Autoimmune Disease

The Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defense network.  It protects us from many things, both living (like bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites) and not (like chemicals, metals, foreign bodies). It is comprised of a variety of cells that directly kill, cells that make antibodies, cells that signal, and those that regulate the process.  Lymph and lymph tissue (lymph nodes, tonsils, and the spleen) are also part of the immune system.  

Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system’s response to injury or infection. It is the body’s way of signaling the need for repair or the presence of an invader. Without it, wounds would fester and infections could become fatal.   

A healthy immune system has an appropriate balance of all the cell types and has the ability to differentiate the tissues of our body from the things that don’t belong.  It also knows when to turn on and turn off inflammation.  

The Immune System Behaving Badly

Autoimmune diseases are evidence of serious malfunctions in this crucial system. Our immune cells can’t differentiate self from non-self. They start seeing bodily tissues as foreign or pathogens and attack them.  No tissue is safe. In multiple sclerosis, cells attack the covering of nerves.  In rheumatoid arthritis, the cells target the joints. In Hashimoto’s, cells destroy the thyroid.  Some folks suffer attacks on multiple tissues.  Inflammation becomes chronic and rages out of control, potentially causing collateral damage to the heart, lungs or other vital organs. 

The Perfect Storm

Autoimmunity is the result of the interactions between your genes and your environment.  The genetic factors involved are complex. It isn’t one gene variant or mutation at fault, but many different genes together that increase susceptibility to autoimmunity. Sadly, only a small number have been identified.  

The environmental triggers are equally complex and can include but aren’t limited to:  

  • Emotional or psychological trauma; feeling unsafe, insecure, and/or out of control 
  • Stress (acute and chronic)  
  • Bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infections (past or present) 
  • Exposure to toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, pollutants, medications, and even some supplements (echinacea and spirulina) 
  • Micronutrient deficiencies 
  • Hormones (whether existing naturally in the body or pharmaceutical) 
  • Leaky gut (increased leading to increased immune system exposure to pathogens and toxins in our gastrointestinal tract) 
  • Diet (our gastrointestinal tract is probably the largest interface we have with our environment) 

While a definitive causal link between diet and most autoimmunity has yet to be made, more and more autoimmune diseases (and some non-autoimmune diseases) are being linked to gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein in wheat (and some is the known causal trigger for the autoimmune condition, celiac disease. It is also one of the primary drivers of a leaky gut.  

Calming the Storm

The conventional approach to autoimmune conditions is to take medications to reduce inflammation and to suppress the dysfunctional immune system.  These medications are fraught with side effects including possible gastrointestinal distress, renal impairment, opportunistic infections, and increased cancer risk to name just a few.  

Short of a miracle from God (we do believe in those around here), someone with an autoimmune condition will always have the propensity to autoimmunity.  However, remission can be achieved and obtained through diligent management of those environmental factors and triggers within our control: 

  • Diet
    • Eat organic, whole foods 
    • At a minimum, avoid gluten 
    • Consideration should be given to the Paleo or the Autoimmune Protocol Diet 
    • Possible dietary modification based on food sensitivity testing 
  • Reduce and manage stress
    • Prayer and meditation 
    • Breathing techniques 
    • Movement 
    • Exercise, Yoga, Tai chi 
  • Identify and correct nutrient deficiencies 
  • Identify and address chronic infections
    • Ozone therapy 
    • Herbal antimicrobials 
  • Avoid and remove toxins
    • Using clean and organic personal care and cleaning products 
    • Heavy metal chelation 
  • Deal with unresolved emotional and psychological issues or trauma
  • Balance hormones

Getting By With A Little Help From My Friends

You didn’t get here overnight and the changes necessary to recover may take some time and effort to implement and get to stick.  In the meantime, there are some adjuncts that could be very helpful on your journey. 

Some helpful supplements include: 

  • Fish oil 
  • Turmeric/Curcumin 
  • Boswellia (Frankincense) 
  • Glutathione 
  • Reishi mushroom 
  • Bone broth 
  • L-glutamine 

A Low Dose With Big Benefits

Naltrexone is a medication that we will frequently use with our autoimmune patients.  It was originally licensed in 1984 as adjunctive therapy for opiate and alcohol addiction as its main effect is to block opioid receptors in the body. In doing so, it actually increased the production of endogenous opioids (those feel-good chemicals made in our bodies, like endorphins and enkephalins).  One of the noted side effects of naltrexone was the improvement in immune function. It was later discovered that endogenous opioids are part of the system regulating immune function.  

