A Personal Letter
from Amy Myers MD
After nearly a decade of the privilege of working with patients to overcome chronic illness, I announced in June 2018 that after much consideration I have chosen to close my clinic, Austin UltraHealth.
Although this was a very difficult choice to make, this will allow me to focus on empowering even more people around the world by growing my online community and programs in addition to spending more time with my family.
As you may know, Xavier and I welcomed our daughter Elle into our lives in March 2017 and over the last 15 months she has literally grown and transformed into a beautiful walking, talking, and even swimming young girl. When I think about how much she has changed in this short time, I realize how precious these moments are and my heart strings are pulled to spend as much time with her as possible, so that I do not miss more.
I also have a list of physicians I personally recommend who are accepting new patients.
If you are a former patient and would like to obtain your medical records, you may do so from our patient protal.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and your inspiring commitment to your health.
I wish you continued success in your health journey.
Amy Myers, MD
Are you tired and exhausted day after day, even after getting a full night’s sleep? Do you struggle to keep your appointments or engagements with friends because you barely have the energy to get out of bed? You are not alone. Chronic fatigue is such an epidemic that it has become the norm to feel exhausted all the time.
However, I want you to know that it is NOT normal to feel perpetually tired. In fact, it is most often a sign of an underlying health issue. Fatigue can be a symptom of autoimmune disease or other health conditions, such as anemia, heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea, Lyme disease, and depression.Extreme fatigue is also the primary hallmark of the increasingly common chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
CFS, also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) affects 2.5 million Americans. It is a debilitating disorder that is characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away with rest and sleep. It is not simply the symptom of another underlying health condition (such as cancer, heart disease, or lupus); treatment (such as chemotherapy or radiation); or activity (such as overtraining in sports or staying up with a new baby). Rather, CFS is a health condition and diagnosis in and of itself. In addition to fatigue, symptoms of CFS include muscle weakness, pain, headaches, and memory loss.,,
I see many patients on the autoimmune spectrum who experience chronic fatigue. Before my diagnosis of Graves’ disease, I also experienced fatigue and exhaustion along with insomnia, so I know how you feel, and the good news is that I also know how you can improve your health and increase your energy levels naturally!
Did you know that your energy levels are closely connected to the nutrients you take in and absorb? When patients with fatigue and related complaints come to me for help, I always check for nutrient deficiencies, which may be the underlying cause of the problem.
Finding out what these nutrient deficiencies are is the first step. Then once you learn the root causes of those deficiencies, you can learn how to correct them in order to reclaim your health and vitality.
6 Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Fatigue
1. Vitamin B12 and other B Vitamins
Your body needs B vitamins to convert into energy. If you are low in B vitamins, your mitochondria – the powerhouse of your cells – cannot generate energy properly. Vitamin B12 deficiency is particularly common and can result in fatigue, weakness, and low energy. B12 is essential for red blood cell production, and so low B12 levels can also lead to anemia. Though B12 deficiency is much more common among vegans and vegetarians, it can happen to anyone due to a diet lacking in nutrient-dense foods, poor absorption (common with gut infections such as SIBO), and other health issues.,,,,
Magnesium is a powerful mineral for promoting relaxation and energy production in your body. It is necessary to store the energy molecule ATP. Magnesium deficiency impairs the energy pathways your mitochondria use to generate ATP, and can lead to chronic fatigue, tiredness, inflammation, and free radical damage.
Magnesium deficiency affects nearly everyone. If you are consuming too much processed food, refined sugar, salt, alcohol, and coffee, your risks of a deficiency are even greater. What’s more, due to intensive chemical farming practices, our soils have been depleted of magnesium, making it nearly impossible to meet your magnesium needs even if you are eating a diet of real, whole foods. For this reason, most people can benefit from taking a high-quality magnesium supplement, however, it is particularly important to supplement if you are experiencing fatigue or dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome.,
Since your body cannot make essential fatty acids, you need to eat good fats to fuel it properly. Unfortunately, the typical Western diet is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids due to an abundance of vegetable oils and processed foods, and low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 foods such as wild-caught salmon and other fatty fish. An imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can lead to fatigue and inflammation, and set yourself on the path to chronic illness.,
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for muscle and bone strength, along with a number of other important bodily functions. Suboptimal Vitamin D levels can lead to low energy and fatigue. Vitamin D deficiency is particularly prevalent in places with little sunshine, however if you are spending most of your time indoors, chances are that your body is low in vitamin D regardless of where you live. I have done nutritional testing on thousands of patients and of those who were not supplementing, virtually all were deficient in vitamin D.,,
Iron is essential for creating red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Low iron levels can lead to anemia. Anemia occurs when there aren’t enough red blood cells in your body to meet its oxygen needs or if your blood cells are unable to carry enough hemoglobin. The first sign of anemia is fatigue along with pale skin and dull hair.
If you are unusually tired, it is important to get your iron levels checked. And, if you are a woman, an endurance athlete, or eat a vegetarian or vegan diet high in processed food, your risks of iron deficiency and anemia are higher. Since too much iron can be harmful as well, it is important to get a blood test and only supplement if your iron levels are suboptimal. Eating iron-rich foods, such as grass-fed beef, spinach, or organ meats, however, is super important for preventing and reversing anemia.,,,
Potassium is an important mineral for supporting the healthy functioning of your heart, nerves, and muscles. It can help improve muscle recovery and endurance. Low levels of potassium can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and numbness. You can have low potassium levels due to excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, antibiotics, diuretics, and kidney disease.,
One problem I see in many of my patients is that they are eating too much sodium and not enough potassium. While sodium is also important for fluid balance, as well as nerve and muscle function, a diet high in processed foods contains too much sodium and not enough potassium. It is important to keep the optimal balance of these two electrolytes through a nutrient-rich diet and proper supplementation., Bananas, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and cooked broccoli are all good sources of potassium.
