Does Leaky Gut Cause Autoimmune Disease?

Does Leaky Gut cause Autoimmune Disease? The idea that a damaged intestine could be key to Autoimmune Disorders is finally hitting the medical community.


Because autoimmune diagnoses are growing exponentially and physicians have limited tools to tackle them.  With my own history of Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism), Celiac Disease, and probable Addison’s Disease, I can clearly relate…

What is Autoimmunity and why does it happen?

The immune system’s job is simple.

  1. Watch for foreign proteins.
  2. Identity as friend or foe.
  3. Mark the proteins to be destroyed or ignored.

Foreign proteins are any “Not Me” protein, such as pollen, viruses, secretions or blood from another being, or contents of your intestine that slip through the gut wall into circulation before first being processed or detoxified in the liver.

That includes the proteins in broccoli or chicken as well as fecal matter.  These are not supposed to be in your blood or lymph, and if the immune system sees it there, it will attack it.

Why does our immune system attack us?

The immune system can attack our organs and tissues, believing they are invading foreigners.

One theory why is that we’re overwhelmed with foreign “foods”, chemicals, drugs, genetically modified organisms, and mutated viruses and bacteria our bodies have never seen before.

We’re in a near-constant state of flight-or-fight, provoking the immune system to be super vigilant.

We eat things we never evolved to eat. We are rushed, worried, short on sleep, play and laughter, and we don’t get enough sun.

Like an “itchy trigger finger” where the slightest provocation causes an outburst of gunfire, our immune cells begin to attack everything around them.

Remind Me: What is Leaky Gut?

The mucosal lining of the intestines is easily damaged by certain foods, drugs, chemicals and stress hormones such as high cortisol. If we eat sugars and have taken antibiotics, Candida makes itself at home. If the Candida yeast is happy, it progresses into a spore attaching to the gut wall and puncturing it. Like a colander, tiny holes in the gut wall allow passage from one side to the other.

Undigested food remnants and other gut contents such as fecal matter and bacteria can pass through the elegant mucosal gut barrier that separates our inner self (the alimentary tract) from our outer self (the skeleton, organs and blood).

The immune system rightly attacks these particles as foreign to the bloodstream.

Does Leaky Gut cause Autoimmune Disease?

The Paleo and Ancestral Health community believes that “Leaky Gut” and bacterial imbalances in the intestines may be the last straw sending the immune system over the edge. It also means that fixing the gut wall is the key to restoring health, whether we have an Autoimmune Disorder (yet) or not.

We remove damaging inflammatory foods such as vegetable oils, hybridized grains, GMO crops, sugars, dairy and more. First to STOP further damage, and then to let the gut repair itself with better foods and nutrients.

The alarm system gets turned off.  The attack dogs are put to bed.  The sentries can relax and put their guns down.

I’ve seen many cases in my clinic where antibody counts drop dramatically as Paleo Diet rules are followed.  There’s more to it than that, but its a massive and life-changing event in your chemistry.  Enough to give you breathing room to make a recovery plan.

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