Important Facts about Autoimmune Diseases

Did you know that there are around 100 reported autoimmune diseases (e.g., Lupus, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, …) plus many others which have autoimmune origins (e.g., Alzheimer, Fibromyalgia, …)? Around 50 million of Americans are diagnosed with one or several autoimmune diseases, 75% of them are women.

It has been scientifically proven that three elements need to be present to develop an autoimmune disease, each counting for about a third of the risk:

1) Genetic predispositions (gene variations)

2) Environmental toxins and infections

3) Diet and lifestyle

Unfortunately, we cannot change our genes, but they should not be defining us! We can impact the triggers that influence the expression of our genes, we can also switch off the genes responsible for a disease by reducing inflammation in our body and switch on the healing genes (this phenomenon is called epigenetics).

Several holistic actions can be applied to reduce the attacks in the body and the inherent inflammation, some require collaboration with your health practitioner (preferably holistic/functional medicine physician or naturopath) but others rely on you alone

- Detoxify your environment by choosing chemical-free and environmentally friendly home and body-care products for cleaning, make-up, landscaping, gardening, shopping, washing (soap, shampoo) …

- Reduce the risk to ingest chemicals and heavy metals by choosing sustainable and naturally/organically produced food – local is best (vegetables, meats and fish). Be careful about your drinking water as well… instead of using bottled water, favor using a filtering system that reduces the toxic particles in the water. Eat real food free of artificial colors, sweeteners and additives.

- Test for and adequately treat infections due to parasites, bacteria, virus (Lyme, Epstein-Barr, SIBO, Candida, Herpes, H. Pylori, …) which are known triggers for autoimmune diseases. 

- Determine your genes predispositions by genomics testing and follow appropriate interventions through food and supplements (called Culinary Genomics), to help your body switch off ‘bad’ genes while switch on ‘good’ genes. Our body is a complex machine, with inter-connected systems, that needs specific amounts of macro- and micro-nutrients to function optimally.

- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle protocol to regulate the immune system, putting an end to these attacks and giving the body the opportunity to heal. The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a powerful science-based strategy that focus on a specific diet, eliminating inflammatory food for a period of time while increasing nutrient-dense intake, then re-introduce what the body is accepting, creating a personalized healing diet. The Protocol is not only about diet, several aspects of lifestyle are important to reduce inflammation, such as stress management, right amount of exercises, sleep (8-10 hours is the best), social interaction, connection with nature.

All of this can easily be overwhelming, and this is where using a Health coach to help you on your way to recovery can make all the difference. A Health coach will help set achievable goals, taking a step by step approach and giving you the means to take back the control of your health.

Sources: AARDA, Dr Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mom), Dr Amy Myers, Dr Izabella Wentz, Dr Chris Kresser, Genoma International.


Author: Ludy de Menten is a Certified Health Coach and an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Protocol Certified Coach with a PhD in Biology. She is also currently studying Culinary Genomics. She supports and empowers her clients suffering with autoimmune or chronic diseases to go through the AIP process, see results and feel great again. She offers individual and group coaching programs and cooking classes locally in the Triangle area. She can be reached by email (, by phone (919-724-1107) or via her website (