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The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – Targeting The Core Of The Problem

When determining the cause of autoimmune conditions, we must address the core of the problem instead of simply focusing on the symptoms. Autoimmunity is the term given when the body’s own immune system turns against itself. Autoimmune diseases include eczema, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, leaky gut syndrome, lupus, and irritable bowel syndrome.

To pinpoint the core cause of autoimmune conditions, let’s delve into the analogy of the 3-legged stool, which provides a visual example of what supports autoimmunity.

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – The 3-Legged Stool

If we want to know how to solve autoimmune conditions, we must first focus on what is causing autoimmunity. The 3-legged stool analogy helps us understand the complexity of what is causing autoimmune-related illnesses. Just like a stool needs all three legs to stand, our bodies require three foundational supports to remain healthy.

The 3-legged stool that maintains our health remains standing if we don’t have many stressors, have ideal gut health, and have desirable epigenetic expression. As you will soon see, these three pillars of health depend on each other so they must all be balanced properly.

When one, two, or all three of these legs are broken, autoimmune conditions and other diseases are the result. Simply put, fix the legs of the stool and you will have the foundational strength that allows your body to fix itself.

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – 1st Leg – Stressors

The first leg of 3-legged stool and the main reason for the development of autoimmune conditions are stressors. Stressors are any physical, emotional, or environmental factors that cause stress to the body. These stressors can be acute, short-term events or chronic, long-term situations. Stressors affect both the microbiome and epigenetic expression so it is important to reduce exposure to them. Fortunately, we often have control over the stressors we are exposed to.

Stressors – Processed Food, Pesticides, And GMOs

Processed food is everywhere in our modern society. It is convenient, easily accessible, and often cheaper than whole foods. However, processed food is typically high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial ingredients. These harmful substances disrupt the balance of bacteria in our gut, leading to inflammation and triggering the immune system.1

Similarly, pesticides are commonly used in agriculture to kill pests and increase crop yields. However, these chemicals also harm our health. Studies have shown that exposure to pesticides disrupts the immune system and increases the risk of developing autoimmune conditions.2

GMOs are another stressor for our bodies. These are organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered in a laboratory. GMOs are often designed to be resistant to pests, herbicides, and viruses, making them easier to grow and harvest. However, consuming GMO foods comes with long-term health effects.3

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions - 1st Leg - Stressors

Read more about the toxins in your food.

Changing your diet to an anti-inflammatory diet like my Cellular Healing Diet is one important step to reviving your health.

Stressors – Mercury, Lead, And Arsenic

Heavy metal toxins, particularly mercury, lead, and arsenic, trigger or worsen autoimmune conditions. These metals cause damage to the body’s cells and tissues, leading to chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction.4

Mercury is a toxic element that is commonly found in industrial processes such as gold mining, coal burning, and waste incineration. It can also be found in some fish and dental fillings.5

Exposure to mercury has been linked to the development of autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Mercury induces oxidative stress and alters immune cell function, leading to inflammation and tissue damage.6

Read more about the toxic effects of mercury.

Lead is a heavy metal that was once commonly used in products such as paint and gasoline. Despite its ban, lead can still be found in old homes and buildings, as well as in contaminated soil, air, and water.7

Exposure to lead triggers autoimmune conditions. Lead also accumulates in our bones, interferes with our body’s enzyme functions, and disrupts our immune system.8

Read more about the toxic effects of lead.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can be found in our environment, particularly in groundwater. It is also used in industrial processes such as wood preservation and metal production.

Exposure to arsenic has been linked to autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. Arsenic impairs the function of immune cells and promotes the production of pro-inflammatory molecules, leading to chronic inflammation.9

Read more about heavy metal toxicity.

Stressors – Black Mold

Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a type of fungus that primarily grows in damp and poorly ventilated areas. Exposure to this toxic mold can lead to various health problems, including respiratory issues, allergies, and even serious autoimmune conditions.10

When exposed to black mold, our bodies react by releasing inflammation-causing chemicals. These chemicals can cause irritation and damage to the respiratory system, leading to respiratory issues such as coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, black mold can also cause allergic reactions, including skin rashes and hives.11

Moreover, exposure to black mold has been linked to the development of autoimmune conditions. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to this toxic mold can disrupt the body’s immune system and lead to an overactive immune response, which can trigger autoimmune diseases.12

Read more about mold toxicity.

