Getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease may leave you feeling confused, disheartened and frustrated. Depending on your condition, there might not be many therapies available for you, or the available ones, help only to appease symptoms.
When I was diagnosed with post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome after a year of testing and pushing to be heard, the Endocrinologist informed me that I needed to rest more. And he was right, I did need to rest more, but that wasn’t enough to get me to my best health. And I didn’t want to feel sick anymore! However, I found a way to reset my condition, and through training in Functional Medicine, I now support my clients in doing the same. This article will explain how to reset autoimmunity naturally.
Finding the culprit
One of the main challenges in autoimmune conditions is finding the causal factors of the symptoms. I know I was searching for the ‘one root cause’ of my disease. Still, the truth is it is often several contributing factors such as gut health, emotional trauma, chronic infections, cell toxicity, imbalanced hormones, stress and nutrient deficiencies.
On top of this, a person may have a genetic susceptibility to autoimmune diseases due to having variations in their genes known as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) for their immune system, detoxification process or oxidative stress (and potentially many more).
As with any wrongdoer, if you don’t know who is causing the harm, it is harder to resolve the issue, so the first step in resetting autoimmunity naturally is to identify the factors contributing to the onset of the condition.
Many functional tests can be performed in functional medicine to identify underlying issues, such as stool testing, food sensitivity testing, hormone panel, genetic profiling, and organic acids test.
What are the primary triggers in Autoimmunity?
As well as unravelling the underlying factors in autoimmune disease, it would be best if you also minimised any triggers for autoimmunity that you encounter in your daily life.
Exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoking and eating non-organic foods, food sensitivities, chronic stress, solvent exposure at work and home, and toxic mould may trigger the inflammatory response associated with autoimmunity.
In autoimmune diseases, the immune system produces autoantibodies that target self tissue. For example, in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the autoantibodies may attack several molecules that help produce thyroid hormone, leaving sufferers depleted of thyroid hormones essential for human health. Studies have indicated that gluten may promote this process in Hashimoto’s, and as such, a gluten-free diet may be beneficial in those where gluten is a trigger.
Minimising this unwanted inflammatory response by removing these triggers puts you in the best position to start addressing the root cause of your symptoms, to regain your strength and feel yourself again.
Resetting symptoms naturally
Taking a personalised approach to your recovery is essential for you to feel better long term. However, some foundational steps can help those with autoimmune conditions for any tailored approach to work to its best. Here are my top 3:
- Focus on deep, restorative sleep
As we all know, getting deep sleep is easier said than done. However, you can take steps each day to improve your sleep quality by improving your sleep habits, such as not looking at screens two hours before bed, keeping a consistent bedtime, not drinking caffeine in the afternoon, and getting into a bedtime ritual that transitions you into a sleeping state each night.
- Avoid exposure to toxins
We are all exposed to toxins every day, and you will never be able to avoid these altogether. However, where possible, eat organic foods, drink filtered water, avoid plastic containers and packaging, and use air filters in your home and office. Also, check the level of toxicity in your cleaning and beauty products and replace any with high toxicity. The Think Dirty app is handy to check the ingredients in your beauty and household products.
- Build Stress Resilience
There are some stresses that you can’t control and others you can. Focus on the stress in your life that you do control and actively focus on reducing this. I know that I have a high bar when it comes to expectations for myself. I used to set myself so much to achieve that I ended up in a constant state of stress and no fulfilment. Now I focus on the small wins and set myself realistic goals which are attainable and in my control.
Write a list of all the stress in your life, and decide which are in your control and those that aren’t. Those in your control determine how you will make these more manageable or let go of them completely. Once you give yourself a break, you will have far more capacity for the stress you can’t control in life, and you will feel better about it.
Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and breathing exercises are excellent ways to improve your resilience to stress and start living life more mindfully.
The recovery rollercoaster
Resetting autoimmunity is never a straight road, more a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but ultimately ending at a much better place than where you started. In my path to recovery, I went through many unpleasant experiences and symptoms that felt like I was going backwards, but I never lost faith in the process. I knew a lifetime of causes to unearth, including troubled emotions and relationships that I had buried for years. However, by continuing on and making the necessary changes to my lifestyle, including changing careers, reordering my priorities, and improving my diet, I reset my autoimmunity, and I wish the same for you as well. As a result, I live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life that I may not have found without it.
You can read more about my autoimmune disease recovery story here.
If you would like to discuss the services I offer to help reset autoimmunity, please book a free initial consultation here.
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