But Really, What is an Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune Diseases are a confusing concept. Your own body fighting against your own body? But do you know why autoimmune diseases occur? Has your doctor ever discussed this with you?

By the end of this blog post you’ll finally understand your autoimmune disease, which is the first step towards creating a better life.

  • Why your body is attacking itself
  • What is attacking your body
  • How you can prevent these attacks

Alarmingly, autoimmune diseases are on the rise in the western world with the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimating that nearly 20% of the US population is diagnosed with at least one autoimmunity issue [1]. Unfortunately, most diagnosed people don’t actually know what an autoimmune disease entails or how it even occurs.

Having an autoimmune is more common in women. But that doesn’t mean men don’t get them too (exhibit A – me!). Often misunderstood and sometimes undiagnosed, when found, modern medicine usually attempts to suppress the symptoms rather than treat the root of the problem.

Although research in this area is continuously advancing, it’s essential to know that you are not alone. Many people are suffering from similar issues, and there are people (and information) out there that can help you live a relatively normal life again.

WHY is your body attacking itself?

Autoimmune diseases are caused by your immune system fighting against your own body due to distorted signals. If left unmanaged, unchecked, or suppressed, autoimmune diseases can be catastrophic. But they don’t have to be!

Your immune system is always trying to protect you. When a foreign invader is found – your immune system attempts to eradicate it before any damage can occur. Usually, this is a good thing!

Unfortunately, your immune system can mistake your tissue for a recent foreign invader. When the antibodies mistake your tissue for the invader, it too is targeted and damaged. This mistake will be made every time the foreign invader enters your system and can stay active for weeks, to months [2].

WHAT is attacking your body?

Our bodies are amazing. Naturally set up to attack anything it considers a ‘foreign invader’, they are efficient and tactile. Anything the immune system identifies as a threat can be considered a foreign invader. One substance, in particular, has been strongly linked with autoimmune diseases in modern life and it’s something that most people are eating every day.

Many grains contain a protein named gluten. One thing you may not be aware of is that every time you consume gluten, it damages your gut lining. [6]

The average healthy person has low levels of inflammation and can repair from such damage quickly. When an individual is already in a weakened state, over-consumption of gluten will have an additive effect and potentially cause issues.

These people, in particular, are more susceptible to developing leaky gut or intestinal permeability which is tiny holes opening up in your gut lining[3]. When leaky gut is present, large undigested particles of food, including gluten, can pass through the intestinal membrane into the body. The immune system activates when these particles pass through the gut lining. If you want to learn more about leaky gut and gut health, I’d highly recommend signing up for Gut Health For All, a freebie teaching you how to improve your gut health now!

Gluten may not be the particle in which your immune system mistakes body tissue. This misidentification can happen with practically any food entering your body. Most medical research proves gluten to be correlated with autoimmune diseases – including my own. But this can vary from one person to the next.

Dairy has also been found to have a high correlation with autoimmune issues due to its highly inflammatory nature [5].

HOW can we prevent these attacks?

First of all, it is imperative that you heal your leaky gut to ensure that no abnormal particles are entering the body via your gut membrane. I have dedicated an entire post on discussing how fasting can help heal your leaky or inflamed gut.

Another meaningful way to tackle your root autoimmune issue is to correctly identify, remove, and abstain from ingesting the invading particle that your body is producing antibodies against. The substances the antibodies are activating against are hard to determine,  but there have been significant advances by Vibrant Zoomer labs who have attempted to answer this question.

When you’ve identified the invader (remember – it may or may not be gluten or dairy – everyone’s body is different), it’s important to eliminate it from your diet completely. Removing the food from your diet is vital. Your exposure to this foreign particle will cause your antibodies to remain elevated for periods up to a few weeks to even a few months! [4] Damage to your body will reoccur during this time and often it will take a long time to recover from.

As mentioned previously, once you have produced antibodies against the foreign particle – you will ALWAYS produce these antibodies against it. Similar to how vaccinations work. It is up to you to avoid these problem substances to stop your immune system from reacting.


Complicated, right? I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand as much as you can about this disease and your own autoimmune situation. I found Tom O’Brady’s book; The Autoimmune Fix a great source of information. Reading this book has given me more hope of reversing my autoimmune symptoms and living a relatively normal life again.

If you are having any issues relating to autoimmune diseases I would highly recommend reading this book. It will give you great insight into ideas and information that you can take to your doctor to discuss with them and further research what your next steps should be.

Gut Health For All

If you’re reading this post and it’s got you thinking about gut health and whether it’s for you…..it is….. gut health is for everyone! Do you want to know more? Signup now for the Gut Health For All freebie, and start you journey to a healthier life.

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But Really, What is an Autoimmune Disease?

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Nick helps aspiring runners learn how to take a healthful approach to their training and races so they don’t crash and burn before they achieve their goals.

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