April 21, 2021

004 - The 5 Drivers of Autoimmunity

By Autoimmune Doc
004 - The 5 Drivers of Autoimmunity




This is an important episode. When you understand what could be driving your autoimmunity, you have your solutions - STOP SCRATCHING! (listen to the episode if that doesn't make sense!) Many things have been associated with the onset or exacerbation of autoimmune disease, but this easy-to-understand concept (as originally taught by Dr. Tom Culleton DC) really simplifies The 5 Drivers of Autoimmune Disease, which are:

1 - Foods and Gut Health. It's now well-established that leaky gut and food sensitivities can cause or contribute to autoimmune disease, and this is an important first place to start. This can be addressed through lab testing or dietary protocols such as an Elimination Diet or Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, as discussed in this episode, and on several related videos on our website.

2 - Toxins. Toxins disrupt the immune system, create a stress response, and lead to inflammation. Toxins can both induce and exacerbate autoimmunity, including Mercury, Aluminum, BPA in plastics, air pollution in general, mold and mycotoxins, and many more. These can be tested through Cyrex Array 11 or through various other testing forms that are discussed in the episode. Detox Detox Detox!!

3 - Stress. Almost anyone with an autoimmune process going on can tell you that stress makes it worse. Stress can't be avoided, but it can be MANAGED. Stress is not just job, life, bills, relationships, but there is also physical stress (head trauma or other injuries, sedentary lifestyle, overtraining) and toxic stress (see #2) that triggers the same stress response from the pituitary that will flare inflammation, decrease immune defenses, and make autoimmunity worse.

4 - Hormones. Hormone fluctuations can cause autoimmune flares, especially CORTISOL (and epinephrine aka adrenaline - the stress response), INSULIN and blood sugar spikes and/or crashes, and ESTROGEN, which is why autoimmunity often flares around puberty, pregnancy, and peri-menopause.

5 - Infections and Pathogens. Bugs such as COVID, influenza, Epstein-Barr Virus, Herpes Simplex Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Parvovirus, Lyme disease, Yersinia, H. Pylori, and many more are associated with autoimmunity. It's not always an "infection" like a weekend flu though.

“In many cases it is not a single infection but rather the ‘burden of infections’ from childhood that is responsible for the induction of autoimmunity.”
Infections and autoimmunity - friends or foes? Trends Immunology 2009 Aug 30(8) 409-14 Kivity et al. 
Each autoimmune puzzle is different, but all 5 of these drivers need to be addressed for success!

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