Why You Should Consider Functional Care

Functional medicine offers a patient-centered, holistic approach to treating chronic disease. The goal of functional medicine is to find and treat the core cause of chronic illness. 

Instead of trying to identify which medication will treat your symptoms, functional medicine providers focus on finding the root cause of your issues to restore optimal function and wellness. 

The team at Dr. Autoimmune, takes a holistic approach to understanding you as a whole person, recognizing that because everyone is different, you require a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Functional medicine cares for the patients, not the disease

Genetically and biochemically, everyone is unique. Functional medicine adopts a tailored approach, caring for the patient rather than the disease.

Functional medicine practitioners look for ways to restore and enhance the body’s own healing mechanisms to resolve chronic issues. Certain circumstances can throw your body off balance, and when this happens, chronic diseases can occur.

A holistic approach to chronic disease

Traditional medicine relies heavily on medication and surgeries to treat symptoms without investigating or reversing the root cause. 

While medication and surgery may be appropriate for acute health issues, they’re less advantageous for chronic illness. 

The goal of functional care is to move the body’s physiology back to a condition of optimal functioning by removing everything that is preventing the body from reaching optimal health, and by adding what’s missing. 

Functional care focuses on figuring out why the body isn’t working properly in the first place. We rely on each patient’s unique history, advanced blood tests, and a thorough examination of the patient’s general lifestyle as a guide. 

The result? Functional care leads to better quality-of-life outcomes when compared with the conventional medicine approach. 

Advantages of functional care

By lowering the burden of chronic disease, Dr. Autoimmune and his team have helped countless people live better lives. We are unique in our functional medicine program because we: Put a strong emphasis on patient-centered care! This means we get to know you as a person, not just your illness. 

We do a thorough medical history and lifestyle assessment to get a clear picture of your health. This examination is used to detect disease triggers and create a comprehensive, customized care strategy.

Utilize a multidisciplinary approach

You can rely on our team to accompany you on your path to optimal wellness because unlike traditional western medicine, we use a multidisciplinary approach.

We provide cutting-edge care models, a comprehensive medical evaluation and our virtual visits keep you connected to top-quality functional care. 

Our team provides a number of essential services and has experience in a wide range of conditions with a specialization in autoimmune conditions including clinical nutrition, neurofeedback, maintenance programs and more! 

The practice also has advanced training and can help with many common conditions associated with your symptoms.

Dr. Autoimmune helps patients uncover the root cause of their conditions and the best methods to achieve effective relief through integrative medical care. We help patients achieve long-term health through personalized integrative care plans.

If you’re ready to reach your full potential, we can help! To get started, give us a call today at 303-882-8447 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ian Hollaman aka Dr. Autoimmune. 

Or, reclaim your vitality today by clicking here to sign up for our 90-minute Zoom appointment which includes:

  • A comprehensive case review of symptoms and timeline
  • Review and interpretation of the 90+ marker blood panel (Blood is drawn at least 14 days prior to the appointment at a lab close to you. A blood test kit will be provided by mail.)
  • Evaluation of your case and custom care plan
  • $399 Rate

*This is a  Limited Introductory Offer – 1st Time Visitors Only

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Autoimmune Diseases In Children

Childhood may hold some of the best times of our lives, and though much of childhood might seem carefree, when you add an autoimmune disorder into the equation, things tend to get a bit complicated – and scary – for both the child and the parent.

An autoimmune disorder in children is considered rare, but it’s important to know that these diseases are on the rise. As a parent, it’s also important that you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of these diseases so that you can seek a proper diagnosis and treatment for your child. That’s why in this article we’ve included which autoimmune diseases are most common in children and their symptoms. 

If you’d like to learn more, or if you believe that your child may have an autoimmune disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. Autoimmune today.

Autoimmune Disorders in Children

Aside from Celiac Disease, most pediatric autoimmune diseases are uncommon. However, autoimmune diseases in children often prove to be the most challenging for providers who practice functional medicine.

When treating autoimmune diseases in children, providers often take a collaborative approach with both diagnosis and treatment in order to give a more thorough evaluation. 

The most common autoimmune diseases in children include the following:

Each autoimmune disease referenced above attacks the body in a different way. And in order to know if your child has a specific type of autoimmune disorder, it’s helpful to know a little about each – and its identifying symptoms.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is the most commonly diagnosed autoimmune disease in children – more commonly associated with children aged 3 or under. It’s also important to note that this disease typically occurs after wheat or gluten is introduced to the child – usually when a child is between six to nine months old. However, some children may develop the condition several years later.

If you suspect your child may have celiac disease, he or she may exhibit one or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Headaches 
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic melancholy
  • Constipation
  • Colic
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain (cramps)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Severe cases of celiac disease in children may begin first with diarrhea that persists day after day. Then weight loss or dehydration typically follows. 

If this is the case, it’s important that you take your child in for a medical evaluation as there could be other underlying factors that could be contributing to the condition – and this is where functional medicine can play an important role.

Type-1 Diabetes

Type-1 Diabetes is also sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes and typically manifests during adolescence. However, this condition can also be found in younger children, and it can also affect young adults.

Type-1 diabetes occurs when your child’s pancreas makes little or no insulin, which assists blood sugar upon entering cells for energy conversion. 

