Illness doesn’t just happen; illness has causes, so to resolve illness, find and resolve the causes.
– Lee Cowden, Integrative MD & Lyme Expert
Thanks to the empowering science of epigenetics, which literally means ‘above the genes,’ we now understand that environmental factors account for about 90% of your risk factor for the development and perpetuation of autoimmune conditions, and even the CDC confirms that your genes account for merely 10%.1CDC: Exposome and Exposomics https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/ And, thanks to groundbreaking research done by Alessio Fasano, MD and his team, we now have an autoimmune equation: a genetic predisposition + environmental factors + a leaky gut.2Fasano A, Shea-Donohue T. Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases. Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Sep;2(9):416-22. doi: 10.1038/ncpgasthep0259. PMID: 16265432.
The excellent news that follows, is that if you find and remove those environmental factors — aka, your root causes and heal your gut, you have the equation for reversing autoimmune disorders.
So now we’re left with the big question:
What ARE the top autoimmune root causes?
After I beat a two decade course of MS, I quit my corporate job to study autoimmunity full time. After getting certified as a Functional Medicine Health Coach I began to guide and support people back to good health. As people healed I noticed a pattern: when they changed their foods, reduced their load of toxins, rebalanced their guts, and lowered their stress, their hormones came back into balance, symptoms faded, and then disappeared. When I sat down to write a book, a word emerged that represents all the big root cause categories: F.I.G.H.T.S.,™ which stands for Food, Infections, Gut health, Hormone balance, Toxins, and Stress:
Today, in my Functional Natural Medicine practice I collaborate with Naturopathic Doctors who specialize in resolving the big root causes of autoimmunity. While not everyone has the same specific root causes, there are common F.I.G.H.T.S. factors we see time and time again. The hugely hopeful news is that when our clients address these root causes, they heal. And you can too by using this as a checklist.
The Top Autoimmune Root Causes
It’s a long list for sure, but take heart in knowing that every single one of these culprits is overcomable. We see people transcend their autoimmune disorders every single week. The key to healing is to find and remove your sources of inflammation and lower your toxic load. The great news is that when you take steps to lower your toxic load in any one category, you will be unburdening your immune system, reducing symptoms, and regaining energy and vitality. The idea is to gain more margin in your toxin bucket. That way your immune system is freed up to tackle the stealthy, opportunistic viruses like EBV and bacterial infections like Lyme, naturally.
Here’s a summary of autoimmune root cause reversal:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels ideally to 70-100 ng/ml to reverse or prevent autoimmune disorders.
- Go autoimmune Paleo (AIP) with a rainbow of organic vegetables, 100% grass-fed (pastured) meats, small wild fish, and nourishing fats.
- Remove inflammatory toxins—including Candida, parasites, mycotoxins, and mercury.
- Address stress and childhood trauma. Prioritize your emotional wellbeing with daily relaxation practices and trauma release modalities that work for you.
- Embrace foundational elements like getting eight or more hours of sleep, moving throughout the day, pausing to breathe or meditate, connecting with supportive people, and spending more time in nature.
For more guidance, grab a copy of my book: Beat Autoimmune with a powerful foreword by Functional Medicine pioneer, Mark Hyman, MD.
Which root causes do you believe you’re dealing with and what are you doing to resolve them.
Always in your court!
P.S. Want my personal help beating an autoimmune condition? If you live in the continental U.S. (except NY due to state laws) and are ready, willing, and able to invest in your best health, I offer Functional Medicine Total Health Transformation Programs over Zoom. I collaborate with skilled naturopaths who are expert in resolving root causes like gut disorders, chronic infections and toxic burdens which are almost always part of the autoimmune puzzle. Together we provide comprehensive, customized treatment plans, and collaborative, caring support. If you are ready to beat autoimmune and reclaim your best life please book a 30–minute consultation with me to gain clarity, confidence, and explore the possibility of working together.