Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are pleased to welcome Dr David Bilstrom as our guest! Dr Bilstrom, MD is the Director of the International Autoimmune Institute & Bingham Memorial Center for Functional Medicine and an expert in treating autoimmune diseases. He talks to Geoff about what autoimmune diseases are, about Vitamin D and gives his tips for sticking with lifestyle change.

Watch this episode on YouTube here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways.

Read the episode transcript here

Topics and Timestamps

00:59 Dr Bilstrom’s introduction and work in autoimmunity.

01:48 Reversing MS symptoms.

03:32 Infections and autoimmune diseases.

05:52 Vitamin D and MS.

10:45 Supplementing with butyrate.

12:23 Leaky gut and autoimmunity.

14:34 Oestrogen dominance and autoimmunity.

19:03 Adverse childhood events and autoimmunity.

23:40 Tips for sticking with lifestyle change.

Selected Key Takeaways

The risk of autoimmunity increases if a parent has an autoimmune disease.
“It's so easy if you get one autoimmune disease to get a second or third or fourth, but also, if a parent has an autoimmune disease, the child is at a higher risk of every autoimmune disease. For example, if a parent gets rheumatoid arthritis, that child is at a 5.4 times greater risk of getting type one diabetes. We want to educate people about what we know about why people get autoimmune diseases.”

Vitamin D and prevention of autoimmune diseases
06:38 “If a woman's vitamin D is above 50 during pregnancy, she's going to decrease the risk of her child ever getting MS by 50% … Vitamin D is uber important when it comes to immune system stuff, such as preventing MS in pregnancy. Cancer is the flip side of the same coin, that's [another] autoimmune disease. If a woman's vitamin D is above 60, she has automatically decreased her risk of ever getting breast cancer by 82%. Kids that take vitamin D 2000 IU in the first year of life will decrease the risk of ever getting type one diabetes by 90%.”

Epigenetics and autoimmunity
“We used to think our genes, our DNA in our cells, [that] whatever we got from our parents [and] grandparents we’re stuck with it. If a parent has MS, they’d think “well, I wish I could change some of the genes my child has.” Well, it turns out, it's not what genes you have, it’s which ones get turned on and turned off. So, it's epigenetics, the things that influence gene expression. There are a lot of bad genes that drive chronic disease, we’ve got to turn those guys off, as well as good genes that drive health, we’ve got to turn those guys on.”

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Dr Biltrom’s bio:

Dr David Bilstrom, MD, is an author, international speaker and distinguished member of the American Academy of Integrative Medicine and American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is an advanced fellow in anti-aging, regenerative, and functional medicine, and holds quadruple board certification in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Medical Acupuncture.

Dr Bilstrom’s Institute

As the Director of the International Autoimmune Institute & Bingham Memorial Center for Functional Medicine, Dr Bilstrom is affiliated with the first medical centre in the country associated with a teaching hospital to treat all types of autoimmune diseases. The centre is the first in the nation to utilise nature and its healing properties as a fundamental component of a wellness program.

Dr Bilstrom is passionate about educating individuals and medical professionals on the importance of reversing and preventing autoimmune diseases using the fundamentals of Functional Medicine. Instead of relying solely on symptom-controlled medications that may lead to additional health complications.

Dr Bilstrom’s Book

Dr Bilstrom is the author of the book, ‘The Nurse Practitioners’ Guide to Autoimmune Medicine, Preventing and Reversing All Autoimmunity.’ He has also developed a course called ‘The Autoimmune Paradigm, an Experts Program’. He is also a sought-after speaker and has lectured on five continents