It’s also important to note that unfortunately there is no known cure or prevention for type-1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type-1 diabetes in children may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety

Though a cure is not currently available for type-1 diabetes, if you can handle your child’s diabetes care on a daily basis, your child may still be able to stay relatively healthy. This includes ensuring that they’re eating healthy foods and receiving proper nutrition, keeping up with insulin regimens, and keeping in touch with their healthcare provider frequently.

Juvenile Arthritis

For many years, parents commonly believed that children would eventually outgrow juvenile arthritis. However, this is a myth. Though some cases of remission are evident and have been documented, cases of this autoimmune disorder are typically long-lasting and may require treatment throughout life.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis often causes frequent joint pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness. 

Additional symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis often include:

  • Fatigue
  • Warmth or redness near joints
  • Eye inflammation
  • Swollen joints
  • Stiffness

It’s important to know that your child’s symptoms may be the most severe after waking up in the morning, or sometimes after your child has taken a nap. 

Autoimmune thyroiditis

Autoimmune thyroiditis usually occurs in adolescents, but can present even in younger children. This is a common acquired cause of thyroid disease in children. 

AT can be either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Genes and environmental factors cause this disease in children.

Additional symptoms often include:

  • constipation
  • depression
  • enlarged thyroid
  • fatigue 
  • joint stiffness
  • muscle weakness
  • puffy eyes
  • sensitivity to cold
  • slow heart rate
  • swelling in extremities
  • or weight gain


Pediatric lupus is most commonly detected in children just as they begin to enter adolescence – typically around 12 years of age. However, cases of lupus in younger children have also been documented, though this is extremely rare – especially in children under 5 years of age.

When a child has lupus, this can cause severe joint pain, fever, rashes, and organ damage. Though much more severe in children, lupus affects children in many of the same ways that it affects adults. As such, lupus in children can involve multiple organs in more severe cases.

Children with Lupus may experience the following symptoms:

  • Red rash on the cheeks and/or nose
  • Disc-shaped rash with areas that appear raised
  • Skin rash after exposure to the sun
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Joint pain

In more severe cases, fluid buildup around the heart or lungs as well as kidney failure can manifest in children. And if your child is showing any symptoms, getting a professional diagnosis and treatment plan implemented early is going to be key to treating pediatric lupus as your child ages.

Multiple autoimmune syndrome 

MAS is the combination of three or more autoimmune diseases in a person. One of the disorders pertains to skin – either scleroderma or psoriasis

Around 50% of the people suffering from an autoimmune disease are likely to get more autoimmune disorders, especially the longer the disease exists.

Treating Autoimmune Disorders in Children

No parent wants to watch their child suffer from any illness. And with regular treatment, your child may have the chance at living a normal and full life despite his or her condition. But with autoimmune disorders in children, you have to be prepared to care for your child and keep up with any treatment plan that your provider recommends – and prepare to go the distance.

Functional medical practitioners like Dr. Autoimmune focuses on the root cause of a disease. We understand that there may be several underlying factors that contribute to your child’s illness.  

Functional medicine excels at this aspect of determining the root cause and how to rehab the immune system. If you suspect that your child may have an autoimmune disorder, or if they’ve exhibited any persistent symptoms consistent with an autoimmune disease, schedule a consultation with Dr. Autoimmune today! 

Call us today at 303-882-8447 or click here to get your child started on the journey back to optimal health. We are 100% remote so your child can heal from anywhere!

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Could Your Dry Skin Be a Sign of Autoimmune Disease?

Have you got dry skin that seems to need a ton of moisturizer to stop it from cracking and flaking? There can be a few factors involved in causing dry skin but sometimes, it can be linked to autoimmune disease

In this article we go over how to know if your skin could be one of the signs of an autoimmune condition and what to do about it.


Psoriasis is one example of an autoimmune condition that mostly affects the skin (although it can sometimes affect the joints too). Dry skin can also be a symptom of other autoimmune conditions. 

Psoriasis is caused by an overproduction of skin cells, which turn over a lot faster than they normally would. These new skin cells build up more quickly than your body can shed them and that results in raised areas of dry, red and itchy skin. This can happen anywhere on the body. Some people with psoriasis will go on to develop a type of arthritis called psoriatic arthritis.

Other symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Dry skin that is prone to cracking and bleeding
  • Itching and burning feelings on affected areas
  • Thick, pitted nails


There has been some debate as to whether eczema is an autoimmune condition but research has started to suggest that it is. Like psoriasis, it’s an exaggerated inflammatory response that triggers symptoms. This inflammation results in red, dry, itchy and scaly skin. 

Eczema symptoms can be reduced a lot through medications that target the immune proteins that target healthy tissues and set the scene for the autoimmune reaction. Eczema can occur anywhere on your body but it’s common for it to affect the elbows, backs of the knees and hands.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Skin that is dry, red, itchy, sore and prone to cracking
  • Very itchy skin that may also burn
  • Oozing and crustiness that can often occur if you scratch affected areas


Patches of thick, hard and dry skin can be a symptom of scleroderma, which develops due to hardening of the body’s connective tissues. An autoimmune response means that collagen is produced to the same extent that it would if there was an injury to the skin.

Depending on how severe the condition is, it can potentially be pretty serious and sometimes even life threatening. This is because it can go far deeper than just the localized type that affects the skin. The systemic sclerosis type of scleroderma can also affect the blood vessels, muscles and vital organs.

