. There are many successful approaches to healing conditions naturally, and we have some great ones. Some methods start at the emotional/spiritual level, and it’s widely acknowledged that many autoimmune conditions kick off due to a trauma, one which may have occurred in childhood. At our clinic, we believe that there is often an emotional/spiritual component that holds people back from healing. Christina Bronson works at our clinic with people at these levels, and the transformations we see are amazing.
Other therapies use biological activators such as light therapy. And in fact, Sunlight is prescribed for all of our Autoimmune patients as a part of their healing protocol. Note of Caution: Too much sunlight can cause problems for MS patients.
Perhaps the most widely-used natural medicine protocols used in healing auto-immune conditions involve supplements and food. We are trained in and love to teach people the power of Food-as-Medicine. We do this at the clinic via our monthly classes (see our Events Calendar) and individual or group Food Consultations. And although we are specifically addressing autoimmunity, these are general guidelines which apply to just about any serious illness.
We will begin with a list of Foods and Non-Foods to Avoid. Even if you think you know all that, we have recently uncovered some hidden gems that we think you’ll want to know! This article finishes with a discussion of specific food protocols and supplements (and other resources) being successfully used to help reverse and heal autoimmune diseases.
DANGER, DANGER! POISON INSIDE.
Let’s start here: Our bodies were not engineered over the centuries to work well…or at all…with some foods and non-foods. Anyone with an autoimmune issue should NOT ingest these things. And we’ve also uncovered one reason the immune system is attacking “self”. Read on…
GLUTEN. A quick primer on how gluten is harmful is “The Dark Side of Wheat” by Sayer Ji, an internationally-respected medical researcher. Think you don’t have a problem with wheat? You’ll think again after reading the article. He has uncovered the reason which makes wheat—and anything with gluten (in sauces to makeup)–a real nightmare for autoimmune sufferers. First, we don’t have enough stomachs. Cows eat grass, and one of their four stomach compartments ferments the grasses (and wheat) so they are broken down and can be used as nutrients. Well, that sorta works for modern-day wheat, but not well for the cows either.
Secondly, wheat lectin attaches to mucus areas, e.g. our intestines, creating leaky gut syndrome (intestinal holes). Proteins in wheat then escape the intestinal tract and can attach to cells in other parts of the body. These cells are no longer just “themselves” and this activates antigens in the affected cell. Here’s what happens: The cell puts a “kick me” flag out requesting the body’s immune army to destroy it! Sayer Ji gave an excellent talk on this subject. The video isn’t great, but the audio is priceless.
So, there IS a REAL REASON that the body is attacking “itself”. The immune system is attacking cells infested with foreign, inflammatory proteins. And the level of health troubles over the last 20 years has intensified dramatically since the introduction of GMO’d wheat (corn, soy, and various other crops). Their first insult to the human body is the genetic modifications which are indeed “foreign” and cannot be decoded and used as proper nutrition; and secondly, there is intense poison in Genetically Modified crop fields. Think about this for your beloved 4-legged friends too. This applies to nearly every processed dog food out there!
SODA POP (count chemicals, not calories!). Soda pop is mostly chemicals, and the chosen sweetener in many is aspartame, a chemical which changes to formaldehyde in the brain. Last time I checked, this works well to preserve brains in jars at the back of the biology lab, not to promote a healthy brain. Yes, thankfully Coca-Cola APPEARS to be responding to this old news…finally. But there is still not one redeeming feature of soda pop for the body. Drink a good purified water. Put lemon, mint, cucumbers, apples, etc in the water pitcher to make it tasty, hydrating, alkalizing and even nutritious.
DAIRY The poor cows! Commercial dairy farms inject them with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, and while this may be good for the bottom line (they produce 30% more milk), it’s not so fun for the cows who suffer from continual bladder infections due to overuse. This causes the dairy farmers to dispense various types of antibiotics to the cows. It becomes a vicious cycle. And the milk not only has antibiotics that the humans drinking it ingest, but there’s pus in there too. We prefer nut/plant-based milks such as almond or coconut. Almond milk has far more calcium than cow’s milk.
