For many people, receiving the diagnosis of having an autoimmune disorder feels like a death sentence. Death to living a normal life

If you have an autoimmune disorder, you already know that there is no cure for it. It will be with you for life. And that’s why so many people feel discouraged and hopeless when this label is placed upon them. 

Tis issue hits close to home for me. Both my wife and mother have autoimmune conditions and it has given me a very up-close and personal window into the implications of the condition in daily life. Helping people learn to navigate life with an autoimmune disorder is something I’ve dedicated much of my life to. A large part of my practice revolves around working with people who have autoimmune conditions. And it breaks my heart to think of the people out there who are feeling discouraged and hopeless because of this diagnosis. 

Even getting a clear diagnosis for autoimmune disorders can be a long and discouraging process. It takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s from the start of the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, to the moment you have a clear diagnosis. For many people, those years are filled with numerous doctor visits, expensive tests, and very few conclusive answers. It’s enough to make anyone feel hopeless or even downright crazy. 

This can be incredibly frustrating for those who are dealing with it because they know something is off in their body but don’t have test results to prove it. Each individual symptom might not seem like such a big deal to their doctor or the people around them, but the accumulative effect overtime can truly reduce quality of life. 

Maybe you run a low-grade fever often and everyone chalks it up to catching the seasonal “bug” that’s going around. 

Maybe you feel exhausted all the time and everyone tells you that it’s just part of getting older or being a busy parent. 

Maybe you feel intense brain fog and can’t think straight but chalk it up to being stressed or having too much on your schedule. 

Maybe your joints hurt constantly and you’re told it’s part of the aging process. 

Each of these things might not seem like such a big deal to someone who hasn’t dealt with it before. But when you’re the one going through it, it’s a different story. You know how hard it is. You know the mental fatigue, the frustration, and the inability to adequately express how tough it is to live inside your own body all too well. 

I hear you. 

And everything you’re feeling is valid. 

But having an autoimmune disorder is not a death sentence. While there isn’t a “cure” for it, there are many ways to effectively and naturally manage your symptoms. 

Here are a few of my top tips for managing symptoms of an autoimmune disorder: 

Avoid Trigger Foods: If you are dealing with an autoimmune disorder, you may be surprised at the foods that can be triggering for your body. Eliminating these is going to relieve inflammation, fatigue, joint pain, and all kinds of other unwanted symptoms. Gluten, dairy, and sugary/processed foods are just a few of the primary culprits. 

Additionally, there are a number of foods that may be triggering for people with autoimmune conditions that aren’t considered “unhealthy”. This could be nightshade vegetables such as eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tomatillos, and tomatoes. Or it could be something as simple as eggs. That’s why I highly recommend strategic food sensitivity testing and following the elimination diet to empower yourself with the knowledge of how your body works. When you know what foods trigger you, you will be able to design your diet and lifestyle accordingly. This can bring incredible relief. 

Support Detoxification: There are several natural supplements that can be used strategically to help the body detox and support the natural functions of the thyroid, immune system, and other systems of the body. I recommend a specific supplementation regimen to each of my clients, depending on their unique needs. 

Calm Stress: Stress is the silent killer that is often overlooked with autoimmune conditions. It can wreak havoc on the body and still go unnamed and untreated. If you have an autoimmune disorder, you need to take your stress levels seriously. If you are eating well and taking supplements but still struggling to manage your symptoms, look at your stress. Often, it’s the thing that gets overlooked. Stress-triggered neuroendocrine hormones lead to immune dysregulation, which will only worsen your condition. 

If you are dealing with an autoimmune disorder, I highly encourage you to prioritize sleep and stress reduction. Take a minute, flip back, and reread the section on stress management and reduction. Then implement it. Stop minimizing your stress, stop putting yourself on the back burner, stop burning the candle at both ends. The best thing you can do for the ones you love is to show up as the best version of yourself. The best thing you can do as a parent, friend, spouse, co-worker, or leader is to care for yourself - heart, soul, mind, and body. On a purely physical level, you will be surprised at how much reducing stress can positively affect all systems of the body, especially when you are dealing with an autoimmune disorder. 

Use Apoptogenic Herbs and Strategic Supplements: Think of adaptogens as an herbal pharmacy. They help to counteract the effects of stress in the body. Adaptogens work at a molecular level by regulating a stable balance in the pituitary, hypothalamic, and adrenal glands. Researchers has shown it to have many positive effects on the body such as anti-depressive effects, anti-fatigue properties, and neuroprotective elements. It can also be a positive stimulant for the central nervous system

They have also been shown to increase mental capacity and productivity, enhance attention span, and prevent fatigue and stress. Even if there are stresses in your life that cannot be avoided, adaptogens will help you to cope and handle the stress better. Apoptogenic mushrooms are my top choice for natural adaptogens. My personal favorite is Reishi which I discuss more in depth in the Superfoods and Supplements chapter. 

Additionally, there are a few apoptogenic herbs that can also be used such as: 

Artic Root: This is a historical herb that’s been used all over the world to treat minor health ailments like headaches and flu.

Siberian Ginseng: This herb isn’t ginseng but has a similar effect. It can help ward off fatigue, stress, and mood disorders. 

Schisandra: This herb is amazing for stabilizing blood sugars, promoting liver health, and helping the body cope with stress. 

Test for Other Contributing Factors: While testing for autoimmune disorders may not be an easy task, testing for other factorsthat could contribute to unwanted symptoms is very attainable and easy to do. I highly recommend testing for things like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), parasites, hormone imbalances, etc. I often see a compound effect taking place in clients with autoimmune disorders. If you have a parasite and Hashimoto’s, your symptoms may be more extreme than if you were just dealing with Hashimoto’s. 

You may be blaming all your symptoms on having an “autoimmune disorder” when there could be other contributing factors that are treatable and curable. Testing for other conditions and treating them is vital.

I have a specific treatment plan that I implement with my clients that are dealing with an autoimmune disorder that is tailored to their individual condition and severity level. No two patients are alike. What might wreck one person’s body could be tolerated by another’s easily. That’s why it’s important to look at each person individually. 

If you’re interested in running strategic tests, discovering the specific trigger foods that could be affecting your body, and creating a lifestyle designed to put your condition in remission or manage the symptoms, click here

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