The connection between gut health and autoimmune disease is very strong. 70% of our immune system lives in our gut. If we have inflammation in our digestive system, that’s going to cause inflammation in our immune system. This connection also goes both ways. If there’s inflammation and autoimmune activity in your body, that impacts digestion as well. Today, we’re going to troubleshoot some of the most common digestive issues, with the goal of supporting our health bodywide. My guest is Dr. Sruti Lam-Fletcher, a naturopath who specializes in digestive health. She’s also an autoimmune warrior herself so understands today’s topic both personally and professionally.
Autoimmune disease is complex, and while diet and lifestyle are powerful factors in improving health, sometimes they aren’t enough on their own. Below, I offer insights from both conventional and functional medical approaches. It’s not always an either/or choice. If you have a specific question, you can also browse this category by topic: Diagnosis Spotlights, Medication Decisions, Medical Tests, Functional Medicine, Supplements, Digestive Health, Hormone Health, Overall Health, Research, and COVID-19,
Autoimmune disease is complex. Whether we’re seeking a diagnosis, or trying to navigate the medical system after a diagnosis, neither is easy. Obstacles are common, and self-advocacy is often necessary. After 12 years living with rheumatoid arthritis, here are my top 15 tips for getting the healthcare we all need.
My goal with the Phoenix Helix Podcast is to help people with autoimmune disease thrive. Today’s episode is dedicated to our transgender listeners and the healthcare practitioners who serve them. We’ll be talking about the medical complexities that might arise from the intersection of gender-affirming treatment and autoimmune treatment. We’ll discuss the challenges transgender patients face when seeking medical help and not knowing if you will face medical discrimination. We’ll share tips for creating safe spaces within healthcare practices. We’re also going to talk about the stress-autoimmune connection and the special challenges facing transgender people, with advice for self-care and self-advocacy. I’m honored to have a panel of guests with me today. Mitch Hankins is a transgender man living with autoimmune disease and will be sharing his experience and advice with us. Dr. Aly Cohen is an integrative rheumatologist who will be sharing the medical perspective. And Dr. Shainna Ali is a mental health counselor, educator, and advocate. She’ll be sharing the psychological perspective.
I believe in being an empowered patient, and that means understanding the care we receive. Sometimes tests are ordered and interpreted by our doctors, but it feels like a foreign language that we don’t speak. Today’s podcast is part of my testing series. Prior episodes have covered thyroid tests, rheumatology tests, GI tests, and more. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into MRI’s and neurological antibodies. My guest is Dr. Ken Sharlin, an integrative neurologist who believes in a holistic approach to patient care. He is a licensed MD who is board certified in neurology. He’s also certified in functional medicine.
Ayurvedic Medicine is an ancient medical tradition with roots in India, which contains wisdom that still applies to our health in modern day. Today, we’re going to learn how it may help people with autoimmune disease. My guest is Dr. Akil Palanisamy. Ayurveda changed his life both personally and professionally. As a young man he developed a mystery illness that modern medicine couldn’t solve. His fatigue was so intense, he couldn’t sit up in a chair and had to drop out of medical school. It was Ayurvedic medicine that put him on the path to healing. Now, he is a Harvard-trained physician who practices integrative medicine, blending conventional medical expertise with the holistic approaches of functional medicine and Ayurveda. His latest book is called, The TIGER Protocol: An Integrative, 5-Step Program to Treat and Heal Your Autoimmunity.
We are more than our genes! Epigenetics is a field of science that studies what influences our genetic expression. These are the things that turn our genes on and off. Our body is dynamic and it’s changing all the time in response to our environment and daily choices. Epinutrients are the nutritional compounds that alter genetic expression in a positive direction. My guest, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, is a naturopathic doctor and clinical researcher, whose research focuses on the epigenetics of diet and lifestyle. Her book, Younger You, is a deep dive into the science of Epinutrients.
If you’re eating well but still have digestive issues, what do you do? Are there simple foods and drinks that can support digestion? When should you try a digestive enzyme supplement? And how do you choose a high-quality one? Can enzyme supplements expand food tolerance? Can they help digest gluten? I answer these questions and more in this blog post.
When it comes to chronic illness, Western Medicine can be very helpful, but it’s rarely enough on its own to restore a high quality of life. People with autoimmune disease do a lot of self-care, and we also seek help from other branches of medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient medical tradition that is still helping people today. Acupuncture is its most famous component, but TCM is a holistic approach to health that goes beyond the needles. Today, we’re going to learn how Traditional Chinese Medicine may help people with autoimmune disease. My guest is Dr. Tanya Lee. She is a naturopathic doctor who specializes in helping people with chronic illness, and TCM is one of her medical specialties.
