12 Jul The Autoimmune Plague: Part I
Paul A. Goldberg MPH, DC, DACBN, DCBCN
Consultant to The Goldberg Tener Clinic
Chronic Disease Reversal
Much attention has been given to the Covid-19 Pandemic. For a much longer time, however, another pandemic has been on the rise. This pandemic represents a group of chronic illnesses afflicting millions of people in life-threatening ways …the Autoimmune Disorders.
William Osler, MD, author of Osler’s Textbook of Medicine, was considered the first to recognize these issues in the early 1900’s. He noted there were cases where the body, rather than attacking foreign organisms such as bacteria, was attacking itself, resulting in widespread damage.
Once viewed as relatively rare, Autoimmune Disorders have become common, afflicting a growing percentage of the population. In 1979 I completed my thesis at the University of Texas Medical Center on the epidemiology and causes of Autoimmune Disorders. At that time there were about forty named Autoimmune Disorders. In 2022, that list grew to one hundred and forty disorders.
The National Institutes of Health reports that more than seven percent of our population suffer with an Autoimmune Disorder. In a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, researchers found the prevalence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), a biomarker of autoimmunity, was rapidly increasing in the United States, particularly among women and adolescents. Symptoms include fatigue and joint pain along with digestive issues depending on the case.
In our practice we have successfully reversed autoimmune conditions not by treatments, but by identifying and addressing causes and building health.
Our patients present with numerous medically diagnosed autoimmune conditions including:
- Alopecia areata
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Diabetes (type 1)
- Graves’ Disease
- Autoimmune Related Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Discoid lupus
- Eosinophilic esophagitis, gastritis, colitis
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Hashimoto’s Disease
- Hemolytic anemia
- Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
- Juvenile arthritis
- Juvenile diabetes
- Lichen planus
- Linear IgA disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Optic neuritis
- Pernicious anemia
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Ulcerative Colitis
The Body In Revolt
A number of medical specialists “treat” these disorders, Rheumatologists being most common, using the same drugs regardless of what they “specialize” in. There are a multitude of causal factors that can be behind any individual’s autoimmune issues. These factors are rarely identified or addressed as the medical focus is on pharmaceutical suppression of symptoms. Steroids, with their health destroying side effects, have long been the drug of choice and are commonly employed along with other medications. Methotrexate and a variety of NSAIDS are also commonly prescribed. The class of drugs known as “Biologicals” are today the mainstay of “treatment” in Medical Offices including Remicade, Humira and Enbrel along with newer variants being touted in magazines, radio, television and the internet. All act via immune suppression.
The “Biologicals” literally turn off a portion of a patient’s immune system e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha, which protects the body against tumors/ cancer. By suppressing tumor necrosis factor alpha, symptoms resulting from a hyperactive immune system are also suppressed. This comes at great risk to the patient and can result in serious side effects including lymphoma (cancer) and the creation of other Autoimmune Diseases e.g., Multiple Sclerosis. These drugs leave the patient increasingly vulnerable to infections such as Tuberculosis and Pneumonia, fail to address causal factors and do not create health. Below are before / after pictures of a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis that sought our assistance after experiencing a severe toxic reaction to Enbrel, a common drug used to treat Autoimmune Disorders.
To state that the cause of Autoimmune Disease is simply overactivity of the immune system is short sighted. Autoimmunity involves factors that result in immune hyperactivity. Those causal factors must be identified and addressed if the patient is to have their health restored.
The inflammation accompanying these issues is misunderstood. Inflammation is a key symptom of immune overactivity, yet it is not the problem. It is the result of a problem the body is trying to address. Suppressing inflammation with Biologicals is like the temperature gauge in your car warning you the car is overheating and addressing it by covering it with masking tape. See articles: Problems with Prednisone , The Dangers of Biologics , Why Inflammation is NOT the Enemy: Conventional and Functional Medicine’s deception.
Medical Authorities are at a loss as to what causes autoimmune disorders.
The Cleveland Clinic states: “An autoimmune disease is the result of the immune system accidentally attacking your body instead of protecting it. It’s unclear why your immune system does this.”
