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AUTOIMMUNITY 101 PART 2

In Part 1, we discussed what autoimmunity is, and some of the environmental factors that play a role in one's immune health. Let's continue our discussion on how diet affects autoimmunity.

Nourish Functional Health, Santa Barbara Nutrition, Santa Barbara Therapist

Autoimmune: Environmental Factors/ Diet

Let's review some links between what we eat and autoimmunity. Autoimmune diseases are at their root stem from systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a normal physiological defense against pathogen infection and tissue damage and quickly ends under normal circumstances. However, in many chronic conditions, the inflammatory response continues and leads to significant tissue and organ damage.

Recently, increasing evidences have shown that the abnormal inflammatory response is closely associated with many chronic diseases, especially in autoimmune diseases.

If we follow this line of thinking, we can connect high inflammatory foods with the continuation of systemic inflammation.

Diet plays a major role when it comes to inflammation. An inflammatory diet that is low in nutrients is one of the main causes of modern-day inflammation. While consuming inflammatory foods may increase the risk of inflammation, eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help you to overcome chronic inflammation and improve your health. This is one of the founding principles of the Autoimmune Diet Protocol (AIP).

A few of the key inflammatory foods are:

Santa Barbara Autoimmune Specialist

Gluten - A 2002 review in the New England Journal of Medicine, lists 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten, including osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and many other autoimmune diseases.

Sugar - When you eat too much sugar, your body simply cannot process it quick enough. As a result, it releases pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines. It may damage your immune system and lead to blood sugar issues.


Dairy- Drinking cow’s milk has been associated with an increased risk for numerous autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.

There are many inflammatory foods and some can ever seen superfoods, as one persons medicine can be another's poison. That is what we encourage everyone to know their personal food sensitivities - especially if dealing with autoimmune issues.

Autoimmune: Environmental Factors/ Gut

Let's review some links between the gut and autoimmunity.


Your digestive health plays a critical and complicated role in your immune response and the overall health of your immune system. And the health of your gut hinges on two primary factors – the integrity of your gut lining and your microbiome.

Gut Lining: The intestinal barrier is a semipermeable structure that allows the uptake of essential nutrients and immune sensing, while being restrictive against pathogenic molecules and bacteria. If the gut lining is compromised - tiny particles and microbes can 'leak' through to the bloodstream.

Once in your bloodstream, these leaked molecules are “tagged” by your immune system and your body launches an inflammatory response. This is called LEAKY GUT. or INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY.

Numerous research papers are linking increased intestinal permeability in autoimmune diseases including; type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and inflammatory skin disorders. Additionally, several studies have shown that GLUTEN & GLYPHOSATE can increase intestinal permeability and cause an immune response in the body.

Your Microbiome: The microbiome is represented by microorganisms which live in a symbiotic way with us. Microorganisms have the ability to influence different physiological aspects such as the immune system, metabolism and behaviour.

In recent years, several studies have highlighted the role of the microbiome in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Notably, in lupus an alteration of the intestinal flora (lower Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio) has been described.

Conversely, changes to the gut commensal and periodontal disease have been proposed as important factors in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, other autoimmune diseases (i.e. systemic sclerosis, Sjögren's syndrome and anti-phospholipid syndrome) also share modifications of the microbiome in the intestinal tract and oral flora.

There is much to the topic of your gut and autoimmunity, but I hope you get the idea of the importance of a healthy gut and bringing balance to your body.


Autoimmune Heath Coach

Autoimmune: Environmental Factors/ Lifestyle

If you have been following me for a while, then you will know I am all about LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS being the key to our health. This couldn't be anymore true for those who have autoimmune issues and those you wish to prevent them.


Let's review some links between the lifestyle and autoimmunity and what you can do about it.


You may be surprised to know that stress may be one of the biggest triggers in autoimmunity and their flairs. According to one study - physical and psychological stress has been implicated in the development of autoimmune disease with a high proportion (up to 80%) of patients reported uncommon emotional stress before disease onset.

Additionally, many autoimmune conditions have chronically elevated stress hormone production as a catalyst for this abnormal immune response.

It may feel like an impossible task to focus on eliminating all the environmental factors shown to play a role in autoimmunity. But know it is possible. Working with a skilled Practitioner to support and guide the process is extremely effective.

When dealing with autoimmunity or any health condition for that matter - prevention is the key! Remember in a previous post - I mentioned that frightening statistic that those who have one autoimmune disease will most likely develop another in their lifetime.

Steps to improve autoimmune outcome:

1. Clean up your DIET. Remove inflammatory and reactive foods. Functional Tests: Food Sensitivity, Run your test, here. Cross Reactive Foods Testing.

Nourishing Tip: Grab your AIP diet cheatsheet, here. Take our Food Sensitivity Quiz.

2. Ditch the TOXINS. Tip: Visit our shop - we have hand-picked some of our favorite products to make the Ditch & Switch process easier. (bath, baby, cleaning, kitchen) Functional Tests: GPL Tox, Hair Metal, MycoTox, Glyphosate. Run your test, here.

Nourishing Tip: Grab your Ditch & Switch cheatsheet, here. Take our Toxic Load Quiz.

3. Deal with INFECTIONS. Functional Tests: Stool Analysis, OAT, Virus Infections Panel

5. Balance the GUT.

Functional Test: Stool Analysis, OAT Nourishing Tip: Read more about Gut Health, here. Take our Gut Health Quiz.

5. Address your STRESS! Functional Tests: 24 hour Circadian rhythm. Run your test here.

Nourishing Tip: Vagal Nerve stimulation as a starting point. Grab your cheatsheet, here.

We are here to help. This is what we do all day - everyday!

If you are ready to deep dive and work together on a one on one approach - please reach out to us. This is what we do!


Resources: PMID: 30944837, hindawicom/2015/508409/ PMID: 22109896, PMID: 16966705, PMID: 23482055, PMID: 29920643

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