What Causes Nutrient Deficiencies in Those with Fatigue
To correct nutrient deficiencies linked to fatigue and regain your energy, you must get to the root cause and identify why you may be lacking these nutrients in the first place. Let’s look at the most common reasons why my patients with fatigue are often low in these key nutrients.
A Nutrient-Poor and Inflammatory Diet
If your diet is high in processed food, refined sugars, and white flours, you are missing out on the nutrients your body requires to create sustained energy and optimal health. Unfortunately, intensive chemical farming practices have robbed our soil of its nutrients. In fact, 40% of the soil used to grow our food worldwide has been degraded or severely depleted of vital minerals thanks to modern agriculture. So even the whole foods you eat are not nearly as rich in nutrients as they were when your grandparents were young.
To make matters worse, inflammatory foods that are common in the typical Western diet, such as gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, eggs, caffeine, nuts, seeds, and nightshades can result in a leaky gut which leads to poor nutrient absorption and chronic health issues that are often associated with fatigue.,,,,
A compromised diet, environmental toxins, certain medications, and stresscan result in leaky gut, Leaky gut means that tiny holes develop on your gut lining that allow food particles, bacteria, yeast, and viruses to enter your bloodstream. If you have leaky gut, your body can’t absorb food properly which can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inflammation, and fatigue.,
Gut infections, such as Candida overgrowth and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can interfere with nutrient absorption.
Candida overgrowth is one of the most common problems I see in my patients, especially in those with chronic fatigue and autoimmune conditions. In small amounts, your body can benefit from Candida to aid digestion and nutrient absorption. However, when it grows out of control, it leads to gut dysbiosis, breaks down the wall of your intestines, and causes leaky gut, which releases toxins into your bloodstream and opens the door to an array of health problems, including chronic fatigue.
SIBO occurs when the bacteria in your small intestine get out of balance and overgrow. Most bacteria in your body meant to be located in your large intestine and colon to help to break down food, synthesize vitamins, and eliminate waste. However, when these bacteria find their way to your small intestine, it can lead to SIBO.
When your body is overtaken by Candida overgrowth, SIBO, or other gut infections, such as the Epstein-Barr Virus or Lyme, it leads to an imbalance of microflora, compromised nutrient absorption, digestion issues, an impaired immune system, and other health issues, of which chronic fatigue is a major symptom.
MTHFR and other common genetic mutations can lower your body’s ability to convert nutrients to their active form via methylation, including B vitamins, folate, and choline.
Meanwhile, VDR mutations can result in vitamin D deficiency. This is significant because, as I mentioned above, Vitamin D can boost your energy levels, which is why spending time in the sunlight feels so energizing!
How to Prevent or Overcome Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Fatigue
The good news is that nutrient deficiencies linked to fatigue can be corrected. You can restore optimal levels of key nutrients by optimizing your diet, taking the targeted supplements, and addressing the underlying causes of your deficiencies. By following these steps, you can nourish your body, regain your energy, and create optimal health and well-being.
Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet
Getting your nutrients through food is the best method and the first necessary step to correct deficiencies. Eating a nutrient-dense diet such as The Myers Way® will set you up for success.
To support your energy levels and overcome fatigue, eat plenty of these foods:
- B Vitamins: leafy greens, root veggies, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat, shellfish
- Magnesium: dark leafy greens, seaweed, figs, fish, avocados, bananas
- Vitamin D: fatty fish, organ meats, spirulina, wild mushrooms, bee pollen
- Omega-3: grass-fed meats, fatty fish, flax and chia oil
- Iron: fatty fish, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat, organ meats
- Potassium: bananas, sweet potatoes, cucumber, cooked spinach, oranges, apricots
If you need ideas for delicious meals that can help you correct nutrient imbalances, reduce fatigue, and bring back your energy, my cookbook, The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook contains over 150 recipes featuring foods that are packed with nutrients that you need to prevent and reverse chronic illness, and support your overall health.
Repair Your Gut
Eating a diet rich in real whole foods is critical, however, it is often not enough if you are dealing with a leaky gut, which can compromise your body’s ability to digest and absorb these nutrients. As I always say, “You aren’t what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb!” Repairing your gut will reduce inflammation and improve your ability to absorb nutrients properly, and as a result, you can finally regain the energy to live the life you want to live–whether that means playing with your grandchildren, traveling to a foreign country, or simply pursuing a beloved hobby that you’ve let fall to the wayside!
I recommend the 4R approach to repair your gut and to build yourself a solid foundation for optimal health and wellness.
Heal Your Infections
To overcome chronic fatigue, it is vital to pinpoint and heal underlying infections.
While you can often tell if you have Candida overgrowth based on symptoms alone, I recommend testing as well to be sure. A blood test that checks for IgA, IgM, and IgG Candida antibodies, a complete blood count, stool testing, and an Organix® Dysbiosis urine test can all help identify Candida overgrowth within your body. My Candida Breakthrough™ Program can guide you on how to starve the yeast and overcome Candida overgrowth step-by-step.
Along with symptom checking, SIBO can be diagnosed through a SIBO breath test, Organix® Dysbiosis test, and comprehensive stool testing. To overcome SIBO, you must starve the bacteria by removing foods that feed the bacteria (sugar and carbs in particular), prune the overgrown bacteria with the help of Microb-Clear™, and feed the good bacteria with probiotics. Since regular probiotics can feed an overgrowth, it is crucial that you only take soil-based probiotics, such as Primal Earth™ until you have overcome SIBO.
Learn About Your Unique Genetic Needs
If you want to understand how your unique genetics can cause nutrient deficiencies, you can order a genetic test through 23andme.com. Once you receive your results, you can enter your raw data into a third-party tool, such as Livewello or Genetic Genie to check for possible genetic mutations and learn how they may affect your health.
