The #1 CAUSE Of Autoimmune Disease & How To PREVENT IT! | Mark Hyman

Autoimmune diseases are a huge issue, affecting over 80 million Americans. They include type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and dozens of others, but they all have one thing in common: The body attacks itself. Conventional medicine uses pharmaceutical drugs to treat autoimmune disease but fails to answer one simple question: Why is the body out of balance to begin with, and how do we help it regain the proper balance? Functional Medicine, on the other hand, applies a personalized approach to treating autoimmune disease providing a map to find the root cause underlying autoimmune disease.

In this episode, Dr. Hyman sits down with Dr. Todd LePine to discuss the Functional Medicine approach to treating autoimmune disease, and lupus specifically.

Dr. LePine graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, specializing in Integrative Functional Medicine. He is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. Prior to joining The UltraWellness Center, he worked as a physician at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, for 10 years. Dr. LePine’s focus at The UltraWellness Center is to help his patients achieve optimal health and vitality by restoring the natural balance to both the mind and the body. His areas of interest include optimal aging, bio-detoxification, functional gastrointestinal health, systemic inflammation, autoimmune disorders and the neurobiology of mood and cognitive disorders. Dr. LePine teaches around the world, and has given lectures to doctors and patients at American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), Age Management Medicine Group (AMMG), the University of Miami Integrative Medicine Conference, The Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA, and is on the faculty for American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. LePine is the head of the Scientific Advisory Board for Designs for Health and a consultant for Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory. He enjoys skiing, kayaking, hiking, camping and golfing in the beautiful Berkshires, and is a fitness enthusiast.

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This episode is sponsored by AirDoctor. We need clean air not only to live but to create vibrant health and protect ourselves and loved ones from toxin exposure and disease. Learn more about the AirDoctor Professional Air Purifier system at a special price at

Dave McKinnon

  • Elena Turman says:

    Thank you Dr. Hyman for making sure everything gets explained simply for us non- doctors.

  • Aurélie DesFleurs says:

    My cousin in his early 20’s got type 1 diabetes after a viral infection. When it happened at the time, I remember thinking that was impossible since it went against everything we’re told about Type 1 (childhood disease, etc.). Our grandma also got Type 1 diabetes after being pregnant. This was years ago and her whole life she had to weigh out all of her food and never ate sugar or ANY seasonings. Not too long, our uncle (now in his 60s) just developed Type 1 Diabetes too. So, it doesn’t seem so much like it’s a childhood illness and just “inherited.” It developed later in life in all of them.

    • Queenie the Genie says:

      I wish there was a response to your question. I always thought people were just born with type1 and if it was developed later it was type 2. Obviously I’m no doctor so I would have loved to hear their response.

    • Nicole Marie B. says:

      Its autommune, the body launches an attack on the pancreas. However there seems to be a genetic link between autoimmune diseases, so it’s probably the tendency for your immune system to overreact that is passed along families, not specifically one disease. Then again, type one diabetes has been linked to certain food intolerances which could be inherited, and definitely viruses can cause them too. So maybe not the disease itself, but the hyperactivity of the immune system that is genetic in your case. My family is full of autoimmune disease as well.

    • Emerald 777 says:

      @Queenie the Genie I have read somewhere online type 1 is also associated/linked or caused by lack of a specific gut bacteria which leads your body’s symbiosis destabalization i.e. throwing off your horomones therefore disrupting celluar function ere go organ disregulation. Gut health is so vital for a persons over all well being.

    • Jessika Piche says:

      @Emerald 777 yes, but how do you treat that? Probiotic?

    • Emerald 777 says:

      @Jessika Piche I was diagnosed with T1 myself in my late 20’s, I have recently started taking probiotics, and still have T1. Sadly I cannot give an answer as to an exact cure. I have also read about fecal transplant studies to replenish the intestinal microbiome to reverse or prevent T1. I am just a layman sharing the tid bits of knowledge I come across.

  • MB D says:

    I am in awe of these doctors who work so hard to understand their patient’s illnesses, and to help them. They are the very rare and precious few.

