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Autoimmune Disease: Why Your Conventional Medicine Approach is Not Helping You with Mary Scalf, PA-C

Autoimmune Disease: Why Your Conventional Medicine Approach is Not Helping You

If you suffer from an autoimmunedisease, have the limitations of conventional medicine become frustrating for you?

With a background in Rheumatology, I’ve seen firsthand that conventional medicine often prescribed powerful immune-suppressing medication to autoimmune patients rather than searching for the root causes. I wanted to help my patients achieve better results, so I shifted my focus to apply a functional medicine approach instead. This allows me to help my patients get to the root causes of their autoimmunedisease, address underlying inflammation in the body, and begin to see life-changing results.

In the video I discuss what’s wrong with conventional approaches for treating autoimmune disease, while showing how we treat our patients at Maxwell Clinic.

Stop feeling discouraged by your auto-immune diagnosis; start being hopeful in knowing there is a path towards better health through functional medicine.

Understanding Autoimmune Diseases and Treatment Options

Autoimmune diseases are a complex group of conditions where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. These diseases can affect various organs and systems in the body, leading to a wide range of symptoms and health challenges. In this blog, we will explore the intricacies of autoimmune diseases, treatment options, and the importance of addressing underlying factors.

Autoimmune Diseases: A Growing Concern

Autoimmune diseases encompass a diverse array of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriatic arthritis, and uveitis, among others. These conditions share a common feature: the immune system’s inability to distinguish between foreign invaders (such as viruses and bacteria) and the body’s own cells. As a result, it attacks healthy tissues, causing inflammation and damage.

One commonly discussed autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the joints, causing pain, stiffness, and, if left untreated, joint deformities. Another autoimmune condition is multiple sclerosis (MS), which affects the central nervous system, leading to a range of neurological symptoms.

The Role of Trauma

Addressing underlying traumas, both physical and emotional, is essential in managing autoimmune conditions. Trauma can contribute to chronic diseases by affecting the body’s stress response and immune function. Chronic stress can lead to immune dysregulation, making it more challenging for the body to maintain balance and fight off autoimmune responses.

Healing past traumas can be a key component of managing autoimmune diseases. Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness practices, and trauma-focused therapy can help individuals address and process past traumas. By addressing these issues, patients may experience a reduction in symptoms and an improved quality of life.

Medications and Autoimmune Diseases

In the conventional medical approach to autoimmune diseases, medications are often prescribed to manage symptoms and reduce inflammation. Common medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate. These medications can provide relief from pain and inflammation but may come with side effects.

It’s important to note that individuals taking multiple prescription medications may accumulate toxins in their bodies over time. Some medications can affect liver function, leading to inflammation or other complications. Therefore, it’s crucial for patients to work closely with their healthcare providers to monitor their medication usage and assess potential side effects.

The Impact of Environmental Toxins

Environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins and heavy metals, can play a significant role in autoimmune diseases. For example, heavy metals like cadmium and mercury can contribute to immune dysregulation and autoimmunity. Cigarette smoking, which contains cadmium, is associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Other environmental toxins, including pesticides and mold, can also impact immune function. These toxins may contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmune conditions. Identifying and addressing these environmental factors is crucial in managing autoimmune diseases effectively.

The Importance of Detoxification

Detoxification is a natural process in the body that helps eliminate toxins and waste products. The liver and kidneys are primarily responsible for detoxifying the bloodstream. However, in some cases, individuals may benefit from supporting their body’s detoxification processes.

Proper hydration, regular exercise, and a balanced diet rich in antioxidants can aid in detoxification. Drinking an adequate amount of water (60-80 ounces per day for most individuals) helps flush toxins from the body. Exercise not only supports overall health but also promotes sweating, another way the body eliminates toxins.

In some cases, specialized detox protocols may be recommended based on an individual’s specific toxin exposure and health history. These protocols can include dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and therapies designed to enhance detoxification pathways in the body.


