Commonly Treated Autoimmune Conditions
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis)
All of these conditions have autoimmunity in common. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system begins attacking it’s own cells inappropriately believing they are harmful. This creates pain, inflammation, fatigue and many other debilitating symptoms.
How can Naturopathic Doctors help?
Focusing on decreasing your body's total level of inflammation is
going to be the primary goal of treatment.
The digestive system is commonly a concern in patients with an autoimmune disease, so directing treatment efforts to healing the gut is important. For example, this includes figuring out whether something in your diet is triggering an immune response leading to a flare-up. Dietary approaches are individualized to each patient, beginning with an investigation into what the food triggers are, as no two people have the same food sensitivities.
Another consideration is addressing any potential genetic or environmental concerns that may be contributing to the root cause of the autoimmune disease. This will be investigated by taking a detailed family history and potentially completely lab tests that evaluate for toxicity (e.g., mold, heavy metals).
Something I utilize often in my practice is low dose naltrexone, commonly known as LDN. LDN has a specific role in autoimmunity by helping to decrease the amount of antibodies that are being produced.
IV Nutrient Therapy can be helpful in the short term to replenish any nutrient depletion you are experiencing which often occurs with chronic autoimmune diseases. This is especially true if there is co-occurring gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, as this is an indication you are not properly digesting and absorbing the nutrients from your food.
Some botanical herbs that I often utilize in autoimmune conditions include curcumin (i.e., turmeric) and boswellia. Both of these have potent anti-inflammatory effects that work strongly to reduce autoimmunity. In addition, while decreasing the inflammation they also work to decrease the pain associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to monitoring your symptoms, common testing that is used to see how you are responding to treatment is your C-Reactive Protein (CRP), an indicator of your body's inflammatory status.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I understand the need for pharmaceutical interventions when necessary to manage symptoms (e.g., pain). We can work together to attempt to mitigate the long-term side effects of these medications, specifically the strong immunosuppressants.
Unfortunately, not all supplements are made equally. A Naturopathic Doctor can help point you in the right direction as to which supplements are the most absorbable and useful to the body.
For more information on how Naturopathic medicine can help your autoimmune disease, call to book a complimentary 15-minute meet and greet session with Dr. Stephanie!