advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Overcoming Autoimmune Disorders?

My 16-year-old son seems plagued with autoimmune diseases. At age 13 he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, then with chronic urticaria, and now with Hashimoto's thyroid disease. He is on many medications. Is there any other way we can help him to manage all of this?

A
Answer (Published 6/14/2004)

I'm sorry to hear that your son has been challenged by so many autoimmune conditions. Myasthenia gravis is a chronic neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness that worsens during activity and improves with rest. The disorder can affect facial muscles (including eye and eyelid movement), chewing, talking, and swallowing. It occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that attack or destroy receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Like other autoimmune diseases, myasthenia gravis can go into remission temporarily, sometimes for long periods of time.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Immune Health - Do you know which vitamins to take? Find out what is recommended for your optimum health with your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Profile.

Urticaria is the medical term for hives, which can become chronic. Hives develop when the body releases, histamine, a regulatory chemical that dilates blood vessel walls and allows fluids to leak into surrounding tissues, which causes swelling and itching. This can happen as a result of an allergic reaction or might be an immune system reaction to components of skin.

Hashimoto's thyroid disease is the result of an immune system attack on the thyroid gland, causing damage that interferes with the normal production of thyroid hormones. Once diagnosed, the disorder can be treated with replacement thyroid hormones.

Because autoimmune diseases tend to flare up in response to emotional ups and downs, encourage your son to try some form of mind/body treatment - hypnosis may be especially helpful. Psychotherapy, biofeedback and guided imagery are also good options. You might try consulting a practitioner of homeopathy or Chinese medicine to get at the underlying problem. In addition, the following dietary changes may help:

  • Reduce protein intake to 10 percent of total calories; replace animal protein as much as possible with plant protein.
  • Eliminate milk and milk products (substitute other calcium sources).
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables (make sure that they are organically grown).
  • Eliminate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils, all foods (such as deep-fried foods) that might contain trans-fatty acids. Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main fat.
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Take ginger (start with one capsule twice a day). Turmeric can also be helpful, follow the dosage directions on the package.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here