Add in High-Quality Supplements
The unfortunate truth is that the combination of our nutrient-depleted soils, toxic environment, and high-stress modern life make it very difficult to rely exclusively on nutrients from food to achieve optimal health. High-quality supplements can help fill the gap and provide you with the nutrients your body needs to maintain all-day energy.
I recommend the following supplements to anyone seeking to eliminate fatigue, reverse autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses, and achieve vibrant health.
- Multivitamin: Taking a high-quality, daily multivitamin is the building block of optimal health. I’ve specifically designed a multivitamin filled with B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and other essential vitamins and minerals you need to correct nutrient deficiencies.
- Vitamin D: Since most people don’t get adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun alone, it is crucial to take a Vitamin D supplement.
- Vitamin B: If you have one or two MTHFR mutations, my Methylation Support is an excellent choice with pre-methylated B vitamins to help increase your energy levels. .
- Magnesium: I recommend NeuroCalm Magnesium as the best form of magnesium for brain health, balanced mood, cognitive function, and restorative sleep, as it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Omega 3: When selecting an Omega-3 supplement, it is important that you choose from reputable sources that verify through a third party that they have no detectable mercury in their product, such as my Complete Omega-3 Softgels.
- Iron: Since high iron levels can lead to health problems, make sure to get your iron levels checked before starting supplementations. When you are selecting an iron supplement, choose high-quality capsules with elemental iron to ensure ideal absorption.
Now that you understand which nutrient deficiencies may be causing your fatigue, what the root causes of these deficits are, and how to correct them, you have the power to reclaim your health. You can beat chronic fatigue and regain your vitality by eating a nutrient-dense diet, repairing your gut, healing your infections, understanding your unique genetic needs, and taking the right supplements. Finally, you will have the energy to live the life you want–and deserve!
Save 15% on The Myers Way® Multivitamin Now Through Thursday!
To overcome fatigue and boost your energy levels, it’s absolutely critical to get the full spectrum of nutrients that your body needs. Unfortunately, between environmental toxins, soil depletion, stress, and other modern lifestyle factors, it can be challenging to get all your vitamins and minerals from food alone.
That’s why I custom-formulated The Myers Way® Multivitamin, designed for optimal absorption and bioavailability to ensure that you get everything you need for optimal health. My multivitamin is perfect for anyone who:
- Wants to obtain optimal amounts of the nutrients their body needs to thrive
- Wants to support healthy thyroid and adrenal function
- Wants to support optimal hormone balance and weight loss
- Has MTHFR mutations and wants to promote normal methylation
- Doesn’t eat enough organic fruit and vegetables
- Follows the Standard American Diet (SAD)
Get your multivitamin TODAY!
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.
Amy Myers, MD
Academic Activities and Responsibilities
I was born in South Carolina but grew up in New Orleans (5th generation). I returned to South Carolina for college where I majored in Psychology. After college I went to work for what is now Bank of America as an Assistant Branch Manager and Loan officer. After about a year, I felt as if I was not doing anything to make the world a better place. So I decided I would take some time off, travel to Europe by myself and figure out what was most important to me - working with disadvantaged populations and exploring the world.
While in Italy, I met a couple who had just returned from the Peace Corps...it sounded like a great experience and exactly what I was looking for! A year and a half later I sold most of my belongings, joined the Peace Corps and moved to "the middle of no where" Paraguay, South America. It was DEFINITELY the "toughest job you'll ever love". My 2.5 years in Paraguay were amazing and life changing.
I lived on a dirt road and had no running water. The closest health clinic was 2 hours away and the main hospital over 7 hours by bus. It was there that I decided to become a doctor so that I could return to Paraguay and other developing countries and work as a physician.
I did my post-bac pre-med studies at UW in Seattle and Medical School at LSU. My main interest is in international health.
Baltimore is a great place for residency...there is tons of pathology...and compared to other North Eastern cities it much more managable for Residents....there are so many great things to do in the area...over the past year I have gone to NYC, Philly, Charlottesville, Easternshore, mountains of NC, VA and MD and of course DC ( I have family and friends there and go all the time!).
5 Steps to Reverse Autoimmunity with Dr. Amy Myers
Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Amy Myers
This week we are talking about how to heal autoimmune disease naturally. The incidence of autoimmune disease has tripled in the last few decades. No one knows that more than those who struggle with chronic pain. The immune system is your first line of defense against things like bacteria and viruses, things that are invading your body. In some people, something goes wrong. Autoimmunity can develop into some of the most common types of diseases that we see in today’s medicine. Things such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, scleroderma, and diabetes type I. Often, people describe autoimmune disease as your body is attacking itself. I want to take a couple of moments just to help reframe this thought so we enter this podcast today in a really mindful way.
The first thing is, I want you to know that your body does not have the ability to attack itself. Oftentimes, when this is told to patients with autoimmune disease, it causes further fear, anxiety and harm because they feel there’s something inside themselves that they can’t control. The way I like to help reframe this for people is that your immune system is a little confused and through functional medicine and functional nutrition, we’re going to teach you some really easy skills to help you get unconfused so you can heal. Next is that you have the ability to influence and, in many ways, control your immune system. Your immune system is not just some cells floating around your body. You have the ability to harness the healing power of your own immune system and of course your own body. Last but not least, all this can be done with simple lifestyle changes. You don’t have to rely on prescription medication as your primary means for healing.
To speak with us further today and go deeper on every level of this topic is an expert. Her name is Dr. Amy Myers. She’s a Functional Medicine physician and a two-time New York bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. She’s the Founder and Medical Director of Austin Ultra Health, a Functional Medicine clinic that treats patients all over the world. She has helped thousands recover from chronic illness through her dietary based program called The Myers Way.
