The current conventional medical model for the treatment of autoimmunity is focused on immune suppression or the use of biological agents like Humira™. Humira is a biological drug that blocks the effects of a specific inflammatory molecule in our bodies. Immune suppressive drugs like prednisone or non-steriodal anti-inflammatory medications are also typically used along with chemical therapy treatments like methotrexate or DMARDS like plaquenil. None of these treatments are necessarily bad on a short-term basis, but should really not be used long-term.
The same general approach is used for neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The disappointing thing is that the treatments for these conditions are not even close to as targeted as what treatments are now available for autoimmune diseases. Treatments for PD, MS and Alzheimer’s currently only try to control symptoms and do not manipulate the progression of disease or reverse the damage that is occurring in these conditions, with the exception of MS, which has target medications that are known to not be that effective.
Functional medicine does not necessarily exclude the short-term use of these medications to keep a person safe from the effects of their own immune system or to manage symptoms. What functional medicine does, in parallel to these treatments, is find the mechanistic causes of the autoimmune or neurological disease, eliminate the proposed triggers, including foods, environmental agents, and chronic infections in our bodies. A functional medicine approach may be used in parallel with conventional medicine.
I have personally collaborated with rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, internists, pediatricians and oncologists in the treatment of multiple chronic health conditions with a focus on what I do and not initially altering the treatment of conventional medicine. This is why there is really nothing to loss, using a knowledgable functional medicine doctor, along with the conventional medical model.
Once we can identify and reduce/eliminate some of the cross-reactive triggers then we manipulate the immune system to stop damaging the body. This often occurs naturally, but occasionally requires the use of immune modulating treatments like vitamin D regulators, CBD, Low Dose Naltrexone, certain plant compounds and very specific probiotics.
As mentioned, for autoimmune conditions, all of this may be done along side conventional treatment, if that is what a person prefers, or may be offered as an alternative to conventional treatment for cases that are medically under control and in patients that are safe. For neurological conditions such as MS, PD and Alzheimer’s Disease functional medicine is critical as the treatments offered are not slowing the progression of disease at all.
Don’t take my word for it! Further reading may include the works of Dr Mark Hyman, Dr Amy Myers, and Dr Tom O’Bryans. A complete cure is out there!