Understanding autoimmunity

A normal and healthy human body has proper system comprising of tools that function to resist attack of invading foreign particles such as bacteria, virus and other parasites. This set of tools is termed as immune system. Sometimes, immune system attacks the body itself. These misdirected responses by the immune system are known as autoimmunity.

Autoimmune diseases are have nonspecific symptoms and initially include fatigue, ache, pains and low grade fevers. Because of the vagueness, people are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases long after they are unable to function properly.


Some examples of autoimmune diseases include

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). ...

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). ...

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). ...

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus. ...

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome. ...

  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. ...

  • Psoriasis.

Autoimmune diseases occur in an organism when there is progression from autoimmunity to pathogenic immunity. One can determine this progression by genetic influences and environmental triggers. Autoimmunity is shown by the existence of T cells that are reactive to the host antigens and autoantibodies. Autoantibodies function against the person who produced them.

To be precise, autoimmune disease occurs when tissues are attacked by immune system. Just like all immune responses, its focus is on specific antigens by B-cell receptors and T-cell receptors.

Unlike in infection, the antigens recognized by B-cell receptors and T-cell receptors are processed by proteins. This process takes place in target organs and leads to chronic inflammatory process that hinders the normal functioning of the body tissues.

In case of human diseases, the trigger for disruptive process is usually undetermined. There is some evidence that autoimmunity can take place after infection and more than one infection is responsible for the initiation of disease. Other environmental factors also play a role.


Role of genetic factors in developing autoimmunity

There is a lot of research going on to understand the influence of inheritance on autoimmune diseases. It has been observed that vulnerability to autoimmune diseases is contributed by a variety of polymorphic genes. In singular capacity, these genes have small effect but in aggregate they are responsible for vulnerability to autoimmunity.

Role of lifestyle factors in developing autoimmunity

Physical activities, stress, nutrition, hydration, sleep and lymphatic functions play their certain roles in developing autoimmunity. All these factors are responsible for creating neurotransmitter imbalances, mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal imbalances and oxidative stress that increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases.

Role of environmental factors in developing autoimmunity

Infections (bacterial or chronic viral infections or intestinal dysbiosis) and toxins (heavy metals and chemical compounds found in pesticides, herbicides, plastics and other products) can influence, trigger or aggravate an autoimmune diseases.

For instance, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) exposure is associated with the autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Lupus is linked to mercury toxicity.

Ankylosing spondylitis is associated to the presence of Klebsiella bacteria in the digestive tract.

The infections and toxins trigger autoimmunity in different ways. They either trigger autoimmunity by damaging cells or the infections also have the ability of molecular mimicry.

The existence of these infections and toxins will continue to encourage the autoimmune response.

In a sensible approach to autoimmunity, it is vital to identify and remove these environmental triggers.

Get to the bottom of your symptoms - book in for a consult today!

Heal Eczema Naturally in 5 steps

Struggling with eczema?
Have you tried just about everything to clear your skin, but had no results?

Before popping pills or trying a new cream, seek healthier and more long term alternatives.

Yes, sometimes it is necessary to use steroids, antihistamines and other pharmaceuticals until an acute reaction subsides, and there is no shame in this, but concurrently treating the underlying causes in a holistic manner can compliment medical treatment very well, and often lead to less use of pharmaceuticals.

Most times, eczema is caused by underlying conditions. Thus, you need to identify and treat its root cause, not just its symptoms.

In children, up to 20% suffer from eczema and this number is increasing.   

Remember that health starts from the inside out.

Nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle habits have the biggest impact on your skin.

Follow these simple steps to heal eczema naturally.


Balance the Gut

Eczema is one of the primary signs of an imbalance in gut flora and often candida overgrowth. When your gut flora is out of whack, pathogens kill healthy bacteria and spread throughout the body. This causes inflammation, recurring infections, and skin disorders. You may also feel hungrier than usual and crave sugar.

The first step to healing eczema is to address its root cause, such as candida infection or severe dysbiosis.

Consider an elimination diet to remove food triggers until the gut is healed.  

At this point you might test for allergies to common allergens such as dust mites, animal dander, and run food intolerance tests in order to have a clearer idea what to avoid for the time being until the condition and the body’s hypersensitivity has improved.

Drink bone broth to heal intestinal permeability and balance gut flora.

These typically are removed for a period of time until the skin and gut lining completely heals and the body is no longer hypersensitive to the triggers.

L-glutamine, marshmallow root, and amino acid formulas can help and it pays to know your body constitution (yin/yang, Vata/Pitta/Kapha etc) to help select a herb that is suitable for you.

Add More Nutrients to Your Diet

Certain nutrients support gut health, which reflects positively on your skin.

Zinc piccolinate, for instance, helps maintain the mucous lining of the stomach, throat, and mouth. This keeps pathogens at bay and improves nutrient absorption.

Take a multivitamin or 15-40 milligrams of zinc piccolinate or zinc carnosine to heal your gut and skin, or incorporate enough meat or liver into your diet on a weekly basis.

Load Up on Healthy Fats

Your skin needs vitamins A, D, E, and K to maintain its elasticity and stay young. However, your body can not absorb these nutrients without dietary fat. Omega-3s are particularly beneficial. These essential fatty acids improve vitamin absorption and fight inflammation, which helps heal eczema.

To get more fats in your diet, consume avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. Your skin will look younger, your energy will go up, and your cholesterol levels will drop.

Take pre and Probiotics

Stress, poor nutrition, candida, and other factors affect gut health. When your microbiome is unbalanced, pathogens take over your gut and destroy good bacteria. This is where probiotics come in handy.

These supplements contain live microorganisms that colonize your gut, killing fungi, microbes, and harmful bacteria. As a result, your skin becomes clearer and your immunity increases.

Ideally, choose a probiotic with at least 10 billion active cells, such as L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium lactis. If you’re struggling with eczema, take higher doses.

Kefir and fermented foods if well tolerated are fantastic natural sources of pre and probiotics.

Limit Stress

Chronic stress affects the amount of diversity of healthy gut bacteria. It's also a major contributing factor to inflammation, which in turn, triggers eczema.

If you're constantly stressed, squeeze more "me" time into your schedule. Practice deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. Get more rest and make health a priority.

Get outdoors, and let your children play in the yard!  Get barefoot onto the soil, sweat it out, immerse in nature for 1-3h at a time and forget about the world for a while.  

This article was first featured on, and photo credits to sassymamasg.com

If you suspect you have eczema and are interested in a personalised, holistic approach to get under it, do get in touch for a consult!