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5 Steps to Reverse Autoimmunity with Dr. Amy Myers
Dr. Myers, welcome to the Healing Pain Podcast. It’s great to have you here.
Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m very happy to be here.
I know you’re going to help us really dive deep into autoimmune disease. We’ll talk specifically maybe about some types of autoimmune disease and how we can heal them. Let’s first talk about some of the statistics, the numbers around what has occurred in the autoimmune world as far as what’s happening with the diseases. Are we seeing more of them? Are we seeing less of them? What do you see in your clinic?
As you mentioned, the rates have tripled over the last 50 years. We know that there are about 75 million Americans that have autoimmunity. Those are the people who have been diagnosed out of 150 million people worldwide. Our genes don’t change that quickly, so we know something must be going on in the environment. Many of your listeners maybe have gone to physicians. They’ve asked the questions. They’ve listened to podcasts. They’re suspecting something’s wrong and they get the classic, “All your labs are fine. There’s nothing wrong with you.” It takes about an average of six to ten years to get diagnosed and about five different doctors. Many people are hopping around as you likely know with lots of symptoms. We can get into why that is that these symptoms come and go.
Sometimes it does “happen overnight” for somebody where there’s joint pain and it just never goes away. More classically, at least what I hear is this, “Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I can remember fifteen years ago I had this episode and it happened on this week and then it went away. I didn’t have another one for three years. Then my dad died and I had one more episode. It went away in a week after some Motrin.” People are not making these connections or they don’t bother to go to the doctor, or worse, they go to the doctor and they’re told, “It’s nothing, it will go away, it’s all in your head,” kind of stuff because a lot of these symptoms come and go or they’re very vague. A lot of people have pain, they have fatigue. This happens more in women than in men. Women, this is also happening during times of hormonal change, perimenopause, the birth of a child, menopause. These can easily be explained away as other symptoms or as other conditions. “Of course you’re exhausted and your hair’s falling out because you just had a baby. Of course you’ve gained weight because you’re going into menopause.” These can be easily explained away. Sometimes those are the cases, but in many cases it’s not the case.
You mentioned a lot of different type of symptoms there. Patient symptoms are important when we take a history. Is pain one of the most common symptoms that you see in your patients with autoimmune disease?
It depends on the type of autoimmune disease. Certainly, people who have ankylosing spondylitis, have scleroderma, have rheumatoid arthritis, these can be painful for people. People with Hashimoto’s may not have pain. Somebody with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, they can have digestive pains. There are certainly autoimmune conditions that don’t typically. I never want to make absolutes because everybody is an individual and everybody has their own story. The minute that I say one thing about something, there’s a person who’s actually had that and will be very vocal about it. I myself had Grave’s Disease. I didn’t have any pain associated with that. It really depends on the autoimmune disease. There are many that do, of course, have pain associated with it.
Out of all the autoimmune diseases, is there any one particular disease that is increasing in incidence more than another? Or are they all increasing in equal amounts so to speak?
I honestly don’t know the specific answer to that. I can tell you certainly after having written my second book, The Thyroid Connection, I do know that certainly the rates of thyroid autoimmunity are skyrocketing. Thyroid conditions overall are really on a rise seemingly. If you just think about it, how many people do you know with thyroid conditions? I was just traveling somewhere and the woman behind the desk at the hotel had done something really nice for me and I thought I’ll go to Barnes and Noble and buy her a copy of my book. Maybe that’s silly because maybe she doesn’t even have a thyroid condition and maybe she’ll think that’s weird. When I got it, she was like, “Oh my God, I just got diagnosed.” My chances are when I give a thyroid book to somebody, if they don’t have it themselves, they’d know somebody who does. Even frankly with my autoimmune book. That’s one that I see a lot of and seems to be a much higher incidence and increasing.
I know you know this but just to clarify for your listeners because we seem to be talking about these as individual diseases. That’s really how conventional medicine views autoimmunity, as a disease of the thyroid or a disease of the colon or a disease of the small intestines or a disease of the spinal cord. There are all these different branches of medicine to deal with those individual diseases. It’s why somebody who has more than one autoimmune disease could be seeing multiple different doctors because they’re seeing this as a disease of that organ. This is not a disease of a specific organ. This is really a problem where something has gone awry. There are mixed messages happening in the immune system.
That’s really where I focus when I’m working with patients is what are the underlying root causes of why your immune system got confused in the first place. When we deal with that, the program that I offer in The Autoimmune Solution is one that can be used across any type of autoimmune disease because the problem isn’t in the specific organ. Of course whenever I give a talk or a lecture, the first question is, “Can your program help with Scleroderma? Can it help with MS? Can it help with this? Can it help with that?” The answer is yes because the problem is the immune system. I like to say the Titanic is sinking or it’s turning the wrong way and we’re literally trying to get it to turn the other way. Once we get that and we remove these triggers, when we remove those barriers, the immune system, the body naturally wants to heal. It naturally goes back. It really doesn’t matter what “disease” or autoimmune condition you’ve been diagnosed with. The principles that we’ll be talking about today are helping boost and enhance and balance the immune system rather than suppress the immune system, which is what conventional medicine is trying to do.
It seems like conventional medicine arrives a little bit late in treating those with autoimmune disease and they’re missing a whole bunch of phases that happen before. They’re just treating them with medication at a time where they should do other things beforehand.