MAN-MADE SUGARS AND PROCESSED FOODS You probably already know these are bad, right? But did you know that man-made sugar molecules (e.g. high-fructose corn syrup and chemicals) are completely different compounds to your body than are nature-made sugar molecules like fructose from fruit? From a scientific standpoint, man-made molecules “spin to the left”. God-made molecules “spin to the right”. They are as different to your body as would be a motorcycle and a caterpillar to you. Although they both move, they don’t have much in common, and could you “use them” the same way? Nope. (BTW this body-usable problem includes canola oil, used in almost all junk processed foods and restaurants, and it’s a GMO oil made from raap seed. There is no such thing as a canola plant.)
COMMERCIAL MEAT: HORMONES, CHEMICALS, GMO’s IN FEED
…AND HEAVY METALS IN FISH. Suffice it to say, we tell people their best organic dollars are spent on concentrated sources of protein. Anything the animal ate or was injected with is concentrated in their meat and transferred to the cells of whoever eats it. We are what we eat!
Farmed fish and other animals are usually fed “cheap” GMO corn and wheat, and other unnatural things, to make them develop and fatten up quickly. Their living conditions tend to be crowded and unsanitary. These foods and conditions are not natural for these animals! They get sick. They get antibiotics. Our recommendation is to Vote with your dollars for organic meat and wild-caught fish….or research the farms and ranches which supply the animal products. If they operate more like a farm or ranch from the 1950’s, you’re probably safe to eat their products.
Wild caught fish live in an ocean with too much mercury which is highly toxic to the brain. When you eat fish, eat cilantro and/or asparagus with it. These foods help remove mercury from the body thru urine… and mostly from the bowels. Chlorella capsules are also helpful.
ALCOHOL – Alcohol affects the brain and immune system in toxic ways and is not advised for people who are ill or pregnant. Autoimmune conditions involve both gut and brain health which need nourishing nutrients & happy feelings. Learn ways to generate positive emotions that heal.
WHAT DOES THE BODY NEED TO HEAL ITSELF?
The answer to this includes more than avoiding the list of foods we’ve just discussed. The bodies of people with autoimmune conditions are also crying out for nutritional healing compounds that today’s Standard American Diet (called S.A.D.) no longer provides. We are deficient in minerals due to our industrialized farming practices. We are bombarded with chemicals that build up in our bodies’ organs, brains and fat. We need to detoxify! And we need nutrition!
Detoxification is another entire topic for a different article. We work with people individually on processes which will work for them. There are many good methods and detox products and foods. Nature is plentiful. But make no mistake, this must happen! Chemicals and heavy metals that came In must get Out!
- Xocai Anti-Aging Capsules “XoVitality” + 2-3 Chocolates per day, These medicinal chocolate-based products contain over 360 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Excellent for Brain, Cardiovascular system, Immune system, and high source of many vitamins , minerals and more. Xocai Healthy Chocolate products are made of raw cacao, one of nature’s highest Antioxidant foods. It occupies our shelves, in various forms, as one of the two highest natural inflammatory products we carry.
If not taking Xocai Healthy Chocolate, you will need other supplementation via capsules or foods… especially address CoQ10, Magnesium and Creatine and B-Vitamins.
- Probiotics – 80% of your immunity is in the gut, and people with immune issues typically have unhealthy or marginal gut flora. Hormone regulation, metabolism, and many other functions are reliant upon the proper functioning of our intestines. There is a direct brain-gut connection as well—whatever is happening in the gut is reflected in some way in the brain. See the first article in this series for more information about this important topic!
- We carry two heavy-lifter probiotics in capsule form at the clinic.
- Other Cultured Foods, available at Ada’s, Whole Foods, and Earth Origins (the newest store in town, located by the entrance to Jamaica Bay, off 41, just south of Gladiolus):
- Good Belly is an excellent, refrigerated drink. We like the Good Belly 50+.
