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Ask Dr. Mike: Autoimmune Diseases, Adrenal Fatigue & Diabetes

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in because what you come to know helps ensure healthy choices you can actually live with.

Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Is adrenal fatigue real?

Yes, adrenal fatigue is very real. Adrenal fatigue happens when your adrenal glands (located on top of your kidneys) don't function properly. Your adrenal glands produce essential hormones in your body that you cannot live without, like sex hormones, as well as cortisol, which is the main stress hormone. The obvious major symptom is constant fatigue, but you may also experience trouble thinking clearly or finishing all your tasks, mood instability, and trouble getting out of bed. Adrenal fatigue is most commonly associated with chronic or prolonged stress.

In certain cases, someone may be producing too much cortisol, or not enough. However, after you've talked with your doctor and been tested, you can receive additional adrenal support. Dr. Mike likes to give his patients Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which can help take some of the pressure off your adrenal glands from having to make DHEA and allow them to go into a restoration phase. There are also herbal remedies like ashwagandha, American ginseng, and rhodiola.

Can people with autoimmune disease take immune supplements?

An autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system attacks healthy cells within your body by mistake. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, and doctors are still unsure why people suffer. They do know, however, that autoimmune diseases run in families.

Taking immune supplements is one way you can help boost your immune system to fight off sickness.

So, to answer the question... if you do have an autoimmune disease, you can use immune supplements; but you have to be very careful. Most of the immune supplements that are used activate the wrong cells in your body. You have two basic types of cells in your immune system, some that activate (respond to a pathogen) and other cells that calm everything down.

If you have an autoimmune disorder, your active cells become highly overactive and the suppressing cells are underactive. Typically, the immune supplements boost the already overactive cells, when you actually want to boost the suppressing cells. The good news is there are supplements that you can use such as reishi, green tea, and mushroom extracts.

Does lap-band surgery cure diabetes?

Recently, there was an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine that claimed that this surgery does in fact have the ability to cure diabetes. However, this study was a little misleading. Why? Well, not only did everyone in the study have the lap-band procedure to lose weight, but they also underwent some lifestyle changes. This can make it a little hard to say if the surgery itself actually cured diabetes or not.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him so he can help give you support and helpful advice.