Autoimmune diseases are on track to eclipse heart disease as the number one killer in the Western world. Yet it remains an area of healthcare that isn’t well understood or often, appropriately addressed by conventional medicine, leaving many people suffering needlessly.

You might not be aware that the rate and incidence of autoimmune diseases (AIDs) are rapidly rising with more than 100 officially recognised to-date. We know that stress can exacerbate the progression of autoimmune disease and often increase the severity of symptoms in vulnerable individuals. The ‘autoimmune trifactor’ describes the perfect storm of genetic predisposition, leaky (permeable) barriers, and specific triggers. However not everyone develops an autoimmune disease – despite these triggers.

Whilst many environmental triggers are now known in relation to AIDs, less acknowledged and discussed in conventional medical circles, is the role that stress and deep seated emotional trauma plays in the development of autoimmune disease.

Early life trauma particularly, can increase the risk ten-fold of developing an AID – especially if you are a woman. 80% of all AIDs are diagnosed in women. For example, childhood abuse has now been linked to the development of systemic lupus erythematosus in adult women.

A new study last year, albeit in mice, looked at the impact of psychological and social stress on the gut microbiome (typically the most important leaky barrier). Stressed mice were found to have higher levels of bacteria associated with multiple sclerosis (an AID). They also found higher levels of T cells known to be involved in autoimmune reactions, which means that the immune system is being primed to react inappropriately.

In understanding the relationship between the elements of the autoimmune trifactor and modern life, it’s easier to understand how one journeys into the autoimmune landscape – and more importantly, how to find your way back out of it again. Foremost researcher into the effects of gluten on our gut and general health, Dr Alessio Fasano, is now convinced enough by the data to pronounce that all chronic disease begin in the gut.

Hence, diet and lifestyle modification, alongside removing toxic elements, is central to moderating the autoimmune response. But so too is a reconnection to self, to nature and to one’s tribe.

Restoring Tolerance To Self

There is unlikely to be any motivation for the promotion of natural and sustainable ways to combat autoimmune disease by conventional medicine given the global market for autoimmune disease management drugs is predicted to grow from USD$79 million in 2018 to USD$126 million by the end of 2025.

Healing oneself from a dysregulated immune response is eminently possible if recognised as such and caught early before too much loss of function and tissue damage occurs. However, the onus is us as individuals to get into the driving seat of our own health journey and take back control.

*Meleni’s personal journey through her own autoimmune disease and return to vibrant health, gives her a uniquely personal, yet informed, dimension, combined with over 30 years of clinical experience.