Autoimmune diseases are complex conditions that require a comprehensive approach to treatment. While medications can provide relief from symptoms, addressing underlying factors such as trauma, environmental toxins, and detoxification is crucial for managing these conditions effectively. Patients should work closely with healthcare providers who understand the intricate nature of autoimmune diseases and can tailor treatment plans to their individual needs.

By taking a holistic approach that considers the whole person, including their physical, emotional, and environmental health, individuals with autoimmune diseases can improve their quality of life and potentially reduce the need for aggressive medication regimens.

It’s essential to remember that autoimmune diseases are manageable, and many patients can lead fulfilling lives with the right combination of treatments and lifestyle modifications. If you or someone you know is living with an autoimmune condition, seek the guidance of healthcare professionals experienced in functional medicine who can help you navigate the complexities of these diseases.

Are you ready to take charge of your health? Schedule your free 20-minute discovery call with our New Patient Coordinator to see how you can become a patient at MaxWell Clinic and start your healing journey today.

hi i’m so glad everyone is joining me i’m gonna wait a little bit as more
people log on and enter so
i love seeing the names here that i recognize
you guys are amazing wow i have such sweet patients here
thank you thank you guys um sometimes i don’t recognize so yay
um i am so glad you are all here today
and i i’m so glad you all are here today and i
am really passionate about this topic so i want to welcome you to this week’s webinar
and i just want to go over some housekeeping rules uh at the top of this so
uh one thing to note is that you will be on mute during this time
also uh if you have any questions for me please drop them into the q a and there will be a time at the end of this
discussion which i will address your questions so also if the internet goes down please
bear with us we will get that back up and running hopefully within five to ten minutes so
all right so again welcome i am mary scalf i’m a
physician assistant here at the maxwell clinic i have been here for nearly three years
what you may not know about me is that i started my career in rheumatology
mythology is especially specialty largely dedicated to the treatment of autoimmune diseases
specifically like rheumatoid arthritis lupus psoriatic arthritis
just to name a few basically if it involved inflammation and your joints hurting i treated it
so it was there in that time that i began to wonder
what was causing these issues and not necessarily
um to only kind of name what was causing issues and not why
after i got good at naming what was causing issues and treating with appropriate medication i was like but why why do they have these and that’s
largely what we ask in functional medicine why does this happen in someone’s body
so while i had not had an autoimmune disease myself i combated my own health challenges of chronic fatigue and
anxiety with lifestyle changes by adapting to a paleo diet
crossfit and mountain biking and i thought couldn’t this work for my
patients so usually what happens in a rheumatology office usually will get referred due to
your symptoms of joint pain fatigue and maybe a positive lab test indicating
autoimmunity the rheumatologist will go over your symptoms in detail they’ll probably
recheck a lot of labs look for inflammation and they’ll fill on your joints
so once the condition is named you can be diagnosed with one that would be a stopping point that
would be the time where the rheumatologist says okay this is what we have
let’s start treatment in many medications in rheumatology as well as in autoimmune diseases are all
about suppressing anti this anti that
block this block that so it doesn’t really ask why and it doesn’t get to the root it is
just putting a band-aid really so all that to say medications for autoimmune diseases have
come a long way in the past several years to where they are really good at
preventing disease progression that help to resolve symptoms and to
help improve functionality so knowing this my hope
as i encountered some of the challenges i did was that maybe i could at least get some patients to reduce the amount
of medications in their body and thus reduce other potential side effects and toxicities
so some of these medications suppress the immune system the immune system pretty heavily
these medications come with a laundry list of side effects that are scary things that might increase liver
toxicity put you at risk for serious infections that could put you in the hospital and
also certain types of cancer in these patients i would see some
improvement in their symptoms and that was really rewarding
however even if their symptoms were controlled on these disease modifying agents or monoclinal antibodies
they were at risk for getting sick so they had to be very very vigilant to
keep themselves well to avoid any sickness
so on the flip side in patients who are not responding to treatment
they were on not one not two but likely three or more medications to control
