The Three-Legged Stool And Autoimmunity

Dr. Alessio Fasano, world-renowned gastroenterologist, Celiac disease and autoimmunity expert, describes autoimmunity as a three-legged stool that needs three things to be present to manifest:

  1. The right genes
  2. The trigger
  3. Intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”)

While we can’t change our genes, we can reverse an autoimmune condition by removing triggers and healing leaky gut.

Dr. Fasano uses the example of Celiac disease to explain this phenomenon. Celiac disease is a unique autoimmune condition where gluten acts as both the trigger, and the cause of leaky gut. Once gluten is removed, the body is able to heal and regenerate itself.

There are actually 140 autoimmune diseases now identified, with the only agreed upon cause for autoimmune being gluten sensitivity. Despite there being many triggers for autoimmune disease, gluten tends to be the central component that’s always present.

Although we can’t always identify and even remove all of the triggers, such as Epstein Barr Virus, we can still fix the leaky gut. This will still allow many individuals to put their condition into remission, as the three-legged stool of autoimmunity will no longer be able to stand.