Other Autoimmune Conditions That Can Affect the Skin

Some other autoimmune conditions can cause dry skin, although this is rarely their only symptom. Some of these include:

Thyroid problems can cause dry skin, especially hypothyroidism. 90% of hypothyroidism is actually due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition.

Type 1 diabetes is another autoimmune condition that can affect the skin. It can cause dry and itchy skin that is also prone to infections, especially on your feet. Other symptoms include being thirsty a lot, needing to go to the bathroom frequently and feeling tired.

Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry skin. It also tends to make your eyes and mouth dry and affects the joints, muscles and salivary glands. You can be more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome if you already have an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Natural Relief for Dry Skin

If autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis or eczema are the reason for your dry skin, you’ll often be given medications and topical creams to tackle the inflammation and make symptoms less severe. These can have side effects and you may wonder if you can get some natural relief for symptoms instead. The answer is definitely “yes!” and here are a few options that you can try out:

  • Olive oil can be used as a natural facial cleanser and also helps to nourish dry skin.
  • Sunflower seed oil (organic) has also been tested in studies and was shown to be a great option for moisturizing dry skin on the body.
  • If you want to get the effects of using petroleum jelly in a more natural form, studies say that coconut oil works in much the same way. This is because the fatty acids give it emollient properties.
  • An avocado face mask can soothe dry skin on your face. It’s simple to whip up too. Just mash up half an avocado and mix with a teaspoon of olive oil. 
  • For dry skin that affects the rest of your body, try adding oatmeal to a warm (but not hot!) bath. It can help to soothe the discomfort of dry skin and is also moisturizing. Oatmeal can also be used as a face mask too. To use it in your bath, whizz up some oatmeal in a blender or food processor and mix it into warm water.
  • Applying honey to your skin helps to soothe and hydrate it. Adding a teaspoon of honey can also work for very dry skin. Leave it on your skin for up to 20 minutes and wash off with warm water. Don’t use very hot water to wash it off as this can dry the skin out even more. It’s also anti-inflammatory, which can be great for autoimmune skin conditions such as psoriasis. 

How Can Dr. Autoimmune Help?

It can be frustrating trying to find help with chronic and complex conditions, which is why we have chosen to dedicate our practice to exactly that. Instead of treating the symptoms, our functional medicine approach focuses on finding the causes.

Discovering the root cause of any skin condition is the only way to truly recover. And the best place to start is with a functional medicine practitioner like Dr. Autoimmune.

Our specialty is autoimmunity and our clinic is 100% remote! So whether you know or suspect that you have an autoimmune condition, we can help you achieve your wellness goals from anywhere in the world.

Start your journey with us and request your patient exam by clicking here

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram  YouTube and Tik-Tok for more information and tips regarding autoimmune diseases and the functional medicine approach. 

While you’re here, check out some of our testimonials.

Is Your Autoimmune Disease Caused By Environmental Factors?

Autoimmune disorders are common, and they may even affect you or someone you care about. In fact, up to 9% of people in the United States have an autoimmune condition (ignoring that many more are developing them and will eventually be diagnosed) — though this varies by gender, ethnicity, and geographic location.   

While autoimmune conditions vary widely in symptoms and severity, they all have the same underlying problem: Your body’s immune cells attack your own body. 

Common types of AIDs include:

Though many genes are connected to AIDs, scientists still don’t know for sure exactly what causes these disorders. And while we know that genetics — and your family history — definitely plays a role, it’s possible that up to 70% of autoimmune diseases may actually be caused by environmental factors — like: 

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Infections

Read on to learn about specific environmental triggers for autoimmune diseases, and what you can do to reduce your risk or improve your symptoms.

What environmental triggers are associated with autoimmune diseases?

In people with a genetic predisposition (where their genes put them at risk), certain environmental exposures can trigger autoimmune disease. These include toxins, infections, diet, and more. 

Can toxins cause an autoimmune disease?

Yes. Multiple environmental toxins have been linked to autoimmune diseases. For example, cigarette smoking may increase your risk of: 

  • RA
  • Lupus
  • MS
  • Graves’ disease 

Additional toxic exposures linked with AIDs include:

  • Ultraviolet light
  • Silicone breast implants
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals like mercury
  • Plastics like BPA (highly associated to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) 

Not all people with these exposures develop an autoimmune disease. There are other factors involved, like epigenetics and your family history.

Can your diet cause autoimmune disorders?

Yes. Dietary factors and the gut microbiome may also contribute to the underlying causes of autoimmune conditions. There are changes in the gut microbiome in people with certain autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and RA. And, in some people, eating gluten can lead to an abnormal immune response and the development of celiac disease. 

Again, not all people with dietary risk factors will get an autoimmune condition. Just like other exposures, diet is only one possible contributing factor.

Can an infection cause autoimmune disease? 

Yes. Infections are a known trigger for AIDs in people with a genetic predisposition. Infections have been linked with many autoimmune conditions including: 

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • MS
  • Lupus
  • RA 
  • Hashimotos hypothyroidism
  • Wegeners Granulomatosis
  • Sjogrens

Infections connected with autoimmune diseases include:

  • Mono (Epstein-Barr virus)
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Strep throat
  • Scarlet fever
  • E. coli
  • COVID-19

Other possible triggers

There are some other possible triggers of AIDs including:

Emotional stress or trauma: 

Stressful life events or trauma may increase your risk of developing an AID.   


