Is the Autoimmune Protocol Necessary?By Sara Gottfried MD
In my last post about autoimmune disease, I explained how autoimmunity is a con artist, mimicking a number of different diseases and symptoms in the body. When considered collectively, autoimmune diseases—such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, etc.—constitute the most prevalent diseases in the United States.  If you’re one of the estimated 50 million Americans living in an autoimmune body, then you’re probably aware of just how serious things can get when your immune system gets overwhelmed and starts attacking your own tissues!
Your Immune System: Friend or Foe?
All autoimmune diseases are characterized by an overactive immune system, which leads to chronic inflammation and tissue destruction. In fact, the main feature that differentiates one autoimmune disease from another, is simply the part of the body (the type of tissue) that is under attack by the immune system. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is the result of the immune system attacking the joints, whereas multiple sclerosis is caused by the immune system attacking the myelin sheath surrounding nerves.
Western medicine treats autoimmune diseases with immune-suppressing and anti-inflammatory medications, which work by shutting down the immune system. These treatments are more like slapping a cheap Band-Aid on the problem, knowing full well that the solution will only be temporary. Not only that, suppressing your immune system is downright dangerous, like going into battle without any armor or weapons . . . it leaves you vulnerable to attack from a host of other illnesses and infections.
(Dysbiosis is a bigger conversation for another time, as it also cranks up hormone imbalance by causing you to make too many bad estrogens and not enough good estrogens. In other words, it disrupts your estrobolome, or the subset of your microbiome partly in charge of your estrogen levels.)
Most people don’t want to think about the fact that at any given moment, there are enough toxins passing through your intestines to kill you if you were to say, develop a big hole in your gut, and the gut contents were able to escape into your body in one fell swoop. This is exactly what’s happening with a leaky gut, only on a much slower scale, through much tinier holes in the intestinal wall.
The latest theory of autoimmunity suggests that a leaky gut (literally, tiny holes in your gut wall) lies at the root of virtually all autoimmune diseases.  Here’s how it goes: tiny particles of food, bacteria and other gunk from inside of your intestines can escape through a leaky gut and trigger your immune system to produce inflammation. If the leaky gut never heals, the inflammation becomes ‘chronic’, and can eventually result in tissue damage, otherwise known as autoimmune disease.