  • Doris Penza says:

    Thank you Doctor Hyman and Doctor LePine, for such a wonderful, informative and helpful discussion. It’s very enlightening and useful to know all the facts you are discussing and it’s also good to learn of the causes of autoimmune illnesses. 🙂

  • jessicasierra says:

    So glad I’ve found this channel. I worked as a nurse in a hospital a few years ago. I got pregnant with my son and it was a very hard pregnancy and I was working long hours. I was under an immense amount of stress during that time. It was a tough delivery and recovery. I started noticing some alarming signs and I thought I might have PPD so I went to a psychiatrist. I told her everything. I was programmed to think people with my symptoms were “difficult and this was all in their head.” The first session she said, “You’re not depressed. You’ve got something wrong with your thyroid.” I went to my GP and it was confirmed. I went to an Endocrinologist for treatment. I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. After a year of trying different medicines that left me with rashes and no relief, he said “Let’s do a total Thyroidectomy.” I went through with it. I gained almost 100 pounds after that and my levels were so out of wack. I switched doctors and that helped some. But not enough. Yesterday, I called a functional medical doctor and made an appointment. I was actually nervous to do that because In nursing school these doctors were kind of considered “looney.” I have been doing IF, no dairy and no gluten. I am feeling so much better already. I had gut issues and they’re clearing up. I feel restored and happy again. I can play in my backyard with my children without wanting to pass out. And most of all, I am so happy to meet with this function medicine doctor because I finally feel hopeful I will have my life back.

  • jennifer wootten says:

    I do commend you two for your chivalrous efforts to actually take the time with each of your patients to seek the cause of their symptoms and not just Medicate them til their next office visit.

  • Sherri Duby says:

    So glad I stumbled onto this podcast. Have RA Hashimoto among a few others. So glad to hear you say stress and viruses can trigger these diseases. Had strep throat as a child constantly. I still believe it triggered RA for me. Thanks for the info

    • Gina Gibson says:

      I had strep throat repeatedly too. Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid at the age of 9. We believe it was the trigger.

    • Leslie Horton says:

      I have had arthritis since I was a teen. Now I have Hashimotos as well with a complete thyroidectomy because of cancer. I can not get back to normal. I’m exhausted all the time. I take my meds but I’m not getting better. Any advice?

    • L J says:

      @Leslie Horton start by reading Cleanse to Heal by AW

    • Teresa Watson says:

      I had strep as a child also & several times as an adult. Finally as an adult, I had a tonsillectomy. Shortly thereafter, I began having thyroid issues, hypothyroidism & Hashimoto’s…..

  • ggirl471 says:

    This video helped to explain a lot going on with me. I was diagnosed with Non Specific Autoimmune Disease. My markers were high for Lupus, MS, RA which manifest as a hyperactive immune system which makes me allergic to EVERYTHING accompanied with chronic asthma. The past year I have been using food to heal my body, mind and spirit. I have seen results with juicing and fasting. I know I need to kick it up a notch or 2 to heal my body. I am binge watching this channel And looking for the books after this.

  • Miki Miki says:

    Incredibly on point. Listen to him ladies re the detoxification pathway. It’s exactly what happened to me, I’d see my doctors every year. In and out, you’re fine until I developed breast cancer. No obgyn helped me. Actually a Rheumatologist discovered I had pcos looking for something else on an MRI. Please be your own health advocate.

  • Just Josie says:

    I always had a suspicion there was an undiscovered virus causing my autoimmune disease. Doctors were so closeminded though. It’s great to see more and more doctors break out of their programming.

  • Sandi Smith says:

    I wish there were more doctors like you guys out there. I was diagnosed with stage 3 uterine cancer 2 years ago then it spread to my neck, but in the mean time the cancer ignited my immune system and it went into over drive and started killing off the retinas in my eyes and i’m almost completely blind now and am waiting on blood tests for a biopsy I recently had to figure out what autoimmune disease I have. My retina specialist cannot figure out why this is happening to my eyes.

    • Mark Haran says:

      I hope you get better & send you wishes

    • Teri Godsil says:

      Rhemutoid arthriris and psoriatic arthritis can cause eye problems and are autoimmune

    • Jerrie Russell says:

      Bless your heart! Give it all to God. Ask God for healing of your eyes and body. Prayers for you!
      God bless!

    • sean 92532 says:

      Jesus healed several blind people, fear not, God is in control. My wife almost died and i called 3 pastures on the phone which prayed for her and she was instantly healed. She went from shaking and crying in pain to sleeping in a matter of moments and the sickness the ER diagnosed as a fever of unknown origin. All you haveto do is belive and you will see the glory of God. No weapon formed against you will prosper in jesus name

    • americanbobtail1 says:

      ​@sean 92532 – If God wants you healed you will be healed. If God wants you sick, you will be sick. Just because prayer worked in your case, it does not work for others.