An autoimmune disease can present itself within the first year after a pregnancy. 


Many medications have been linked to the development of Autoimmune diseases, particularly lupus.

How do environmental factors cause autoimmune disease?

It can be hard to know why environmental factors trigger autoimmunity in some people but not others. What we do know is that it can be a combination of genetics, the immune system, and other factors such as diet and the gut microbiome. 

It’s also possible that when people with an increased genetic risk are exposed to certain environmental factors, the immune system can turn on itself.

Can you “cure” yourself if you remove the environmental cause of your autoimmune disease?

No. You cannot cure yourself of an AID after the disease process has started. But making changes in your life may help improve your symptoms, and keep your disorder from getting worse.  We do see clients routinely put their autoimmune disease in remission but beware any phony claims that would have you believe they can “cure” you.

What can be changed in your environment to improve your autoimmune disease?

You can’t control every part of your environment. But there are steps you can take in your lifestyle and diet to help you feel more in control of an autoimmune disease. And some environmental changes may even help your symptoms get better.  

Here are a few steps you can take to eliminate toxins in your environment:

  • Stay away from tobacco products, even being near increases exposure risk
  • Stop purchasing disposable plates/cups as they are all covered in BPA
  • Only purchase “NO VOC” paints and if you have to use oils/stains/chemicals make sure you wear a ventilator 
  • Make sure there are no leaks in your house contributing to mold exposure (utility room)

Improve your diet and vitamin levels

Diet may play a role in autoimmune conditions. There’s some evidence that special diets like the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) could help with autoimmune symptoms and inflammation levels. This could have to do with improving the strength of the intestinal lining and the health of the gut microbiome.  However, we do not recommend long term AIP as it can eventually erode your oral tolerance increasing the risk of food intolerance.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in the healthy functioning of our immune system, and low levels are associated with both cancer and autoimmune conditions. 


Exercise can help improve the following in autoimmune conditions:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood
  • Mobility
  • Brain fog
  • Quality of life

The amount and intensity of your exercise regimen will depend on your condition, but moving your body and getting your heart rate up every day is helpful.   

Improve sleep

Fatigue can be an issue for many people with autoimmune conditions, and sleep is an essential part of keeping your immune system healthy. Make sure to practice good sleep hygiene and try to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night.

Consider your climate

Weather changes or extremes can trigger symptoms in some people with AIDs. Because of this, it’s possible that some climates may be better for autoimmune diseases than others, like milder climates with minimal temperature variability. 

Manage stress

Working on stress reduction is important. High stress can have a negative effect on your immune system. This not only can lead to the development of autoimmune conditions, but it also plays a role in how effective treatment may be. 

Quit smoking

If you smoke, quitting is important. Not only can it trigger AIDs, but it can make your symptoms worse and weaken your immune system.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Autoimmune 

When someone with a genetic predisposition encounters an environmental trigger, it can lead to an AID. Figuring out the specific environmental cause is a puzzle that functional medical professionals like Dr. Autoimmune specialize in. He looks at triggers that may be caused by a toxin exposure, infection, or dietary trigger and then takes steps to improve your symptoms so you can take control of your autoimmune disease.

Our functional medicine practice uses the patient’s story as a key tool for integrating diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances into a comprehensive approach to improve both the patient’s symptoms and their physiological function. 

Start your journey and request your patient exam by clicking here. We are 100% remote so anyone can heal from anywhere! 

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube for more information and tips regarding autoimmune diseases and the functional medicine approach. 

While you’re here, check out some of our testimonials.

The 5 Principles of Functional Medicine

There are a lot of different methods out there that encompass “alternative” medicine. And one of these methods in particular that has gained a great deal of attention in recent years, is Functional Medicine.

Functional medicine is a term which is largely unfamiliar to the general public. It has, however, evolved to become a mainstream approach to healthcare in recent times. 

The functional medicine model focuses on the process of the development of a disease or health condition through factors such as genetics, diet and lifestyle choices, rather than just treating the disease by masking the symptoms with lots of medication. 

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine can be a little difficult to define, so it’s useful in the first instance to compare it to the conventional medicine approach.

In conventional medicine, doctors diagnose a disease and then match it to a specific treatment. When someone is diagnosed with an acute healthcare problem such as a heart attack, infection or trauma like a spinal cord injury, this approach works well.

For many chronic conditions, however, including high blood pressure, digestive issues or autoimmune diseases, this type of medical intervention can fall short of what is required (According to the 2021 Common wealth study, “​​The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care”).

With a chronic condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, for example, the medical approach will provide short-term relief but won’t have the impact desired on the long-term suffering of the individual.

Functional medicine takes a holistic process approach and considers the individual as unique.

It asks and answers important questions regarding “why” someone has developed a particular disease. 

Functional medicine professionals like Dr. Autoimmune looks at an individual’s lifestyle, diet and their family history to get to the root cause of their symptoms.

This in-depth investigation leads to suggesting potential changes, such as switching to a certain diet, that could improve the condition of the patient.

Principles of Functional Medicine

The key to this kind of approach is to look at what function has been lost and how it can be restored. As a model, there are 5 principles that help define the treatment for the individual.

