Autoimmunity occurs when the body’s natural defense system attacks itself.
Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and the body gets caught in the crossfire. The body has mounted an attack for a reason including an infection, toxicity, allergens or stress and our joints, skin, brain and other organs are affected. The body can no longer identify what is ‘friend’ and what is ‘foe’ as the immune system is no longer working in the right way. Here are some of the most common autoimmune conditions, but the list continues to grow day by day;
- Coeliac disease – wheat allergy affecting the small intestine
- Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease – affecting the thyroid
- Rheumatoid arthritis – affecting the joints
- Multiple Sclerosis – affect the brain and the spinal cord
- Type 1 Diabetes – affected the pancreas and insulin production
- Lupus – affecting tissues throughout the body
- Psoriasis – affecting the skin
What causes autoimmunity?
- Gut health– as 70-80% of your immune system lies in your gut, the gut is crucial for regulating the immune response. If gut bacteria is not optimal and there is ‘leaky gut’ where there is hyper permeability of the gut lining, then the immune system is less able to respond to invaders and fight them off. Also, with leaky gut, molecules of undigested food can enter the bloodstream and cause an immune response to be mounted.
- Inflammation – viruses, bacteria, foods like sugar and gluten and processed foods can cause inflammation in the body that affects how well the immune system can work.
- Food Intolerances – can occur as a result of a poor gut microbiome where the gut allows food to enter the bloodstream.
- Stress – long term stress that is poorly managed can suppress the immune system and can contribute to the triggering of autoimmunity as well as causing flare-ups.
- Underlying Viruses – these can be a trigger for an autoimmune reaction and also cause flare-up’s in certain cases.
There is no cure for autoimmunity, so the conventional approach is about controlling symptoms. These can range from painkillers, to immune supressing medications.
Things you can do:
- Eat a low carbohydrate , anti-inflammatory, diet that is high in Omega 3 fats.
- Eliminate gluten and dairy and reduce sugar as these can trigger autoimmunity and continue the inflammatory response in the body.
- Exercise is key.
- Stress reduction – try meditation, yoga, anything that puts you into the relaxation response in the body.
- Sleep well – ensure good sleep hygiene.
What can Functional Medicine do to support?
- Our goal is to find the underlying causes of autoimmunity and the ongoing triggers for your symptoms through functional testing that looks at; gut health, stress levels, viral load, bacterial infections, mold levels.
- From there we can support through diet, supplements and lifestyle modifications to help your immune system rebalance and inflammation to reduce.
5 Pillars of Functional Medicine
Autoimmunity and Functional Medicine
Do you suffer from autoimmunity and have tried all the usual approaches?
Functional Medicine can help you, simply book an online consultation or arrange a free 15 minute discovery call and ﬁnd out how we can help.