their condition and on top of that they probably had other health issues like hypertension
high cholesterol and they were on other medications it was not uncommon that i would see people who had 10 medications
on their pharmacy list so at that point i wondered
well what are we really doing here and if someone
didn’t have inflammation and their disease looks looked very un in control
then if they still had pain then it was like well here is here’s some here’s a muscle relaxer to
help with your pain here’s something to help with nerve pain like gabapentin or you need an nsaid like ibuprofen
ibuprofen or uh or acetaminophen
so at some point it was just it was madness to me like
why what are we doing with all these medications in the body
so as i saw more pharmaceuticals and patients that were not optimally well i wondered if these medications were
actually interacting with other medications they were taking and causing these side effects of fatigue worsening
pain sleeplessness depression
so basically i felt i was creating a chemistry experiment in their body it’s not a good feeling because while all
these medications have good data and studies behind them they didn’t study them in
that patient’s body so at worst
when i would evaluate patients because of a positive lab such as an a a
antinuclear antibody which tells me that the body’s autoimmuning i would get referrals from primary care
doctors and this was hard because i would get their symptoms i would look
at their hands look at their exam and notice that they didn’t have any joints falling they didn’t have the signs of
lupus in their body or rheumatoid arthritis i could not diagnose them with a condition and therefore i could not help
them i don’t like to see anybody suffering yet like i knew these people weren’t
coming to the doctor just for fun i know you don’t come to see us just for fun i know you have more
things you’d rather do with your time and people you’d rather spend them with than than me
so i wondered what else could help them but i also wasn’t
trained to do that for example one of my first few days in
this job i was told that because one of the mainstays in treatment for fibromyalgia was exercise but that
nobody wants to exercise so that was the that was the tone that was set in the
beginning of my career because of my own experience i knew
there had to be a better way and more that i could offer patients to get better
i saw how good nutrition and consistent exercise resolved my own health issues and i
wonder if i had the time and the tools to teach my patients these things if they could be on a minimal amount of
medications to control their conditions and also minimize side effects like
those serious infections i never truly dreamed that we could be off medications
altogether because if you go back 50 years rheumatology offices were full with
patients in wheelchairs so i love working with patients with these
autoimmune challenges i geek out when i get a patient dealing with aromatic disease i am truly
passionate and i feel for you when you have this issue
so what is autoimmunity i want to think about
first what a healthy immune system looks like your healthy immune system is protecting
you daily it makes constant decisions between friend or foe as it encounters different infections
toxins allergens and stress our immune systems work so well that we
don’t even know they are working so when we do come up on an immune challenge some kind of sickness or
allergen we get these symptoms of fatigue or fever we get like this mucus junk that
we cough up this is our immune system responding to that challenge and the beautiful thing
about our immune system is how smart it is it learns from each challenge
so it makes better better combat the next one until it doesn’t
so autoimmunity occurs when your immune system kind of gets too good at this it gets
confused though and it starts reacting to normal healthy tissue
in your body it’s like your immune system is an army protecting you and it starts aiming
towards the good guys instead of the actual perpetrators and then as a result your joints your
skin your thyroid your intestines your liver or your whole body suffers as a
result we can begin to find inflammation go up in your body and blood work we can find
a lot of different auto antibodies to reflect this
so when we look for these auto antibodies yes we can get a diagnosis
but also we like to think of that as your autoimmuning we use it as a verb here so
what is causing that process what is at the root of that autoimmunity we like to
think of it as immune dysregulation that something in the process has
broken down essentially so what is
at this cause of this autoimmunity usually deals with systemic inflammation
inflammation is connected to all chronic disease and the more inflammation we have chronically
the worse off we are we want to address and drive down inflammation
so why is your immune system so upset why do you have this inflammation
and why is the conventional approach not working for you
well number one they give you non-specific nutrition and exercise recommendations
it was not let’s just say that doctors pas we are
not taught in school about nutrition we don’t have an entire course dedicated to it at best we are
