PRC Elective: Systemic Inflammation, Food Intolerance, and Autoimmunity
Learn how to identify and treat systemic food intolerance. Get equipped with nutritional, herbal, and lifestyle recommendations for addressing autoimmune disease.
Need to know
*Please note that many of the associations listed under ‘CEUs/PDAs’ do not formally pre-approve online courses for credits, and thus require the student to track their own online course hours to submit for approval for their annual CEU/PDA requirements.
Meet your course instructor
Paul Bergner | Medical Herbalist
Paul Bergner has studied and practiced natural medicine, medical herbalism, and nutrition since 1973. He is the Director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Portland, OR, and has supervised residents in teaching clinics for medical herbalism and clinical nutrition continuously since 1996. Mentoring more than 250 clinical graduates, he has published and edited the Medical Herbalism journal since 1989. Paul has authored seven books on medical herbalism, clinical nutrition, ethnobotany, and naturopathic medicine. Combining information from both nutritional anthropology and biomedicine, he developed a successful protocol for treating insulin resistance between 1997 and 1999, and has been utilizing and teaching the protocol to residents in his teaching clinics since that time. He has lectured on this topic at professional conferences nationally and internationally since 2000.
*This is a 1 PRC-Approved credit course for on-campus students only. Please click here for the parallel public course: Systemic Inflammation, Food Intolerance, And Autoimmunity
Did you know that there’s a connection between the immunological response in the gut and various systemic manifestations of disease? This seminar will describe the current scientific concepts of digestion, immunity, and autoimmunity to explain this connection. Paul Bergner, the Director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Portland, teaches this in-depth course which will help you make healthy lifestyle choices. Paul reviews nutrition, herbal materia medica, and formulation strategies to help support the body’s healing of inflammation; a condition we all live with at some point.
After taking this course, you’ll be able to assess and coach a patient (or yourself) using interview and observational skills taught by Paul. Foods that evoke an immunological inflammatory response are nearly universal in modern chronic disease. The removal of these food antigens can allow symptoms of diseases to simply fall away—even serious ones! The material for this course has been developed over a period of over twenty years and delivered in various formats to hundreds of intermediate and advanced students of herbalism, nutrition, and naturopathic medicine as part of pre-clinical training.
These videos were filmed at Ravenhill Herb Farm in Victoria, BC.
Participants will learn about:
- Methods that will successfully help with serious chronic illnesses such as autoimmune conditions, neurological problems, cardiovascular inflammation, kidney failure, mental disorders, and more
- The basic science of how nutrients affect inflammation and tissue integrity
- The “dotted line” between inflammation in the gastrointestinal system and the overall system
- The exact immune components and mechanisms which are responsible for the escalation of gut inflammation to systemic inflammation
- Interview techniques and assessment methods to evaluate a client for food intolerance
- The unreliability of the common lab tests for food intolerance
- How to coach a patient through the elimination of suspected offending foods
- A complete herbal materia medica of anti-inflammatory herbs
- Herbal materia medica and formulation guidance for working with “leaky gut syndrome”
- Welcome, Introduction, Course Outline
Paul welcomes you to your new course and reviews what materials you will be covering in the following lessons.
- Systemic Inflammation
To begin, Paul reviews the pathophysiology of systemic inflammation and its systems. He uses lab work to show his methods of assessment.
- Nutrition: Minerals and Trace Elements
The physiological role of trace elements play a huge role in connective tissue integrity. In this section, Paul shares some dietary and botanical sources to look for.
- Nutrition: Fats and Oils
Dietary oils can have a pro or anti-inflammatory affect. In fact, there have been cases of an inflammatory diseases disappearing completely just from eliminating some forms of fat! Find out which ones contain which agents in this section.
- Vitamin D and Inflammation | Part I
We’ve all been told that vitamin D is good for us, but in what amounts? Paul reviews the correct dosage of vitamin D, as well as lab testing. Paul also talks about the role it has in connective tissue integrity, nonspecific (local) immunity, and specific (systemic) systems.
- Vitamin D and Inflammation | Part II
In this continued unit, Paul holds a discussion about the adverse effects of vitamin D in granulomatis diseases. These conditions include tuberculosis, cat-scratch disease, sarcoidosis, and some cancers.
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky Gut Syndrome can cause inflammation throughout the body, and is attributed to a wide range of conditions. Discover the pathological causes and consequences of these conditions, including increased intestinal permeability.
- Gut Lymphoid Tissue and Systemic Inflammation
Here, Paul covers the function and morphology of the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (an immune protectant), and its role in systemic inflammation.
- Molecular Mimicry | Part I
Common food antigens have a cross-reactivity of antibodies with various tissues in the body. Paul talks about this with a deeper exploration and description of peptides in gluten, eggs, and soy proteins.
- Molecular Mimicry | Part II
Molecular mimicry part two looks specifically at cow’s milk its potential for cross-reactivity in the body, contributing to cases of atherosclerosis. In this section you’ll also look at chronic inflammatory conditions that have been routinely cured with screening and the removal of specific foods.
- Drugs and Herbs for Pain | Part I
While pharmaceuticals are repeatedly used in the treatment of inflammation, there are many Western herbal medicines that do a fine job. Paul talks about both forms of treatment, and offers some herbal formulations.
- Drugs and Herbs for Pain | Part II
Herbal pairs for inflammation can be used topically and internally. You will learn the best ways to administer herbs to enhance absorption of medicinal constituents for things like inflammation.
- Fasting and Inflammation
Paul describes fasting strategies for patients of varying constitutions and explains the physiological roles of the hormone ghrelin for regulating appetite and enhancing tissue repair.
