The Functional Medicine approach to treating Autoimmune Diseases
Posted By: Dr. Amir Mahmud D.C., C.F.M.P., C.C.S.P.
In this article we will cover a general overview of what functional medicine is and how it can help those individuals who are suffering from autoimmune disorders.
If you are new to the world of functional medicine, you are probably asking yourself “what is functional medicine and how does it differ from western medicine?”
Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease rather than treating the symptoms.
This approach is completely individualized, patient-centered, and science-based. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
Simply put, functional medicine practitioners do not treat the symptoms, but rather find the underlying cause and try to fix it.
In contrast to functional medicine, western medicine patients are prescribed medications to mask the symptoms of their disease. All these prescription medications come with a long list of side effects that can cause other health problems. Western medicine does not try to fix the problem, but rather puts a band aid on it.
Functional medicine is the future of healthcare.
What is autoimmune disease and how can a functional medicine practitioner help with these conditions?
Autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks healthy tissue and starts to destroy it.
All autoimmune conditions are essentially the same process occurring in the body:
- The inflamed immune system, under the strain of continual triggers, mistakes healthy tissue as foreign and begins to destroy it.
- The only difference between the various autoimmune conditions is which organ is being attacked:
- With Celiac disease, it can be the intestines, skin, musculoskeletal system, etc.
- With Crohn’s disease, it can be the entire GI tract or parts of it
- With lupus it can be the skin, the liver, the joints, etc.
- With type I diabetes, it is the pancreas
- With multiple sclerosis, it is the brain and spinal cord
- With Ulcerative Colitis, it is the large intestine and rectum
- With Graves' and Hashimoto’s, it is the thyroid
But generally, no matter what the autoimmune disease is, the underlying causes are very similar.
Some of the common causes and triggers of autoimmunity include chronic emotional stress, poor and toxic nutrition, food allergies and sensitivities, GI imbalances/leaky gut, chronic inflammation, adrenal fatigue, and toxins.
Simply put, autoimmunity happens when the body is constantly being poisoned.
If we can find the source of this poising, remove it, and then balance the body, healing happens.
There is no other way around it.
It is very important to recognize that taking a medication to suppress the symptoms is not a cure.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison
I hope this article has been informative. If you have any questions, you can contact me at (818) 571-6717. Till next time…
Dr. Amir Mahmud D.C., C.C.S.P., C.F.M.P.