1. The individual is not a disease but a person

We are all unique. Each of us has a genetic blueprint that defines how we look, how tall we are and how our biology works. Because of this, the first principle of functional medicine treats each person individually. 

They are not a disease but a person who will have their own biochemical makeup. Each has a set of healing mechanisms defined by their biological structure. 

“Encouraging this self-healing is an important part of dealing with many autoimmune diseases,” according to Dr. Autoimmune.

2. Functional medicine is evidence-based

As with the conventional approach to healthcare, functional medicine needs to be defined by the evidence. We utilize scientifically validated tests like blood chemistry, stool and hormone testing which is highly predictive in understanding the patients journey and what steps to take with intervention.


Each of us is the result of a network of interactions that can affect not only our health but how we respond to disease and illness.

These intricate relationships give us an in-depth insight into how the human body functions and how it affects the individual. The benefit of person-centered care is increasingly being highlighted in ongoing medical research.

3. The human body is self-healing

Research today tells us that the human body is incredibly effective at regulating itself and, in many circumstances, healing itself.

The balance between different organs in the body and how they interact is a key factor in creating an environment where healing can take place. There is significant evidence that functional medicine can help tackle major public health issues such as diabetes by changing lifestyle and diet.

There’s also evidence that there’s an ever-growing number of people suffering from anxiety and/or depression worldwide. Conventional medicine’s main solution is to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs, but functional medicine uses a much more complex strategy to care for an individual. For example, Dr. Autoimmune and his team incorporates functional medicine, functional neurology, functional nutrition, brain mapping and neurofeedback when it comes to individuals that suffer from anxiety and/or depression.

4. We each have the potential to heal diseases commonly associated with aging

Many chronic diseases are related to aging. For example, high blood pressure usually occurs in later life. Some are associated with conditions such as obesity or simply the natural process of getting older.

One principle of functional medicine is that our bodies have an innate ability to heal under the right circumstances and even prevent diseases occurring in the first place.

5. Health is more than the absence of disease

We often consider good health as not having something wrong with us. The absence of disease is not the only signal that we are in good health. Vitality, a good appetite, optimum weight, and a settled emotional state are all indicators of general wellness.

We tend to ignore these important indicators as individuals. The functional medicine model puts them at the center of its approach to healthcare.

The Future of Healthcare

Personalized care is becoming increasingly prevalent in healthcare environments. The functional medical approach aims to understand the individual’s physiological, biological, emotional and cognitive makeup to determine the best way to achieve optimal health.

Dr. Autoimmune

The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.

To succeed, Dr. Autoimmune and his team look at the broad view as well as the microscopic and bring these together in an appropriate package of care. Patient-centered care that is responsive to the individual is becoming increasingly important, particularly for individuals that suffer from autoimmune disease

Click here to schedule your appointment with the Dr. Autoimmune team today! We offer 100% remote care so anyone can heal from anywhere! And we’ve set up ‘The Dr. Autoimmune Solution’ which is a comprehensive new patient special that includes everything necessary to determine the root cause of your condition and start you on the journey to getting your life back.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube for more information and tips regarding autoimmune diseases and the functional medicine approach. While you’re here, take a second to check out some of Dr. Autoimmune’s testimonials.

Breathe Your Troubles Away

Breathing techniques are not just for yogis and tree huggers, and have been used for thousands of years in many cultures and practices. Almost everyone who has ever been guided through a meditation practice knows how important the rhythm of breath is. Although encouraged to breathe through our nose, for many, that is easier said than done.

You may or may not know if you are a mouth or nose breather, and, you may be saying, so what! But guess what? How you breathe and how much oxygen you take in can make life-altering changes for someone who suffers from sinus issues, snoring, sleep apnea, or emphysema. When the quality of breathing goes down, the stress on the body goes up. How you breathe can also contribute to inflammation that could trigger autoimmune disease.

Nose vs. Mouth

Mouth breathing can not only cause sleep disorders, but it can actually distort the structure of your face. As our brains grew bigger and our faces narrowed, we developed crowded teeth and the roofs of our mouths arched higher. For some, this created a series of sinus and breathing problems including snoring and sleep apnea. 

When you breathe through your nose, the hairs in your nose filters out airborne particles including allergens, pollution, and even insects (ew!). Where do you think those critters go when you breathe through your mouth? Your mouth does not have this filtering system and bacteria could be more prevalent, creating a whirlwind of health issues that can also be linked to behavioral problems and autoimmunity. Breathing through your nose also warms the oxygen which creates a moist environment for your mouth and lungs. 

So what can you do to change this lifelong, potentially life-altering habit? You can practice putting your tongue to the roof of your mouth and closing your lips, and breathing out of your nose. Bring awareness to your breath and practice nasal breathing frequently. Some tape their mouths when sleeping. There are many techniques and tapes on the market, so do your research and find one that may work best for you.

Balance is Key

Since breathing is controlled by your autonomic (automatic) nervous system, which controls unconscious bodily functions, some believe that it cannot be controlled consciously. Studies show that breathing can tap into your autonomic nervous system and you can activate your relaxing nerve responses with oxygen control. Many people with high levels of stress or chronic illness live largely in a sympathetic state of “fight or flight”. This in turn, wreaks havoc on many bodily systems including your hormones, brain health, and your immune system. 