- Cultured vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchee (you can easily make these on your own kitchen counter). Personally, I like my home-made fermented veggies best.
- Kefir (organic, please) – this is the Cadillac of yogurt with at least 11 times the number of probiotic organisms.
- Kombucha, a fizzy probiotic drink, is rather like a cross between wine, beer, and apple cider vinegar – comes in many flavors, and you can easily make it yourself.
- DHA – Omega 3 fish oil is critical and should be balanced with the EPA Omega oils. Research shows you need to take DHA in fairly high doses to heal neurological functions, improve memory, lower inflammation, and build strong, yet permeable cell walls. For MS patients, it helps regrow the myelin sheath. We carry a high-quality, balanced DHA/EPA product from Metagenics. Learn more about DHA here.
- Vitamin D – 8000 IU daily, or more. Plus, get 20-30 minutes of direct, unprotected sun exposure every day, preferably between 8am and 10am. Leave the dark glasses off. Your eyes have concentrations of little plants in them that convert the sun’s energy.
- Iodine – has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms. Used in Dr. Terry Wahls protocol with the Paleo diet basis (more below).
- Vitamin B-12 (or a good B-complex). Most of the B vitamins are in raw, dark cacao. We use Xocai Healthy Chocolate and other foods to acquire most of the B vitamins. However, B-12 should either be supplemented daily…or eat these foods frequently: Eggs, Beans—lentils especially– and also pinto, black, kidney, and garbanzo beans (e.g., hummus!), asparagus, spinach and broccoli, seaweed, & nutritional yeast (add to cooked dishes for a cheesy taste). This leads us right into FOOD!
FOOD HEALING PROTOCOLS
In addition to supplements, we need the healing-nutrient dense foods and full protocols to follow. There are multiple protocols and books on the subject of healing autoimmune conditions naturally. Here are a few ideas and resources for you:
JEFF PRIMACK, QiRevolution. We are trained in and use Jeff Primack’s food healing system, which was handed down through many generations of Asian Healers. Don’t worry, there are plenty of foods you’ll recognize! Foods such as coconut oil, avocados organic eggs, walnuts, onions and garlic, hemp and chia seeds, beans, salads, kale, cabbage….plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit, and fish figure prominently in this diet. EVERY day there is a Big Smoothie, which micronizes the nutrients in the foods for highest absorption. See Qi Revolution. Check out the Conquering Any Disease book in our lobby. Sign up for one of our classes! Jeff also holds large, $149, empowering 4-day seminars in Orlando, Miami, and many other cities across the nation. www.qirevolution.com
PALEO DIET – the diet of early man. They didn’t have dairy or grains. They ate meat, fish berries, other fruits, nuts and seeds. This diet, plus a specific supplement regimen, is how one M.D. healed herself of severe Progressive MS. Her name is Dr. Terry Wahls. Check out her story and TEDx Talk. After 3 months, she was able to get out of her reclining, zero-gravity wheel chair and walk short distances. After 9 months on the diet, she made major progress and was doing athletic activities like riding her bike 18 miles. Wow!
CHIP PROGRAM – originally developed by doctors who are still involved in its day-to-day operations, this program was originally designed for cardiovascular healing. It is somewhat similar to the Paleo diet, except they do allow grains. We know a woman who reversed her MS from being wheel-chair bound to a level that we didn’t even notice she had a problem when we met her at a party. I believe their 30-day program is $600.00 and includes meetings with education and food. To save/regain a life, I’d say that’s a good investment!
Here are a couple more resources for you: An excellent book, and a personal success story. These are both M.D.’s who healed themselves of difficult and debilitating autoimmune conditions.
- The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers
- Terry Wahls – TEDx Talk: “Minding your Mitochondria”
- Various well-researched articles on related topics may be found at these two websites:
Joseph Mercola, M.D.: mercola.com
Sayer Ji, Medical Research: greenmedinfo.com
- Read the two Previous Articles in this Series “Autoimmunity: The Perfect Storm”
Article #1: What’s Germinating in Your Gut?
Article #2: Your Two Immune Systems