What Causes Autoimmune Disease? The 4 Factor Perfect Storm.

If you’ve ever wondered what causes autoimmune disease you’re in the right place.

If you’ve ever asked your doctor what causes autoimmune disease and heard “we don’t know” or “it’s genetic” you’re not the only one…

Did you know it takes an average of 20 years for the latest science to trickle down into your mainstream medical doctor’s office? 

….To be clear — I love and highly respect my rheumatologist. And I think it’s essential anyone with an autoimmune disease work with a specialized medical doctor in the area of their condition.

This delay is a downstream effect of an overwrought, pharma-driven medical system…

It makes sense looking back — when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis the only question the rheumatologist asked me was if anyone else in my family had it.

The answer was no.

Confused as to how this all was even possible, or what this even was, I asked how it could have happened, where it could have come from…

All I got was a pamphlet and a lifelong prescription of immunosuppressant.

It wasn’t until I started looking outside the doctor’s office that I found any real answers.

And this one has been key….

There are four factors that come together to create autoimmunity (a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks it’s own tissue and causes damage)….

Autoimmunity is a perfect storm of just the right conditions (you need all four), lining up at just the right time for this type of complex dis-ease to take root. 

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

what causes autoimmune disease - perfect storm


There’s no one gene that causes autoimmune disease, but there are multiple genes that can set the stage for autoimmunity.

Genes direct the body in how to make enzymes and we can have what are called SNPs that can either up regulate or down regulate how well and how much of those enzymes we make. SNPs that affect methylation (MTHFR, MTRR, etc) and detoxification (GST) are commonly part of the equation.

Enhanced Intestinal Permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”).

“Leaky gut” just as it sounds. Most of what’s in the gut is meant to stay outside of the systemic body and we have a skin that lines the intestine with a level of permeability to allow in what needs in and keep out what should stay out.

What happens is with wear and tear from things like microbial overgrowths, antibiotics, oral birth control pills, NSAIDs, histamine buildup, that skin becomes more permeable and all of the sudden things like food particles and waste from gut microbes are allowed into the blood stream where the immune system is going to react to them. This is where the majority of food sensitivities come from and one way systemic inflammation brews.

Weak Imbalanced Immune Function.

Weak immune function can be from a lack of nutrients, especially immune critical ones like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Zinc, and amino acids from protein that may be lacking in the diet or that may not be getting absorbed (see #2).

Immune function also becomes imbalanced when the immune system is busy responding to food sensitivities or simmering infections in the gut which leaves it under reactive to viral infections that can become simmering and chronic, further weakening the immune system.

Environment (ie. a trigger).

The environment includes everything we come into contact with including what we eat, breathe, think, and feel. Also how we’re sleeping, managing stress, etc.

Our physiology is constantly looking to our environment to know how to respond — what hormones, molecules and chemicals it should be producing and putting out so we can best cope.

The environment typically provides a single trigger — a stressor that triggers autoimmune activation.

If #1-3 are the kindling, this is the match.

It can be a virus, an infection, a particularly stressful life event like the death of a loved one, a divorce, a lost job. Anything that significantly increases stress level to a breaking point.

So, if we know the cause of autoimmune disease is the coming together of these four factors, we can break it down and start to address them, one by one.

This is how you manage these diseases, reverse them, and prevent them.

When you address these four factors, healing happens.

This is what we do inside my functional medicine health coaching practice.

This is how my clients with autoimmunity have been able to become free of pain, reduce their medications, and get back to feeling like themselves again (find more success stories here).

It truly is Amazing.

If you’re dealing with an autoimmune disease, chronic pain, or any sort of dysfunction that’s getting in the way of living your normal life and want to learn more — grab some time for a consult with me here.

P.S. [TLDR]: There are four key factors that come together like a perfect storm to create autoimmune disease. I can help you untangle the four and address each one so you can get back to feeling like yourself again. Want to learn more? Grab some time for a free consult with me here.


The content in this post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice.

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