Chinese medicine’s philosophy is to balance your yin and yang (everyone has seen the black and white logo with two tear drops hugging), which is comparable to our western terms of parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. Finding balance is paramount for our health and keeping chronic and autoimmune disorders at bay.

Immune to Inflammation

Inflammation is the root cause of all disease. This is a bold statement, but it is the one common link we find in all of our clients. Our innate immune system is what keeps us alive and well, but persistent inflammation and improper working cells can trigger tissue and organ damage, leading to autoimmune disorders. Stress is a nasty beast! When our sympathetic functions are flared, increased levels of hormones like cortisol, are not in balance and can cause a landslide of symptoms. 

Techniques to Reduce Stress

By practicing breath techniques including nostril breathing (Nadi Shadhana), breathing coordination, Buteyko, conscious breathing, carbon dioxide training, tummo, and modified techniques by acclaimed immune biohacker Wim Hof, you can reset your autonomic functions through stretch-induced signals which can synchronize the heart, lungs, limbic system and cortex. The book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor follows the author’s challenges with chronic health issues and his quest to uncover the mysteries and healing stories of breath. 

Cold plunging and exposure to uncomfortable chilly temperatures can also trigger a reset, and with proper training and practice, individuals have been able to control their breathing and voluntarily influence their sympathetic nervous systems. Wim Hof himself has been injected with E. coli and after a few breaths, got up with no symptoms or effect and fetched himself a cup of coffee. Practice makes perfect, or at least can create a more balanced outcome for many chronic illnesses. 

In today’s electronic age, there are multiple biohacking devices available that track your blood sugar, tell you if you will burn more fat or carbohydrates that day, monitor your steps and calories and heart rate variability. These tools are costly and sought after by the most extreme athletes and dieters that track every detail of their consumption. Why not tap into something that costs nothing but time, with proven results dating back for thousands of years? 

When someone is hyperventilating, advice is given to breath in a bag, slowly and rhythmically. It works by putting some of the lost carbon dioxide back into your lungs and body. Next time you are feeling stressed, frustrated, or anxious, try taking slow breaths in and out of your nose for 5 counts. With practice and patience, you can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system at a time of need, and reduce or reverse those emotions. You can be the master of your own body, mind and health.

If you suspect you may be running in a state of stress, have symptoms, suspect or have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page. We can help you get to the root cause of your imbalance.

What is Leaky Gut?

95% of the good microbes in your body are in your gut. When in balance, these tiny organisms work together with your body to support many important systems, such as your immune system. In fact, 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut! The tiny ecosystem of microbes in your stomach and intestines is known as your “gut microbiome”.

A problem occurs when the good microbes are overpowered by bad microbes. This creates a state of imbalance known as “gut dysbiosis”. Since your gut microbiome is so essential to the proper functioning of many of your body’s systems, gut dysbiosis is linked to various diseases- even brain diseases- such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

What affects your gut microbiota? Stress, alcohol, certain foods, the use of antibiotics can all harm the good microbes in your gut, leading to gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis can also cause inflammation, which can lead to what we call “leaky gut”.

The lining of your intestines is important for keeping most material inside your gut, while also letting things like water and nutrients be absorbed through it. In order to let certain things through the barrier, your intestine lining has to be somewhat permeable by having gaps between cells. However, when the gaps become too big due to inflammation, bigger particles can seep through. This is how leaky gut starts.

Food particles that escape your intestinal lining cause more inflammation. This is why leaky gut can is linked to inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The backbone of our immune system lies in our gut. When we have gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, and inflammation, our immune system can become dysregulated. This leads to a loss of tolerance for certain foods, environmental substances such as chemicals, and eventually our own cells.

3 Red Flags for Leaky Gut

Food sensitivities

Environmental sensitivities

Autoimmune disease

Healing Leaky Gut With Functional Medicine

As a functional medicine office, our focus is to dig deeper and address chronic health concerns by getting to the root cause. Because leaky gut is often the root cause of most inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases, our care is very gut-focused.

One of the most common questions asked in the natural health community is, “How do I fix my gut?” The problem is that this is not exactly a one-size-fits-all situation! Our personalized plans are designed to find and remove your specific triggers, which are not the same for everyone.


Since gut dysbiosis is a factor contributing to leaky gut, it is beneficial to add healthy bacteria back into the gut to “take up parking spots” and out-compete bad bacteria. Dr. Ian Hollaman uses advanced GI testing to identify exactly which strains of probiotics will be most beneficial for each patient. 

Sometimes, before adding in good bacteria, the gut needs to be cleared of an infection, or overgrowth, of bad bacteria. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a difficult monster to tackle, but we have successfully helped many of our patients get it under control.


Eating a fiber-rich diet gives the good bacteria in your gut plenty of good food! This is another way to help their populations grow.


Polyphenols are antioxidants that help reduce stress on your body’s cells, therefore reducing inflammation. A recent study found that eating a polyphenol-rich diet for 8 weeks helped change the gut microbiota and therefore reduced intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut). This study used polyphenols from cocoa and green tea. 

Dr. Ian’s proprietary supplement ImmunoXym contains caffeine-free green tea extract for its polyphenol content along with a specially formulated blend of probiotics and a slew of other vitamins essential for your immune system to regulate itself. 


