WHAT CAUSES AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE | Last week I busted some myths about autoimmune disease and this week we are talking about the triggers or what causes autoimmune disease to happen. It's a 3 part recipe. And of course, we are also talking about what to do about it!
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What causes autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune Disease Triggers
What Causes Autoimmune Disease Transcript
Today we're talking about what causes autoimmune disease. Last week I shared with you, sort of a startling statistic really that autoimmune disease has now exceeded the 10th leading cause of death and women under the age of 65. Like the nice friend I am, I'm also bringing you some more stats today, there are over, 50, million confirmed cases of autoimmune disease in the US alone.
Looking around at the people around you and the people you're maybe sitting in traffic passing in your car even think of the homes in your neighborhood the people around you. One out of every six of those people has an official official diagnosis of at least one autoimmune disease. Many people are walking around with autoimmune diseases that are undiagnosed, they just haven't had somebody put together their symptoms.
Supringly, even with all those 15 million confirmed cases, it takes an average of 10 doctors appointments before an autoimmune disease is even suspected, and about an average of five years before a diagnosis is reached, and I can say that that has been accurate in my own experience, both with clients and with, you know, my own daughter having a confirmed autoimmune disease diagnosis as well.
It's really difficult to lay down a particular cause for any autoimmune disease specifically. In the coming weeks, I will get a little more specific as we go through each autoimmune disease and causes and remedies and health for each one of those diseases individually.
If you've been to one of my classes, or even been a client or listen to the podcast before then, you already know that there is no singular root cause for autoimmune disease just like there's no singular root on a tree. Trees have lots of roots that lead to their ultimately healthy or unhealthy existence.
Everyone's root cause is special, it's unique to them it's your very own, and even if you have the same exact diagnosis as someone else. You both have psoriasis or you both have rheumatoid arthritis. You both have some sort of thyroid autoimmune thyroid condition you both have type one diabetes, you landed there for different reasons different routes lead to the development of that disease.
That's why, for example, you have people that rave that you know the Paleo Diet cured my rheumatoid arthritis and others that say man I tried the Paleo diet and it didn't help me at all, and still others that say, I tried paleo diet, and it made my rheumatoid arthritis worse. Now part of that, of course, is because everyone is unique. And part of that reason is because, nutrition, only plays one part in autoimmune disease. Now it's a super important part, don't get me wrong, but it's also only one leg of that three legged stool.
As you know, a three legged stool is to have all three legs or what happens it falls over. So in order to heal you have to have all three legs of that stool, to prevent autoimmune conditions or to heal existing I don't mean dynamics right.
A lot of times, clients are super surprised when we address these non-nutritional issues before starting large supplement regimens or changing nutrition. We start by addressing these foundational wellness pieces.
Quickly, before we dive into the triggers of autoimmune disease, I want to make sure that you understand what diseases are autoimmune diseases, right, because a lot of times people come in and they'll say, "I have rheumatoid arthritis, but I don't have any autoimmune diseases." Well, yeah, you do, one of the common ones, right?
I want you to know and I can't possibly list all of them because there are pages of them, but some of the ones I see most often Type One Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, Addison's disease, graves disease, Hashimoto, celiac, fibromyalgia, there are so many more.
Although there isn't a singular root cause for autoimmune and whole or a specific autoimmune disease. There is a really particular recipe for autoimmune disease, its a combination of three things. Three ingredients to the autoimmune recipe: genetic predisposition, loosey-goosey intestinal permeability, and an environmental trigger.
Let's talk about each one of those things just a little bit.
It's a common misconception that the reason you land and an autoimmune dynamic or reproductive troubles or any of those things is because you were gifted a particular set of genes from your parents.
Now, while it can be true that there is a genetic component or it is true that there's a genetic component research tells us that just one small piece of the puzzle. And not only does it tell us that it's one small piece of the puzzle but the study of epigenetics shows us that there's no specific pattern that can be identified or at least has been identified yet that predisposes a person to autoimmune disease.
Instead what we do know is that we have particular markers that can help us to understand the problems that lead to the autoimmune disease, right, because we know that an autoimmune disease is a downstream effect right that diagnosis like any other diagnosis even common ones like strep throat or the flu. That's a downstream effect of an upstream problems. So if we look upstream genetically from autoimmune disease. What we find is that there are things that happen like a particularly strong or particularly weak vitamin D receptor, that can be a problem.
Another problem can be the way your body metabolizes antioxidants, or any number of different genetic markers that can be turned on and turned off. Now we also know speaking of turning those genetic markers on and off, no matter which genes our parents gave us we know that we can make particular choices in lifestyle that will turn these genes on and off, and cause certain health issues like autoimmune disease to pop up or to remain. I hate to use the word dormant but dormant, really.
Genetic predisposition is just one ingredient in the autoimmune recipe. Part two is an environmental trigger. You might be thinking you're not around anything in the environment that would be a trigger, but it's not necessarily what you would think of in terms of environment it really encompasses a lot of different aspects.
