The ways in which factors like genes, infections, the microbiome/gut, and environment—the formulaic composition of the autoimmune system—interact collectively help create environments that promote either disease or health. Though genes cannot technically be altered, they can easily be influenced, and manifest themselves differently through the microbiome, infections, and environment.
Autoimmune diseases are the third leading cause of morbidity in the industrialized world, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. Several researchers are proponents of a framework that uses scientifically based targeted nutritional therapies to address the underlying systemic imbalances of these diseases.
This approach, rooted in functional medicine, concentrates on the body holistically, as a whole, rather than a collection of separate entities and organs. Because autoimmune diseases can be influenced through food and nutrition, and the gastrointestinal track ‘controls’ between 70 and 80% of the body’s immune cells, certain dietary changes can both feed the microbiome and reduce inflammation: ultimately lessening allergies and autoimmunity.
Some interventions include removing gluten, which has been shown to increase inflammation, and eating more plant foods: particularly fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, and kombucha. Moreover, removing cow’s milk and adding supplements and vitamins can help fight disease—rather than feed it.
Learn more about autoimmune disease & inflammation through Module VII: A Metabolic and Functional Approach to Inflammation and Autoimmune Disease.