Spring is a visually beautiful season. The earth comes alive, the trees start to bud, and flowers pop up everywhere. After a hard winter, that can be lovely to see. But it’s hard to enjoy if that same season brings sneezes, runny nose, watery eyes, and other uncomfortable symptoms. And while this episode is airing in the Spring, seasonal allergies can happen anytime of year. What makes someone prone to seasonal allergies? Is autoimmune disease a risk factor? How can we build a resilient immune system that’s less susceptible to allergies? And what are some tips if we’re suffering right now? We’ll be answering these questions and more in today’s episode. My guest is Dr. Heather Zwickey, an integrative immunologist and microbiologist. She loves teaching about the intersection between nutrition, immunology, the gut microbiome, and the gut-brain-immune axis.
Food sensitivities are a common and frustrating side effect of autoimmune disease. What’s happening in our immune systems when our body reacts negatively to a food? Do food sensitivity tests work? Can food sensitivities be healed? These are the questions we’ll be answering today. My guest is Dr. Alison Danby, a naturopath and functional medicine practitioner who specializes in helping people with autoimmune disease. She’s also an autoimmune warrior herself.
Many people with autoimmune disease struggle with constipation. It might be a result of physical changes to the body, a side effect of medication, or a shift in diet. In my prior career, I was a massage therapist for 15 years. I fell in love with abdominal massage back then, and it’s been part of my self-care ever since. In this article, you’ll find videos demonstrating three different styles of abdominal massage. Experiment to find the technique that works best for you.
This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! There’s a community of 38 trillion microorganisms living in and on our bodies, and most of them reside in our gut. That’s very close to the number of cells in the human body. By this definition, we are only 50% human. This is why gut health has such a huge impact on human health, and research in this area is exploding. What does the science say about the intersection between the gut microbiome and autoimmune health? Where can we apply that knowledge in our own lives? And what are some common myths and misconceptions that new research is starting to dispel? My guest is Dr. Lucy Mailing, a microbiome researcher and scholar of integrative gut health.
The modern scientific approach to medicine focuses on disease rather than wellness, it focuses on parts of the body instead of the whole, and tends to look at the patient separate from their life and the world in which they live. Traditional Indigenous medicine approaches health very differently, and that’s true for Indigenous traditions worldwide. They tend to embrace a holistic perspective, knowing that we are more than the sum of our parts, and that health is impacted by so much more than physiology. That said, modern medicine still has much to offer, but so does Indigenous medicine. Today, we’re going to focus on some of the Indigenous wisdom that might be missing from your own healthcare. My guest is Dr. Nicole Redvers, a naturopathic doctor, author, and Indigenous health scholar. She is a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation and has traveled the globe, studying and working with Indigenous communities around the world.
If you have an autoimmune disease that attacks the GI tract, these procedures are important for diagnosis and monitoring your health. They’re also used as screening tools for certain types of cancer and have become an important part of medical care. One of the goals of this podcast is to empower us as patients, helping us better understand the medical care we receive. In this episode, we discuss what these procedures are, how to prepare ourselves mentally and physically beforehand, and how best to recover afterward. My guest today is Dr. Marvin Singh. He’s an MD who is board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and integrative medicine. In addition to performing conventional medical procedures like the ones we’ll be discussing today, he’s also a strong believer in the power of diet and lifestyle to optimize health.
Vitamin D is essential to immune system regulation, which is why it’s a commonly recommended supplement for people with autoimmune disease. Can we get all the vitamin D we need from sunshine? What about food? If we need a supplement, how do we choose a high-quality one? What’s the optimal level of vitamin D in our bodies? I dive into the research to answer these questions and more.
Food is the foundation of autoimmune health, but there are a few nutrients that are difficult to get through food, and magnesium is one of those. For that reason, it’s a supplement many doctors recommend, and many autoimmune warriors swear by. So, I’m dedicating today’s podcast to magnesium. Why is it so essential? What roles does it play in our body? And how might magnesium (or magnesium deficiency) impact autoimmune health? My guest today is Dr. Guillermo Ruiz, a naturopathic doctor, researcher, and autoimmune expert.
If you get referred to a rheumatologist and they suspect autoimmune disease, there’s a list of tests they run as part of the diagnosis process. If you’re diagnosed with autoimmune disease, there are specific tests that help monitor disease activity and also your response to treatments. What are these tests, and what does each one measure? How important are they in the diagnosis and monitoring process? These are the questions we’ll be answering today. I believe in being an empowered patient, and part of that is clearly understanding the medical care we receive. My guest is Dr. Anna Lafian, an integrative rheumatologist who believes in a holistic approach to patient care.
