So you got an Autoimmune Disease. It’s time to Stop Beating Yourself Up.

Autoimmunity is an unfortunate situation where your immune system starts wreaking havoc on your own tissues.  This results in debilitating symptoms characteristic of the tissue being attacked.

People develop autoimmunity via “molecular mimicry”, a process based on cross reactivity between proteins found on infectious agents and those found in our body.   It starts with a relatively benign infection in a genetically susceptible individual that leads to our body’s mounting of an immune response against a part of a bacteria or virus that looks very similar to our own.  Our immune molecules can’t tell the difference between the proteins in our body and the ones on the bacteria and end up attacking our own tissue, and subsequently destroy the innocent bystander.  The result is inflammation, fatigue, and destruction of important parts of our body.

One recent example that illustrates this point was learned from the recent H1N1 Swine flu vaccinations in Finland.  This was one of the most powerful examples of this concept to date.  Following mass immunizations of all the kids in Finland, there was a dramatic rise in the number of kids developing narcolepsy.  Upon further analysis, there’s a protein sequence on the H1N1 virus (hemagglutinin protein) that looks very similar to a proton in our brain that keeps us awake called hypocretin.  In genetically susceptible individuals, the immune reaction against the vaccine triggered the destruction of their hypocretin, and subsequently their daytime alertness (read more here:  Other examples tissues susceptible to autoimmune conditions are:

  • Brain (MS),
  • Joints (Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis),
  • Thyroid (Hashimoto’s and Graves disease)
  • Hair (Alopecia Totalis),
  • Skin (Psoriasis, Dermatomyositis),
  • Bowels (Crohn’s, Celiac, Ulcerative colitis),
  • Liver (Primary Biliary Sclerosis), or
  • Any other part of our body (Lupus).
  • And many more…

Many people who have one autoimmune condition likely have others as well.  Medicine has traditionally employed an arsenal of sledge-hammer like immune suppressants that can be expensive, difficult to tolerate, and have a myriad of side effects.  These drugs can certainly help people feel better and slow progression of the disease, but they do nothing to address the underlying cause.   There are also some instances where despite being on one or more of these drugs, flare ups still occur.  So what can we do about it?

Fortunately, we now have an invaluable tool to pull the rug out from under the autoimmune process. Just like being able to desensitize against allergy to pollens, we can desensitize people to the proteins that caused their illness. It’s an adaptation of Low Dose Allergen therapy, a bimonthly injection immunotherapy to desensitize people to allergens. The only difference is that in stead of using inhalant allergens to desensitize hay fever, we use proteins that are known triggered your autoimmune disease.  You would get an injection on 2 month intervals to start, and we would space them out further once remission is sustained.

This therapy does not require that one stops their current medication, however medications can often be reduced or eliminated once there’s objective evidence that the inflammation has ceased. If you have an autoimmune condition (or allergies for that matter -it works for those too), and you’d like to possibly be free from it, please give us a ring.  If you live nowhere near Summerland BC, either move here or email us to help you find a trained LDA physician in your area.


Dr. Bentham


For the Snow Birds

It’s almost that time of year up here in Canada where those of us who are able to get the heck out of dodge before the winter hits start making our way south.

Whether your getaway is short or long, if you’re planning on spending the winter months basking on sun-filled beaches, the biggest impediment to an enjoyable time away is the dreaded traveller’s diarrhea.

While viruses and parasites are sometimes the culprit, the most commonly identified bacterial cause is from ETEC (enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli).   ETEC secretes toxins that can wreak havoc on your intestines.  Who’s at risk for developing traveller’s diarrhea?  If you are immunosuppressed, have an inflammatory bowel disease, or diabetes, you’re a little more at risk.  Also, if you’re taking an acid blocking medication, you will also be at higher risk.  The harsh acidic environment of our stomach kills most bugs before they reach our intestines.  It’s our intestines main line of defense.

So what can you do other than the standard “don’t drink the water” type recommendations?  I suggest you put together a travel arsenal and take it with you.  I like to refer to the strategy as a “weed and feed” approach.  In a ziploc bag, I suggest you bring the following:

1.  “Weeding” agent number 1: Oil of Oregano.  The idea here is to have a regular flow of naturally occurring, safe, and effective agents that will nuke the bugs that you are likely to encounter.  A 2005 study looked at 324 different strains of disease causing bacterial strains from Mexico and tested them against 11 common essential oils.  Origanum vulgare (oregano), Cinnannomum verum (cinnamom), and Thymus vulgaris (thyme) exhibited the highest and broadest antibacterial activity against the tested bacteria including E. coli.  If you have any of these already, take what you’ve got.  If not, here’s what I recommend.

This stuff is potent, I recommend putting a few drops in a bit of juice rather than taking it on it’s own.  Tomato juice, in my experience, cuts the taste the most.  Warning: you may smell like pizza for a few minutes.

2.  Weeding agent number 2:  Allisyn.  Allisyn is a potent extract of garlic and cinnamon that covers for other parasites (like Giardia) and the bacteria that causes cholera (Vibrio cholerae).

2.  The Feeding agent.  Some high grade probiotics.  I recommend HMF Forte by Genestra.   This is something you take prophylactically.  You want the healthy bacteria there to crowd out the harmful ones.

With the three agents listed above, I recommend taking the probiotics in morning, and the oil of oregano and Allisyn in the evening rather than together.

If you’re planning a trip, and you’d like us to put this kit together for you, give us a ring (250-494-9496) or send us an email ( and we’ll send it out to you ASAP.  If you have any further questions about health concerns related to travel or prescriptions you may want to have on hand when you go, come see us in Summerland before you leave.


Dr. Bentham

For more information and some nerdy science, see the link below.

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