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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Autoimmune Diseases and Naturopathic Medicine

Dec 30, 2014 06:50PM ● By Dr. DeeAnn G. Saber

Dr. DeeAnn G. Saber

Autoimmune means the body has developed molecules or particles of attack against its own body parts. Why this happens scientists are still trying to figure out, but what one does about autoimmune issues that is where a naturopathic doctor can help.

We all make life changes over time; for instance, by slowly taking gluten out of our diets if we have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. And we become avid label readers. This means most boxed or pre-packaged foods are out. Gluten itself is not all bad, but if we consider it is a pesticide-sprayed product (unless we eat strictly organic) that is a monoculture crop grown on nutrient-depleted soil, then it is difficult for our bodies to recognize this as real food.

Also, the gluten molecule is similar enough in size and shape to the thyroid antibodies that gluten feeds the attack that is messing up a person’s thyroid. So often, when we go off gluten (if we have Hashimoto’s) our autoantibodies go down significantly. After taking out all gluten, checking supplement and medications labels, as well as spices and condiments, usually we feel better, lose that bloated feeling and our gut may work better.

Of course testing for food allergies or sensitivities is often justified, because then we know exactly what is causing the issues. Food allergies can be severe, such as swelling of eyes, throat and hands, or mild, such as brain fog, gut discomfort and anemia, or may even show up as infertility, mental fatigue, depression and hyperactivity. Remember that if we go gluten-free not to just switch to all gluten-free products, because even “safe” bread and cereal products still contain lots of carbohydrates. Just like sugar, it’s best to keep carbs at a minimum.

Next we add in local, seasonal, fresh, organic produce instead of pesticide-sprayed produce. (visit Think about a ratio of 75 percent produce to 25 percent protein. Next, we make a concerted effort to drink clean, filtered water; approximately half our body weight in ounces daily.

Then, we can choose to be happy with ourself and our life, or begin the work necessary to get happy. Do something that brings joy more regularly and has meaning. Also get enough sleep. Remember that sleep deprivation is a proven torture method. Sleep is vital because 90 percent of all our internal systems reset themselves at night. Get into a regular bedtime routine, start some soothing rituals to help fall into a restful deep sleep and try to get to bed and get up about the same time each day. 

After all that, we should consider looking at our systems through appropriate testing to see if we have any nutritional deficiencies that are getting in our way of feeling 100 percent great—or find out through a simple blood test if we have any other autoimmune concerns. Of course, each person is treated individually; there is no one size that fits all, so it’s best to get a full evaluation from a qualified practitioner if there are any concerns about autoimmune disorders.

DeeAnn G. Saber, NMD, is part of WellnessFirst!, a collaborative, holistic community of practitioners in Tucson dedicated to personal integrity, professionalism and service. Contact her at 520-209-1755 or See ad page 36.