Autoimmune, gut and thyroid
We are seeing an increasing number of patients struggling with “mystery illnesses” sometimes seriously incapacitating, sometimes not much more than a sense of just not being right. Often the label of autoimmune diseases allows a diagnosis but is not very helpful in terms of regaining health.
Autoimmune diseases are defined as diseases where the body’s immune system starts to attack itself. As a practitioner for many years I am amazed by the body’s natural ability and inherent tendency to want to heal, and as such the concept of the body attacking itself sits uneasily with me.
My own view is that we are still very limited in our knowledge of the Epstein Barr Virus, and I expect in the next few years we will come to appreciate the full extent of the impact this ever evolving life time virus can have on our health if our immune systems are not able to keep it under check. It is a virus that mutates over time and can burrow deep into the organs and spine, creating mayhem not only through the damage it does but also from the toxins it creates.
Maintaining a strong immune system starts in the gut and a stool test is a great way of finding out what is going on, combine that with a full blood profile and you have a really good insight into what is going on in the body. As functional medicine practitioners we are not just looking for disease, rather we are looking for signals of early imbalance which if left untreated will create a cascade and possibly ill health later. If ill health is already present then the information will lead us to understand the whys and therefore the route to a cure rather than just medicating symptoms.
The thyroid gland is often involved as part of a pattern of gut, hormone, thyroid and metabolism imbalance and in my experience needs not to be considered in isolation. Blood tests in the NHS are rarely comprehensive enough and don’t look at autoimmune thyroiditis such as Hashimotos or Graves disease. We always conduct a full thyroid panel if symptoms suggest it would be helpful. If results are inconclusive but the symptoms of thyroid imbalance present then we will look more closely at the holy trinity of metabolism, thyroid and hormones. I work closely with a senior Endocrinologist who is also a functional medicine practitioner to whom I refer the more complex cases.
Where gut problems are suggested I would always recommend a stool test as they allow us to look at parasites, viruses, leaky gut, beneficial bacteria, opportunistic bacteria, how the pancreas, colon and bowel is functioning, digestion of fats, inflammation and much more. We treat leaky gut, food sensitivities, celiac, crohns, IBS, IBD, colitis, diverticulitis, irritable gut, gastritis, acid reflux and Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
We can help with autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and shogrens, polymyalgia.
We offer a wide range of testing and a private phlebotomy service.