Autoimmune Disease Talk for The Source


Notes by Brenda Rogers, naturopath, nutritionist, aromatherapist, life coach, yoga teacher

Definition and Summary 

An autoimmune disease is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response to a normal body part.[1] There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases.[1] Nearly any body part can be involved.[3] Common symptoms include low grade fever and feeling tired.[1]  Increased sensitivity to pain.  Often symptoms come and go.

The cause is generally unknown.[3] Some autoimmune diseases such as lupus run in families, and certain cases may be triggered by infections or other environmental factors.[1] Some common diseases that are generally considered autoimmune include celiac diseasediabetes mellitus type 1Graves’ diseaseinflammatory bowel diseasemultiple sclerosispsoriasisrheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.[1][4] The diagnosis can be difficult to determine.[1]

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition.[1] Nonsteroidalanti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and immunosuppressants are often used.[1] Intravenous immunoglobulin may also occasionally be used.[2] While treatment usually improves symptoms, they do not typically cure the disease.[1]

About 24 million (7%) people in the United States are affected by an autoimmune disease.[1][3] Women are more commonly affected than men.[1] Often they start during adulthood.[1] The first autoimmune diseases were described in the early 1900s.[5]


Some Thoughts on Causes

Immune system activation

The human immune system typically produces both T cells and B cells that are capable of being reactive with self-antigens, but these self-reactive cells are usually either killed prior to becoming active within the immune system, placed into a state of anergy (silently removed from their role within the immune system due to over-activation), or removed from their role within the immune system by regulatory cells. When any one of these mechanisms fail, it is possible to have a reservoir of self-reactive cells that become functional within the immune system. The mechanisms of preventing self-reactive T cells from being created takes place through negative selection process within the thymus as the T cell is developing into a mature immune cell.

Viral infection

Some infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, have antigens that are similar (but not identical) to our own self-molecules. In this case, a normal immune response to C. jejuni can result in the production of antibodies that also react to a lesser degree with gangliosides of myelin sheath surrounding peripheral nerves’ axons (i.e., Guillain–Barré). A major understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases has been the application of genome wide association scans that have identified a degree of genetic sharing among the autoimmune diseases.[10]

Molecular Mimicry

The concept of molecular mimicry describes a situation in which a foreign antigen can initiate an immune response in which a T or B cell component cross-recognizes self. The cross-reactive immune response is responsible for the autoimmune disease state.[13] Cross-reactive immune responses to self were first described for antibodies.

Root canal

Get them checked.

EMFs, Biotoxins, Environmental Chemicals

Constant immune stress


Trigger the immune system and can cause complications in some people

Hygiene Hypothesis

According to the hygiene hypothesis, high levels of cleanliness expose children to fewer antigens than in the past, causing their immune systems to become overactive and more likely to misidentify own tissues as foreign, resulting in autoimmune conditions such as asthma.[15]

Nutrient deficiency

The two main findings that are reported in any autoimmune disease are significant inflammation and a significantly depleted antioxidant defence system. For example, in Crohn’s disease, the lining of the bowel has been shown to be significantly inflamed and depleted in antioxidants and their supporting nutrients. In rheumatoid arthritis, the joint space is loaded with free radicals, inflammation, and depletion in antioxidants. This makes sense since a patient with an autoimmune disease is constantly under attack by their own immune system. This inflammatory response creates excessive free radicals, which uses up all the antioxidants and supporting nutrients trying to neutralize them and protect the body’s normal cells. 

Other hypotheses: 

Gut health, Parasites, Nutrient Deficiencies and Serotonin


  • Immune response: Body attacking itself
    • Inflammation (stage 1)
    • Congestion (stage 2)
    • Degradation (stage 3)
  • CNS and Peripheral Nervous System
    • Nerve damage
  • Women 5-10 times more likely to get it

Medical Treatment

  • Anti-inflammatories eg cortisone which suppresses immunity as well
  • Immune suppressants
  • Pain killers

Naturopathic Perspective

  • 20thcentury damage creating excessive free radicals and tissue damage.
  • Not an immune system that’s attacking itself or confused but an immune system under attack.
  • Medical approach is simply suppressing symptoms
  • Low fat propaganda – industrialised fats are to autoimmune disease what sugar is to diabetes.
  • Nutrient deficient diets don’t deal with toxicity

Naturopathic/Nutritionist Approach

  • Thorough eval, w/ comprehensive patient history and physical exam is required
  • Assess psychosocial factors (very important)
  • What’s worked, what’s not worked. Why? 
  • Eventually will receive constitutional homeopathic, dietary intervention(s) 
  • and gut dysbiosis/rebuild. 
  • Find triggers to flares and remove 
  • Address flares

Some Treatments 


  • Fat soluble vitamins
    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin D
    • Cod liver oil, ghee, butter


  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs eg basil
  • Ginger

Nutrient Dense Foods

  • Bone broths
  • Sauerkrauts
  • Kombucha
  • Fire Tonic
  • Gluten Free flours, mueslis
  • Antioxidant rich foods eg berries
  • Fats eg nuts and seeds 
  • Liver and other organic organ meats


  • Devil’s claw
  • Boswellia
  • Gut herbs
    • Withania
    • White willow

Food Preparation

  • Grain fermentation
  • Activating nuts and seeds to deactivate anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors

Essential oils

  • Juniper
  • Frankincense
  • Canadian Fleabane

Other things to note

6 months of natural treatment before response – be patient

Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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