One of those things is sleep. Do you sleep at night? High quality sleep is vital to every human being's well being and healing. For so many people sleep is so elusive.
I want you to think about how many times you said or you hear somebody you love say things like "I'm tired" or "I'm exhausted" or "I didn't sleep well." Part of that issue is just the over glorification of busy, we wear busy-ness like a badge of honor. On the other side of that there certainly is a problem for people that they're not getting enough quality time between their head and the pillow.
Sleep can be deceiving, it dosen't look supere important. While the body appears to be completely at rest from the outside completely inactive not doing anything important, it's busy with critical tasks.
I like to use the analogy like a grocery store if you've ever been to the grocery store late at night and say 9 or 10pm. It looks pretty normal on the outside, that the lights are on, you can tell it's alive, so to speak, but the parking lot is, usually pretty scantily populated
Then when you go inside, it's like Santa's workshop. There are people stocking the shelves and cleaning the floors and resetting things maybe working on the lights. There's lots of things happening on the interior of the store, despite it looking like nothing's going on on the outside.
When you're asleep, the same things happening in your body. Your body looks dormant from the outside you can tell the lights are on and you can tell it's breathing, but it's restocking it's super busy restocking hormones processing toxins repairing tissue damage, building up those muscles if you're lifting weights and working out. Your sleeping body is rearming the immune system with those really critical white blood cells, and then also it's working to eliminate the effects of stress and process those heavy emotions.
We currently have this epidemic of sleep disorders anything from trouble falling asleep to staying asleep to actual insomnia. And guys, sleep is something that's so easy to fix. So if you're having trouble sleeping, please PLEASE jump on a mini case review. They're complimentary.
Whenever a client is struggling with sleep or in a bigger healing program, it's always one of the first priorities that we have to address. Sleep is one of the first steps on the way back to wellness, relief, and remission when we're talking about autoimmune disease and chronic illness.
Routinely getting sound sleep improves motivation, it improves attitude and stress levels and the ability to make the necessary changes to heal the body. So sleep is one of the big environmental triggers.
We've learned that the recipe for autoimmune disease is genetic predisposition, plus an environmental trigger, and then super loosey goosey gut. The second biggest envoriomental trigger I see is stress.
Last week I talked about autoimmune disease being a disconnect. One of the big disconnects I mentioned was in regards to stress, and so like I said last week, one of the messages were communicating with our body and experiencing in our life is one that we might die at any moment. Now, I get it. We're all stressed pretty commonplace I'm stressed a lot of the times and so are you collectively we as a human race are stressed out.
And the way this communicates to your biology to your body is that we might die at any moment. Our body, our biology, our cells, our hormones neurotransmitters, the immune system, they don't know the difference between stressed out from a deadline at work or stress from the traffic and a commute, or running from a bear fixing to actually die.
Being chronically stressed and being in this depleted state, it activates a very similar cascade of internal messages and pathways to not having any sleep. It is a similar process, although the ingredients are different, and that chronic stress mode that that overall depleted state is much different than the state of a nourished and ease body that is secure right or in nourished and ease secure feeling.
A third environmental trigger for auotimmune conditions (and flare ups) is energetic wellnss. Energetically autoimmune conditions share a lot of patterns, one of which is the energy or the vibe of taking on the world's problems. Think of someone, maybe even yourself that suffers from an autoimmune disease or is an actively and an autoimmune dynamic. Often, these are those empathic people that take on the burden of the world or the family or the finances or work or something and they it rests completely on their shoulders.
In terms of our own energy and vibration, you have an aura that extends between four and 12 feet from your body and that's measurable. We can measure that energetic vibration. Physics tells us that disease starts as interruptions in the vibrational pattern.
Dis-ease starts way out as an energetic disturbance, and then if it's not dealt with if it's not managed if there's not good energetic hygiene practice, then it comes closer and closer and closer and it eventually manifests itself into a physical issue.
It can be an acute illness like strep throat, which I'm harping on or an ear infection or some sort of cardiac event or a gallbladder. All of these things can happen, and they start out as vibrations of way on the energetic frequency and when you dig into your own history or when I dig into clients history or your history, you can often pinpoint exactly where that vibration ignited where it started, where that disruption occurred. There's lots of different remedies for this things like working with a neural lymphatic reflex system mitigating stress. These are things that we'll be talking about in the fall into health program.
The third enviromental aspect that I want to touch on is nutrient deficienceis. I talked about this a little bit in the genetic predisposition stuffs, about having a vitamin D modulating gene that allows too much or too little vitamin D. And as you know, vitamin D is extremely important to many aspects of your health from fighting cancers to simple bone health, but what we're focusing on today is how vitamin D works with the immune system. There's an aspect of vitamin D that regulates mood right but it's really, really important in these autoimmune dynamics too.
This little vitamins role in the immune system plays a big part in protecting the body against the development of autoimmune conditions, in addition to, you know, preventing less serious things like the like common cold, our immune cells contain these perfect little receptors direct receptors for vitamin D, and it's been shown that this vitamin works to help, and it's not actually a vitamin, it's called vitamin D that's actually a hormone, but it shows that this, that vitamin D seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses.
