Autoimmune Diseases & Infections

For a long time we’ve known that bacteria can trigger the immune system in such a way that autoimmune diseases are formed. 

Though genes play a role in autoimmune disease, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. 

Autoimmune disease (AID) isn’t caused by just one thing. It’s likely that AID happens when someone with a genetic predisposition encounters an environmental trigger — like a bacterial or viral infection. 

So let’s take a look at the infection and autoimmune link, common viral and bacterial infections linked to autoimmune disease, and how to test for and care for them.

Bacteria and our Body

Our world is not a sterile one. We are constantly coming into contact with bacteria every second of every day. Most of the time, our body doesn’t detect this bacteria as a problem. It’s learned, through a process called immune tolerance, to recognize which bacteria may kill us, and which bacteria just hangs around.

But it’s not quite that simple.

Most of our immune system is developed by the time we are 2-3 months old. Immune tolerance may start to set in at this time, but it also adapts to our changing environment as our body grows. This is largely due to our microbiome.

The microbiome in a group of organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi…etc) that live in our body. Mostly in our skin and in the digestive tract. The microbiome in the digestive tract can span all the way from the nose, to the anus. These organisms live with and around us 24/7. Which means that our immune system is constantly coming into contact with them.

When normal immune tolerance occurs, our immune system doesn’t care that most of this bacteria is hanging around. So long as it doesn’t over populate and take over (like SIBO, or intestinal dysbiosis). But for those that are predisposed to autoimmune diseases, certain types of bacteria can be triggering to those conditions.

How do infections cause autoimmune disease?

We are not 100% sure why some bacterial and viral infections trigger one person with an autoimmune disorders but not another.  Here are some possibilities:

Some germs look similar to your body’s own cells: 

  • Some infectious germs (like viruses and bacteria) have parts that look similar to your body’s own cells. This is called “molecular mimicry.” When your immune system attacks the invader, it also attacks your own cells. For example, the antibodies that your immune system uses to fight off strep throat can also interact with your heart, joints, brain, and skin. This can lead to an autoimmune condition called rheumatic fever.

Some viruses can interfere with how your immune system works: 

  • Some viruses may be able to turn off the immune system’s ability to tell the difference between “self” and an “outside invader.” Epstein barr virus (which causes mononucleosis) is a classic example of this.

Infections cause inflammation and damage: 

  • Your immune system is good at fighting foreign invaders. But when it attacks, it can also cause inflammation in your body (“bystander effect”). Inflammation can lead to short-term — and long-term — damage to your cells and tissues. 


We are continuing to learn about the different bacterial infections and triggers for autoimmunity. Newer research has been identifying specific strains of bacteria associated with conditions we previously didn’t know were associated with infection.

Bacterial infections linked to autoimmune disease:

  • Strep throat  
  • Scarlet fever
  • Citrobacter Freundii
  • Methane based bacterial overgrowth
  • Staph Aureus
  • Klebsiella Pneumoniae
  • Enterobacter
  • Morganella Morgani
  • Escherichia
  • Proteus Mirabilis
  • Food poisoning (E. Coli)
  • Lyme disease (co infections)

Fungal infections linked to autoimmune disease:

  • Candida albicans

Viral infections linked to autoimmune disease:

  • Mononucleosis (Epstein barr)
  • COVID-19 
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Measles 
  • German measles (Rubella)
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Mumps
  • Influenza
  • Zika 
  • West Nile 
  • Chickenpox (herpes zoster)
  • Parvovirus B19
  • Rotavirus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis C

Sexually transmitted infections linked to autoimmune disease:

  • Chlamydia
  • Hepatitis B
  • HSV-1 (herpes)
  • HIV (AIDS)

Addressing Infections to Reverse Autoimmune Disease

Diagnosis and care can be hard for bacterial infections in autoimmunity. 

If you suspect an underlying infection may be contributing to your autoimmune condition, a functional medicine practitioner like Dr. Autoimmune can run lab tests for some of the most common pathogens linked to your specific autoimmune condition. We have state of the art testing, including the amazing GI Map!

We look to support infections and also work to relieve stress, detoxify your body, and support your immune system so that it can better defend against these infections without triggering an autoimmune response.

Reversing autoimmunity, especially in complex cases, requires a comprehensive approach that addresses all of your root causes – including infections.