told that the mediterranean diet or dash diet can help improve cholesterol and blood pressure respectively and that’s
it that’s a day that’s a lecture so when you go to a doctor and hopefully not a maximum clinic but outside of us
you’re likely told just eat better exercise more so what happens
you go home you maybe think about it you maybe forget about it maybe you think about it and you go
online and you say um what is a good diet and then you see well there is so
much information that coconut oil coconut oil is good for you coconut oil is bad for you don’t eat the eggs eat
the eggs bread means the issue what do you eat and so it gets overwhelming and you’re just like forget
that i don’t know where to start and i don’t know if it’ll work and it’s too hard
so your doctor likely doesn’t have time to go over this nor were they taught
so dr farris did a wonderful webinar a few weeks ago about food and medicine i’m
not going to belabor some of the points here because he really did a great presentation on that so i do encourage
you if you haven’t looked at that one to go back to that so [Music] at the root of this is our standard
american diet the acronym aptly as sad
this is linked to inflammatory foods such as sugar gluten dairy this is
linked to processed foods convenience foods too many sugary drinks and also what we lack in our diets
inadequate fiber if you are my patient you have heard me more than one time preach about fiber
i want you to get at least 25 grams of fiber in your diet a day
fiber is much it’s more about decreasing inflammation blood sugar regulation as well as
keeping you regular other benefits as well you likely don’t have enough omega-3s in
your body relative to the omega-6 fatty acids most people get an omega-1 or a
mega check at our office to evaluate this omega-3s are important in our nutrition
and we don’t usually eat enough fatty fish to help support that so we many of you
are taking or should be taking an omega-3 to help decrease inflammation to better support your
immune system vitamin d most people are deficient in vitamin d vitamin d is important to
support your immune system and to combat infection also i find many are kind of depleted in
b vitamins one of the medications that rheumatic patients are placed on for
arthritis is called methotrexate the way that works is by kind of inhibiting
folate metabolism and i find people that are on folic acid
they still are not they’re not methylating that therefore not getting the benefit so they likely
need a methylated form of folate to benefit them
also exercise more well exercise is hard it’s hard to get
started and you have to find something you enjoy dr what’s in a great webinar on exercise
as medicine and so i generally want my patients to find something they enjoy
something they can consistently do trying to do up to 150 well at least 150
minutes of exercise a week so exercise can also too little or too much
can cause inflammation so we have a fine line to walk there
number two your doctor likely does not consider allergens
this is not just about environmental allergies but i’m talking about food sensitivities
so when you start at maxwell clinic we usually do this lab panel called the big
seven big seven looks at antibodies to food proteins from some of the most ubiquitous
substances in our in our food so these are gluten berry corn soy peanut
egg yeast so i think that was seven so
these foods can help drive inflammation and also continue this feed forward
process of inflammation and autoimmunity the more inflammation we have in the body the more our immune system is
having to work so largely this is why
we will recommend an elimination diet for at least three to four weeks we
don’t know what these antibodies will mean to you unless we get rid of them
and that way we can try to figure out what foods may be triggering some of your symptoms some of that fatigue some
of the brain fog the digestive issues joint pain inflammation
[Music] we also can do other testing if that’s not kind of getting us to the root you may
need to look before you remove gluten from your diet you might need to find do a celiac test
also gluten and dairy are some of the biggest contributors we find to these autoimmune conditions
additionally environmental allergens are important here as well if you have bad seasonal allergies
and we have worked through improving them and they’re still not great
we we need to consider doing allergy testing to do immunotherapy
through allergy drops what we are trying to do with this immune dysregulation is
to decrease the overall load on your immune system so it
functions better and more appropriately
this next topic is going to be a big one so your doctor likely is not addressing
stress so at the very least i could tell my patients if they flared up
and they needed prednisone to help combat that flare get their joint pain and inflammation under control i knew
that stress was a culprit there however did i coach my patients on how to
address stress no i didn’t and telling somebody don’t be stressed is not
helpful so stress on the body it
it creates a just a down regulation of our immune response
therefore symptoms may flare up also may increase immune responses in
the wrong direction because also stress is going to contribute to inflammation