Since 1988, naltrexone has been used off-label in much lower doses (about 1/10 the dose used in patients with substance dependence) to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system in patients with autoimmunity, mental health challenges, and cancer. It is typically well-tolerated and hasn’t the significant side effects or most conventional medications prescribed for autoimmunity.   Click here to read a helpful resource for those interested in finding out more.  

Putting It All Together

The path to the remission of autoimmune conditions can be long and confusing. Call today. Let us help you identify your triggers and put together a customized plan to address the many factors contributing to your autoimmune condition.

You May Be Interested In...

Here are some other things we help with that may interest you!

Hormone Balancing

Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that are created in the glands of the endocrine system. They control or affect bodily functions.

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metal toxicity can play a significant role in a wide range of disorders and diseases. We can help you detox those metals away naturally.

Food Allergies & Sensitivities

There are 3 primary categories that we look at when exploring issues with food. Two are related to abnormalities in the immune system function, and the final is a non-immune mediated reaction.

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Fill in the form below and we’ll give you a quick call as soon as possible to get you on the schedule.  If it’s early enough, we may be able to book you same day.  If it’s outside our normal business hours, we’ll call you the next day.


Medical Scribe

Seema first came on almost 2 years ago to work for a separate company owned by the Wells’s. Her and her family have been patients of Dr. Wells at Whole Health for years so for her to find this opportunity was not a far stretch! Though she often works “on the other side”, because the two businesses are right next to each other, in her free time during work she has crossed over to help in a variety of ways whenever she has free time during the work day. She can be seen helping scribe for our providers when the need arises, helping with packing and shipping supplements as time allows, and many other little things. You can say that she is a jacquelyn-of-all-trades! Whichever role she is working in, she truly felt like “God was calling [her] to work at Whole Health” and it has abundantly been a blessing to both her and to us!

Seema graduated with an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at Trinity University and she is currently studying and attending classes to apply for PA school. So to be in the jobs that she has been in, has been a great testimony that the Lord orchestrated her steps to have this experience already as she goes back to school! 

Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, taking walks, working outside on her family’s farm, reading, and doing yarn crafts.


Patient Advocate

As a former EMT and a relatively new Houstonian, when Wyatt first applied for the position, he applied to be a patient advocate. At the time, store and IV associate was in more need, so he was hired for that position. He graciously accepted the offer and served that position with a smile, always learning and striving to help patients and staff feel safe and at home. Both patients and staff alike soon grew to love his humor, friendliness, and heart. He has loved getting to know the patients and making those personable connections with them. Whether talking about sad and hard to take news, obnoxious conspiracy theories, snake bites, or just friendly conversation, he has enjoyed developing those relationships with both patients and staff alike. 

After working at that position for a little over a year, his original intent to be a patient advocate came true! He has transitioned seamlessly and helps patients with even greater intentionality, heart, and personableness as before. Like Michelle, he is another bridge from provider to patient when questions need to be answered. He has enjoyed being a part of each patient’s health journey and their path to healing.

When his boots aren’t striding in the office, you will find him, his wife, and three boys loving the outdoors. They enjoy camping (the true, primitive kind), hiking, and hunting. He loves connecting with God’s nature and creation. He also loves to play board games and host game nights with friends.

Patricia "Pat"

Lab Reports and Relations Specialist

When Pat and her husband first moved to Orlando in 2012, her husband encouraged her to follow after her dreams. She had desired to do something in the medical field for years. She was intrigued by how you can find out so much about a person by their blood. She got her Phlebotomy certificate and started working at a hospital.

In 2017, her husband went to Houston to help with the Hurricane Harvey clean up. He felt like that there was where they were supposed to be, so she started looking for a job. She really wanted to be in a doctor’s office where she could learn, and also be able to share God’s love with others. After several months of looking, and much prayer, God opened a door for her to become a phlebotomist with the Whole Health team. In her years she has worked in the office, she has not only learned so much, but she has been able to enjoy ministering to patients whether it was treating them, listening to their story, or simply just loving on them. From children to adults, she was adored by many.

