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: COVID-19, Medication Decisions, Supplements, Digestive Health, Hormone Health, Overall Health, Functional Medicine, Diagnosis Spotlights, and Research.

Episode 154: COVID-19 & Autoimmune Disease Update with Dr. Aly Cohen

Back in March, I recorded our first episode on the Coronavirus. Now, it’s time for an update. How are people with autoimmune disease faring? What’s the single biggest factor in recovery? What supplements and lifestyle choices support immune health? How do we navigate restrictions vs. reopening? And how do we support our mental health during the challenges of a long-term pandemic? My guest is Dr. Aly Cohen, an integrative rheumatologist who will be sharing the latest research with us.

Gender, Race, and Autoimmunity with Dr. Maggie Cadet

Episode 153: Gender, Race, and Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Maggie Cadet

78% of autoimmune patients are women, and some diagnoses are 2-3 times more common among women of color. When it comes to healthcare, ideally we all get the same treatment, but many people have experienced some form of bias in the doctor’s office. Research shows this leads to serious health consequences. How can we address a problem this big – both as patients who want to get the best care, and as a community that cares about excellent healthcare for all? My guest is Dr. Maggie Cadet, a rheumatologist who is passionate about eliminating disparities in healthcare.

Diagnosis Detective with Dr. William Mitchell

Episode 150: Diagnosis Detective with Dr. William Mitchell

There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases, and it takes an average of 4 years and 5 doctors to get an accurate diagnosis. I know many of you have been through this, or are going through this right now. Let me introduce Dr. William Mitchell, whom I call the Diagnosis Detective. He’s a naturopathic doctor who works in rheumatology. One of his passions is helping people cut through the chaos surrounding autoimmune diagnosis.

Loss of Oral Tolerance with Dr. Datis Karrazian | Phoenix Helix Podcast

Episode 147: Loss of Oral Tolerance with Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Why does food intolerance increase with autoimmune disease? And why are some people able to reintroduce foods successfully while other people struggle? In this episode, I speak with a leader in the autoimmune health community: Dr. Datis Kharrazian. He’s a clinician, researcher, author, and expert on this issue. He shares the root causes behind this loss of tolerance, as well as practical tips to heal and expand food tolerance again.

Wahls Protocol Research Update | Phoenix Helix Podcast

Episode 145: Wahls Protocol Research Update

Most of you are familiar with Dr. Terry Wahls. She’s a physician with multiple sclerosis who reversed her symptoms dramatically, going from a wheelchair to a bicycle after implementing diet and lifestyle changes. That program is now called The Wahls Protocol and has been the subject of multiple medical studies, proving its effectiveness for others as well. In this episode, we summarize all the research, from the very first study to the current clinical trial comparing the Wahls & Swank diets for patients with MS. We also talk about a future clinical trial which will compare the Wahls Protocol to medication.

Coronavirus & Autoimmune Disease with Andrea Nakayama | Phoenix Helix Podcast

Episode 144: Early Pandemic Podcast – Coronavirus & Autoimmune Disease with Andrea Nakayama

Note to listeners: This podcast was recorded early in the pandemic in March 2020. While the advice on diet, lifestyle, and mindset still applies, scientifically we didn’t have full knowledge of the pandemic. For more up-to-date information, listen to the following episodes: In Episode 154, we discuss what increases and decreases risk for a severe COVID-19 infection outcome for people with autoimmune disease. In Episode 175, we talk about Long COVID Syndrome. And in Episode 187, we answer questions about COVID-19 vaccines for people with autoimmune disease.

Episode 142: Osteoporosis & Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Amy Nett

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak and brittle, and it’s usually associated with aging. But it turns out that autoimmune disease increases our risk of getting this condition at a younger age. In this episode, we talk about why this is true and what we can do to prevent and reverse it. What tests are available? What treatments are helpful? What self-care steps are most effective for maintaining our bone health? My guest is functional medicine physician, Dr. Amy Nett. She answers these questions and more.

Autoimmunity & the Brain with Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Episode 140: Autoimmunity & the Brain with Donna Jackson Nakazawa

If you’ve ever experienced brain fog, anxiety, or mood issues alongside your autoimmune symptoms, you’re not alone. Doctors know that mental health issues often increase with an autoimmune diagnosis, and a new scientific discovery might explain why. There are cells in the brain called microglia that are actually part of the immune system. And just as our body’s immune system can go into overdrive and cause chronic inflammation with autoimmune disease, the same thing can happen in our brains. My guest is science journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa. Her latest book is called The Angel and The Assassin, and it’s all about these little brain cells and how they can help us or harm us.

