Autoimmune Issues Are Creating Diseases Affecting nearly 1 in 5! Why a – Best of the Bone
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Autoimmune Issues Are Creating Diseases Affecting nearly 1 in 5! Why and How Can We Address Autoimmunity?

Posted by Doctor Lucas on

       For reasons related to lifestyle (diet, exposure to toxins) and environmental issues the rate of autoimmune disease are amongst the fastest growing maladies.  According to American Autoimmune Releated Disease Association as many as 20% of the population have some form - often undiagnosed of autoimmune.   In Australia the growth of autoimmune diagnosis has doubled in the past five years.

We see it amongst the parents who can't figure out what is wrong with their children, with gut health issues of previously healthy men, and, its become a serious women's health issue where females comprise 60+% of those suffering from autoimmune issues.

What causes autoimmune issues?  

The immune system normally can distinguish “self” from “non-self.” Autoimmunity occurs naturally in everyone to some degree; and in most people, it does not result in diseases. Autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system losing the ability to differentiate proteins belonging to your own body with proteins belonging to a foreign invader (like a bacteria, virus or parasite). What causes symptoms is the build up of damage to cells, tissues and/or organs in the body–damage caused by your own immune system attacking those cells.

The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood; but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

Which proteins/cells are attacked is what separates once disease from another. In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the tissues of your joints are attacked. In psoriasis, proteins within the layers of cells that make up your skin are attacked. However, the root cause is the same.

There is no question that there genetic predisposition plays a role but to a lesser extent that environmental and lifestyle factors.  You can't control your genetics but you can control the factors that influence your genes.

"By removing the foods that contribute to a leaky gut, gut dysbiosis (the wrong numbers, relative quantities, or types of microorganisms typically growing in the wrong locations in your gut), hormone imbalance, and that stimulate inflammation and the immune system, you can create the opportunity for your body to heal," says Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.  "By addressing important lifestyle factors and changing your focus to eating nutrient-dense foods that support optimal gut health (and optimal health of your gut microorganisms), that restore levels of important nutrients and provide all of the building blocks that your body needs to heal and properly regulate the immune system, that help resolve inflammation and support organ function, you create an environment in your body conducive to healing."

Through healthy lifestyle you can put your disease into remission, often permanently. Depending on how long you have had your disease and how aggressive it is, there may be permanent damage (which might, for example mean that you need to take organ support supplements such as thyroid hormone in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for the rest of your life), but you can stop your immune system from attacking your body and heal substantially.

This diet is appropriate for everyone with diagnosed autoimmune disorders or with suspected autoimmune diseases. It is very simply an extremely nutrient-dense diet that is devoid of foods that irritate the gut, cause gut dysbiosis and activate the immune system. You will not be missing out on any nutrients and this diet is absolutely appropriate to follow for the rest of your life. If you have a specific autoimmune disease that causes extra food sensitivities, those should be taken into account with your food choices. 

One of the most important contributors to autoimmune disease is nutrient deficiency (which of course, is built right into the western diet, which while being rich in energy is very poor in actual nutrition). 

Gut dysbiosis and a leaky gut are believed to be involved in all autoimmune diseases (and are present in every autoimmune disease which has been tested). The presence of gut dysbiosis and a leaky gut are directly related to diet and lifestyle (the foods you eat, the foods you don’t eat, how much sleep you get and how stressed you are).  Addressing micronutrient deficiencies is important.

       The first dietary recommendation for those with autoimmune disease via the Paleo diet, via the GAPs diet (which was founded on addressing autoimmune issues and the connection to gut health and even autism) and FODMAPs is to adhere to a strict diet with no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no refined sugars, no modern vegetable oils, no processed food chemicals. Step one in the gut revitalisation process has been bone broth.  Importantly grass-fed bone broth and preferably high in collagen protein and in healthy animal fats that deliver omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Many of the micronutrients you may be deficient in will be absorbed more easily with the healthy fats - many vitamins and herbs are fat soluble and will be absorbed much better with these fats.  Some of the foods that provide good fats are no-nos when it comes to autoimmune issues including nuts and seeds (at least initially as you address your condition).

Again, bone broth is a critical first and continuing step in addressing gut inflammation, gut permeability and irritation.  Again, gut conditions are linked to all autoimmune issues.


Perhaps even more importantly than removing foods that negatively impact gut health or stimulate the immune system, is eating a nutrient-dense diet. Micronutrient deficiencies are the strongest diet-related factors contributing to increased risk of autoimmune disease. If you have autoimmune disease, it is highly likely that you are deficient in one or more of: fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K), several minerals (zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, selenium, iodine, etc.), B-vitamins, vitamin C, antioxidants and other non-vitamin nutrients (like CoQ10), omega-3 fatty acid (in relation to omega-6 fatty acid intake), certain amino acids (like glycine), and fiber.

So, just as some foods should be eliminated, there is also a focus on eating more of the following:

  • organ meat and marrow (such as from certain bones or in select few bone broths).
  • fish and shellfish (wild is best, and in fact some farmed are proving to be high in toxins) (aim for at least 3 times per week, the more the better) and Krill Oil is great.
  • vegetables of all kinds, as much variety as possible and the whole rainbow, aim for 8-14 cups per day
    • Green vegetables
    • Colorful vegetables and fruit (red, purple, blue, yellow, orange, white)
    • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, arugula, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, mustard greens, etc.)
    • Sea vegetables (excluding algae like chlorella and spirulina which are immune stimulators)
  • quality fats (pasture-raised/grass-fed animal fats [rendered or as part of your meat or broths], fatty fish, olive, avocado, coconut, palm [not palm kernel])
  • fruit (keeping fructose intake between 10g and 20 g daily)
  • probiotic foods (fermented vegetables or fruit, kombucha, water kefir, coconut milk kefir, coconut milk yogurt, supplements).
  • glycine-rich foods (again, bone broth/Best of the Bone, or anything with connective tissue, joints or skin, organ meat).
  • L-glutamine and magnesium - for gut barrier function (broths such as Best of the Bone are also high in this amino acid).
  • Magnesium (via fish, meats, broths and some vegetables).
  • Vitamin C.
  • Collagen - extremely useful for autoimmune diseases affecting skin or joints.  Again, available in highest concentrations via bone broths.

You can also improve your intake of important trace minerals by switching to sea salt, himalayan or celtic salts. Other tips like eating locally-grown organic produce can make a big difference (both in terms of micronutrients and in terms of probiotics). It is also very helpful to drink plenty of water between meals and to make sure you are consuming enough food. 


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