The National Institute of Health comments: “No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases”
Addressing Etiological Factors
There are causes behind autoimmunity. Some of the potential inter-related causes of autoimmunity in both children and adults include:
- Disturbance of the Normal Immune Maturation Process (The Hygiene Hypothesis): Children today often fail to receive sufficient natural exposure to the outdoor world and the microbes it contains. They live sheltered indoor lives, playing video games and are isolated from microbial exposure. They are heavily medicated and vaccinated  leaving their immune systems subject to over-react to normal environmental factors when later exposed. This is often exhibited by a host of allergies to pollens, molds, and food items. Labeled with hay fever, asthma, eosinophilic esophagitis, gastritis and colitis, these children often receive repeated courses of steroids which fail to address causes and have numerous side effects. A thorough investigation of the patient’s gastrointestinal flora, digestive abilities, food and inhalant allergies and hygiene should be conducted and steps taken to balance the immune system, not merely suppress it. The prevalence of childhood allergies and asthma has increased by over 300 percent over the past thirty years. More drugs are not the answer to this problem.
- Toxicology: We are increasingly exposed to a growing number of toxins in our environment from the air, soil, food, water, drugs, home building materials and other sources. These ongoing exposures heighten immune responses as they add to our total body burden. Our bodies can become overwhelmed resulting in symptoms i.e., a heightened immune response. See article: Clinical Toxicology and the Reversal of Chronic Disease
- GI Malfunction resulting from unhealthy diets, poor eating habits such as overeating or eating under stress and repeated use of antibiotics and other drugs that cause disturbances in the microbiome and immune responses.
- Long Term Emotional Stressors – The immune system is sensitive to emotional factors, particularly if severe or long term. It has long been observed that many cases of Autoimmune Disease can begin after a particularly stressful period in a patient’s life.
- Genetic Factors can play a role. We cannot change our genetics but we can alter environmental factors thereby turning those genes off.
Every individual has different causal factors at play leading to their autoimmune issue. Uncovering them necessitates a thorough case history. This takes one to one and a half hours to conduct followed by a physical examination and laboratory analysis. Training and experience in clinical epidemiology, toxicology, a good working knowledge of the GI tract and a background in clinical nutrition and clinical epidemiology are all helpful. Identifying and addressing etiological factors in each case requires patience and time. A full effort by both Doctor and patient is needed to allow the patient the opportunity to regain their health and take control of their life.
Autoimmunity should not be viewed as an issue to simply be treated with dangerous drugs. It is a clinical issue with profound environmental, toxicological, nutritional and gastrointestinal relationships. With each patient we must take a panoramic look at all the variables involved and conduct a thorough investigation.
Patients with Autoimmune Disorders Can Recover Their Health
Recovery from Autoimmune Disease is not only possible, it is likely, if we take the right approach and conduct the needed investigative work followed up by addressing the contributing factors identified. Several before/after pictures of our patients follow to illustrate this. The reward of identifying and addressing causal factors is having the potential to restore our health and be in charge of our future.
Dr. Goldberg recently addressed the Georgia Chiropractic Association Spring Conference in Savannah on Rheumatoid Disorders and will be speaking in October at the Georgia Chiropractic Association Fall Conference on Clinical and Public Health Perspectives of Autoimmune Disorders.
 Dinse GE, Parks CG, Weinberg CR, Co CA, Wilkerson J, Zeldin DC, Chan EKL, Miller FW. 2020. Increasing prevalence of antinuclear antibodies in the United States. Arthritis Rheum; doi: 10.1002/art.41214
 American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/autoimmune-diseases
 We are not “anti-vaxers” but are concerned by the dramatic increase in the number of vaccines children are being administered at a very young age. Many children now receive over 70 different vaccines during their childhood along with a steady diet of antibiotics and other drugs placing a significant burden on our entire bodies including the immune system.
Related Articles by the Goldberg Tener Clinic
1) Reversing Autoimmune Disorders
2) Reversing Chronic Skin Conditions
3) An Effective, Causal Based Approach to Digestive Problems
4) Reversing Rheumatoid Arthritis and other Rheumatoid Conditions
5) Reversing Thyroid Conditions
6) Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): A Symptom of Impaired Health
7) Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meaningless Diagnosis
8) The Facade of Functional and Alternative Medicine
9) An Effective, Comprehensive Approach to Reversing Allergies
10) You have been misled… the way to lose weight is NOT trying to lose weight.
11) Click here to see our full library of articles.