CBD Oil and Autoimmune Disease | Phoenix Helix

CBD Oil and Autoimmune Disease

Can CBD oil alleviate autoimmune flares and symptoms? Can it sometimes harm instead of help? What does the research say? Are some brands more trustworthy than others? What’s the right dosage? In this article, I answer these questions and more.

Episode 137: Best Of – MTHFR with Dr. Ben Lynch

This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! Once you start researching alternative approaches to treating autoimmune disease, it isn’t long before you hear of a gene mutation that can be a root cause for chronic illness and also a healing stumbling block. It’s called MTHFR. This is a very complex topic, and it’s easy to misunderstand and make mistakes trying to treat it. Our goal today is to explain MTHFR clearly in layman’s terms, talk about how you can tell if this mutation is indeed impacting your own health, and help you find a qualified practitioner to guide treatment. My guest is Dr. Ben Lynch, a world-renowned expert on this topic. He’s the expert consulted by other experts.

Hashimoto's AIP Medical Study | Phoenix Helix

Episode 126: Hashimoto’s AIP Medical Study

I have some exciting research to share! It’s the first medical study looking at the paleo autoimmune protocol as an intervention for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The results were impressive! In this episode, Dr. Rob Abbott and Angie Alt (the research team) give us all the details.

Phoenix Helix Podcast Episode 122: Brain Fog with Dr. Tim Gerstmar | Phoenix Helix

Episode 122: Brain Fog with Dr. Tim Gerstmar

Do you ever feel like your brain isn’t working quite right – that you can’t remember things, or think clearly, or focus and make decisions? That simple tasks feel challenging, and complex tasks feel impossible? This cluster of symptoms is often called Brain Fog, because that’s what it feels like – that there’s a fog bank surrounding your brain, making everything more difficult. It’s also common to feel physically clumsy on brain fog days as well. In this podcast, we’re doing a deep dive into the root causes of brain fog, and how we can identify and treat them.

Episode 120: Scleroderma with Dr. Aly Cohen

In this podcast episode, we take a detailed look at Scleroderma. How does it differ from other autoimmune diseases, and how is it diagnosed? Can diet and lifestyle make a difference? What are the best supplements? Is medication always necessary, and how do you make that decision? My guest is integrative rheumatologist Dr. Aly Cohen. Her approach combines the wisdom of Western and Eastern Medicine together.

What’s the Difference Between Collagen and Gelatin?

Gelatin and collagen are highly recommended on a healing diet, but what makes them so special? And what’s the difference between the two? Are they interchangeable in recipes? Do they support health in the same way? I share all the details in this post.

Episode 119: Fatigue with Andrea Nakayama

Fatigue is a common side effect of autoimmune disease, but it can have many other root causes as well. For some people, it’s mild and manageable. For others, it can be disabling. In this episode, we take a detective’s perspective on fatigue. If symptoms are messengers, what is our fatigue trying to communicate about our own unique body? And how can we restore our vitality again? My guest is Andrea Nakayama, a world-renowned functional nutritionist, educator and speaker, whose mission is to change the way we do healthcare by empowering patients to reclaim ownership over their own health.

Episode 110: Stem Cell Research with Dr. Jeffrey Cohen

Stem cell research is an exciting field with great potential for people with autoimmune disease. When we see the headlines, it’s easy to believe a cure is already here, especially since some commercial clinics promise that. In today’s podcast, we separate the hope from the hype. We talk about current clinical trials and what they’re showing, the risks vs. benefits of these treatments, which autoimmune diseases are the focus of the studies, and what we still have to learn. My guest is Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, a physician and stem cell researcher who specializes in multiple sclerosis.

Episode 107: Research – The Truth Behind the Headlines with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

Here’s the deal – headlines are designed to grab our attention, and it’s not uncommon for reporters to simplify, exaggerate, or completely misrepresent a research study’s results. So, when we care about science and how our choices impact our health, how can we be sure we’re getting accurate information? Today, I’ve invited a research expert onto the podcast who many of you know and love: Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, also known as The Paleo Mom. She’s going to teach us how to critique a scientific study for quality, bias, and limits of proof. 

Episode 105: Perimenopause & Menopause with Dr. Lara Briden

There is a complex connection between hormone balance and autoimmune health. The more balanced our hormones, the more balanced our immune system (and vice versa). Over the years, I’ve dedicated many podcasts to this topic, and in this episode we’ll be focusing on the menopausal transition. While smooth for some, this time of life can be rocky for others, leading to sleep issues, mood swings, hot flashes, and autoimmune flares. I’m 49 years old and currently in this transition myself. My guest, Dr. Lara Briden, is a naturopathic doctor who is passionate about women’s health. We’ll be talking about diet, lifestyle, supplements, and bio-identical hormones – all strategies that can restore balance in this important time of life.