Glutamine supplementation has been shown to dramatically and safely reduce symptoms in IBS patients that have leaky gut.

The Dr. Autoimmune Difference

At Dr. Autoimmune, we use a functional medicine approach to address the root cause of leaky gut and all other gut issues. Our solutions are always natural, always personalized, and always backed by science. If you are ready to change your life, click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page!

Could Your PCOS Medications “B” the Problem?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common conditions in reproductive-aged women. It is estimated that 8-13% of all reproductive-aged women have this condition and up to 70% of those women are undiagnosed. People with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries that cause hormonal symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain and weight loss resistance
  • Scalp hair loss/thinning
  • Oily skin/acne


Often we find that PCOS patients also have insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. According to some studies, nearly 70% of women with PCOS also have insulin resistance. High levels of blood insulin increase androgen levels (male hormones such as testosterone). Excess androgens in females are mostly to blame for the undesirable effects of PCOS, including acne, weight gain, facial hair, and weight loss resistance. 

Inflammation increases the risk for PCOS. Insulin resistance is just one cause of systemic inflammation. Gut health, stress levels, and weight gain can all contribute to inflammation as well.

Current Treatments

Currently, health care providers recommend weight loss as a primary approach to PCOS relief. Fat cells cause inflammation, so this makes sense. However, as many people may already know, weight loss is not always as easy as it sounds! Insulin resistance can make losing weight through exercise feel impossible.

As far as medications, health care providers often prescribe combination birth control pills to adjust hormone levels, or metformin for insulin resistance. Neither of these approaches truly address the root cause of the insulin resistance and systemic inflammation.

The B Vitamin Cycle of Doom

Just like with most medications, the common prescriptions for PCOS have side effects. Both birth control pills and metformin are known to deplete B vitamins. Metformin specifically makes it more difficult for your body to absorb B12. Birth control pills, on the other hand, are known to cause nutritional deficiencies in folate, vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc.

Why are B vitamin deficiencies so concerning? B12, also known as cobalamin, is a vitamin that is essential for brain health and nervous system function. It is needed for the creation of red blood cells, which help distribute oxygen to the rest of our bodies (including our brains). It is no wonder, then, that low B12 levels have been linked to dementia.


In addition to taking medications that deplete them, many people with PCOS have a specific gene mutation that makes it even more difficult to create active B vitamins. MTHFR is a gene that helps our bodies convert folate to an activated version that we need in order to use B12 (5-MTHF). Birth control pills deplete folate, B6 and B12 levels, so if you also have the MTHFR mutation then your body will really struggle to activate and utilize B12.

Some studies have suggested that women with PCOS are more likely to have a mutation on the MTHFR gene. So, due to medication side effects and/or gene mutations, people with PCOS often suffer from B vitamin deficiency (hence their association with Major depression). 

What’s interesting is how much overlap there is between B vitamin deficiency symptoms and PCOS symptoms. It begs the question: Are PCOS symptoms made worse by B vitamin deficiency, caused by the very medications meant to bring the patient relief?

The Dr. Autoimmune Difference

Our office uses a functional medicine approach to identify and address the root cause of chronic conditions such as PCOS. Rather than using medications, we know how to help you provide your body with the tools it needs to correct imbalances naturally.

For example, our office uses continuous glucose monitoring technology to help our patients identify how certain foods affect their blood sugar. Our nutritionist works one on one with patients to develop plans that help their bodies regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. Once insulin resistance is under control, weight loss becomes much easier. Loss of excess fat= less inflammation= less PCOS symptoms.

The bottom line is that PCOS is not a life sentence- lifestyle changes such as exercise, supplementation, and diet change designed to address the root cause will provide relief. If you are ready to tackle your chronic condition and change your life naturally, click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page.

Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Her Microbes

Have you heard of the “microbiome”? This is the word for a small ecosystem made up of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Everyone has ecosystems like these in their body, such as the gut microbiome, the skin microbiome, and pregnant people even have a placental microbiome inside their uterus. These tiny ecosystems are responsible for generating and absorbing essential nutrients, helping with digestion, and even providing a backbone for your immune system. In fact, 70-80% of your immune cells are in your gut!

We all know that the mother’s health affects the health of the baby. This is why pregnant women are advised against taking certain medications and drinking alcohol. Research shows that the microbiomes involved in birth- the placental and vaginal microbiomes- also have an important impact on the long-term health of the baby, including their risk of autoimmunity.

Importance of Infant Microbiome

The gut microbiome plays a key role in disease development, especially during early life. The foundation of a child’s gut microbiome is built during the first 3 years of life. This is a critical window because any disturbances to the microbiome during this time can have life-long consequences such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurological conditions. Studies have also shown that the microbiome in the first 3 years of life can influence a child’s chance of developing an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease.

During infancy, the gut is dominated by a type of bacteria called “bifidobacteria”. Having higher levels of bifidobacteria have been associated with lower risk for obesity, allergies, and autoimmunity. These specific organisms also make nutrients that are vital to early development, such as sialic acid, which is essential for brain development!

So, we know that an infant’s gut microbiome is incredibly important to their future physical and mental health. We have to make sure to build a proper foundation. What are some factors that affect an infant’s microbiome?