In November 2021, her and her husband felt called to move back to Florida, this time to North Ft Myers, to pastor a church. Though working remotely, she still contributes tremendously to the practice. She does the practical job of filing faxes, labs, and so forth, as well as does research for some treatments. However, she still fulfills the ministering part of her job by mailing cards to patients in need of a prayer, word of encouragement, or just a simple Happy Birthday.

She loves being a mom and a grandma and adores spending time with her children and grandchildren!



Front Receptionist

Coming from being a receptionist at car dealerships, she was introduced to our practice through her friend, Meg Hanley, who just so happened to be one of our providers! Seeking for a fresh start on a new job path, Kayleb took the opportunity to become a front receptionist with us.

Being a receptionist is no small job and she has been thriving greatly! From getting patient appointments set up for the day, talking to patients, relaying calls to the right person, and checking people in, she has done it with such thoroughness, care, and a smile. She has loved creating personable relationships with the patients she interacts with. She has also enjoyed getting to know her co-workers as well. Her words, “best work environment I’ve come to know”.

Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with family, going to the beach, and traveling.

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Billing & Accounts Specialist

In Mariela’s first year with us, she started off as our front receptionist. Through her experience then, she found her niche in handling billing and accounts for our patients, thus bore the role that she has today. While that is her primary job, she is still always willing to lend a hand in checking in or checking out patients or any other small task when things get backed up. Whichever job she is doing, she always makes an effort to make our patients’ experience as personable and comfortable as possible. 

Before joining us, she has done a wide array of jobs over the years and even attended ministry school (fun fact)! The dynamic skills and experience she has acquired in those environments has shaped her in who she is today. She loves her work family and to be able to work in a Christian-centric environment, where she continually is being shaped into the beautiful human being she is.

In her spare time, she enjoys time with her dog, Oreo, watching funny videos, and listening to her favorite music artists (her favorite being Michael Bublé).


Patient Advocate / Admin Lead

Patient Advocate doesn’t even begin to describe Michelle’s integral role in our practice. Though her role is primarily known to be a bridge between the provider and patient to answer questions, you can make a laundry list of all the things she helps our staff and patients with on a daily basis. She wears many hats, which isn’t too far off from the job she had as a former high school teacher (plus being a mom of 4).

To quote it simply, she believes it was true “divine intervention” that the door was opened for her to join our team. She has demonstrated such leadership and compassion to everything she does. To be able to work in a faith-filled environment on a daily basis to minister to others and pray with them has been such a blessing to her. Combine that with being able to work with an incredible team and interact with our beloved patients, it has been an amazing and purposeful experience.

When not being the “office mom”, she loves being a mom to her kids alongside her husband, Humberto. Sports run heavily in the family, so she will be seen running around with them, cheering them on in any sport they participate in.


Store and IV Associate

While relatively new to our team, Brant has fully immersed himself in the medical realm for about 4 years. Before that, he was a middle school science teacher for more than 20 years, but was always fascinated by the medical field, thus prompted the switch in career paths. One of his passions has always been to help people so in some ways, his jump from helping kids to helping patients with their health is not that far off!

Brant handles much of the supplement sales and always makes sure that our patients, especially our IV ones, feel supported and cared for optimally and personably. As he has been working here, he has been learning something new every day, which always excites him. He also enjoys seeing the teamwork it takes to support everyone from patients to staff.

Along with learning new things, he loves traveling and animals, both of which he enjoys with his wife.


Design & Marketing Administrator

Evelyn has been with the Whole Health family for about 2 years now. You wouldn’t believe it when we say that she studied both her undergrad and master’s in Education! After being a teacher for 5 years, the Lord called her to move elsewhere. Unexpectedly taking a gap year, doing temporary jobs in between, she then was introduced to job openings at Whole Health through a mutual connection. Long story short, she has molded into her role of Design and Marketing Administrator. She manages graphical designs, delegates our supplement store business, and markets for all the things we offer and continue to expand to offer at Whole Health. She is discovering new passions, gifts, and skills as well as developing old ones through her job and enjoys helping even in the smallest of details.

Evelyn enjoys serving in her home church, listening to worship music, spending time with the ones she loves, and eating her favorite foods and cuisines. She hopes to travel more in the future as she also loves exploring nature and God’s creation.

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