Description: Brock Armstrong is the host interviewing Dr. Amy Myers whose recent book “The Autoimmune Solution” was just released. Dr. Myers tells of her in depth studies of autoimmune diseases as she has struggled with them in her own life. Even through medical school she had periods of illness that prevented her from doing the work she wanted. She is a graduate cum laude from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. She earned her medical degree at Louisiana State University Health Science Center. After completing her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland, she founded the Functional Medicine Center Austin Ultra Health where she currently serves as the medical director.
For any listener with autoimmune disorders, this podcast will inspire you to search for solutions for your own individual situation. Dr. Myers tried many different options after traditional medicine failed her. Her book describes all the things she tried as well as her preference for the paleo diet. Her book addresses much more than just diet. She talks about treating what is inside the gut to cleanse it, rather than just treating the symptoms.
[00:02:07] Although the book sounded heavy when Brock dropped it, he and Amy emphasize that, though it is loaded with wonderful information, it is presented in a very readable way, very understandable to non-medical readers. Dr. Myers says that as she wrote the book, she always had in mind that she was teaching like a parent or big sister, so that it would be presented in an enjoyable way.
[00:04:45 Amy’s own personal history was growing up almost as a hippie with a natural environment and she was a vegetarian for years. She had autoimmune deficiencies and traditional medicine failed her.
This is how she got into this field. She had Graves’ disease and had her thyroid ablated. She tried many different holistic and natural solutions to her problem. She was offered three choices by conventional medical doctors that were: medication, radiation, or surgery. She developed toxic hepatitis in response to the medication. She now has no thyroid and takes Armour Thyroid, which is the normal thyroid hormone in tablet form. This medication is necessary for her for the rest of her life.
[00:09:03] The Myers Way is her protocol that is similar to autoimmune paleo protocol. Her book addresses more than just the diet.
[00:10:48] Doctor of functional medicine differs from conventional medicine in several ways. She studied with Dr. Andrew Weil who brought integrative medicine to the forefront. She studied many factions of holistic medicine. Dr. Mark Hyman spoke at a conference where she found the answer to what she was searching. She was looking for real solutions to the various ailments she saw. Instead of meditating or drinking tea to appease the irritable bowel, she wanted an answer. She learned to treat the parasite, or yeast, or whatever is in the stomach. What functional medicine is is putting all of the pieces together, viewing the person as a whole and looking for the root cause of what had gotten them into their situation. (autoimmune, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, allergies, eczema). She also talks about lyme disease, toxic mold and mycotoxins.
[00:14:01] Brock asks: “What is it like when you start to work with a new patient?” Before you make your appointment, there is a 30-page intake form to fill out which is very comprehensive. She reads all the history before your appointment and then she is talking to you for an hour and a half. She comes up with the plan that will work for you including dietary and supplement components. Dr. Myers works with a functional nutritionist with whom you will meet. The treatment is as personalized as it can be. She follows up with phone calls and later meetings to keep you motivated and on track.
[00:16:51] The patients’ stories in the book go way back into their history; were they breast fed, whether they were C-section babies, or if they had a lot of ear infections as a kid, to explain how they got to where they are.
[00:17:30] There are quizzes in the book so you, the reader, can see if you are at risk or have small bowel bacterial overgrowth, yeast, parasites, leaky gut. People live with so many minor ailments and are totally unaware that they can be remedied. They think it is just normal to be gassy or bloated once in a while. If you don’t find out about the bad bacteria inside, even changing your diet into things that feed the good bacteria, won’t solve the problem. You have to get rid of the yeast, candida, and the SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.)
[00:22:10] There are people who change the diet and it has done wonders but there are as many people that come in who are not well or maybe even worse eating the fermented foods in their diets while they still have these infections in their guts.
[00:22:38] Brock asks: “Are there other things from which you deviate from the primal/paleo diet?” The biggest most controversial one is the fermented foods. She emphasizes that her practice is looking at every patient as a separate individual where some of the ideas on diet might not work for every body.
[00:23:52] In her book she states there are four pillars in her practice. The first one is healing the gut. In that she recommended there are some foods that should be avoided. Of course, one of the steps is getting rid of gluten, grains and legumes. The other part is removing the infections. The next step is healing your gut.
[00:25:35] She talks about removing nightshades if you have joint inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Thyroid patients and lupus patients do fine with the nightshades. Dr. Myers never says she has a cure. She says she is reversing something. Her program is thirty days. Some people need to go longer.
[00:26:44] She doesn’t think you necessarily need to permanently deprive yourself of certain things like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and grains for example. The point is to heal the gut, reverse the symptoms and then see what you can eat or not eat.
[00:28:29] They talk about stress in relation to people trying to be perfect about their diet. Things happen in life that are stressful and you can fall back. It is important to look at the stress in your life so you can get back on track. Mark Sisson talks about sensible indulgences where you experiment with some of the things you have been avoiding. Try something and see how you feel, so you know next time whether or not it is worth doing once in a while.
[00:30:28] Gluten and autoimmune do not work so she would never suggest that those patients go back to those foods. Every time an autoimmune patient eats gluten it could stimulate the immune system for up to three months. She would tell you dairy does the same thing. You need to figure out what your own personal absolute “no’s” are.
[00:32:11] Brock states: “You state in your book there are eight myths about autoimmune disorders. For instance, those autoimmune disorders cannot be reversed.” She believes that they can be reversed, however, there can be certain life events that bring it back.
[00:35:16] Brock asks whether autoimmune diseases are genetically based. She says it is both genetic and environmental. Sometimes we cannot control our environment but we need to deal with those triggers that bring back that which we have reversed.
[00:38:46] Brock asks if she recommends supplements. Even though we are trying to eat healthy, we need to realize that our soil is depleted in nutrients and there are many more toxins that we used to have. We don’t live in an ideal world where we can get everything we need from our food. As she has said before the gut needs to be cleared of the bad bacteria and the process might include the need for supplements. She recommends Multis, Vitamin D, Fish Oil, and Probiotics. There are some things that are temporary that you might need to heal your gut.
[00:41:43] Brock asks: “Do you have recommendations on how people can handle their stress a little bit better?” She answers that it varies with people and that she did address it in one chapter in the book. It can be playing with the grandchild, or playing with a puppy, deep breathing, massage, golfing, a hot bath…whatever works for you. Brock says just playing is always a part of a healthy life as they suggest in the Primal Blueprint.
[00:45:32] Brock asks what is one thing the listener can take away today to start them on a path to better health in Dr. Myers’ opinion. She answers, “Buy my book.” One thing is to give up gluten, particularly with autoimmunity. It creates leaky gut. The other would be to reduce your stress which is the most overlooked and yet one of the most important aspects of health.
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