Monday, November 20, 2006
More on the leaky gut syndrome-autoimmune disease connection.
Dr. Alessio Fasano, an expert on celiac who was one of the researchers who published the landmark article identifying the prevalence of celiac being 1:133 people in the U.S. now writes in a recent article that “the co morbidity between celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders has been clearly established.”
He reviews the two main theories that try to explain this established relationship. He concludes that the current scientific literature does not clearly explain the link but that there is “growing evidence that the loss of the intestinal barrier function typical of celiac disease could be responsible for the onset of other autoimmune diseases”.
More importantly, he theoretically proposes the autoimmune response can be stopped and “perhaps reversed if the interplay between autoimmune predisposing genes and trigger(s) is prevented or eliminated by prompt diagnosis and treatment.”
What does this mean? I believe Dr. Fasano is saying that a leaky gut exposes one’s body to food proteins, bacteria and viruses that interact with your immune system resulting in onset of various autoimmune conditions in genetically susceptible individuals. Exposure to food proteins in your gut in the setting of certain gut flora (bacteria, yeast, viruses) that your body has decided are foreign stimulates an abnormal immune response. Further, removal of certain food proteins (e.g. gluten) may not only prevent development of some autoimmune disorders but also improve or reverse some.
There is a HUGE paradigm shift showing up in the medical community concerning the role of the gut and food in health and disease.
It is my (and others) opinion that the abnormal immune responses that occur in the leaky gut syndrome from a variety of food proteins or lectins in the setting of abnormal gut flora may result in many symptoms and disorders that are too numerous to mention in this blog. However, stay tuned as I write more about this leaky gut-autoimmune connection and other food related illness and digestive conditions in the food doc blog and in online articles available at my website www.thefooddoc.com
Reference: Fasano, A. Systemic Autoimmune Disorders in Celiac Disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2006;22(6):674-679.