To back up, because people don’t know, I was a conventional physician. I was an ER physician. I am classically trained. Then I had my own story with Grave’s Disease and went on to the Institute for Functional Medicine and did training there and then eventually opened my own clinic. When I went into medicine, a lot of people have their story and then they change. I actually went into medicine knowing that I would do exactly what I’m doing. I just didn’t know how to get there. I’ve been a Peace Corp volunteer. My goal was to practice natural medicine, but I looked into naturopathic medicine and things like that. It wasn’t the right fit for me. I ended up going to allopathic medical school with the idea that one day I would find it. What was okay with me was doing Emergency Medicine because that’s an area we do really well in. I always worked in big urban centers in New Orleans, in Baltimore and people were getting shot and stabbed. If that happens to you, absolutely you want to get to the ER and we are really, really good at that.
Where we’re failing people in conventional medicine is really with these chronic conditions, both with prevention of chronic conditions and then reversal of chronic conditions. That goes back to when we discovered antibiotics. We thought one disease, one medicine and that one medicine would really solve all problems. When you have rheumatoid arthritis, you don’t have a HUMIRA deficiency. Giving HUMIRA is really not solving the problem. We really need to figure out again why did the system go awry in the first place? When you’re bleeding out, you do have a blood loss and you have a deficiency of that and you want to give somebody blood back. For a lot of these conditions, the way that conventional medicine treats it with immunosuppressive drugs isn’t something that we’re deficient in.
It’s what actually are we deficient in? Are we nutrient deficient? Are we eating a poor diet with Frankenfoods that are processed? Do we have small bowel bacterial overgrowth or yeast overgrowth preventing us from digesting and absorbing properly? Do we have leaky gut? Do we have an overload of toxins? Do we have some infections that our body is getting confused and trying to attack those infections but it looks very similar to our body? Are we stressed out? Most of us are. Chronic stress can ultimately suppress the immune system. Those are the five areas that I look for.
Of course now that I’ve written The Autoimmune Solution, you get people from all over the world and the typical, more easy cases of one autoimmune disease that are out the door. I see all the people who have been everywhere. The most I’ve seen are six autoimmune diseases. By the time you’re in my office, it’s typically some part of all five of those pieces of what I call a pie chart, but for somebody else it may be one. I’ve had people literally get off gluten with rheumatoid arthritis and because of that molecular mimicry, it’s a process of mistaken identity with the immune system, that literally they get off the gluten and the entire situation resolves for them. Other people, it’s getting heavy metals out. Other people, it’s getting infections out of their gut. For many people, it can be three, four, or all five that they need to dig into to get well.
You were asking about statistics initially, once you have one autoimmune disease, you’re three times more likely to get another one. You might be thinking, “While I’m listening to this, either conventional medicine has my autoimmune disease in remission by being on these medications or I’m somebody with Hashimoto’s or I had Grave’s and had my thyroid ablated so I now take supplemental thyroid hormone. There’s nothing more I can do.” That’s not true. If you don’t go in and heal the gut and figure out why you had this in the first place, I’ve left myself exposed to potentially having another one which could be worse. It could be multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis or something that’s literally disabling for me. You can stop the fire even if you’ve had something dramatic and life altering, like me, my thyroid ablated. You can still stop the fire. You can still figure out why you got it in the first place so you’re not leaving yourself exposed. That’s very important for people. It’s honestly why I live and breathe what I do. It’s because I am a person with autoimmunity or has had autoimmunity. My antibodies and everything have gone away.
I talk about it in my book, The Autoimmune Solution, a spectrum of no problem to full-blown autoimmunity. Then there’s this creeping up of inflammation. I talk about this openly as well. Last year, I got another toxic mold exposure. I saw, because I check labs on myself all the time, that I was creeping back up the spectrum. I had to get out of the house and deal with that and really hit my program hard again to get back out it. Of course I live and breathe it every day but there are moments where I’ll eat gluten-free, a muffin or a cookie or something because I’m well and then some other external factor might happen to somebody along the way where you’ve got to stop and you’ve got to reign it back in on things and get well, which I, of course, have done. You can expand and breathe and see and test the limits a little bit more with things.
There are certain things that people absolutely have to stay away from and there are things you can flirt with just a little bit and you can test yourself. Before we go into some of those strategies, someone who has autoimmune disease, they’re going to go on the internet, they’re going to do researching and they’re going to find websites. Some are awesome and have great evidence-based information. Some have lack of evidence, so to speak. What are some of the myths that someone might run into when they start to read about autoimmune disease?
One of the biggest myths is that there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s certainly what your conventional physician is going to tell you or most of them. I certainly don’t want to throw them all in a bad light. I’ve met a Rheumatologist at the recent IFM annual conference and she gives my book out to everybody. That was pretty amazing. People like that are few and far between. Typically they’ve completely crossed over to the Functional Medicine world or they’ve stayed stuck where they are. People don’t typically straddle both of those words because it’s difficult. I try to do it for a while. The biggest one is just that they can’t be reversed or that there’s nothing you can do and that you’re really destined for a life of these immunosuppressive drugs. Once one stops working, you’ll have to go on a harsher one that’s going to suppress the immune system. That certainly is true if you don’t do anything about it but if you follow a program like we’re talking about here, you certainly can find those root causes and remove them and then you’ll see that’s definitely not the case.
They also don’t believe that they can be prevented. Many people, they just don’t bother or they’re not checking. I check a full autoimmune panel in everybody that walks in the door. I’ve picked up antibodies in a lot of people before there’s been enough tissue destruction to actually have that diagnosis. That’s wonderful to be able to pick that up, make dietary and lifestyle changes and repeat the labs. This is somebody who’s completely asymptomatic or seemingly so. They’ve come for something else. They’ve come because they’re having digestive issues, but we pick up Hashimoto’s antibodies or we pick up scleroderma antibodies that seemingly have nothing to do with their digestive issues because we’ve got them off gluten and that resolved. We can repeat these labs and see if those antibodies completely go away.
