My journey to overcoming autoimmune disease
There is currently no cure for Sjogren’s Syndrome, but I was able to overcome the symptoms of this autoimmune condition and heal my body naturally with nutrition, herbs and some healthy lifestyle changes.
If you’re suffering from an autoimmune condition, leaky gut, anxiety or chronic fatigue, this article is for you.
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It’s more than five years since I overcame the autoimmune disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, along with chronic fatigue and leaky gut.
My symptoms have nearly all disappeared and I’m feeling better than ever.
I wanted to share my story in the hope that it helps others in a similar situation to begin their own healing.
From Chronic Illness to Wellness
My health issues all began in 2010 with a strong bout of mono, also known as glandular fever (caused by the Epstein Barr virus).
I took a week off work but I wasn’t getting better.
I blamed it on the stress of moving to a new city and starting a new job.
Over the next two years my health continued to deteriorate and I had trouble finding the energy to get through the day.
I was suffering from extreme fatigue, joint pains and skin rashes.
My mouth was always dry and my eyes were red, burning and very dry, despite using lubricating eye drops every few hours.
I’ve also suffered from anxiety since childhood, so these symptoms just exacerbated my anxiety.
After numerous visits to doctors, medical specialists and natural therapists, I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, leaky gut and adrenal fatigue.
What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome (pronounced SHOW-grins) is an autoimmune condition that affects the salivary and lacrimal glands and causes dry eyes, dry mouth, burning sensations in the eyes and difficulty swallowing.
Sjogren’s can also become systemic and cause fatigue, joint pain and extremely dry skin.
There is a correlation between Sjogren’s and stress, Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
My test results showed that I had antibodies for both EBV and CMV.
I was also highly stressed and run down, so it’s no wonder I was diagnosed with this condition.
Over the years I spent thousands of dollars and tried just about everything including prescription medications with nasty side effects and natural therapies including acupuncture, iridology, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, kinesiology and chiropractic but nothing seemed to get me better.
The Road to Healing
I began doing my own research, which led me to study naturopathy, nutrition and western herbal medicine.
I learned that the body has an amazing natural ability to heal when given the right support.
I was interested in finding out if there were any foods that were contributing to my health issues, so I did a food intolerance test which showed that I was reacting to grains, dairy products, tomatoes, citrus fruits and vinegar.
I knew I needed to change my diet but it was really difficult at first.
I found it hard to give up chocolate and ice cream but it wasn’t until I completely eliminated all gluten, dairy, sugar, vegetable oils and the other foods I was reacting to that I began to start feeling better.
I stopped eating processed foods and cooked my meals from scratch using lots of fresh produce and easy to digest protein like fish.
As well as changing my diet and supplementing with specific nutrients and herbs, I made some healthy lifestyle changes.
I began taking long walks and meditating to reduce my anxiety.
Here’s how I healed from Sjogren’s, leaky gut and chronic fatigue
- Remove foods that are problematic. For me it was gluten and dairy along with acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits and vinegar
- Incorporate gut healing supplements like slippery elm, aloe vera, glutamine and curcumin
- Build up the good gut bacteria by consuming fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, miso and kombucha along with probiotics
- Support your adrenal glands – some of the best herbs for healing the adrenals include licorice root, ashwagandha and rhodiola
- Reduce inflammation by removing processed foods and vegetable oils and consuming anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger and salmon
Once I got to the root cause of what was causing my health issues and healed my gut, liver and adrenals and got on top of my anxiety, I was finally able to start living life fully.
When I was in the process of healing I took a variety of herbs, nutrients and probiotics but today I only take a few key supplements to manage my anxiety and ensure that I’m getting all the nutrients that my body needs.
At the moment I’m taking an activated B complex, an herbal formula that helps to reduce stress and anxiety and increase serotonin levels naturally, along with nettle leaf as a general tonic and kelp for my thyroid.
It’s a good idea to discuss any nutritional supplements or herbal remedies with your healthcare provider because some supplements and herbs can interact with prescription medications.
Food Allergy / Intolerance Testing
If you’re suffering from digestive problems and you’d like to check if any foods are contributing to your symptoms, you can order a test online from Walk-In Lab without needing to see a doctor.
They have an Allergen Profile Basic Food Blood Test #660423 that
detects possible IgE-mediated responses to common foods.
It includes beef, chocolate, corn, egg (whole), fish/shell mix, milk (cow), peanut, pork, soybean and wheat.
They also have a 50 Food Intolerance Panel #ALC10 that detects food intolerances to 50 common foods and includes a ½ hour consultation with a Nutritional Consultant to review the test results, answer questions and offer menu, food substitution and restaurant tips.
I hope this has been helpful for you.