so i do recommend if you did not see emily springs mind body webinar
last friday i do recommend checking that out
we have to balance our autonomic nervous system to be more in that rest and digest mode
and not that fight or flight we want to be processing foods well nutrients
we want our bodies to know that everything’s okay
i do also recommend many of my patients to meet with emily
for mindbody appointments if you’re interested in that please ask your clinician emily does a wonderful job
with that also when you come in we also do a heart
rate variability and this is to look at that autonomic nervous system looking at that fight-or-flight mode versus the
rest and digest we can further dig into that with doing a first beat analysis that is a
three-day monitor that you wear and it looks at your stress recovery the
components and dr ferris is really good at going over that with our patients so
shout out to one of my patients who had an excellent first beat report the other day so
there’s also a lot of times where my patients will be like i don’t want to breathe i don’t
want to do this meditation i’m not stressed and so i hear you on that and i’m glad
that you don’t feel that like the stress is more than just that overwhelming feeling that how am i gonna
get all of this done what am i gonna do your body feels stress in other ways
and this stress can come from that allergen burden and why we want to do the elimination diet
this can come from toxins which i’ll get to in a little bit
right now i’m going to talk a little about chronic infections so
at some point in your journey we will likely look into chronic underlying infections we’ll look at tick-borne
illnesses we’ll look at different herpes viruses one of which is epstein-barr
epstein-barr is a virus that causes mononucleosis you may know this as the kissing disease
so if you look in the medical literature you will see that obscene bar virus
is associated with seven autoimmune diseases including lupus multiple sclerosis
rheumatoid arthritis juvenile idiopathic arthritis inflammatory bowel disease
celiac disease and type 1 diabetes so looking after epstein-barr is going to
be important in this condition also we want to know kind of what you’re
exposed to or what’s in your history what infections have you had we might be able to dig further into those on this
panel that we do is usually a first look and you may need further testing through infecto labs to see if you would benefit
from an antibiotic we always want to weigh out that risk versus benefit
to know that the antibiotic will work for you versus the side effects you could
have from that number four
your doctor has no consideration for your poop well unless you have an inflammatory
bowel disease they likely do one of the
rights of passage of maxwell clinic is doing a
comprehensive stool analysis i have many patients that who never want
to do that again i don’t blame you so
but really your poop tells us a lot and it’s really important that we look at it
because if we’re thinking about immune dysregulation and trying to
regulate your immune system to improve its function to have it not be confused to
know what’s good is good and what’s bad is bad we have to look at your gut your gut contains nearly 70
of your immune system that’s a lot your gut also contains a reported 100
trillion of bacteria good or bad that make up your gut microbiome
alterations that occur in this gut microbiome due to stress due to allergens intestinal permeability
aka leaky gut medications you’ve used for pain like ibuprofen or
naproxen alcohol may contribute to alterations in
your gut microbiome and that was just to name a few alterations in those microbiome suppress
your immune function and with 70 of your immune function in your gut you do not want that
also particular strains of bacteria have been correlated to autoimmune disease
so so even if you are not having gastrointestinal symptoms and you are
not really sure why your clinician wants to do a stool test that’s why your gut tells us more about
kind of immune function than really about your poop
if that makes sense so we want you to have a bowel movement every day because that’s going to help
with detox mechanisms that will support your immune function but also
how is the health of your gut if you do not have enough beneficial bacteria like lactobacillus or bifidobacterium that
will set you up for these immune challenges
lastly i’m going to name environmental impacts that aren’t considered usually
this list isn’t comprehensive there’s likely more to go over but i
don’t want to overwhelm with all the things so your doctor likely doesn’t consider from
environmental impacts they will say stop smoking
if you’re a cigarette smoker or you’ve been a cigarette smoker you are more likely to develop an autoimmune
condition namely rheumatoid arthritis if you grew up around
smoking and then became a smoker you were twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than you
were just being a smoker also cigarette smoking causes inflammation
and so patients that continued to smoke while we were treating them with anti-inflammatories
and immune suppressants were working against us like do you want more medication do you want more potential