So if you’re ready for root-cause resolution in your own health schedule a consultation with Dr. Autoimmune today by calling us at 303-882-8447 or click here to schedule your appointment. 

We’ve set up ‘The Dr. Autoimmune Solution’ which is a comprehensive new patient special that includes a 90 min zoom meeting and everything necessary to determine the root cause of your condition, and start you on the journey to getting your life back.

You’ll get:

  • 90 minute zoom meeting with Dr. Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP aka Dr. Autoimmune
  • A comprehensive case review of symptoms and timelime
  • Review and interpretation of the 90+ marker blood panel (Blood is drawn at least 14 days prior to the appointment at a lab close to you. A blood test kit will be provided by mail.)
  • Evaluation of your case and custom care plan
  • $399 Rate

*This is a  Limited Introductory Offer – 1st Time Visitors Only

Also, no matter where you live, you can still receive care from Dr. Autoimmune, because we now offer remote telehealth options so anyone can heal, from anywhere!

Click here to schedule your appointment with us.Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Tik-Tok for more information and tips regarding autoimmune diseases and the functional medicine approach.

Why You Should Consider Functional Care

Functional medicine offers a patient-centered, holistic approach to treating chronic disease. The goal of functional medicine is to find and treat the core cause of chronic illness. 

Instead of trying to identify which medication will treat your symptoms, functional medicine providers focus on finding the root cause of your issues to restore optimal function and wellness. 

The team at Dr. Autoimmune, takes a holistic approach to understanding you as a whole person, recognizing that because everyone is different, you require a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Functional medicine cares for the patients, not the disease

Genetically and biochemically, everyone is unique. Functional medicine adopts a tailored approach, caring for the patient rather than the disease.

Functional medicine practitioners look for ways to restore and enhance the body’s own healing mechanisms to resolve chronic issues. Certain circumstances can throw your body off balance, and when this happens, chronic diseases can occur.

A holistic approach to chronic disease

Traditional medicine relies heavily on medication and surgeries to treat symptoms without investigating or reversing the root cause. 

While medication and surgery may be appropriate for acute health issues, they’re less advantageous for chronic illness. 

The goal of functional care is to move the body’s physiology back to a condition of optimal functioning by removing everything that is preventing the body from reaching optimal health, and by adding what’s missing. 

Functional care focuses on figuring out why the body isn’t working properly in the first place. We rely on each patient’s unique history, advanced blood tests, and a thorough examination of the patient’s general lifestyle as a guide. 

The result? Functional care leads to better quality-of-life outcomes when compared with the conventional medicine approach. 

Advantages of functional care

By lowering the burden of chronic disease, Dr. Autoimmune and his team have helped countless people live better lives. We are unique in our functional medicine program because we: Put a strong emphasis on patient-centered care! This means we get to know you as a person, not just your illness. 

We do a thorough medical history and lifestyle assessment to get a clear picture of your health. This examination is used to detect disease triggers and create a comprehensive, customized care strategy.

Utilize a multidisciplinary approach

You can rely on our team to accompany you on your path to optimal wellness because unlike traditional western medicine, we use a multidisciplinary approach.

We provide cutting-edge care models, a comprehensive medical evaluation and our virtual visits keep you connected to top-quality functional care. 

Our team provides a number of essential services and has experience in a wide range of conditions with a specialization in autoimmune conditions including clinical nutrition, neurofeedback, maintenance programs and more! 

The practice also has advanced training and can help with many common conditions associated with your symptoms.

Dr. Autoimmune helps patients uncover the root cause of their conditions and the best methods to achieve effective relief through integrative medical care. We help patients achieve long-term health through personalized integrative care plans.

If you’re ready to reach your full potential, we can help! To get started, give us a call today at 303-882-8447 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ian Hollaman aka Dr. Autoimmune. 

Or, reclaim your vitality today by clicking here to sign up for our 90-minute Zoom appointment which includes:

  • A comprehensive case review of symptoms and timeline
  • Review and interpretation of the 90+ marker blood panel (Blood is drawn at least 14 days prior to the appointment at a lab close to you. A blood test kit will be provided by mail.)
  • Evaluation of your case and custom care plan
  • $399 Rate

*This is a  Limited Introductory Offer – 1st Time Visitors Only

While you’re here, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Tik-Tok for more information and tips regarding autoimmune diseases and the functional medicine approach.