19 minutes | Oct 15th 2020

Episode 136: Nutrient Deficiency: Trigger for Autoimmune Disease

Nutrient Deficiency: an Autoimmune Trigger

Hey friends, are you suffering from a nutrient deficiency? On the surface, many of you would say no, because often we think of nutrients as calories or food volume and you’re likely not starving. 

But the reality is that many most humans are suffering from some kind of nutrient deficiency., It becomes a bigger issue when it is part of the perfect cocktail that triggers an autoimmune disease. 

In today’s episode, we are talking about 6 key nutrient deficiencies that commonly cause autoimmune troubles, part of the soup that can trigger autoimmune disease.

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Nutrient Deficiency: an Autoimmune Trigger Rough Transcript (listening is best) Nutrient Deficiency Intro

Hey friends, are you suffering from a nutrient deficiency? On the surface, many of you would say no, because often we think of nutrients as calories or food volume and you’re likely not starving.

But the reality is that many most humans are suffering from some kind of nutrient deficiency., It becomes a bigger issue when it is part of the perfect cocktail that triggers an autoimmune disease.

In today’s episode, we are talking about 6 key nutrient deficiencies that commonly cause autoimmune troubles, part of the soup that can trigger autoimmune disease.


Welcome if this is your first time listening  – I’m Audrey Christie – I’m a functional and integrative nurse nutritionist and energy medicine practitioner. I help women start their very own Autoimmune Revolution so you can stop chasing symptoms and learn how to heal your body from autoimmune disease.

So as you may already know, Your autoimmune system is complex, so complex, when you study it, you can really perceive the miracle of the immune system. It almost seems magical. But like anything with complexity, there are many issues that can arise to cause your immune system not to function properly. It’s nothing to live in fear about, but important to note.

One of those complexities we hear about often, and I’m even guilty of talking about it often is consuming foods that are inflammatory or that are triggers for inflammation. It could be foods that are triggers for the population in general, for all humans, or specifically for you.

The flip side of that coin is being in a nutrient deficiency. There are many nutrient deficiencies out there but there are some really specific ones that happen with or trigger autoimmune disease.

Interestingly consuming these inflammatory foods can often also be part of the root cause of a nutrient deficiency. Crazy right? Eating food-like substances and ultra-processed foods even, though they say they’re fortified with vitamins and minerals, can trigger a nutrient deficiency.

Nutrient Deficiency Mini Case Study

I have a client who had just slight thyroid hypofunction, just a little bit it was almost undiagnosable conventionally. Luckily she had a good family practice physician, that recognized she was on heading towards thyroid dysfunction or diagnosable thyroid condition and sent her my direction.

In my method of healing autoimmune disease, we start with clearing the muddy waters. We stopped her inflammatory habits so that we could see what symptoms were actually left after all the general inflammation cleared.

Once we got that general inflammation gone we could see that there indeed was a leftover thyroid something, a thyroid dysfunction. So what we worked together to correct the nutrient deficiencies. We turned each nutrient deficiency into a nutrient sufficiency and for her thyroid, it was simply selenium and a couple of other things, and that healed her thyroid hypofunction.

Now, does that happen every time? Absolutely not.

Many cases are much more complicated but it’s a good example of how taking a nutrient deficiency or several nutrient deficiencies and turning them into nutrients sufficiencies can help the body to heal.

Often people go wrong thinking that taking micronutrients, taking a lot of supplements, will fix the problem all on its own. And they end up sicker and even more frustrated. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works, I said it time and time again, you can’t out supplement a bad diet.

Restoring nutrients to optimal levels is an important step to reversing autoimmune disease, or any chronic illness or issue, but it isn’t the only step or even the first step. Let’s take a look at what I would consider the top 5 or 6 nutrient deficiencies that lead to autoimmune conditions.

6 Key Nutrient Deficiencies Omega 3

Have you ever heard someone recommend that you should take omegas? Like omega-3, omega-6 is, or even Omega-9, or some other combination of omegas.

We know that Omega fatty acids specifically omega-3 fatty acids are critical to supporting an appropriate immune response in your body. And it appropriates an anti-inflammatory immune response at that. And unfortunately, these omegas are essential meaning they are important and they are not readily available and are not something your body produces on its own. So you have to get it from the food you consume or watching different foods that you can get Omega threes from you can get them from sardines with sounds gross right from really good wild-caught salmon from chia, you can get them from hemp seeds even. There are lots of plant and animal foods that contain Omega-3.

The reason most people are deficient in omega-3 is due to the consumption of ultra-processed food. Practically anything that comes in a package or that is cooked for you at a restaurant is cooked in omega-6 oils. It’s cooked or packaged in polyunsaturated vegetable oil instead of healthy oils. Because of this omega-6 is so high in our body that we really need omega-3 to not only counteract the omega-6 but also to provide what we need for our body to function.

As you can imagine not having the right amount of anti-inflammatory fats leads to inflammation and we know that information is a root cause for autoimmune disease, and so many other diseases.

B Vitamins

The next nutrient deficiency I want to talk to you about is B vitamins. And you may already be able to connect the dots that B vitamins provide energy for our cells because B vitamins are heavily marketed in energy drinks for example.

They do provide energy for our cells, but they also have really important functions in our immune system, our hormones, our sleep, nerves digestion, circulation, and mood.

Vitamin B12, for example, supports the production of white blood cells which are really important for the immune system. So having a low B12 value or being low deficient in B12 can deeply impact your immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses but also deeply impact your ability to have the energy you need to make it through the day.