side effects so your doctor will tell you to stop
smoking but why is smoking
put you at risk for autoimmune disease so that goes back to toxins or heavy metals cigarette smoke
usually is associated with amount of cadmium that
can cause some of this immune dysregulation and citrullineization
of proteins associated with rheumatoid arthritis
while that cadmium may not be circulating in your blood heavy metals get stuck in your tissues
so there are some considerations when we think about heavy metal testing i’ll
talk about in a second other potential toxins may be someone
who consumed a lot of tuna a lot of sushi had mercury fillings in their teeth for
cavities we want to look for mercury in your body
and think about did you grow up around lead paint did you eat lead paint
did were you exposed to a lot of pesticides did you grow up with beside a farm that used heavy pesticides
[Music] were you supposed to mold could you have a mold toxicity
what about plastics in your body bpa phthalates parabens can be connected
to autoimmune diseases as well so basically we want to know let your
clinician know what you’ve been exposed to if this isn’t an area we’ve we’ve dove into with you yet
the way we do this we want to look for it in the blood first to see if you have a frank toxicity
if we see some things that are a little bit off we will then want to do a provoked
specimen usually through your urine and this will kind of tell us what all comes out and what gets pulled
from your tissues to tell us kind of that burden and what’s impacting your
immune system what’s making your immune system angry what is causing this confusion
so i want you to walk away from this i don’t want you to focus on wow i need
to look at heavy metals first i want you to master those lifestyle modifications first that your your nutrition is on
point that you’re engaging in activity and physical exercise
regularly that you’re addressing stress in other ways taking time for those deep breaths
or meditation or mindfulness activities that help to improve your resilience to
stress and thus improve your immune function
when we’re doing this well i would continue looking at doing gut work
uh the stool test and intestinal barrier assessment if that is looking great then we’re
going to dive into those chronic infections toxins and hormones even
so this all is going to depend on your exposures what we kind of dig into first again this is going to be a conversation
between you and your clinician
so what’s really important when you have an autoimmune disease is
to support your immune system as best it can to dig into these underlying causes
we want to improve immune function and decrease the autoimmune signal as
25 of patients with autoimmune disease tend to develop another autoimmune
disease something that the national institutes
of health put out recently is that they’re noticing a climb in auto antibodies
in our population and i think that’s largely due to environmental exposures
so those people don’t have auto immunity yet but we need to think of that as a
[Music] alarm that we want to address we don’t want to
wait until symptoms start usually that was something that was hard
being in rheumatology is that well you have these thyroid antibodies
that’s possibly elevating this anti-nuclear antibody in your blood so
that’s a false positive and those antibodies may or may not mean anything
i am learning i have learned so much my time in functional medicine how that does mean something we have to be
proactive in addressing these concerns and not reactive
because once we start to be reactive it is a lot more work to get better unfortunately
[Music] overall i want you to know that
if you deal with an autoimmune disease you are not your autoimmune disease
you are an individual with meaning and purpose
who is someone’s mother or father brother sister
grandmother grandfather mother father friend
maybe maybe something else i left out you have passions you were made for
something you just happened to also be dealing with an autoimmune challenge
and because you are our unique individual there is no one-size-fits-all
approach to autoimmunity like there is in conventional medicine
again conventional medicine is okay you have rheumatoid arthritis uh let’s start you
on prednisone let’s check you back let’s check your labs okay you’re not better
let’s start your methotrexate we’ll see in three months check your lab check your symptoms
it’s it’s you move through an algorithm functional medicine we don’t do that we
consider each of you as one person and we see your whole system in your whole body and we
continually ask why why why but why this why does your lap look like that what is
happening oh why is it happening so many times you might see my face kind of
scrunch up or maybe emily’s or dr woods or dr faris
maybe even dr hawsey but we’re thinking because the body is fascinating and we want to
appreciate the whole the whole of it and the individual and
not just divide you into certain subsets and
send you off to all the different doctors unless we do need a another opinion [Music]
okay so i with that i will take some questions if
you have any um i do have some so
hey well hey thank you for being here everyone um
can’t really see thank you