  • Sara Jane Tinker says:

    I am a trauma therapist. My experience is my clients who have lots of early childhood and chronic trauma also have one or more autoimmune disorders. Too much sympathetic NS activity, low vagal nerve tone, ANS dysregulated. Trauma may not be the only contributing factor, for sure diet, sleep, are factors. But there is strong correlation between complex trauma and autoimmune disorders. I have seen it over and over.

    • Tania Curbelo says:

      I agree

    • Tipsy Bass says:

      Well is def going to help when the DSM recognizes cptsd.. because until then, these correlations aren’t going to be made by the majority of docs, as they can’t get paid the booku bucks if they can’t bill for it.. I have a hard enough time finding a trauma informed therapist! That’s the most shocking thing of it all!

    • Hana says:

      Agreed! Dr. Gabor Mate talks extensively about this. I love his work

    • Tipsy Bass says:

      @Hana until I found him, nothing was making any sense.. I really like his voice too. The talks with his son are pretty interesting too. Richard grannon also talks about Dr. Mate

    • Serenity Peace and Comfort says:

      @Tipsy Bass Yes. No therapist I’ve found has a clue in dealing trauma.

  • Anasta Anam says:

    What I would have given to have a doctor like this. I was ignored and told I was a hypochondriac for 5 years before I became suicidal because I just couldn’t deal with the pain and bleeding from my intestines anymore. My breakdown in my PCP office finally got me sent to a GI. Biologics are amazing but hell all at once. I made the decision to stop taking it when Covid broke out, and I’m not really sorry that I did. THIS gives me the info and understanding to take to my doctor for a much different approach to my severe Crohn’s. You have no idea what that means to me. Thank you.

  • chloe says:

    I truly appreciate the both of you so so much. Much gratitude for all the info and videos you two put out. The World NEEDS more like y’all. May favor & abundance be with you both and your viewers always & forever.

  • Nikki W says:

    As a woman with an autoimmune issue I relate my hardest times to hormonal change. Mine kicked in when I got pregnant. I also get cold sores and anytime I have my cycle I have about 2 weeks where I’m more likely to get cold sores or other sickness and higher inflammation. Management most certainly has a direct correlation to what I eat and stress levels.

  • puggirl415 puggirl says:

    Great podcast. I had an estrogen metabolizing test in my 40’s and it was found that my liver was having trouble detoxing the toxic estrogen. I was given DIM among other things. A thermogram of my breasts revealed a lot of inflammatory estogen as well. I took herbs known to reduce estrogen and herbs to support my liver and became balanced with my hormones and the metabolic pathway for estrogen. I also learned to do lymphatic breast massage which does wonders for getting rid of toxic inflammatin in the breast and body.
    Today I’m 60 and feeling pretty good but I stuck with Gluten free, dairy free and low lectin diet just to make sure I don’t reactivate this problem. I wonder how often one should try to get estrogen metabolizing tests. My family has significant breast cancer so I fret about what my hormones are doing. I’d love to hear that now that I’m through menopause that I can relax but since most breast cancer comes after 60 I doubt I can rest but must keep researching my own health because the allopathic western medicine doctor will never listen or try to be a health detective for me. I need to get sick before I can get help from them. I’m not willing to do that. I must advocate for my own health on my own.

  • Margaret Acton says:

    This is really interesting. Coming from a family where one person has RA and a close family member has MS I would love to know more about the possible relationship to both diseases so the family could become more proactive in dealing with them apart from the medication provided to both patients. I live in Ireland.

  • Grateful and Humble says:

    Iwas diagnose with lupus for roughly 15 years but discovered I had it got roughly 22 years. I’m 35. I am on hydroxychlorine 200mg. After listening to the doctors I will implement their advice. Especially eliminating gluten. 🙏🏽

  • Léa Curley says:

    When I was in my car accident, I was told on my first initial exam by a chiropractor to double up on my vit. C. At the time I really didn’t understand why I needed to boost my immune system. Since, I completely understand that 1) not only is a healthy immune system responsible for healing at its core 2) when your body goes through an extreme stressful event, your body is going to allow virus, cancers, bacterium to affect the body more than what it normally would. Stress is the leading cause of death. Take time for yourself, breath, take a step back. Never be afraid to seek out a second opinion, know your body. Identify a cause/trigger, remove or change whether be environmental or foods. It’s sad to think that the true drug seeker can get what they seek yet people who are looking to identify a true cause and “cure” or fixing the cause is so hard to find. Go figure.

  • Mark Hyman, MD says:

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