Understanding the Role of Diet in Autoimmune Disorders: Key Foods to Include and Avoid

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of diet for individuals with autoimmune disorders or inflammatory conditions. While experts often recommend consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in moderation, the speaker argues that this approach will not lead to improvement. The speaker highlights the role of the gut in autoimmune disorders, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome and a strong gut barrier. They recommend consuming probiotic foods, avoiding antibiotics, and incorporating fermented vegetables and foods high in glutamine and omega-3 fats. The speaker also advises against consuming glyphosate, gluten, glucose, fructose, vegetable oils, and trans fats. Finally, they stress the significance of nutrients such as zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin A in supporting gut health and managing autoimmune conditions.

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Key Insights:

  • Autoimmune disorders often start in the gut, with a condition called intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
  • Intestinal permeability occurs when the tight junctions in the gut become compromised, allowing pathogens and toxins to enter the body.
  • The protein zonulin regulates tight junctions, and elevated levels of zonulin are found in autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions.
  • Supporting a healthy microbiome is crucial for autoimmune disorders, and probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir can help increase beneficial microbes.
  • Avoiding antibiotics is important, as they can destroy the microbiome and increase leaky gut.
  • Fermented foods, like fermented vegetables, can be beneficial for the gut microbiome and reducing inflammation.
  • Sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, helps reverse gut dysbiosis and inhibits autoimmune conditions like lupus and psoriasis.
  • Avoiding glyphosate, found in herbicides like Roundup, and gluten can help reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
  • Foods high in glutamine, such as red cabbage, grass-fed beef, eggs, and fish, can reduce inflammation in the gut.
  • Avoiding glucose, fructose, alcohol, and vegetable oils can help reduce gut permeability and inflammation.
  • Omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil, fish, and salmon can support gut health and reduce the risk of autoimmune conditions.
  • Nutrients like zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin A are crucial for supporting gut health and immune function.


This is a very important video for anyone with an autoimmune disorder or for that matter any inflammatory disorders. Now, of course, the thing to do if you have an autoimmune condition is to go to the experts, right? So this is what they will tell you what to do, right? Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes. Only have moderate amounts of alcohol, limit your sugars and sodas, and also limit your refined grains. But of course, the diet is going to recommend you can have some sugars, you know, juice and alcohol and sugar and fine grains, just don’t have too much and you’ll be totally fine.

Well, I’m going to let you know right now, you will never, ever get better if you follow that recommendation. So let’s go ahead and dissect and talk about what’s really behind an autoimmune disorder. Most autoimmune disorders, where your own cells are attacking themselves, creating a lot of collateral damage with inflammation, start in the gut. But I want to talk about the mechanism of what starts it in the gut.

We have this immune barrier, okay? We also have other barriers, like the skin, the internal skin. We have other immune things like acids in your stomach, bile that’s produced by the gallbladder, lactic acid that’s produced by some of your microbes, that all prevent pathogens from invading the body. And we also have this thing called the blood-brain barrier, which protects pathogens from invading the brain.

And so, the immune system, and I just have to say, this is so highly complex and so mysterious, really no one understands the complexity of this magical defense mechanism and how amazing it is. And when you appreciate it, you’re much less susceptible to using things to try to bypass your immune system, like antibiotics, for example, or anything to stop an infection. You want to let your body learn from it and develop more immunity.

But before we get into this, I want to just touch on something that’s really important, that’s about the immune system. Since we’re on the topic of autoimmune, our immune system is developed when we’re small infants. Hopefully, you had a natural childbirth, you weren’t C-section, because that can inhibit the starting of the immune system because of the microbiome that’s developed in a natural birthing process, and hopefully, you were breastfed too because of the probiotics that are in the breast milk really fortify that immune system early on.

You know when we talk about a fetus growing in a mother’s womb, it’s not a sterile environment. They did think it was sterile at one time, but they recently found microbes in the amniotic fluid, and some babies actually have their first bowel movement right inside the womb, and they found microbes in there. Where do they come from? Well, they came from the mother.

And so, an infant’s immune system starts at birth, and if they don’t have these certain factors, if things are too sterile, if an infant is exposed to antibiotics or anything that can inhibit that microbiome, boy, is that immune system affected later on in life. And the recent interest that I have in this topic relates to farming and growing certain plants, and I’m going to be doing some very interesting research on my farm relating to this topic.