Episode 103: Fasting with Dr. Amy Nett

There are lots of different types of fasts: juice fasts, water fasts, bone broth fasts, detox cleanses, intermittent fasting, etc. When is fasting helpful vs. harmful? Why does one person feel better after fasting and someone else feel significantly worse? Can we predict this in advance? For people with autoimmune disease, is this something we should try or something we should avoid? My guest, Dr. Amy Nett, will be answering these questions and more. She’s a functional medicine physician and will be sharing the latest research.

Episode 102: Lupus with Dr. Daniel Lewis

In this podcast episode, we take a detailed look at Lupus. How does it differ from other autoimmune diseases, and how is it diagnosed? Can diet and lifestyle make a difference? What are the best supplements? Is medication always necessary, and how do you make that decision? My guest is integrative rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Lewis. He has over 25 years of experience combining the best that conventional, alternative, and nutritional medicine have to offer.

Episode 101: Heavy Metals with Dr. Christopher Shade

When you start researching alternative health protocols, you quickly run across information on heavy metal toxicity. In this podcast, we delve into this topic in detail. What are heavy metals anyway, and how can they impact autoimmune disease? Is treatment always a good idea, or can it sometimes harm instead of help? I have a wonderful guest to answer these questions and more. Dr. Christopher Shade has a PhD in Environmental Metals Chemistry, and he has trained doctors worldwide on the subject of heavy metals and the human detoxification system.

Episode 98: Gut Health with Dr. Michael Ruscio

How do we lay the foundation for a healthy gut, and therefore a healthy body? When diet alone isn’t enough, what’s the next step? Do you have to work with a healthcare practitioner, or are there things you can try at home? In this podcast, Dr. Michael Ruscio answers these questions and many more. He is a functional medicine clinician, educator and researcher, specializing in digestive and autoimmune health. He’s also the author of a new book: Healthy Gut Healthy You.

Episode 96: Liver Health with Dr. Alex Golden and Megan Blacksmith

Every day, our liver works hard on our behalf, and when it’s struggling, it can impact our health bodywide. Detoxing is all the rage, but the truth is, sometimes detox protocols can make you feel worse instead of better. Why is that? How can we support our liver naturally, without overwhelming it? And why is it essential to everything from hormone balance to autoimmune health? In this podcast, we’ll be answering these questions and more. My guests are Dr. Alex Golden and functional nutritionist Megan Blacksmith. They’re the women behind the website Zesty Ginger, and liver health is one of their specialties.

Episode 86: Best Of – Autoimmune Q&A with Dr. Datis Kharrazian

This is one of the most popular podcast episodes – for good reason! Dr. Kharrazian is one of the leading functional medicine practitioners in the field of autoimmune disease. In this information-packed episode, we cover a huge range of topics: (1) The 3 Stages of Autoimmunity, (2) The Role of Blood Sugar in Autoimmune Disease, (3) The Power of Stress and Our Emotional Demons, (4) How to Support our Regulatory Immune Cells and Suppress our Inflammatory Ones, (5) The Connection Between Leaky Gut and a Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier, (6) Harnessing the Power of the Vagus Nerve, (7) Chemical Intolerance and the Dangers of Chelation,  (8) How to Heal Food Sensitivities, and (9) His Top Recommended Tests and Supplements. 

Episode 83: Medical Study on the Paleo AIP for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are literally thousands of anecdotal stories into the benefit of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) as a treatment for autoimmune disease. But until recently, there was no scientific research to back up these claims. That changed with the publication of this study. 15 patients with active IBD (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) transitioned to the paleo autoimmune protocol. Result? 73% achieved remission. In this podcast, I interview Dr. Gauree Konijeti, gastroenterologist and lead researcher, and Angie Alt, the lead AIP coach for the group.

Episode 82: Healing Mistakes to Avoid with Chris Kresser

Mistakes: We’re human, and we all make them; it’s one of the ways we learn. But sometimes – if we’re lucky – we can learn from each other’s mistakes without having to make them ourselves. That’s our goal with this podcast. My guest, Chris Kresser, is one of the most respected voices in the paleo community. A functional medicine practitioner, world-class educator, and bestselling author, Chris highlights common autoimmune healing mistakes made by both patients and practitioners.

Episode 81: Anemia and Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Amy Nett

Why is anemia so common among people with autoimmune disease, and how does that impact our health and quality of life? What are the different types? How are they diagnosed? What are the common symptoms? And how are they treated? My guest, Dr. Amy Nett, will be answering these questions and more.

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