What triggers autoimmune diseases?
Updated: Jul 18
If you have an autoimmune disease, you need to find the triggers! Identifying the triggers or the root causes of an autoimmune disease is essential for improving autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases.
The exact causes for most autoimmune diseases are not known (except for celiac disease --->gluten), but there are common findings and patterns in its development. Triggers vary for each individual and they can change over time!
Usually, initial autoimmune symptoms are vague so you may dismiss them or ignore them until those symptoms get so bad that they start interfering with your daily life. So it is important to examine your family history (does anyone in your family have an autoimmune disease or these symptoms?), all the symptoms you've been having, and laboratory testing especially for early detection of autoimmune diseases. Autoantibodies are the early detection & a warning!
Something is stimulating your immune system to make these autoantibodies and if you want to stop the progress of developing autoimmune diseases, then figuring out your triggers and addressing them should be your top priority. Unfortunately, many conventional doctors will not take the time or work with you to find these triggers and will instead tell you, "let's wait and see, come back in a year and let's retest, or here's a prescription for x-y-z symptoms." This is not the kind of medicine that produces long-term remission or healing.
Once you get this warning, your next step is to find & remove things that are triggering your immune system to react. These triggers are also going to start activating antibodies production and cause flare-ups to occur.
These are some of the common triggers you want to make sure you rule out to stop development or progression of an autoimmune disease:
Gene Susceptibility (family history)
Dietary (food sensitivities, cross reactivity, toxins, etc)
Chronic Infections (a big one)
Lifestyle (chronic stress, sleep issues, exercise, smoking etc)
Environmental Toxins (plastics, mold, pesticides, chemicals, etc)
Gut/ Microbiome Issues
Vitamin Deficiency/ Intake
For most autoimmune diseases, it is a combination of triggers over a period of time that leads towards the development of autoimmune diseases. If whatever is triggering your autoimmune diseases is left unmanaged, it will continue to cause immune dysregulation, chronic inflammation, create more autoantibodies, and possibly turn on other genes that will increase your risk for developing other autoimmune diseases.
There are 3 basic components to developing an autoimmune disease:
Environmental/ Endogenous Triggers
You may have a family history and a genetic predisposition for certain autoimmune diseases, but it doesn’t mean you will develop any of them in your lifetime. Genetics only make up a small reason why you might have an autoimmune disease plus it can take a long time for genes to change on a large scale. But environmental triggers are the majority of the reasons why you have an autoimmune disease! Changes in your foods, new chemicals, new pharmaceuticals, new virus variants, new technology all impact your immune system's function and ability to determine what is you & what is not you.
This is where YOU are in control!
You get to decide the best environment and lifestyle for your body and health! This includes what foods you eat, your sleep schedule, exercise, what you put in or on your body, your thoughts (mindset), who you interact with/social relationships, you know- all the stuff us naturopathic doctors have been talking about since day one! So even if you have a predisposition to an autoimmune disease, those genes may never get turned on or expressed. Even if you a family history and a genetic predisposition for certain autoimmune diseases, it doesn’t mean you will develop any of them in your lifetime.
This is called epigenetics. According to the NIH, it is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work.
Genetics make up only a small reason you might have an autoimmune disease, plus it can take a long time for genes to change on a large scale. But environmental triggers are the majority of the reason why you have an autoimmune disease! Changes in our foods, new chemicals, new pharmaceuticals, new virus variants, new technology all impact our immune system's function and ability to determine what is you & what is not you.
Autoimmune diseases are complex, dynamic, & management is a unique, on-going journey for each individual. If you want to know how to prevent, go into remission, or calm a flare of autoimmune disease, then focus on finding your triggers, remove them, and give your body what it needs to heal along the way.
So if you’ve tried to manage your autoimmune disease on your own, removed all the foods, and still haven’t gotten the results you’ve wanted, then jump on a free discovery call with me & find out what pieces you’ve been missing.
Schedule your free discovery call HERE!
Aristo Vojdani,"A Potential Link between Environmental Triggers and Autoimmunity",Autoimmune Diseases,vol. 2014,Article ID 437231,18pages,2014.https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/437231