so i have can you talk about ms also in relation to autoimmune and the eye
inflammation uveitis as well as the rh issues as well
and psoriatic arthritis things
all right are you [Music] are you
speaking to rh factor in our blood
so in us there is a wonderful functional
medicine doctor who has combated ms with largely incorporating
an autoimmune protocol and a lot of organ meats into her diet
uveitis can be used with some again these block
this block that drugs and so you do really want to approach
that due to what you’ve i just could lead to
so mainly what i would speak to is that
likely to begin with you’re you need to be on these medications as we work on
the underlying causes and as we work on these underlying causes and we see improvement in
symptoms and inflammation we will need to work with your other doctor
in order to taper off these medications [Music]
sorry i don’t know what you’re referring to rh wise so uh if you would you send a message and get
back an answer with you
oh r a
all right is hormiz says official for people with autoimmune disease
slash hot cold exposure well i am glad
you asked that so hot cold exposure we know if if you have
not kind of looked into the wim hof method there is there’s cold exposure that is beneficial
to improving our resiliency to stressors and so we may see a benefit to immune
function with incorporating those so we also know as often with
inflammatory joint pain heat relieves these symptoms really well it helps to relieve stiffness and the
inflammation that is felt in the morning and usually movement is when these these patients feel best
instead of being at rest
so hi the the patient that wrote about psoriatic arthritis ms
and r.a we asked your question again i’m trying to put it all together for you
thank you for your appreciation and me giving this talk and discussion
i hope it’s been informative and helpful and hopefully it gives you hope and
helps to explain why we do the investigations we do here again a lot of this
is to address the whole body and so your immune system
is more than just one part of your body it’s going to affect
much more so we have to improve
immune function in order to combat autoimmunity and we have to find out
what is making the immune system mad that may produce this autoimmunity
and we need to take an all-around attack or
all-around approach to best win this battle
and when you’ve talked to one person who’s had success with one protocol you have talked to one person who’s had
success with a certain protocol and so it may work for many and it may not and
so that’s the beautiful thing is we try to do what’s wise and what works
and we want results so we never want to put you at harm
of or risk for any side effects due to treatment that can help you
how much does detoxing have an effect on autoimmunity and how do we know what is the best type of detoxing to do
so our body is really great at doing detoxing our
liver and our kidneys do a really good job of this on their own so there’s different approaches to think about
detoxing i kind of like shudder when i heard hear about people doing cleanses
a little bit because there are a lot of gimmick gimmicky to a degree
so when we think about toxicities
we have to think about where do we find that are we seeing challenges in your liver function are we
seeing challenges in a lab called ggt that tells us about how well your liver is detoxing so
if we’re seeing challenges there we really want to support those mechanisms called phase one and
phase two detox there’s certain foods that can support that there’s a detox food plan that we have to help support
that through nutrition also there are other kind of supplements we use to help
support liver detox also other things to support detox in your body i talk a lot about consuming
enough water enough hydration every day at least 60-80 ounces a day for most
people those considerations for more water will have to watch out if you have other conditions like heart failure
i also want to make sure that we don’t dilute all of your electrolytes so
that’s going to be one way to help with detox another is that you’re sweating so movement and exercise is another way to
detox so other than that we really have to dig
in to see where are those detox issues if it’s trying to get plastics out of
your body if it’s trying to get heavy metals out of your body that
each kind of protocol is going to depend on what that challenge is
do you find that people with underlying trauma are more susceptible to developing an autoimmune condition
and that by healing those past traumas this can help reverse symptoms wow that is a
really good question so
underlying traumas can contribute to chronic conditions
in general so i find that when this trauma is addressed
that a lot of these issues can reverse symptoms
um these issues that are addressed can reverse symptoms so a lot of it is
recognizing those issues exist and really being able to do the work to
address those traumas so
okay do we have any other questions i understand
you’re trying to ask a general question on ms psoriatic arthritis and use it in relationship to autoimmunity
i i’m not really sure what the question is there i am yes all of those are autoimmune
conditions and so what is
what is going on in your body what are your symptoms what do we need to look at