The other largest myth that there is that it’s all genetic. That’s not true. There are identical twin studies looking at twins with autoimmunity. What research shows is that 25% is genetic. There needs to be potentially some genetic predisposition. 75% is the environmental factors that I write about in my book and walk people through in a program to help them identify those. That’s really empowering to know that 75% of it is within your control. Also, just as a caveat, there have been Celiac’s diagnosis Celiac that don’t have the Celiac gene. We’re now also knowing that it’s not all genetics. You could not have the genes but still develop the disease. Between that the rate at which these are increasing really points to environmental factors being an enormous cause or factor in chronic disease particularly autoimmunity.
Let’s dive into diet. You’ve mentioned gluten already. Everyone who listens to my podcast and follows my work and has read my book knows that if you have chronic pain, gluten should be the first that comes out of your diet. In your approach, you also talk about beans and grains. When I start talking about those things, people say, “These are healthy foods. They’re natural. They occur naturally. They’ve got fiber in them. They’ve got some vitamins and minerals in them.” Why are those two things important if you want to potentially treat your autoimmune disease?
Those things can be healthy for some people. I was a vegetarian for 27 years. I ate black beans and brown rice and tofu for many, many years. I believe in this. Of course it’s not just based on me, but as a personal story to help people understand that I’m not this person who ate meat all my life and then I’m advocating a meat-based diet. I am somebody, actually this was an enormous shift for me, who didn’t eat meat for 27 years. These have certain lectins and prolamines which are proteins in the grain and in the legume that are in their protective shell. There’s a shell around all grains and legumes and it’s there meant to not be digested, so that an animal could come by, eat the plant and then poop out the seed so that the life cycle could continue for the plant. It had a natural barrier that would resist the breakdown of stomach acid and things like that. There’s a thought that because of this that this can be very irritating to the gut lining and can cause leaky gut. If you have leaky gut, that seems to be a gateway to autoimmunity. There are certain things that you can do by fermenting them, soaking them, cooking them for long periods of time that can help breakdown these proteins.
In my program, I really recommend that people get these out for at least 30 days just because if you have an autoimmune disease, through the research of Alessio Fasano, you likely have a leaky gut. We want to get out all of the things that could potentially be causing a leaky gut for you, allow your gut to heal and then that’s one of those things that you could potentially add it back in. As you know with working with patients, all foods are individual for people. I had a woman who had Grave’s and she added back eggs and she almost went into thyroid storm. These are all very individualized. Through the research, I know that gluten because of that process of molecular mimicry for anybody with autoimmunity is not a good idea. The research also shows that every time you eat it, it can potentially stimulate your immune system for up to three months. That means you get four times a year that you’ve never given your immune system a break. If you have autoimmunity, you don’t want to do that.
About 60% of the people with a gluten issue have also a casein issue, which is a protein in dairy, again through that process of molecular mimicry. For me personally, gluten and dairy are absolute nos. They are nos no matter what situation I’m in. That’s what I recommend for most people’s autoimmunity. Of course it’s their life, they can test that out. Other foods like grains or legumes, I was in India two years ago now, primarily a vegetarian country. I was out visiting some orphans and they provided a meal and it was grains and legumes. I ate it. Did I eat the naan, the bread? No, I didn’t do that but I ate the grains and legumes. I’m able to do that on occasion but after having a pantry full of grains and legumes for 27 years, with literally have none in our house, those are things that I eat if I’m traveling, I’m going to our friend’s house and I don’t want to give them a full laundry list of stuff I prefer not to eat. I simply say gluten and dairy are my absolute nos. When I’m out, I just know the foods that I can get away with, unless of course I’ve had a problem and gone up that autoimmune spectrum and those become nos as well. That’s really what I’m teaching people.
My program as you mentioned is called The Myers Way. The reason that I called it that is it’s a way of life. Really what I’m doing in my entire mission is to empower people, to educate people and empower people to decide. If you have the education and you have the knowledge, then you can figure out, do you want to still do conventional medicine? By all means, I want to take this other approach. What are the things that affect me whether it’s a food to an infection, to an environment, to a person? How are these things affecting me? What things do I need to say no and get out of my life? What things do I need to say yes to? That’s what I’m hoping that that’s a ripple effect within somebody’s family. Typically it’s a woman seeing me and I hope she then goes home and the husband or spouse or whoever learns something and if they have children in the home that they take on some of these principles as well. It really becomes a way of life for people.
It’s true especially with nutrition. When you work with one patient, oftentimes you want to help their entire family because especially if the mom’s eating habits change, her shopping habits change, what they’re putting in their shopping cart is going to change of what goes on their plate and what they cook in the evening with dinner. Autoimmune disease can often be stealth. One of the things that can be stealth is infections. What type of infections do you look for? What type of infection should someone be aware of that could be part of this underlying trigger for an autoimmune flare?
There are a lot of viruses that have been implicated: Epstein-Barr, Herpes viruses. I find that most people have these. I don’t find in my clinical experience that when I lower one of these infections that’s dramatically made a huge difference for somebody or that people can’t get well if they still have these infections. There are certainly some bacterial infections. I have a page in my book that has a chart that has certain infections that have been linked with other autoimmunity. Chlamydia pneumoniae has been linked with multiple sclerosis. When I’m treating those, I do typically see people get better. I have actually seen that. Some of these things are in the literature and you rarely see them but I do on occasion see them. Ankylosing spondylysis with Klebsiella. Some are blood tests. Some are things you need to find on a stool test. The blood test ones your regular doctor can do. You can pick up a copy of the book, look at the chapter and take that with you. These are in the literatures. Your doctor should know about these correlations. Some of them, like I said, are found in a stool test and you probably need a Functional Medicine doctor to do a more comprehensive stool test. It’s not one that would be picked up on a regular stool test from a conventional practitioner.
Sometimes that can be the one thing that no one has been taught.