But a seed that is grown in the soil is not just a little packet of genetic information, it is literally Noah’s Ark. You have all sorts of microbes growing inside that seed and on the surface of that seed that helps that seed be fortified in its growing process. And so they found that if you disrupt that microbiome early on, that plant won’t really grow, it won’t really have that microbiome to help it absorb nutrition. Well, the exact same thing happens with us, with our immune system early on.

We’re talking about the gut barrier, okay? There are these protective things called tight junctions that keep the cells very, very tight and secure, so it forms a very, very nice barrier between the inside of your body and the outside of the body, or really the inside of the gut. So if there’s a pathogen trying to invade the gut, these tight junctions prevent it from doing so.

Now, the medical term for this is intestinal permeability, of course, it’s the same thing as a leaky gut, right? There’s holes in your intestine that allow things to pass through that then don’t get the stamp of immune approval through immigration, and then certain things could be tagged incorrectly, and then your immune system can go after them. And then we have a war, we have inflammation, and then we can develop autoimmune diseases.

Now, there’s this protein that regulates these tight junctions, and if this protein, called zonulin, and the tight junctions are not working correctly, the immune system is not going to have the ability to differentiate between self and non-self. In other words, your immune system can make a mistake and start incorrectly assigning your own tissue as being a foreign pathogen and start developing the antibodies, whether it’s for the thyroid, the brain, anything.

And so, this zonulin protein is always elevated in autoimmune diseases, as well as a lot of inflammatory conditions. It is the primary regulator of that intestinal permeability. So if we look at what foods are best for an autoimmune disease, it would be those foods that reduce permeability and that keep this zonulin in check and prevent it from getting too high.

So what I did is I cross-referenced a lot of different foods and other things that relate to not only increasing or decreasing zonulin but also affecting the intestinal permeability, as well as directly causing autoimmune diseases. Okay, so the number one thing that helps regulate zonulin is your own microbiome. Okay, so anything that destroys your microbiome is going to be very, very bad for the situation. Anything that supports it is going to be very, very good. And again, we come full circle to these microbes. They’re not us, but they live with us and they greatly help us.

A very large portion of our immune system is due to these microbes. And I really think if we look at the difference between, like, 50 years ago and now, we definitely do not have the numbers and the diversity of microbiome in our guts. And we definitely don’t have the numbers and diversity of microbiome in the soil. I think that is really at the core of the problem.

So the first food I’m going to recommend is a probiotic food. That would be sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir. Anything that will give you these friendly microbes. And you might even want to take a probiotic as well because we’re trying to increase the diversity of microbes. Now, if we’re taking the flip side, I think we should also talk about what to avoid.

Well, guess what? Antibiotics. Antibiotics directly increase leaky gut. They increase this zonulin and they directly relate and can cause autoimmune diseases. So at the first sign of sickness, don’t jump to start taking that antibiotic. And if you have to, okay, definitely take a probiotic at the same time. It’s so important. I mean, the amount of antibiotics that I have taken in my life are just off the charts, simply because I didn’t know the long-term effects.

Did you realize that when you take an antibiotic, there are going to be certain microbes that are going to survive that are going to develop a resistance to that antibiotic? That microbe that now is resistant to that antibiotic can do something called horizontal gene transfer where it shares this information with other microbes that were not exposed to that antibiotic to give them the genes that help them resist that antibiotic in the future. So these microbes can share information back and forth, and this is part of the survival mechanism that they have developed.

And so the next time you take the antibiotic, it works less and less to the point where it won’t work at all. Another food that is good potentially for autoimmune would be anything fermented. I’m not talking about fermented like beer or alcohol. I’m talking about fermented vegetables because fermented vegetables are easier to digest. They have microbes, they have the fiber that can actually feed the microbes. They have all sorts of other secondary chemicals that support keeping that intestinal lining really, really tight.

