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Reversing Autoimmune Disease by Healing Adrenal Fatigue

There is no cure for autoimmunity, but with the right holistic support, it is possible to reverse the symptoms of autoimmune disease by healing the stress response dysfunction..


Dr. Andrew Neville


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If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you may have been told there isn’t a cure. While it is true that there isn’t a pharmaceutical medication that will cure an autoimmune condition, with the right holistic support, it is possible to reverse the symptoms and heal.

Standard vs. Holistic Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

Standard medical treatment for autoimmune conditions typically consists of anti-inflammatories, pain management, and steroid prescriptions depending on the patient’s specific needs. These interventions can often be helpful for symptom management, but they do come with risks and side effects. 

Holistic interventions are not only more effective, they don’t come with a warning label and they have the ability to drastically improve patient’s quality of life long term. The secret to healing autoimmune conditions is to calm the immune response.

Why Doctors Blame Leaky Gut for Autoimmune Disease

Patients that have already attempted the holistic route to healing may have had their autoimmune disorder blamed on leaky gut by a well-intentioned practitioner. This is a common misconception about autoimmune conditions. While leaky gut is often found alongside diagnosed autoimmune conditions, it is also the result of an underlying condition, not the cause. 

This is important to note because treating leaky gut without treating the underlying dysfunction will not resolve an autoimmune disorder. You can read more about why autoimmune conditions are often connected to gut disorders and why treating autoimmune conditions holistically is also successful for healing other symptoms.

What Is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease is where your immune system starts attacking your body’s own tissue. This can happen to any part or any tissue in the body: your joints, skin, thyroid gland, etc. We have a different name for each of these autoimmune diseases depending on what tissue is being attacked, but the underlying problem is the same in all of them.

Autoimmune Disease List:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – Attack of the thyroid tissue that results in hypothyroidism
  • Grave’s Disease – Attack of the thyroid tissue that results in  hyperthyroidism  
  • Addison’s Disease – Attack of the adrenal cortex that results in underactive adrenal glands ·  
  • Psoriasis – Attack of skin cells, resulting in inflamed patches of skin
  • Sjögren Syndrome – Attack of tear- and saliva-producing glands
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Attack of the joints and surrounding tissues
  • Lupus – Affects multiple tissues throughout the body
  • Celiac Disease – Reactivity to gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine
  • Multiple Sclerosis – Attack of the myelin sheath in the body, damaging nerves of the brain and spinal cord 

Why Do Autoimmune Diseases Occur? 

Autoimmune disease is a problem with a misfiring immune system. Our immune systems are designed to protect us from dangerous germs that can harm us. Germs are detected and we then create “antibodies” to the germ. These are like a little clone army sent out into the blood supply looking for other germs that look like that original one. This helps us to prevent a full on infection in the future: If this germ comes back, we already have an army in waiting.

In autoimmune disease, our immune system has made a mistake and detected our body’s normal tissue as “foreign” or dangerous. Then, in an effort to protect us it creates an army against our own tissue: skin, joint, thyroid, etc. This army then wages war against our body’s tissue, which is always there of course, creating a constant full on immune attack against itself. This leads to inflammation, pain, tissue damage and more.

Adrenal Fatigue’s Role in Autoimmune Disease 

The autoimmune story is a familiar one to us, and most have the same underlying cause. A trigger happy immune system misidentifying threats. 


What controls your immune system? 

Interestingly, the answer is: our stress response. The balance between stress physiology and relaxation physiology tells our immune system (and other systems) how to behave. I have never had a patient with an autoimmune disease NOT have an underlying Adrenal Dysfunction at the root cause. We have to address both the immune system AND adrenals to heal.

What Conventional Doctors Do Wrong

Conventional medicine approaches all autoimmune diseases the same way: suppress the immune system with powerful steroids or immuno-suppressive drugs. They do this without any attention to the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease. Unfortunately, oftentimes the treatment can be worse than the disease.

Suppression of our immune system is a slippery slope. Our immune systems should not and do not need to be suppressed. They need to be regulated. They have a very important function to serve in protecting our health. The first step to regulating our immune system is addressing our stress response system as a whole. 

How to Heal the Stress Response System Dysfunction

Under stress, our adrenals glands produce and disperse stress hormones throughout our bodies. This is a positive response unless our stress response system has been continuously overworked. Through a variety of mechanisms, an overworked stress response system influences the immune system negatively, causing it to make more mistakes, to correct less of these mistakes and to make it more prone to creating massive antibody clone armies.

Stressors in our society are ever growing so it is no wonder autoimmune disorders are running rampant. Unfortunately, we can’t send our stress response systems to an island to hang out in a hammock until they recover. But, we can support them in healing by managing stressors where we can and supporting the nerves, hormones, and limbic system simultaneously. It’s these three arms that make up the stress response system.

Supporting, not suppressing will give the immune system the opportunity to calm down. A supported stress response system leads to a regulated immune system, true relief from symptoms occurs and quality of life is restored. 


Dr. Andrew Neville


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