How to outsmart autoimmune disease

Autoimmune disease is on the rise. Around 4 million people in the UK had one of these conditions in 2018, and as these conditions become more understood and easier to diagnose, the number of people with autoimmune disease is likely to increase.


Autoimmune disease is a condition where a person’s immune system starts to attack their healthy tissue which leads to ill-health. It’s debatable why more people are getting an autoimmune disease, and is likely due to eating the western diet high in refined sugar, trans fats and low-nutrient density, increased daily stressors and impaired digestive health. Still, the real challenge is that there is no cure currently.

Evidence supports that eating a healthy diet and living a better lifestyle can help manage symptoms of these conditions, but is the actual barrier to improving our health the way we think about ourselves?

Our emotional state affects our immune system, as our emotions play a key role in regulating important processes within the body that are responsible for immune function. Studies have revealed that episodes of anger weaken the immune system for many hours, whereas laughter has been shown to boost the immune system.

So, what does this mean for autoimmune disease? Well, the secret to getting better, might be closer than you think, and by using your thoughts, you may be a step closer to outsmarting your disease.

Find beauty in detail

Negative thoughts can make you more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections due to their effects on the stress response in your body. In contrast, when you switch to a more relaxed mindset, for example, meditation and yoga practice, this enhances immune function and improves physical health as well as emotional.

If you find yourself in a stressful situation and you need to put yourself at ease, find an object close to you and inspect its detail, to as much minutia as you can. You will be surprised how calm it can make you feel in a short amount of time – an excellent way to switch your body back to its happy place.

Psychoneuroimmunology – the link between our thoughts and physical body

Psychoneuroimmunology is a relatively new area of science which has found fascinating links between the function of the immune system in response to our social interactions, thoughts and behaviours.

In autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy self tissue, and research suggests that many people with these conditions have low self-esteem potentially as a result of adverse childhood events. It seems coincidental that a disease known for attacking self tissue is more susceptible in people with self-limiting thoughts.

Outsmarting disease with your mind

It may be hard to comprehend that the way you think about yourself, as well as your state of mind, beliefs and attitude, can create a change in your physiological state. Healing through the mind-body connection has been understood since Greek ancient medicine, so putting more focus on nourishing your mindset, is vital to better health and longevity, and prevention from inflammatory disease.

Studies have shown that negative thoughts, anger and bitterness, can suppress the immune system so that it is not prepared to protect you against infection and may malfunction, leading to autoimmune disease. By breaking free from harmful thinking, you are putting your body in the best place to heal from disease.

Thinking in autoimmune disease

The cause of autoimmune disease is still not fully understood. Yet, theories of the immune system ‘mistakenly’ attacking self tissue have now progressed, and it seems that toxins are the real cause of these conditions.

The immune system is merely doing its job – it removes damaged cells from the body, which have been poisoned by toxins. Toxins may relate to many things such as heavy metals, pollutants, pathogens, and even food particles in a person who has increased intestinal permeability ('leaky gut'). These theories are all plausible, but what about a toxic mind? Is that the real toxicity in autoimmune disease? Could your mindset be preventing you from escaping disease?

Outperform negative thoughts

You may feel that the way you think is who you are, but often you will find that the beliefs you have about yourself are due to life experiences and other people’s judgment of who you are. That is why to overcome negative thinking, you need to explore who you really are and have faith in yourself that you are worth more than your belief currently.

I am writing the book ‘Outsmart Autoimmune Disease’ to help those who suffer from inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disease, as well as anyone who would like to better their health to provide a framework to overcome negative thinking to outsmart disease.

The book will provide information about chronic illness, as well as exploring how mindset and faith in yourself and the process of healing is essential in managing the symptoms of these conditions. By learning about these diseases and understanding ways to nourish a sorrowful mind, you will not only put yourself in a better place to heal, but you will also feel much happier and optimistic about your life and the future.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W1G & Harrogate HG1
Written by V. J. Hamilton, Autoimmune Disease Expert | BSc (Immunology), DipION, mBANT
London W1G & Harrogate HG1

Victoria is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and member of BANT, focusing on autoimmune disease including skin disorders, heart disease and neurological issues, gut health and fatigue. Victoria has a BSc in Biochemistry & Immunology which she uses in her practice, using only evidence-based nutritional therapies to support chronic conditions.

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