The Maternal Gut Microbiome

Studies have proven that the microbes found in the placenta match those in the mother’s mouth. The first microbes that a fetus learns come directly from mom! This means that an expecting mother’s gut health directly affects their baby’s future gut health.

Gestational Age

Infants born before 33 weeks have less gut biodiversity than infants born full-term. Biodiversity= having many different types of microbes. Having more biodiversity in the baby’s gut helps their immune system develop properly.

Mode of Delivery

Infants born via C-section show overall lower biodiversity in their gut during the first 2 years of life. The low levels of healthy microbes in C-section babies allowed harmful bacteria to take over. Lower gut biodiversity in infants= higher risk of infection! The bacteria that the mother passes to the baby during vaginal births helps protect them against infection and immune system issues such as allergies. One study of 6,000 babies in New York found that those born via C-section were twice as likely to develop food allergies or asthma by age 3.

Mode of Feeding

Breast milk is the ideal food for infants. A mother’s milk is specific for the needs of their baby. The probiotics in the milk depend on the mode of delivery, gestational age, and environmental exposures. 

One interesting environmental factor that seems to be important for healthy breast milk microbiota is actually the stress involved with birth! Who knew that stress could ever be a good thing? But it’s true- mothers who had an emergency C-section or a vaginal delivery had healthier breast milk microbes than mothers who chose to have an elective C-section. The only difference between an elective C-section and an emergency C-section is the amount of stress that the mother experiences during the birth. (Sorry, moms!)

Check Out Your Gut!

Having a healthy gut is vital to having a healthy immune system, no matter your age. The root cause of autoimmune conditions almost always includes gut dysbiosis. Many of our clients get a “GI Map”, which is a very comprehensive stool test that detects bacterial overgrowths and undergrowths, viral and parasitic infections, bacterial pathogens, fungi, and more. We have found no other stool test that is more comprehensive.

Maybe you are an expecting mom, trying to get pregnant, or curious about your child’s gut health. In any case, if you are interested in finding the root cause of your condition or checking out the health of your or your child’s gut, click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page!

Junior Joint Pain

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is joint inflammation in children 16 years of age or younger, lasting for at least 6 weeks. Unlike adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that is chronic and can last a lifetime without proper diagnosis or intervention, children usually outgrow JIA. But do they really?

JIA is…drum roll please…an autoimmune disease. Children with predisposed genes, such as a part of a gene called HLA antigen DR4, could be at a higher risk for developing JIA. Even if the symptoms of JIA subside, the risk of developing an autoimmune condition later in life is probable. All autoimmune conditions can be connected to “leaky gut”, a problem where the gut barrier breaks down and inflammation begins to trigger an autoimmune response. Even if your child does not have gut-related symptoms, it is quite common that those with JIA have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, undergrowth, or other infectious bugs that must be brought under control with proper evaluation and support.

There is evidence that early exposure to antibiotics and compromised gut health could be contributing factors. Additional studies support the connection between JIA, type 1 diabetes, food allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). Infants who were born vaginally vs. by c-section tend to have more Bifidobacterium in their gut, which is associated with a strong immune response. Nursed infants also have higher levels of this same beneficial bacteria in addition to Lactobacilli and Streptococci. Bottle-fed infants could be lacking these healthy bacteria, and may be at increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.

There are several types of JIA:

  • Systemic onset JIA affects one or more joints, combined with high fever and a skin rash. It may also cause inflammation of internal organs, including the heart, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. It is the least common type. It affects 1 in 10 to about 1 in 7 children with JIA.
  • Oligoarticular JIA affects 1 to 4 joints in the first 6 months of disease. If no more joints are affected after 6 months, this type is called persistent. If more joints are affected after 6 months, it is called extended.
  • Polyarticular JIA affects 5 or more joints in the first 6 months of disease. Blood tests for rheumatoid factor (RF) will show if this type is RF-positive or RF-negative.
  • Enthesitis-related JIA is arthritis and swelling of the tissue where bone meets a tendon or ligament. It often affects the hips, knees, and feet.
  • Psoriatic arthritis may have both arthritis and a red, scaly skin disease called psoriasis. 2 or more of the following symptoms may be present:
    • Inflammation of a finger or toe
    • Pits or ridges in fingernails
    • A first-degree relative with psoriasis
  • Undifferentiated arthritis is arthritis that has symptoms of 2 or more JIA types above. Or the symptoms might not match any type of JIA.

Symptoms of JIA may include:

  • Pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints. The joints may also feel warm.
  • Morning joint stiffness
  • Limping gait (younger children may not be able to perform motor activities that they recently learned)
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue or irritability
  • Eye redness, eye pain, and blurred vision

Diagnosing JIA

How do you know if your child may have JIA? A physical exam may not be enough to determine a clear diagnosis. A MRI or X-ray could show the degree of inflammation, and a comprehensive blood panel may show the presence of the substance’s antinuclear antibody (ANA) and rheumatoid factor. These tests can help rule out other diseases. As well, the most significant and accurate marker for rheumatoid arthritis, cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP) should be run.

Functional medicine excels at this aspect of determining the root cause and how to rehab the immune system. If you suspect your child may have juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Dr. Autoimmune can help. Click the “Start Your Journey” button at the bottom of this page or call today to schedule a new patient evaluation with Dr. Ian Hollaman: 303-882-8447, press 0 to speak with Felice.