- Anti-Inflammatory Herbs | Part I
A large number of Western herbs are commonly used for systemic inflammation. Here, Paul dives into the materia medica of some of these herbs, and gives suggestions for effective pairs and combinations. Herbs discussed include coffee, salicylate containing herbs, Matricaria recutita (chamomile), and Achillea millefolium (yarrow).
- Anti-Inflammatory Herbs | Part II
In part two of this section, Paul covers more anti-inflammatory herbs. Herbs discussed include Althaea officinalis (marshmallow), Calendula officinalis (marigold), Plantago spp. (plantain), Urtica dioica (stinging nettle), Curcuma longa (turmeric), and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice).
- Anti-Inflammatory Herbs | Part III
Herbs discussed in this section include Zingiber officinale (ginger), Angelica archangelica (Angelica), Apium graveolens (celery), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Salvia officinalis (sage), berberine-containing herbs, and Commiphora myrrha (myrrh).
- Pathophysiology of Food Intolerance | Part I
Paul gives a fascinating description of the processes and symptomatic presentations of food intolerance with typical digestive, musculoskeletal, and mood/energy symptoms. He also covers an overview of therapeutic interventions for addressing food intolerance symptoms, as well as discusses the microbiome as a metabolic organ.
- Pathophysiology of Food Intolerance | Part II
Here, Paul gives a thorough presentation of the symptomatic presentations of food intolerance within the digestive system, including an in-depth look at Celiac disease.
- Pathophysiology of Food Intolerance | Part III
Dive in and take a deeper look at common systemic conditions routinely cured with elimination of food intolerance, including autoimmune conditions and psychological disorders.
- Elimination Diets in History
This is where you’ll learn a historical review of elimination diets in Western medical history—from Ancient Egypt, through Greek, Roman, and Arabic Medicine, and into modern times. Paul looks at accounts from homeopaths, naturopaths, and conventional medical doctors.
- Clinical Experience and Case Studies | Part I
Paul reviews conditions routinely cured with food intolerance elimination as seen in cases from his natural medicine teaching clinic.
- Clinical Experience and Case Studies | Part II
- Clinical Experience and Case Studies | Part III
- Assessment | Part I
This is where the application of what you’ve learned comes into play. Paul shows you methods of assessment for identifying food intolerances. Here, you’ll take a look at the food intolerance symptom triangle, signs of a poorly functioning digestive system, and visual before-and-after food intolerance elimination case examples.
- Assessment | Part II
Here, Paul explains the interview strategies you’ll need to effectively collect information about lifestyle, diet, and presenting symptoms of patients.
- Assessment | Part III
This section serves as an intuitive practice to promote mindfulness when shopping and eating.
- Lab Testing
A review of the scientific literature on the evaluation of food intolerances using standard antibody testing.
- Elimination and Re-challenge | Part I
Paul shares his process of effective testing with food elimination in this section and shares information about patient education, interview skills, and motivational techniques.
- Elimination and Re-challenge | Part II
Paul explains how to effectively follow-up with patients testing with food elimination to monitor their progress. He also explains how to re-introduce foods once the elimination is complete.
Comprehensive therapeutics for food intolerance and associated inflammation can be obtained with the right dietary and supplement protocols. Learn about them in this section!
This section serves as a review of the importance of “friendly” bacteria to barrier and immune function in the gut, with the importance of probiotic and prebiotic supplement protocols.
- Herbal Therapeutics for Leaky Gut | Part I
In this section, Paul discusses the benefits of herbal medicine over conventional medicine to support the optimal function of the body. Discover the roles of bitter, demulcent, alterative, carminative, lymphatic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulalting herbs to promote regeneration of the digestive system and manage systemic inflammation.
- Herbal Therapeutics for Leaky Gut | Part II
This is a continuation of herbal therapeutics for digestion, and includes a deeper look at immunomodulating herbs. Paul speaks about Ganoderma lucidum (reishi), Lentinula edodes (shiitake), and Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus).
Paul provides a final review of some of the most common autoimmune conditions. He provides a protocol for food eliminations and additions and symptomatic treatment with botanicals.
Students are saying…
“Fantastic course, fantastic resources, brilliant accompaniment to Gillian’s Chinese Diet Therapy Course. Getting a nutrition health perspective from both of these angles has been of extreme value.”
“Excellent. Registered due to my own issues with autoimmunity. Highly recommend.”
“I enjoyed the course material a lot. It definitely met and somewhat exceeded my expectations and hopes for the course. I loved this course. It was very informative and easy to understand. Thank you.”
“My favourite parts were molecular mimicry and autoimmune issues, herbal remedies. Everyone needs to take this course.”
“This course was a great starting point. It illuminated the causes behind the autoimmune issues I’ve been struggling with my whole life. I will continue to delve deeper into the concepts that were introduced to me in this course.”
“The course was excellent, thorough and the speaker made the subject easy to understand and clarified many myths about food intolerances. One of the best and most useful courses I have taken.”
“A+. I am a Holistic Nutritionist with a strong desire to work with clients in restoring their gut health, reducing inflammation and healing their lives. The material was thorough and to the point. I don’t have a lot of extra time in a day so I really appreciated spending it getting straight to the good stuff.”
“I had been in full time practice for well over 20 years when I first came across Paul’s works and I count their solid, practical, experience and tradition based wisdom as amongst the very best of the courses and materials I have found in a life-time of study.”
“I have already applied the knowledge for myself and my clients with astounding results. This has taken my practice to a new level with my clients with chronic conditions.””
“Paul shares his knowledge, insights and experiences in a down-to-earth way that I really appreciated. He’s also very generous in sharing articles he’s written and other resources that I look forward to delving into.”
“As someone without a background in nutrition science, I found Paul’s instruction accessible and compelling. Paul’s case studies and anecdotes helped me to contextualize some of the more science-heavy aspects of the material.”
Please note, this elective course is for PRC Campus students only.