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Autoimmunity: Treating its root cause

What is Autoimmune disease?

The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses, but with

autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy cells - mistakenly attacking your body as a mode of defense.

The body is very good at having checks and balances in place - it has an innate wisdom and is always doing what is in your best interest. But when the body starts attacking itself, you know that something has gone wrong.

In other words, the body doesn't know who its enemies are or what to attack. Autoimmunity can affect nearly every part of the body and has been linked to an extensive list of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Hashimoto's thyroiditis (also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease), celiac disease (CD), Lupus and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD).

Tackling autoimmune conditions

From a functional nutrition lens, rather than looking at the type of auto-immune disease, we focus on the underlying process that has led to imbalances and confusion in the body. A functional medicine approach to autoimmune disorders has the possibility of reversing the disease process by enabling your body to heal itself.

Stress is a major factor in autoimmune conditions

Through our decade of work, we’ve discovered that stress has consistently played a huge role in the onset of auto-immune conditions.

And we’re not just talking about emotional stress. Physiological stress; pain in the body, infections, lack of sleep, and eating the wrong things can often trigger an auto-immune response. The other aspect we work on is the gut - with auto-immune conditions, there is almost always a gut-related issue.

Who is more likely to suffer from autoimmune conditions?

While we know that studies show that women are more susceptible to autoimmune conditions, there hasn't been enough evidence to pinpoint why. In fact, women are typically 60% more likely to be diagnosed with an autoimmune condition than men.

What we know is that inflammation goes hand in hand with autoimmune disease, and that oxidative stress shouldn't be underestimated.

Autoimmune disorders can occur at any age and at unexpected times in a person's life. They can also affect all organs of your body including your brain and nervous system.

Common types of Autoimmune conditions:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the joints. It is different from other types of arthritis because it causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to tissue damage and permanent joint deformity.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Pain and stiffness of the joints (especially those in your fingers, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet).

  • You may also experience fatigue or morning stiffness that eases as you move around throughout the day.

It's believed that gut bacteria play an important role in triggering this autoimmune condition: when we eat something containing gluten grains like wheat products they create an inflammatory response inside our gut which may then travel up into our bloodstream causing widespread organ damage throughout our body including

the brain where it affects moods and sleep patterns.

Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis

Celiac Disease


Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

Chron's Disease


Autoimmunity and food sensitivities

It's important to realize that food sensitivities are different from food allergies. A food allergy occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a certain food protein as harmful and begins producing antibodies against it. This can lead to symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, or even anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction).

Food sensitivities on the other hand may be caused by inherited genes that make your intestines more permeable (leaky gut), causing undigested foods to leak into your bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout your body. This means that leaky gut syndrome may not produce symptoms until later on in life when there is enough accumulated damage.

Food sensitivities will also vary depending on which autoimmune disease you have been diagnosed with—for example some people are sensitive only to gluten while others might experience cross-reactions with dairy products due to similar proteins found in both foods.

Want to learn more about the food sensitivity test we run at The Nutrition Clinic? Read more here.

You don't have to do this alone.

A Functional Nutritionist can help with diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, food sensitivities, detoxification and inflammation, and gut healing.

Interested to know how we can help you personalize your nutrition and help you manage your autoimmune condition? Schedule a call with our care manager or viewer Schedule a free 10-minute call with our care manager or learn more here.

We look into your family and personal health history, indicators of physiological stress, your sleep, your gut microbiome, nutritional deficiencies, neurotransmitter indicators and other biomarkers, to make sure that we not only get to the root of your symptoms, but help you optimise your health so that you can start feeling your healthiest.

💡Ready to take your health to the next level? Book your first consultation here.

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