Stressors – Toxins In Tap Water, Toxins In Body Care Products, Toxins In Your Home

While it may seem safe for drinking, tap water contains a long list of pollutants and various chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, and trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs. These toxins can disrupt the delicate balance of our gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and immune dysregulation.13

Read more about the toxins in tap water.

Additionally, the water we use for bathing and showering also contains these chemicals, which are absorbed through our skin and inhaled as steam. This constant exposure to toxins from tap water weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to autoimmune conditions.

The products we use on our bodies also contain toxins. From skincare and makeup to shampoo and deodorant, most conventional body care products are filled with harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. These chemicals disrupt our endocrine system and contribute to inflammation, which trigger autoimmune responses.

Furthermore, the products we use to clean our homes also contain toxins that harm our health. Many household cleaners and laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, and formaldehyde, which irritate our skin and respiratory system.14

Read more about common toxins.

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – 2nd Leg – Microbiome Dysfunction

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system. It helps train the immune cells to recognize and attack foreign invaders while maintaining tolerance towards the body’s own cells. A disruption in the gut microbiome leads to a condition known as dysbiosis, where there is an imbalance of beneficial and harmful microorganisms. This can trigger an immune response that often results in autoimmune disorders.15

Diet has a significant impact on the composition and diversity of our gut microbiome. Studies have shown that a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats leads to dysbiosis and increases the risk of developing autoimmune conditions. On the other hand, a diet rich in whole foods, fiber, and probiotic-rich foods promotes a healthy microbiome and reduces inflammation in the body.16

In addition to diet, several other factors can influence the health of our microbiome and contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions. These include stress, environmental toxins, and antibiotic use. As stated before, stress and stressors have been shown to alter the composition of gut bacteria, while exposure to toxins disrupts the balance of microorganisms in our body.17 

Specifically, toxic substances significantly decrease the number of Bacteroides fragilis in our microbiome, resulting in a reduction of Treg cells. These specialized cells play a crucial role in regulating our immune system, preventing excessive inflammation from occurring. In the absence of Treg cells, chronic inflammation is left unchecked, leading to autoimmune conditions.18

Read more about how important the microbiome is to health.

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions - 2nd Leg - Microbiome Dysfunction

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – 3rd Leg – Epigenetics

One major aspect that is often overlooked when searching for the cause of autoimmune conditions is epigenetic expression. This refers to how our genes are expressed and activated in response to various environmental influences.

Our genes play a crucial role in determining our susceptibility to autoimmune conditions. However, it’s important to note that having a specific gene does not necessarily mean you will develop an autoimmune disease. It all comes down to how our genes are expressed and regulated.19

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to optimize our genetic expression and reduce our risk of developing autoimmune conditions. This is where the concept of ideal genetic expression comes in.

Ideal genetic expression refers to having a balanced, healthy gene activity that promotes optimal functioning of the body’s systems. It involves minimizing any negative or harmful gene expressions while maximizing the positive and beneficial ones.

One way to achieve ideal genetic expression is through lifestyle changes. This includes following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, reducing toxic load, and getting enough sleep. These factors influence how our genes are expressed, either turning on or off certain gene activities that contribute to autoimmune conditions.20 21 22 23

The Cause Of Autoimmune Conditions – Targeting The Core Of The Problem

The cause of autoimmune conditions are a combination of toxins, microbiome dysfunction, and less than ideal epigenetic expression. In my next blog, we will discuss the step-by-step approach to relieving autoimmune conditions, the answer to autoimmune disease. 

If you don’t want to wait and need answers now, start with an inflammation test and consultation.


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2 Pathak VM, Verma VK, Rawat BS, Kaur B, Babu N, Sharma A, Dewali S, Yadav M, Kumari R, Singh S, Mohapatra A, Pandey V, Rana N, Cunill JM. Current status of pesticide effects on environment, human health and it’s eco-friendly management as bioremediation: A comprehensive review. Front Microbiol. 2022 Aug 17;13:962619. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.962619. PMID: 36060785; PMCID: PMC9428564.

3 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division on Earth and Life Studies; Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources; Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 May 17. 5, Human Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops. Available from:

4 Witkowska D, Słowik J, Chilicka K. Heavy Metals and Human Health: Possible Exposure Pathways and the Competition for Protein Binding Sites. Molecules. 2021 Oct 7;26(19):6060. doi: 10.3390/molecules26196060. PMID: 34641604; PMCID: PMC8511997.

5 World Health Organization. International Programme on Chemical Safety. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 1991. Inorganic mercury: environmental health criteria 118.

