Q: I was recently diagnosed with CREST Syndrome, presenting with a high titer ANA (Antinuclear autobodies)and Raynauds. I already take lots of good supplements, the specialist put me on a vitamin D supplement, and procardia for the raynauds. I am active, play tennis 2-3x per week, no real pain in joints (my fingers are swollen, and sometimes achy), and we have recently adopted a ‘whole-food’ diet (but there are things we are not doing right I fear), by cutting down on breads, salts, sugars, and eating more veggies & fruits. I’ve also ordered Astaxanthan; do you know anything about it? I am scared, and i think a little depressed (SADS has not helped), not to mention worried about the future. What can I do, and how do I follow your advice given to the other “Kathy?”
–Kathy L.

A: When you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, like CREST Syndrome, it’s first important to understand what is wrong. Basically, the immune system has gone goofy. But why? Then you look closer, and you discover the relatively new field of psycho(mind)neuro(nervous system)endocrin(hormone)ology(the study of), and psychoneuroimmunology. So, in other words, to normalize the immune system, you have to find out what is out of kilter in your psyche, your nervous system, your hormonal system, and your digestive system. Also, since 60-70 of your immune system is located in you digestive system, I start with that first. Really, you need the help of a doctor who is qualified to do this. To put it in a nutshell, this doctor will have to:

  1. Detect any and all food allergies, and tell you how to maximize your own digestive capacities.
  2. Detect and support any hormonal difficulties.
  3. Help you detect, and eliminate and neuroemotional complexes which may be blocking your health.
  4. Help you to de-stress.
  5. Order proper lab tests to detect and support different conditions, such as anemia, subclinical hypothyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, and iodine deficiency.

This is a good start. Any one of these will help, but, performed altogether, I’ve seen most autoimmune conditions go into remission.

Overcoming autoimmune disease can be very difficult. But it can be done. I myself have overcome a similar issue using these steps. If you attend our lecture series on Monday nights, you will learn most of the keys to getting back to health (see “Discussion Group Series” tab on the web site).

Hope this helps!
Dr. Keith