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What causes autoimmune disease?

 

The latest understanding of autoimmunity is that there is a significant genetic predisposition that is set off by some kind of environmental trigger.

 

The natural way to address autoimmune disease involves identifying and removing all possible triggers.

 

This research article helps substantiate the idea that autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system being overwhelmed by triggers, invaders, or antigens.

 

"We therefore conclude that systemic autoimmunity necessarily takes place when host's immune ‘system’ is overstimulated by external disturbance, i.e., repeated exposure to antigen, to the levels that surpass system's self-organized criticality, and propose here ‘self-organized criticality theory’ explaining the cause of autoimmunity"

How does someone identify their triggers?

 

You might already know.  

 

If not, there are a host of tests that can help identify triggers for you.  There are even tests that can help identify genetic predisposition.  These genes can be modified naturally.

 

Read more on our Testing page

 

What does the gut have to do with autoimmune disease?

 

The immune system within the intestinal lining helps produce regulatory T cells, which turn down the immune response.  

 

Gut inflammation and dysbiosis reduces these regulatory T cells

 

Probiotics enhance regulatory T cells

 

Gut inflammation from infections or food reactions upregulates zonulin which causes leaky gut

 

Leaky gut allows large food proteins to enter the circulation, and the immune system recognizes these as invaders, inducing inflammation.

What does genetics have to do with autoimmune disease?

Your genes make you more predisposed to autoimmunity, so that some environmental trigger can set off the disease process.

 

It is also important to look at genetic mutations, such as MTHFR, VDR, COMT, MAO-A, PEMT, SOD, cytokine mutations, and more to understand your individual biochemistry.  For example, methylation defects can make your genes more likely to express themselves, and it can also cause anxiety, depression, and heart disease in autoimmune patients.

 

 

What diet is the best diet for autoimmune disease?

 

There is no clear answer here.  This depends on the individual person, and the only way to know which diet will work for you is try them all.  

 

What we do know is that a clean diet of whole foods (NOTHING from a package, box, or can) with a 100% elimination of high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, and white carbs is best for almost everyone with an autoimmune disease.

 

Some of your dietary options include:

1) Autoimmune Paleo Diet

2) Paleo Diet

3) GAPS diet

4) Specific Carbohydrate Diet

5) Blood Type Diet

6) Mediterranean Diet

 

I recommend for most patients to start with simply a clean, non-processed, whole foods diet as a baseline.

What are some potential triggers?

 

Some of the well-identified triggers at this point are 

1) Gut inflammation and dysbiosis (imbalanced gut flora)

2) Hormones

3) Stress / Adrenal health

4) Toxic exposure

5) Viral infections, like Mono 

6) Chronic Lyme

7) Depression, Anxiety, and other neurotransmitter imbalance

 

Read more on our Research page

What can someone do naturally in the meantime?

 

Identifying triggers can be a quick process.  Sometimes, though, it takes time.  Sometimes, there are mutliple triggers that will unfold over time.  

 

People need to feel better. Now. 

 

What can you do to feel better now?

 

1) Take natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving supplements.  Read more here

2) Take adaptogens and B vitamins for fatigue

3) Consider melatonin or nervine herbs for insomnia

4) Eliminate gluten today

5) Eat more fermented foods to address the gut inflammation

6) Get more sunlight to boost your vitamin D levels

7) Start a gentle exercise program

Why are GMO foods a problem for autoimmune disease?

 

GMO foods cause leaky gut

They are higher in pesticides than non-GMO foods

GMO foods with increased pesticide exposure can disrupt the endocrine system, tax the adrenals, and damage the thyroid

 

Check out EWG.org for more info

Why is gluten such a big deal lately?

 

Many people with an autoimmune disease are intolerant to gluten, even if you do not have celiac disease.

 

Gluten upregulates zonulin which causes leaky gut

 

Leaky gut allows large food proteins to enter the circulation, and the immune system recognizes these as invaders, inducing inflammation.

 

When your immune system reacts to gluten, it causes your immune system to become overwhelmed with "invaders" (ie, antigens).  This has been shown to induce autoimmunity.

Why do autoimmune patients feel tired and depressed?  What about brain fog?

 

Have you heard of Quinolinic acid?  Dr. Sanders always measures Quinolinic acid in this situation and treats this naturally.

 

Read more on her blog post here.

 

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