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Understanding Autoimmune Disease with Jeff Essen

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

By Nate Sleger

I recently had the chance to speak with Jeff Essen, founder of the Whole Life Clinic, about autoimmune disease. This complex topic came up a lot in the interview, so I wanted to break it down for you in an easy-to-understand way.

First, what is autoimmune disease exactly? Basically, it's when your body starts attacking its own healthy cells and tissues by mistake. Your immune system is supposed to protect you, but in autoimmunity it gets confused and sees your body's normal tissues as foreign invaders. Not good!

There are two main types of autoimmunity:

- TH1 dominant: Too many white blood cells indiscriminately attacking body tissues

- TH2 dominant: Too many antibodies tagging normal tissues, telling the immune system to attack

What causes autoimmunity? No single trigger, says Jeff. It's a blend of factors like infections, food allergies/sensitivities, toxins, stress, and genetics. The percentage of each varies person to person.

Some common autoimmune triggers include:

- Infections like Epstein-Barr virus

- Food sensitivities like gluten

- Toxins like heavy metals, BPA, pesticides

- High stress, adrenal fatigue

- Emotional trauma

The best way to prevent autoimmunity? An anti-inflammatory lifestyle! This means:

- Avoiding inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, lectins, and nightshades

- Controlling blood sugar and insulin levels

- Getting proper exercise and sleep

- Managing stress through meditation, nature walks, etc.

The takeaway? Autoimmunity is complex with no single cause or cure. Work with a professional like Jeff to find your unique autoimmune triggers. Then take steps to reduce inflammation and support your immune system. With time and care, you can get back in balance!

Reach out to Jeff and his team and check out their resources at

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