When we think of skin, we usually think of the outside of the body, but our skin reflects what’s happening inside our body as well. It’s rare for problems to be isolated to the skin alone. Anyone with a skin-related autoimmune disease knows this. But it’s also true for any skin problem, including acne, rashes, eczema, rosacea, and others. They’re all signals from the skin that something is unbalanced within the body. We’ve talked about the importance of gut health many times on this podcast. It won’t surprise you to know that it has a major impact on skin health as well. We’re doing a deep dive into the gut-skin connection today. My guest is Dr. Shayna Peter, a holistic dermatologist who uses a root cause approach to heal skin from the inside out. She is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, specializing in dermatology and functional medicine.
Two of the most common autoimmune diagnoses are Hashimoto’s Disease and Graves’ disease, and they both involve the thyroid. Conventional doctors often run a simple thyroid test as part of an annual physical. The problem is that it doesn’t catch every thyroid problem. Functional medicine physicians run a complete thyroid panel, which gives a more expansive picture, but it’s not always a clear picture. Today, we’re going to go over what each test measures and how to interpret your results. My guest is Dr. Datis Kharrazian, an award-winning researcher, clinician, author, and educator. Many of you are familiar with his bestselling book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? He has a new online class called Hashimoto’s: Solving the Puzzle.
This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! Autoimmune health depends on blood sugar balance. When our blood sugar gets too high, drops too low, or swings wildly between these extremes, it increases inflammation in our body. If this happens regularly, it leads to chronic inflammation. In today’s episode, we’ll be sharing diet, lifestyle, and functional medicine tips for achieving and maintaining blood sugar balance. My guest is Dr. Jeff Horacek, a functional medicine physician with over 20 years of experience. Blood sugar is one of his medical specialties.
Dr. Aly Cohen is an integrative rheumatologist who blends both conventional and holistic approaches in her medical practice. She’s been a great resource for accurate coronavirus information since the pandemic began. I interviewed her in Episode 154 about COVID-19 infections among people with autoimmune disease and what factors increased vs. decreased our risk. I invited her back onto the podcast today to talk about vaccines. This is a topic many of you requested when the vaccines first became available in early 2021. At that time, there was no data on people with autoimmune disease because we weren’t included in the initial research studies. Now, enough people have been vaccinated that the data is available, and we’ll be sharing it with you today.
I have two friends who were diagnosed with autoimmune disease through a referral from their ophthalmologist. Their first symptoms appeared in their eyes. Across diagnoses, this is common. Eye pain, dryness, swelling, inflammation, vision loss, and double vision – almost every autoimmune diagnosis can include eye symptoms. This is why an ophthalmologist is an important person to have on our healthcare team. Today, we’re lucky enough to have an integrative ophthalmologist on the podcast. Dr. Rani Banik is a board-certified neuro-ophthalmologist with over 20 years of medical experience as a clinician, educator, and researcher. She also has specialized training in functional medicine and treats her patients from a holistic perspective.
Inflammation is a root cause for most chronic disease and it’s a major player in autoimmune disease. That’s why most doctors track inflammation on blood tests, because it often corresponds to autoimmune activity. Many patients find anti-inflammatory supplements helpful. Which ones have the most science behind them? How do they each work in our bodies to reduce inflammation? And how can you tell if one might be helpful for you? These are the questions we’ll be answering today, and we’re focusing on three popular supplements: fish oil, curcumin, and quercetin. My guest is Dr. Amy Nett. She’s a medical doctor whose specialty is functional and integrative medicine, and many of her patients have autoimmune disease.
Vitamin D is one of the most commonly recommended supplements for people with autoimmune disease, because it’s essential to immune system regulation. How do you know if you’re deficient? When is sunshine the best source, and when is supplementing a better option? Can you take too much vitamin D? We’ll be answering these questions and more in today’s podcast. My guest is Dr. William Mitchell, a naturopathic doctor whose expertise is autoimmune disease.
Some people survive a COVID-19 infection but don’t fully recover. How common is this outcome? What types of symptoms do people experience? Do we know why this is happening? How can we treat it? My guest is Chris Kresser, a top clinician and educator in the field of functional medicine. In today’s podcast, he answers these questions and more.
Turmeric tops the list of medicinal foods for good reason. It’s anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, immune-modulating, promotes gut health, and protects all our major organs. There are also studies that show it can reduce autoimmune disease activity and help us achieve and maintain remission. Yet nothing in life is easy, and turmeric comes with a challenge: it’s hard for our bodies to absorb. That’s why supplements use special techniques to increase the bioavailability. Can we also boost the health benefits in the recipes we cook at home? When it comes to supplements, which ones are the best? I answer these questions and more.