Nobody checks. It is in the literature. It is widely in the literature about Chlamydia pneumoniae and multiple sclerosis. I’ve only seen it in about two of my multiple sclerosis patients but when you do find it and when you do treat it, I often do see a really big difference for those people.
Especially with the ankylosing spondylitis, you have joint pain and no one’s testing you for that. That might be the one thing you want to look out for.
If you’re with a really good practitioner, they’re listening to you. I’m not shy to try things on people that I know if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, let’s treat it like it’s a duck and see if it makes a difference. You certainly don’t want to put somebody on antibiotics for no reason. If you’re highly suspecting that, a little trial dose and if they get better, then you continue on.
What is the core of your program? If someone said, “This is interesting.” What’s the core of The Myers Way?
It really has five parts to it. The core is really the diet and healing the gut because nearly 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Even if you don’t have digestive issues, certainly something’s going on in your gut whether it’s infections or leaky gut. The first step in healing your gut is changing your diet. Back in the day, doing those two things, it was amazing. People would go off for 30 days and come back and be completely healed. I was scared coming from an ER background where you see somebody once and you hope to never see them again. Suddenly I was going to have continuative care and I was shaking in my boots. People were literally coming back and are like, “Amazing, this is gone.” Of course now, as the people that I’m seeing are much more complex, we really do need to dig into the things that I talk about in my book like toxins. Really looking at how they’re coming in, making sure they’re eating organic food if you can, filtered water, not only drinking but showered, removing heavy metals from your body or mercury fillings, looking at people’s stress levels because that’s a huge one, and of course looking at these infections. I, in my clinic, have to go, and of course I write about this in the book but there’s only so much phase: toxic molds, lime. There are so many things that as I’m working with people, as I’m really working with them, we can dig even deeper into more. I wouldn’t say more obscure because of course I see this all the time in people with toxic molds and lime. Those are other things that I investigate and heavy metals, look in their mouth, and send them to a biological dentist. I talk all about this in my book.
As a practitioner and author, you’ve written two books now. The first one is The Autoimmune Solution. The second one is The Thyroid Connection. I’ve only written one book. I’d love to write two so I’m following your footsteps. What’s interesting when you write a book is that things happen from it. Obviously people get your information, they contact you and you start a revolution. Between the first and the second book, as an author and as a practitioner on this mission, what’s the one thing that you realized or heard after the second book that didn’t necessarily happen with the first book?
You learn a lot from the first book. What I did different in the second book from the first book is I made the supplement, which you don’t have to take supplements but of course it can jumpstart and speed the healing. I made the supplement plan much simpler in The Thyroid Connection. I created a multivitamin to go along with that. Of course you can use it for The Autoimmune Solution as well. It just really honed in. People were feeling overwhelmed. The other thing I did was I created an online program as a companion to The Autoimmune Solution because people wanted more handholding and to dive deeper and couldn’t come see me. Of course, we’ll have one for The Thyroid Connection shortly as well or soon. I made the recipes much easier. The recipes are really delicious and people love them. When you’re dealing with a chronic illness, you don’t want to be in the kitchen. You’re tired, you’re in pain. Maybe you’re limited to what you can cook. We made the recipes most of them five ingredients or less, much quicker, easier, still equally delicious. Those from my first book to second book, what did I learn to be able to serve people? What has it done is for me, I had very high success rates in my clinic but these were people that were flying in to see me. They’re spending a lot of money, we had a lot of time together, I had a lot of information and had a lot of data. Of course, you hoped that they would get well because they’ve spent money, they’ve invested time, they’re doing everything that I’m asking them to do because they’ve invested time and money. I have a lot of data points to really be able to tweak and pinpoint and specifically work with them.
The most incredible thing, and I literally have goosebumps right now, is the number of people who have gotten well and reversed their autoimmunity or their thyroid condition from reading those books and following the programs around the world that I’ll never have a chance to meet. There was a one woman who I now have had the chance to meet because she’s in Texas and I invited her to come spend the day with me after hearing her story. She had spent over $10,000 in doctors, wasn’t leaving her house, couldn’t work, couldn’t go on vacation, she was newly married, she had Lupus and was covered head to toe in a rash, and literally picked up my book for $15. Now it’s in paperback, it’s less than $10. Within fifteen days, her symptoms were already starting to disappear. Within 30 days, everything had resolved and finally went on vacation and back to work and is completely healthy now. I’m literally from head to toe in goosebumps. Her point is, “I spent $10,000 and my entire days were revolved around going to doctors,” when in less than $20 and now less than $10, she found a solution. That is just simply amazing.
The idea is that these books and your book and the books that many of us are writing are really empowering so many people to take back their health. They’re getting answers and solutions for not much money and they don’t have to go back to the doctor. They drop the co-pay and they don’t have the expensive medications and they get their lives back. That’s the most incredible thing to me is the person who I will never meet, who just in a $10-book resolved their entire autoimmunity. Literally, I’m head to toe in goosebumps. It’s absolutely incredible. Of course, I hoped that would happen and I figured it would happen because it’s exactly what I do in my clinic and it’s as close as you can get to coming to my clinic, but just the number of people that that’s happened with. The Autoimmune Solution sold about 100,000 copies in hardback and now it’s in paperback. I can’t tell you that it helped every one of those and it’s 100,000 people but it’s in the tens of thousands of people that have been helped. I can sleep at night.
I have been speaking with Dr. Amy Myers. You can find out more information about her at www.AmyMyersMD.com. You also have a free gift that you’ll mention as well for the people listening to the podcast.
We do. Healing your gut is so important to healing autoimmunity. We have a free eBook that includes 35 gut healing recipes, and really a step-by-step guide to heal your gut. That’s at GutRecipes.com.
