Worldwide, there is an increased prevalence of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, hypothyroid, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and even eczema and alopecia. Some in your extended families may be suffering from one of these. Why has the incidence gone up so much in the last few decades?
In some situations, the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies healthy cells of the body as harmful external agents—chemicals or microbes. It then attacks those healthy tissues destroying them and causing the relevant organ to malfunction. As a result, an autoimmune disorder develops.
Many autoimmune diseases are triggered by a problem in the intestines. The inner lining of the cells of the intestines are tightly packed. They have something called tight junctions, which effectively act as sealants between those cells. As a result, the intestines allow only nutrients to be absorbed from the food into the blood in a normal individual. Microbes and toxic foreign chemicals are prevented from entering the bloodstream.
When the tight junctions are damaged, the intestines become permeable to bacteria and . other foreign substances. That is called a leaky gut condition. When the intestines turn leaky, the toxins can then enter the bloodstream through the food in the intestines.
The immune system detects those enemies in the bloodstream and rightfully attacks them. Since such harmful substances continue to enter the blood, the immune system reaction keeps occurring against those external agents. Over a period, the overactive immune system misfires and turns against the body’s own tissues. In this manner, a leaky gut can cause different autoimmune conditions.
Some scientists in Israel and Germany studied the effects of various processed foods on the intestines and the development of autoimmune conditions. They found that at least seven common food additives weaken the tight junctions in the intestines: glucose (sugars), sodium (salt), fat solvents (emulsifiers), organic acids, gluten, microbial transglutaminase (a special enzyme that serves as a glue for food protein), and nanometric particles.
In other words, people who consume processed foods that use salt, sugars, emulsifiers and other food additives run a risk of developing autoimmune conditions over a period of time.
If you already have an autoimmune condition or have a family history of one, consider avoiding processed foods when possible. And those who want to prevent getting an autoimmune condition, should reduce the consumption of processed foods.
First published on: 13th August 2022
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