What Really Causes Autoimmune Disease | Dr. Todd LePine on The Doctor’s Farmacy

Introduction

Dr. Todd LePine (@digitaldoc69) is a board-certified physician and leader in functional medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Todd LePine discuss the underlying causes of autoimmune disease and take a deep dive into lupus.

Host: Mark Hyman, MD (@drmarkhyman

Key Takeaways

  • Autoimmune diseases affect 80 million Americans – more than those affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined
  • Preemptive, personalized medicine is the way to go
  • Functional medicine seeks to treat the causes of disease, not the symptom
  • Five main triggers of autoimmune disease are toxins, infections, poor microbiome health, allergens/poor diet, and stress
  • On occasion Epstein Barr virus can reactivate and stimulate the immune system to react, triggering autoimmune conditions
  • Lupus is 9x more prevalent in women versus men, possibly because of dysfunction in the estrogen detoxification pathway

Functional Medicine Checklist for Autoimmune Disease

  • Does the patient have gluten intolerance?
  • Does the patient have Epstein Barr (virus that causes mono)?
  • What is the level of stress exposure? Stress allows viruses to emerge 
  • Five main triggers of autoimmune disease are toxins, infections, poor microbiome health, allergens/poor diet, and stress
  • How do you activate the body’s own immune response to fight the virus and infection?
  • Check all hormones and metabolites of hormones

Epstein Barr Virus and Relationships to Autoimmune Diseases

  • About 70-80% of the population has Epstein Barr but most will clear it naturally and it remains latent in the body 
  • Sometimes, the Epstein Barr virus can reactivate and stimulate the immune system to react
  • In medical literature, Epstein Barr is associated with multiple autoimmune conditions such as lupus, ulcerative colitis, Type I diabetes, etc.
  • Important to conduct PCR testing of Epstein Barr virus to assess DNA of virus in blood and positive antibodies

Lupus: Definition, Triggers, Treatments

  • Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain throughout the body as well as photosensitivity and other adverse side effects
  • Lupus is about 9 times more prevalent in women versus men
  • Higher rates in women partly attributed to estrogen detoxification pathway
  • Some women have trouble metabolizing estrogen which then goes down a toxic pathway that damages DNA
  • Lupus triggers: Epstein Barr flare up, leaky gut,and foods high in lectins (such as nightshades) trigger an immune response in some individuals
  • Traditional medicine treats lupus with steroids and other immune-suppressing drugs with significant side effects
  • Functional medicine treatments for lupus symptoms:
  • Administer ozone (high dose oxygen)  to activate the body’s own anti-inflammatory mechanisms
  • Medicinal mushrooms, turkey tail, and lysine may provide some relief
  • Prescribe low dose Naltrexone which is labeled for opiate overdose but also modulates the immune system by triggering the production of more endorphins
  • Prescribe Valtrex (antiviral) for Epstein Barr treatment
  • IV Vitamin C at doses of 25-50g has been shown to be very effective for Epstein Barr virus
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Notes By Maryann

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