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Autoimmune Disease and the True Underlying Causes


Reviewed by Garrett Seibold, DO of Forum Health Utah


Having an autoimmune condition can be frustrating, especially when conventional medicine lacks the correct treatment for autoimmune disease and symptoms. If you are fed up by the conventional approach to your health and well-being, know that there is another way! You can treat autoimmune disease, and even reverse your condition!

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Just like the name suggests, it is a disease of the immune system that attacks your own tissues. For example the autoimmune thyroid condition, Hashimoto’s,  is a condition where your immune system is attacking your thyroid. Other areas that can be affected are your skin, brain, intestines, or other organs. No matter what tissues are being compromised, it all comes down to your immune system.


This means that in order to get well, we have to get your immune system healthy first.


By addressing and treating the immune system, we have helped hundreds of people get better. I see people everyday who have been through it all. They’ve done tests with their primary doctor, have seen several specialists, had more tests etc. But it all comes back inconclusive. And they’re frustrated.


The current medical system is not designed to help those with autoimmune disease, instead they are treated as diseases of particular organs. For example, if you have diabetes or thyroid problems you are referred to an endocrinologist. If you experience digestive problems, celiac, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, you are referred to a gastroenterologist. If you have psoriasis or other skin conditions you are to see a dermatologist. If you have multiple autoimmune conditions you will have to see several of these specialists, who will more than likely prescribe different medications. Doesn’t make much sense, does it.


Conventional Doctor’s may tell you that there is no cure for autoimmune disease, which is true, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to manage symptoms. We’re not talking about covering up symptoms with harsh medications which can suppress the immune system making things worse. Medications may help reduce symptoms temporarily but may cause unwanted side effects such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression.

What Are You Supposed To Do?

As functional medicine practitioners, we see the body as a whole and help people address the underlying issue (an unhealthy immune system). We focus to treatments that strengthen the immune system and get to the root of the problem. We’ve successfully helped hundreds of people to be symptom free and reduce or get off harsh medications.

Here are some of the most common underlying conditions that can contribute to autoimmune disease:

  • Gluten intolerance – If you have an autoimmune disease, it is essential to remove gluten from your diet. Gluten is highly inflammatory which just adds stress to your immune system.

  • Leaky Gut – This condition results in increased intestinal permeability. This leads to systemic inflammation due to undigested food proteins and bacterial toxins passing through the damaged protective gut lining causing an immune response.

  • Imbalanced microbiome – Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut” and I 100% believe that to be true. 70-80% of your immune system is located in the gut. This means the health of your microbiome controls your immune system which is also connected to the health of your brain and hormones too.

  • Infections – Infections temporarily decrease our immune system and aren’t an issue if you quickly recover. However a chronic, silent, underlying infection can and will drain your body of nutrients and energy resulting in a weakened immune system. If you experience minor but frequent colds, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. To rule this out we run extensive blood work that helps reveal any sort of hidden infection.

  • Stress – Chronic stress has many ill effects on your health, one of them being your immune system. Research has shown that chronic stress can in fact be a trigger for autoimmune disease. A rough or stressful time in your life can set off this disease. For example, being a caregiver to a parent or sick child, the loss of a loved one, or a divorce can weaken your immune system leading to an autoimmune response.

Using a Functional Medicine Approach, You Can Live a Vibrant Life and Manage Autoimmune Disease Symptoms

Comprehensive Autoimmune Testing

Advanced testing for autoimmune diseases is crucial for several reasons. Traditional tests often focus on detecting specific antibodies, proteins or inflammation markers associated with immunity which may not provide a complete picture of the underlying causes or specific triggers.  


Functional medicine, however, takes a holistic approach using a variety of tests to assess not only the presence of autoimmune markers but also to evaluate overall health and identify underlying imbalances. These tests may include assessments of hormone levels, digestive function, nutrient deficiencies, genetic factors, and environmental toxin exposure, among others. 

Treatment for Autoimmunity

Instead of just managing symptoms and suppressing the immune response with medications like immunosuppressants, functional and integrative medicine seeks to reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and restore balance to the body. 


At Forum Health, our providers look at the body as a whole system and understand how genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environmental exposures, can influence immune function and contribute to autoimmune conditions.  


Lifestyle therapies play a crucial role in reducing inflammation, which is often at the root of autoimmune diseases. These can include: 


  • Dietary modifications 
  • Detoxification  
  • Gut health protocol  
  • Targeted supplementation  
  • Stress management 


These lifestyle interventions can help improve immune function, decrease symptoms and reduce the risk of autoimmune flare-ups. 

Ready to overcome the symptoms of autoimmune disease and get back to living with vibrant health?

 Schedule your discovery call today.