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Natural Awakenings Austin

A Collaborative, Functional Approach to Autoimmune Disorders

Jan 02, 2017 08:41AM

by Laura Bautista

Many people are being labeled with taxing diagnoses that fall under the umbrella of autoimmunity. Even if one has not been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, he or she may be generally interested in preventative health and a more natural approach to wellness. Either way, it is good to raise awareness, as there is an increasing population of people looking for answers from traditional Western medicine practitioners, as well as from those that take an alternative approach.

Although there are many conflicting perspectives between traditional and alternative practitioners, the general consensus among most that adopt a functional approach is that there is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to battling autoimmune disease. The functional approach focuses on looking at the underlying reasons that cause disease and to correct imbalance and restore function to the body. The thing we all seem to agree on is that the key to healing the body starts and ends with intestinal health and diet.

Physicians like Dr. Terry Wahls, a medical doctor who reversed her progressive multiple sclerosis with her Wahl’s Protocol, and Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a functional medicine doctor well known for his work on restoring thyroid function, both agree that anyone with a chronic autoimmune issue should not eat gluten. On page 29 of Kharrazian’s book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? he states, “Numerous studies from several countries show a strong link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease... because the molecular structure of gluten so closely resembles that of the thyroid gland, the problem may be one of mistaken identity.”

Superfood enthusiast David Wolfe states on his website that, “Many people with gluten intolerance will develop the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, especially if they also have celiac disease.”

Food intolerances are notorious for causing leaky gut syndrome, which then lead to autoimmune reactions. Finding out which specific foods to avoid is a great first step and will improve one’s health substantially. Most traditional and alternative practitioners will also agree that beyond food sensitivities, gut dysbiosis (imbalance), heavy metal and chemical toxicities and stress management absolutely must be addressed to maximize healing and to reduce and reverse symptoms. Many holistic health practitioners believe that reversal of symptoms and diseases is absolutely possible and have experienced it first-hand.

There is more benefit in collaboration than competition. It is essential to take a multi-disciplinary approach to health by combining primary care physician or specialist care with other modalities like nutritional counseling, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and energy work. Empower the self by finding what works, and ask for help when needed. We are all unique beings with specific physical and emotional needs and should be treated as such. Always remember that given a proper chance, the body is designed to heal itself.

Laura Bautista is a certified holistic health practitioner in Austin. For more information, call 512-445-7373 or visit

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