Vitamin D helps to control that to prevent excessive inflammation. Research tells us that inflammation is often the root of, lots of things not just autoimmune disease, but specifically we often see this vitamin D issue and things like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis., irritable bowel syndromes, and other digestive disorders. This is even a factor in some other chronic illnesses like high blood pressure.
Also when we think in terms of environmental triggers you also have to think about the actual environmental toxins.We are putting chemicals, all over our house in the name of cleanliness and we slather them all over our skin in the name of beauty.
When's the last time you flipped over your pore minimizer, for example, to see what damaging chemicals that you are putting in your body from it? There's lots of little apps that you can use to scan the barcodes on products and make sure that you're buying stuff that is safe for you and your family. My favorite is Think Dirty.
Enviromental toxins is one of the many reasons why I use all natural plant based cleaners and create a lot of my own cleaners and potions and mixes from essential oils. Our bodies haven't genetically and biologically evolved to manage the onslaught everything that's thrown at us chemically. Much of it is out of our control directly, but much of it is in our direect control.
You have to be careful and do your due diligence. In 150 years, maybe our bodies will evolve to deflect to the stuff but right now it's quite literally killing the human body. Even those things you may not think of, like Scentsy Warmers - those are highly toxic! Just replacing all the Scentsy in your house with essential oil diffusers it makes a huge difference in the amount of inflammation in your body, and in your family's body as well.
Other environmental triggers would be medication triggers. I've talked a lot in the past couple of weeks about medications that mess up that selective permeability or the ability of the intestines filter what gets into the bloodstream and what doesn't. You can find that info here and here.
Intestinal Permeability a.k.a. Leaky Gut
And that very easily leads us straight to the third part of the recipe right leaky gut or intestinal permeability. So the interesting part of all these autoimmune triggers is really what they all lead to is the third part of the recipe - they lead to a leaky gut. In big fancy words they cause an immune dysregulation in the lining of the gut, specifically in something called the gut associated lympathic tissue or GALT.
This chaos right this dysregulation is in the area of what's allowed to pass through the gut lining and when things that pass through. Or when things that shouldn't pass through make it through that gut lining because the cells, those tight junctions aren't tight anymore they're loosey-goosy, it sets the body up for system wide inflammation.
So rather than a trigger for autoimmune disease really you can think of the gut as a gateway for autoimmune disease right after the triggers is the key site that allows our immune system to be overexposed to this excessive level of insult, and it causes our immune system to go into the hyper alert state of vigilance. And then once it's in that hyper alert state, the immune system goes from triggering the type of inflammation that causes healing to triggering or prolonging systemic or total body inflammation, or even aggressive inflammation. And so, again, this happens because of that selective ability to determine what goes into our bloodstream, it's gone.
There's chaos and that selective ability right and our immune system is getting exposed to microbes dead ones live ones to breeze toxins semi digested foods, all the chemicals on a regular basis from our foods and otherwise.
Soultions to Mitgate Autoimmune Triggers
So all of that, all that information brings about the question, what do we do about it?
Well, it sounds simple, and it really is once you make up your mind to do it. You stop and you prioritize. Especially if you're in an active autoimmune dynamic, you have to seek out the root cause, you have to recognize that the autoimmune disease is the end result, it's the downstream effect of an upstream issue, and you have to find that upstream issue.
Let's touch on how to mitigate some of this stuff right. I'll dive into this more with each upcoming episode because some of it has to be really specific to the particular autoimmune disease but I want to give you some ways to start right now right.
- Sleep. Head here to get all the info on sleep fixes.
- Stress mitigation, you can work on stress yourself. If you need suggestions reach out to the wellness circle energy work energy work is a beautiful practice you can also do it to yourself, these are things that I teach my clients and I teach them and things like fall into health.
- You can start reading labels, you can use apps on your phone like Think Dirty to check the products that are around your house check your dishes, check your laundry detergent, check your dishwasher so check your hands so your shampoos, conditioners all of your cosmetics, you can find information it's at your fingertips.
- Leaky gut. I'm not going to go into a whole host of things a whole host of supplements and foods and things that you can do to help heal your body from leaky gut because it's different for everyone. Above board, everyone needs probiotics. You need to be eating lots of fermented foods like using Apple cider vinegar to make salad dressings, or maybe putting a little bit in your water in the morning. You can also have kimchi and sauerkraut, all of those things to help improve the happy little home, the gut biome right of where all those little bacteria live.
So let’s do a quick recap.
Overall, the most important thing. Very most important thing is to do your due diligence, get educated.
If you can't figure it out on your own that's what people like me are here for that's why I see virtual clients all over the world, as well as clients here in my practice in North Texas.
As always if you need more help? Be sure to schedule a complimentary Mini-Case Review here.
And thank you so much for reading and listening, if you would like to contribute, be sure to subscribe and leave a rating on your favorite podcast provider, on YouTube, or share this with your friends and family! I would be so grateful!