Please check out Dr. Amy Myers on her website. Please check out her free gift. Of course, check out her books, the two-time New York bestselling books, The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. Please share this information out with your family and friends by clicking the share button. Give us a five-star review on iTunes. I want to thank everyone for joining me. We’ll see you next week on the Healing Pain Podcast.
About Amy Myers
Amy Myers, MD is a renowned leader in Functional Medicine and 2x New York Times Bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. She is the founder and medical director of Austin UltraHealth, a functional medicine clinic that treats patients from all over the world who are overcoming chronic illness. She has been featured on PBS, The Dr. Oz Show, The New York Post, Women’s Health, Huffington Post, GOOP and numerous other television programs, radio shows, and print publications. She has helped hundreds of thousands recover from chronic illness through her dietary-based program, The Myers Way®, and she has created multiple programs, tools, and free resources to guide readers through her revolutionary approach to health.
The Healing Pain Podcast features expert interviews and serves as:
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A free resource describing the least invasive, non-pharmacologic methods to heal pain.
A resource for safe alternatives to long-term opioid use and addiction.
A catalyst to broaden the conversation around pain emphasizing biopsychosocial treatments.
A platform to discuss pain treatment, research and advocacy.
If you would like to appear in an episode of The Healing Pain Podcast or know someone with an incredible story of overcoming pain contact Dr. Joe Tatta at [email protected] Experts from the fields of medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic, nutrition, psychology, spirituality, personal development and more are welcome.Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
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28 Day Metabolism Makeover with Amy Myers, Md
It's remarkable how many symptoms-large, small, and in between-are connected to your thyroid. In fact, just about every aspect of your metabolism depends on thyroid function; if your thyroid isn't working up to par, you won't be either. Healing and supporting your thyroid is one of the most important ways you can connect to your body-and one of the best ways to achieve optimal health. If you have the sinking feeling that your regular doctor is missing something, because he or she keeps insisting that you're fine, whereas you know that "fine" is the last thing you are, this program has answers for you. That's right. Even if your doctor says you don't have a thyroid problem, you very well might. It's all too sadly possible that the tests you're getting aren't accurate, your doctor is misinterpreting the results, you're being under-medicated, you're getting the wrong type of medication-or you're suffering from some combination of all those factors. Meanwhile, you're feeling lousy: exhausted, old before your time, and-since your doctor won't believe you-possibly crazy. So breathe a big sigh of relief and get ready to feel better. Because in this program, you're going to find out that you were right all along. There is something wrong with you. You do have a thyroid disorder, it can be treated, and as soon as it is, you're going to feel like a whole new person. Nourishing your thyroid can help clear away the brain fog, soothe anxiety and ease the depression, heal those achy joints and raging hormones, and help you get your sex life back. It can be the key to dropping those extra pounds and never regaining them. And yes, you'll even get your hair growing all thick and healthy-better than you've ever seen it-with clear glowing skin and boatloads of energy to boot. That's what's possible-total vibrant health and nothing less. That's what you can look forward to when your thyroid is working optimally and you're following the diet and lifestyle that supports fabulous health. Thousands of Dr. Amy Myers' patients have achieved it on her plan, and now she's offering her plan to public television viewers. Dr. Myers once practiced as an Emergency Room physician, but soon discovered conventional medicine is a one size fits all model. Her belief is that health shouldn't be viewed as a cookie cutter solution; it's more complex than that. She practices functional medicine, or personalized medicine. No two people are alike. Each of us is unique in our genetic makeup and physiology. What ultimately causes illness in one person is not the same for another, and treatment for each will therefore be different. She knows this from personal experience. Dr. Myers was once diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid dysfunction, and has the unique perspective of a patient as well as a physician. She knows that every detail of your health is interconnected, everything is a clue to your present state of health. In this program she'll helps you solve your issues based on the root cause - not simply treat the symptoms.
Similar authors to follow
From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Autoimmune Solution, a comprehensive, accessible overview of thyroid problems that will help you learn to identify the warning signs and finally take back your health.
Are you exhausted all the time, plagued by brain fog, and unable to lose weight? Do you struggle with insomnia, panic attacks, and tremors? But does your doctor insists your labs are normal, and that you just need to eat less and exercise more? As anyone who has been there knows, nothing is more frustrating, stressful, and emotionally draining than feeling unwell and being told you're fine by the very person who is supposed to heal you.
The truth is, your symptoms could be caused by a thyroid disorder--the hidden cause of a wide array of health problems that can threaten to ruin your life. Thyroid dysfunction affects at least 20 million Americans and yet conventional medicine frequently misses the diagnosis. The scariest part? Most doctors won't even order thyroid tests unless you specifically ask.
Now, in The Thyroid Connection, Dr. Amy Myers teaches you how to take your health into your own hands. Dr. Myers, originally misdiagnosed herself, understands the struggles of thyroid dysfunction firsthand. Fortunately, she also knows how achievable recovery and well-being are, and just how to get you there. In The Thyroid Connection, she explains how to recognize the symptoms that could signal a thyroid problem, work with your doctor to ensure proper diagnosis, and make sure you're on the right treatment plan. Complete with a 28-day program tailored to your specific condition, along with advice on diet, supplements, exercise, stress relief, and sleep, The Thyroid Connection is the ultimate roadmap back to your happiest, healthiest self.
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Amy Myers MD
The Thyroid Connection,
- Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight -- and How to Get Your Life Back ,
- By: Amy Myers ,
- Narrated by: Hilary Bogart ,
- Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
- , Unabridged
- 4.5 out of 5 stars , 197 197 ratings,
- 4.5 out of 5 stars , 166 166 ratings,
- 4 out of 5 stars , 167 167 ratings,
From the author of the New York Times best seller The Autoimmune Solution, a comprehensive, accessible overview of thyroid problems that will help you learn to identify the warning signs and finally take back your health....
- 5 out of 5 stars
- By Eric R Linsky on 11-19-16