Autoimmune Disease (part 2) Causes of Autoimmunity

Causes of Autoimmunity

There are 3 factors necessary to develop autoimmunity: Firstly, you need to have the genes; secondly an environmental trigger such as infection, food intolerance, emotional stress, exposure to chemicals or toxic metals, pregnancy or nutrient deficiencies; thirdly you need to have a leaky gut.

Leaky gut

Leaky gut is when the lining of your gut becomes more permeable than it should be and allows large particles of undigested food and toxins to enter straight into the blood stream, which has a big impact on the immune system. You cannot have an autoimmune condition without having leaky gut.


Infections that have been associated with increased risk for development of autoimmunity are: Epstein barr virus (glandular fever), cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori, streptococcal infections, chlamydia pneumoniae, norovirus (causes gastroenteritis), hepatitis, cell wall deficient bacteria (mycoplasma and chlamydia), and chronic long term low grade infections such as herpes.
Subtle long term infections whether it be bacterial, viral, parasitic or fungal, chronically stimulate your immune system producing low grade inflammation, and the toxins they produce weaken your immune system and make you feel unwell.

Heavy metals

Aluminium, Lead, Mercury and Gold


Silicone exposure can come from breast implants, medical tubing, joint replacements and cosmetic fillers. Silicone increases proliferation of TH17 cells which can cause a great deal of inflammation and tissue destruction and trigger autoimmunity.


A very controversial topic but there is enough evidence to mention it, and there are several components in vaccines the can harm the immune system.
Vaccines contain a modified form of a virus or bacteria that can no longer cause infection, but does cause an immune response and antibody production. Some fragments of the virus and bacterium may resemble components of our own body and through molecular mimicry trigger production of antibody against your own body.
Adjuvants contained in vaccines are there to wake up the immune system to get it to manufacture antibodies. Adjuvants include mercury, aluminium, squalene, mineral oils, silicone and viral particles. Preservatives and stabilisers as well as yeast based culture medium.

Other factors associated with autoimmunity

Bisphenol A (BPA)- Is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate (plastics).

Cigarette smoke- Cigarette smokers are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and graves’ disease. Smokers tend to not respond as well to treatment for autoimmunity.

Drugs and medications- Can also trigger auto immunity in genetically susceptible individuals. The most well-known case is drug induced lupus, but they may also trigger autoimmune hepatitis, ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases.

If you need help to determine possible underlying factors for your autoimmune condition seek the help of a trained health professional.

Kim Carolan holds a degree in Naturopathy with further training in holistic counselling, live and coagulated blood microscopy, biomesotherapy and German biological medicine (Sanum). She operates out of Pulse Holistic Medical Practice in Minyama on the Sunshine Coast, and is passionate about helping people reach their optimal health goals. She has special interest in digestive health, anxiety, depression and autoimmune conditions

Part 3 will look at further triggers for autoimmunity that could easily be overlooked as a part of life, but play an important role in autoimmune responses.

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