Isabel, a 10-year-old girl, used to experience the ill effects of an immune system disorder known as mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), until she cured herself with the help of Dr. Mark Hyman.

MCTD is an autoimmune disease that includes symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and other similar diseases with extremely debilitating side effects that can drastically reduce the quality of life.

Although deemed incurable, this little girl was able to rid herself of it with just a few lifestyle changes. That was, getting rid of dairy, wheat and refined sugar.

Before Isabel underwent the dietary changes, the disease affected her whole body. From blood vessels, to white and red blood cells and muscles. Her skin was inflamed and joints and face chronically swollen. Dr. Hyman described her state in Huffington Post as “chronically tired and miserable”, where she came to him drugged on steroids, aspirin, acid blockers and methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug).

For Isabelle’s treatment, doctors prescribed her a chemotherapy drug to suppress the activity of her immune system daily. All of the medications did no good at all. They actually made things worse, considering their horrible side effects. her former doctors wanted to put her on a TNF-alpha blocker – an immunosuppressant that while may reduce some symptoms adds a great risk of cancer and death from the infection.

Dr. Hyman had a different plan for Isabelle. He devised up a specific diet treatment plan for her. He specifically listed foods for her to avoid. He found that the root cause of her issue was inflammation in her body.

Isabelle was instructed to avoid gluten, sugar, and dairy. She had to take supplements to cleanse the body to let it heal itself. Very soon she was once again “completely healthy,” writes the doctor in a 2015 blog post, sharing Isabel’s story with his audience.

In the short video below from 2010, Isabel exclaims, “I can ride my horse again, I’m off all these stupid medications, and I feel great!”

Autoimmune Diseases

It’s estimated that autoimmune diseases effect about 50 million Americans. They come in different forms, including celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and type 1 diabetes. The number one symptom that all of these diseases have in common is inflammation. Many doctors prescribe immunosuppressant drugs, pain medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs for patients who suffer from an autoimmune disease.

Dr. Hyman writes, “Medicine today approaches most disease by suppressing, covering over, blocking or otherwise interfering with the body’s biology. We generally do not attempt to seriously address the underlying problems that lead to the disease in the first place.” By removing gluten, dairy and sugar from Isabel’s diet, Dr. Hyman was able to reduce her inflammation. The extra vitamins and supplements gave her body a natural push to get on track to healing.

Instead, Dr. Hyman suggests functional medicine, where the synergy of the whole body and its interaction with the environment is taken into consideration. The goal of functional medicine is to restore balance in the body as a whole instead of focusing on just one organ, or just one issue.