6 Pollard KM, Cauvi DM, Toomey CB, Hultman P, Kono DH. Mercury-induced inflammation and autoimmunity. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2019 Dec;1863(12):129299. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 Feb 10. PMID: 30742953; PMCID: PMC6689266.

7 McFarland, M. J., Hauer, M. E., & Reuben, A. (2022). Half of US population exposed to adverse lead levels in early childhood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(11).

8 Ebrahimi M, Khalili N, Razi S, Keshavarz-Fathi M, Khalili N, Rezaei N. Effects of lead and cadmium on the immune system and cancer progression. J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2020 Feb 17;18(1):335-343. doi: 10.1007/s40201-020-00455-2. PMID: 32399244; PMCID: PMC7203386.

9 Haidar Z, Fatema K, Shoily SS, Sajib AA. Disease-associated metabolic pathways affected by heavy metals and metalloid. Toxicol Rep. 2023 Apr 24;10:554-570. doi: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2023.04.010. PMID: 37396849; PMCID: PMC10313886.

10 Rogowska A, Pomastowski P, Sagandykova G, Buszewski B. Zearalenone and its metabolites: Effect on human health, metabolism and neutralization methods. Toxicon. 2019;162:46-56.

11 Mold allergy – Symptoms and causes. (2021, June 21). Mayo Clinic.

12 Kraft S, Buchenauer L, Polte T. Mold, Mycotoxins and a Dysregulated Immune System: A Combination of Concern? Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 12;22(22):12269. doi: 10.3390/ijms222212269. PMID: 34830149; PMCID: PMC8619365.

13 Luntz, T. (2009, December 14). U.S. Drinking Water Widely Contaminated. Scientific American.

14 The Toxic Twelve Chemicals and Contaminants in Cosmetics. (2020). Environmental Working Group.

15 Chang SH, Choi Y. Gut dysbiosis in autoimmune diseases: Association with mortality. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2023 Mar 31;13:1157918. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2023.1157918. PMID: 37065187; PMCID: PMC10102475.

16 Leeuwendaal NK, Stanton C, O’Toole PW, Beresford TP. Fermented Foods, Health and the Gut Microbiome. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 6;14(7):1527. doi: 10.3390/nu14071527. PMID: 35406140; PMCID: PMC9003261.

17 Hills RD Jr, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1613. doi: 10.3390/nu11071613. PMID: 31315227; PMCID: PMC6682904.

18 Cheng H, Guan X, Chen D, Ma W. The Th17/Treg Cell Balance: A Gut Microbiota-Modulated Story. Microorganisms. 2019 Nov 20;7(12):583. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7120583. PMID: 31756956; PMCID: PMC6956175.

19 Kurdyukov S, Bullock M. DNA Methylation Analysis: Choosing the Right Method. Biology (Basel). 2016 Jan 6;5(1):3. doi: 10.3390/biology5010003. PMID: 26751487; PMCID: PMC4810160.

20 Mahmoud AM, Ali MM. Methyl Donor Micronutrients that Modify DNA Methylation and Cancer Outcome. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 13;11(3):608. doi: 10.3390/nu11030608. PMID: 30871166; PMCID: PMC6471069.

21 Światowy WJ, Drzewiecka H, Kliber M, Sąsiadek M, Karpiński P, Pławski A, Jagodziński PP. Physical Activity and DNA Methylation in Humans. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 30;22(23):12989. doi: 10.3390/ijms222312989. PMID: 34884790; PMCID: PMC8657566.

22 Opsasnick LA, Zhao W, Schmitz LL, Ratliff SM, Faul JD, Zhou X, Needham BL, Smith JA. Epigenome-wide association study of long-term psychosocial stress in older adults. Epigenetics. 2024 Dec;19(1):2323907. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2024.2323907. Epub 2024 Mar 3. PMID: 38431869.

23 Plusquin M, Guida F, Polidoro S, Vermeulen R, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Campanella G, Hoek G, Kyrtopoulos SA, Georgiadis P, Naccarati A, Sacerdote C, Krogh V, Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita H, Monique Verschuren WM, Sayols-Baixeras S, Panni T, Peters A, Hebels DGAJ, Kleinjans J, Vineis P, Chadeau-Hyam M. DNA methylation and exposure to ambient air pollution in two prospective cohorts. Environ Int. 2017 Nov;108:127-136. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.08.006. Epub 2017 Aug 24. PMID: 28843141; PMCID: PMC6139298.

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