But if you have the type of autoimmune that involves damage to your gut, there’s too much inflammation, then you might have a problem with vegetables in general. You might have to do carnivore for a little while. But if you don’t have that, you might benefit from fermented vegetables. And this also includes vegetables because personally, I do very well on them. I don’t apparently have that much gut damage that it’s a problem. Some people don’t. But if you have an autoimmune disease that’s affecting the gut, you might not do well on the vegetables. But if you don’t, vegetables can contribute to a good gut microbiome because they feed the microbes from the fiber, but also the phytonutrients in these vegetables greatly support zonulin. And one of the biggest ones that is very well-researched is sulforaphane, and not only broccoli sprouts, but in broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables.

So sulforaphane directly helps reverse gut dysbiosis, alteration in the microbiome. Sulforaphane is a great remedy for H. pylori, another microbe in your body that is in the stomach that can get out of control and turn unfriendly in certain environments. And then it can create ulcers. But guess what? Sulforaphane can help kill H. pylori and put it back into remission. Sulforaphane helps the mucous lining in your gut, and sulforaphane directly inhibits autoimmune conditions, especially like lupus and even psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions.

So you could probably get the most sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts. You can just put that on your salad each day, or you can get sulforaphane in a supplement. Alright, let’s go to the flip side, what to avoid. Okay, anything with the herbicide glyphosate. And this is in the Roundup Ready and in GMO foods. And if you look this up, it’s interesting because you’ll see these mixed reviews. Of course, the ones that they say the glyphosate is fine are funded by companies that have a vested interest. But if you think about it, glyphosate has a patent on it being an antibiotic because it kills microbes.

Certain things you’ll see on the internet will say that there is no danger to glyphosate in humans because the pathway that biochemically it interrupts is not part of the human body. Well, it is part of the microbes that live inside of our gut that we depend on. So it definitely affects us from the microbiome level. But glyphosate is in so many different things, even in non-GMO things, including wheat and other grains. Not to mention soy, corn, it’s just all over the place.

And so now, I think it’s appropriate to bring up another really bad thing for autoimmune diseases, and that would be gluten in certain grains. Gluten is a kind of a general term for several types of proteins that have a very devastating effect on our GI system. Now, you might think just about celiac, which is a very severe disorder which is not as common as other disorders. But then you also have gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, which is pretty common.

But what about for those people that don’t have a problem with gluten, right? Well, check this out. Gluten, whether you have an intolerance or not, gluten is going to increase zonulin in everyone. So it’s going to open up those tight junctions in people that are not sensitive to it. And the big problem with gluten is that it’s the only protein that our bodies cannot fully digest. If we get this undigested protein floating down our GI tract, and then it opens up the hole in the gut and it goes right through, now we’re going to start to have immune reactions or at least inflammation, especially if you’re consuming it on a chronic basis, which most people are. And unfortunately, lately in the last 20 years or more, gluten has really increased in wheat and in other foods. And so, you can imagine the amount of inflammation going on in our guts without us even knowing it.

Alright, let’s talk about number four. Okay, the food that you should be consuming – foods high in glutamine. Okay, glutamine is a good thing to reduce inflammation in your gut. Now, glutamine is an amino acid that is a precursor for glutathione, which is one of the most important antioxidants in your body. And so, what foods are high in glutamine? Well, red cabbage, and by the way, cabbage is just good for any type of gastrointestinal problem. Grass-fed beef, eggs, fish, these are all really high in glutamine.

Now, on the flip side, additional things you should avoid would be, of course, glucose, fructose. Both glucose and fructose increase zonulin and increase permeability. Alcohol is another one that will just put a hole right through your gut. And of course, vegetable oils, another big one like corn oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil, canola. These vegetable oils are highly inflammatory and they definitely will create increased permeability. And of course, trans fats are also really bad for the intestinal lining.

And number five food would be the omega-3 fats. And that’s another category that includes cod liver oil, fish, salmon, sardines. Omega-3 is really good for the gut and keeping those junctions really, really tight, as well as reducing the risk for autoimmune.

Now, this last part is very, very important too. And this is not foods, it’s just nutrients. And these nutrients that I’m going to talk about are hands down the most important nutrients to support the zonulin, to support autoimmune, to support the gut lining, to make it really, really tight. Okay, we have zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, which is in egg yolks, beef liver, butter, things like that.

So now you have the basic information on what you should be consuming if you have an autoimmune disease. And since we’re on the topic of the gut, another really important video for you to watch would be my more comprehensive video on the digestive system.