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“Before you examine the body of a patient, be patient to learn his story. For once you learn his story, you will also come to know his body.”
~ Suzy Kassem
The Short Answer
Yes, they exist, but they are a rare breed. I searched long and hard, scouring websites and directories, posting questions in numerous paleo autoimmune Facebook groups, polling my fellow autoimmune bloggers and friends, and came up with this short list. While the vast majority of autoimmune specialist MDs believe diet makes no difference and we are fooling ourselves to think otherwise, I found 25 doctors who are open to the paleo lifestyle. My hope is that they are the pioneers of a growing movement in medicine, where doctors will finally embrace the simple truth that what we eat, and how we live, affects how we feel.
What This List is Not
Many of us see functional medicine practitioners either alongside, or in place of, conventional autoimmune specialist MDs. Some examples are health and nutrition coaches, naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, alternative functional medicine practitioners, and even some MDs who specialize in functional or integrative medicine. They are valued members of our medical team, and you can find them relatively easily by searching the directories I’ve already published on this blog. The article I’m writing today, and the list I hope will grow, is a very different group of doctors.
My Goal with This List
People with autoimmune disease often still need to see an autoimmune specialist MD, even if they’re following the paleo diet and lifestyle. We might need monitoring of our condition, certain tests and procedures, and sometimes medication, because not everyone achieves a medication-free remission. The challenge, as patients, is having to face the doubts of these doctors when we try to explain the steps we are taking to reverse our autoimmune disease. Most rheumatologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, etc. respond by frightening us that we are taking great risks, pressuring us to take stronger medications, and shaming us for believing our diet and lifestyle choices matter. It makes for a very stressful medical experience.
My goal with this article is to create a growing list of the rare breed of autoimmune specialist MD, who can see beyond surgery and medication and understand that at the very least, diet and lifestyle can play a powerful complementary role in treating autoimmune disease. They don’t need to prescribe the paleo diet and lifestyle to their patients. They just need to be open to it, and not criticize the choice. If you know of a doctor like this who is not on my list, please share in the comments below. I’m hoping this rare group of autoimmune specialists will grow in numbers, as they see more and more patients improve through the paleo diet and lifestyle.
25+ Paleo-Friendly Autoimmune Specialist MDs
- Dr. Paul Howard, Rheumatologist in Scottsdale, AZ
- Dr. Melissa McNamara, Rheumatologist in San Ramon, CA
- Dr. Jeffrey Dunn, Neurologist in Stanford, CA
- Dr. Jerold Share, Endocrinologist in Washington, DC
- Dr. Keith Runyan, Nephrologist in St. Petersburg, FL
- Dr. Jessica Yoon, Dermatologist in Tallahassee, FL
- Dr. Roland Shepherd, Gastroenterologist in Tampa, FL
- Dr. Anne Szpindor, Immunologist in Oak Park, IL
- Dr. Timothy E. McAlindon, Rheumatologist in Boston, MA
- Dr. Ginette Hinds, Dermatologist in Baltimore, MD
- Dr. Robynne Chutkan, Gastroenterologist in Chevy Chase, MD
- Dr. James Dowd, Rheumatologist in Brighton, MI
- Dr. Carolyn Bowles, Rheumatologist in Edina, MN
- Dr. Kenneth Sharlin, Neurologist in Springfield, MO
- Dr. Singaravelu Jagadeesan, Neurologist in Cary, NC
- Dr. Brian Fay, Rheumatologist in Grand Island, NE
- Dr. Jennifer Elliott, Rheumatologist in Lincoln, NE
- Dr. Carmen Gota, Rheumatologist in Cleveland, OH
- Dr. Eric Serrano, Endocrinologist in Pickerington, OH
- Dr. Chad Potteiger, Gastroenterologist in Knoxville, TN
- Dr. Hien Tran, Endocrinologist in Austin, TX
- Dr. Doug Crumpler, Endocrinologist in Bryan, TX
- Dr. Nancy Scheinost, Rheumatologist in Bryan, TX
- Dr. Elizabeth Odstrcil, Gastroenterologist in Dallas, TX
- Dr. Dian Ginsberg, Gynecologist/PCOS Specialist in Houston, TX
- Dr. Kathleen Hands, Endocrinologist in San Antonio, TX
- Dr. Jeffery Feinstein, Rheumatologist in San Antonio, TX
- Dr. Kristin Bussey-Smith, Rheumatologist in San Antonio, TX
- Dr. John Huff, Rheumatologist in San Antonio, TX
- Dr. Rashel Haverkorn, Urologist/Interstitial Cystitis Specialist in San Antonio, TX
- Dr. Bikram Bal, Gastroenterologist in Farmville, VA
- Dr. Zachary Bush, Endocrinologist in Scottsville, VA
- Dr. Catherine Lee, Rheumatologist in Spokane, WA
- Dr. Kevin Lee, Endocrinologist in Brisbane QLD, Australia
- Dr. Daniel Lewis, Rheumatologist in Melbourne VIC, Australia
- Dr. Jessica Haussmann, Gastroenterologist in Calgary AB, Canada
- Dr. G. L. Morris, Rheumatologist in Calgary AB, Canada
- Dr. Kam Shojania, Rheumatologist in Vancouver BC, Canada
- Dr. Michal Piják, Rheumatologist in Bratislava, Slovakia
Before Recommending a Doctor For This List
Please read the “What This List is Not” section above. Functional Medicine and Integrative MDs are already listed in other directories. This list is specifically the rheumatologists, endocrinologists, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, etc. who are open to paleo as a complementary approach. If you know one of those, please share below.
Photo credit: Dr. Farouk via Flickr (creative commons).
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