You can turn this nutrient deficiency into a sufficiency with food sources and supplemental sources when food isn’t enough.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is oh so important, and particularly if you live in an area that you get less than normal levels of sunlight be it because of the geography or because of lifestyle. Vitamin D is a common nutrient deficiency and is important for everyone especially those who have a predisposition to autoimmune issues.

Vitamin D is really important for a lot of things in your body, but it helps the immune system regulate certain cells that are responsible For determining which cells are dangerous Invaders and which cells are yourself. It also helps the immune system stay alert to fight all sorts of viral and bacterial Invaders which are of course detrimental to your health but also can worsen or cause flares in autoimmune disease.

Often conventional docs will recommend vitamin D these days because the importance is now well accepted. However where I see this go wrong is there usually recommending a vitamin D3 supplement and it’s either and a wildly inappropriate dose often too high but sometimes too low, or they are recommending vitamin D3 alone.

There was new information that came out at the end of 2018 that showed that if you’re taking a vitamin D3 it really needs to have K2 in it as well. The K2 helps tell the calcium where to go that the vitamin D3 helps to keep in the body, and so it’s important for the body to notice shuttle calcium to the bones rather than to organs or important blood vessels.


Selenium isn’t often talked about as a nutrient deficiency, it is essential for modulating immune and inflammatory responses. It’s also vital for thyroid function. I often have my clients who are borderline thyroid start making some slight nutritional changes to include more selenium in their diet and vastly improving their energy levels and their thyroid function pretty rapidly. Selenium is commonly a nutrient deficiency that is rather simple to turn into a sufficiency.


Magnesium is a big nutrient deficiency for sure. Almost every adult and child is deficient in magnesium. Having a nutrient deficiency in magnesium means that you are missing an important nutrient and important mineral for your immune function for your heart health for your nervous system. The reason why this is such a large nutrient deficiency problem affecting a lot of the population is because of high stress which depletes magnesium and high sugar which also depletes magnesium.

From just an autoimmune perspective a deficiency in magnesium increases pro-inflammatory cells which have a negative impact on the immune response. It also impacts your ability to have a restful night sleep, which as you know is one of the primary ways the body rests and heals. So when you remove that from the equation, then you have big problems.

This is another one I get so proud of for conventional medicine for finally recognizing that magnesium deficiency is a problem, however, they usually put people on the wrong kind of magnesium. Something like magnesium citrate which is also known as colon prep. So if your doctor recommends magnesium and doesn’t give you a reason why they recommended the type of magnesium that they did then I really encourage you to try magnesium glycinate. It’s easy on the stomach and readily absorbed, easily found in most stores, pharmacies, and certainly online.


The last one I want to talk to you about is zinc deficiency. So many people are deficient in zinc, and often this affects your skin and your skin barrier regulation. I want you to think of all of the autoimmune diseases with a skin component. Oftentimes people with zinc deficiencies have really poor immune systems and they catch every cold that comes their way.

This is by no means a full list of all of the nutrient deficiencies that can trigger autoimmune disease. In fact, it’s a list of nutrient deficiencies that played almost all humans in all households. It happens because of a number of factors both from our food system even if you’re eating Whole Foods as well as from the ultra-processed ultra-stress lifestyle that many of us lead.

These problems certainly can trigger an autoimmune disease but they can also trigger so many other things. And generally, people are not deficient in one nutrient, they all have nutrient deficiencies that span several different vitamins and minerals.

Get more help in Nutrient Deficiency

Often people think that the solution here is to simply take a multivitamin or to supplement up. I can tell you the science doesn’t support that, you can find a study to support almost anything but the good studies the studies that are scientifically valid show us that you can’t out supplement a bad diet regardless of what some company or marketing tries to sell you.

If you have more questions about how to correct these nutrient deficiencies or want to work through actionable steps in this episode, I would love to have you join us in the Wellness Circle, my exclusive and free community to help women pursuing holistic wellness, body, mind, and spirit and discussions around the Autoimmune Revolution Podcast- friends chronic disease is 99% preventable and autoimmune disease is capable of being healed or put in remission with lifestyle, energetic, and nutrition practices. You can get the direct link on the show notes page or at audreychristie.com/facebook

When you join the free Wellness circle you will also get the Kickstart your Autoimmune Revolution guide. It has 5 steps to get you started on your very own Autoimmune Revolution. Are you ready to stop fighting and starting healing?

A special festive invitation…

The holidays are coming – are you ready to skip the stress, overeating, frazzled, and guilt that comes on strong and lasts till mid-January? Then check out the Fit & Festive Holiday Challenge! Pre-order now for 50% off!  Click here.

To wrap this up…

Remember you can’t out supplement a bad diet. And although there is a mix if you will, of things that happened to trigger autoimmune disease including a leaky gut, including genetic predisposition, it’s important to know that the bass the foundation of that information is in a nutrient-poor and inflammatory diet. If you’re suffering from a nutrient deficiency I encourage you to come hang out with us in the Wellness Circle where you can ask the questions and get the one-on-one actionable information to start to heal.

Thank you so much for tuning in, if you have a second it would mean the world to me if you could leave a rating or review! That helps me help more people get clear of autoimmune disease. I’d be oh so grateful.

I hope you have the most magical and restful day friends, and I challenge you to leave your world, however you can, a little better than how you found it when you got up this morning.

Be well.