for diagnosis that’s that’s kind of
please come see me um [Music]
any other questions
can a person who takes a lot of prescriptions build up a lot of toxins that may cause inflammation wow
this is something that really got me started on this path of functional medicine
because a lot of these medications had similar side effects and had significant
loads on the liver as well as the immune system so if we think about
the the immune system depression if somebody’s immune system dropped to
lower numbers it wasn’t let’s reduce this medication it was let’s add some prednisone to
support their white blood cell count if it was
[Music] toxicity to the liver inflammation of the liver
and maybe it was too much tylenol maybe it was too much ibuprofen
but also yes you can’t accumulate these things we know that can cause
nutrient deficiencies to each their own we’d have to talk about them individually
but it’s it’s kind of hard to say there are so there is a
i’m glad you asked that because i want to talk about this so there is a kind of lupus called drug induced lupus
so so yes there are drugs that can cause autoimmune disease
i’ve been like yeah
all right another question i have r a i’ve had it for over 10 years oh my gosh
that is hard i’m so sorry um i’m considering starting methotrexate because i’m getting deformities in my
hands and ankles are there any other ways to print prevent deformities from ra
well make sure that we have addressed all those causes so methotrexate
i want to know that you’re not a female of childbearing age i would not want you to be on it
due to potential effects to a fetus i would want to make sure
that we support liver uh detox and i wouldn’t want to make sure that you’re
on the right type of folate in your body make sure that you don’t have any methylation issues so
is there any other way to prevent joint deformities
once a joint deformity happens we cannot get it back so
methotrexate does a pretty good job at preventing joint deformities however the drugs that are better at this are going
to be some of those scarier seeming ones things like humera embryo
ribicade and some other more targeted medications things like hydroxyl
chloroquine and prednisone do not stop joint damage so
i do not these drugs are really good
at stopping joint damage progression an old treatment for r.a that had some benefit was gold we do
not offer that treatment uh but i wonder if we could so i would i’m not your clinician
so i don’t have another way to reduce that joint damage and i do
i would recommend doing some of these medications and doing the other work in the meantime to see if you can be on the minimal amount
to help stop progression of this condition of your
are you aware of an ebv test that actually tests for circulating virus in the blood virus just checking the
antibodies i understand there is a test for this but cannot remember the name of it
so you can look at a pcr task which actually is going to look for is there dna of this virus in your body
there’s also we can look through infecto labs to see what is the actual
burden on the body is there activity of these t cells of your immune
system causing this so
get back to me um on that if you would like
to order that for yourself that’s one of my patients so
can i stop my and bro
no i wouldn’t um here’s some reasons so when i was rheumatology i had a
patient who was a chiropractor and he literally used a similar drug called humera just as needed
and i thought he was crazy because i didn’t know what i didn’t know but he did
so he used this just as needed and
maybe once a month when it’s indicated to do every couple weeks
and he was fine he he did good nutrition he
was active he did crossfit and his psoriatic arthritis remained under
control so i always wonder again what’s the minimal amount we can do if the medication is
indicated to do every week or every other week can we get it to once a month
or every other month with everything else we’re doing and still have benefit to where we maintain
your joint function and you have a good quality of life
okay i believe that’s all the questions i have if there’s any more i’ll leave just a
little bit of time to get them in
okay thank you so much for joining me and taking this time
i really enjoyed this i am a geek about rheumatoid conditions
i really appreciate you guys being here with me and expressing your thankfulness
uh for this time thank you so much and i look forward to
seeing you in the clinic and helping you all out and if you’re not my patient
your clinician will address these things with you so i thank you so much and
i hope you have a great blessed day

This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This blog does not constitute the practice of any medical, nursing or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

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Mary Scalf, PA-C

Mary is passionate about addressing the whole person and not just an isolated set of symptoms. Witnessing what traditional medicine has offered her mother’s chronic disease battle as well as her father’s dementia diagnosis, Mary is driven to use a science-based approach which strongly emphasizes root cause analysis and harnessing the body’s natural healing powers.