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Are Industrial Food Additives to Blame for Soaring Rates of Autoimmune Disease?

Celiac.com 01/19/2016 - Cases of autoimmune diseases are on the rise, and mirror the expansion of industrial food processing and increased use of food additives. The intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junction, controls the balance between tolerance and immunity to non-self-antigens.

Photo: CC--Vox EfxRecently, a team of researchers set out to assess the role of tight junction dysfunction in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease.

Researchers Aaron Lerner and Torsten Matthias are associated with the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Unit, Carmel Medical Center, B, Rappaport School of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Michal in Haifa, Israel, and the Aesku Kipp Institute in Wendelsheim, Germany.

Numerous common industrial food additives increase tight junction leakage. These include glucose, salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles, widely and increasingly used in industrial food production.

According to manufacturers, these additives improve food quality. However, all of the aforementioned additives increase intestinal permeability by breaching the integrity of tight junction paracellular transfer.

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So why is this a problem?

Well, it turns out that tight junction dysfunction is common in multiple autoimmune diseases, and the central part played by the tight junction in autoimmune diseases development is widely described.

The researchers hypothesize that commonly used industrial food additives undermine human epithelial barrier function, which increases intestinal permeability through the opened tight junction, resulting in entry of foreign immunogenic antigens and activation of the autoimmune cascade, and the development of autoimmune conditions, such as celiac disease.

The team is calling for additional research on the connections between food additives exposure, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity interplay to expand our knowledge of the common mechanisms associated with autoimmune progression.

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2 Responses:

 
Heather
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said this on
25 Jan 2016 5:35:45 AM PDT
I choose foods for myself and my family that include as few necessary additives as possible. Unfortunately, there's a chemical industry out there that makes plenty of money creating additives to put in our foods, and most people don't have on their own radar to avoid such additives. It's an industry and they will fight to preserve their profits. If we stopped buying food with their junk additives, they would be forced to stop pushing their chemical laden foods on us.

 
Rick
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said this on
25 Jan 2016 4:03:45 PM PDT
Great information! I believe they are on to something, but if proof is found one day I am sure the food industry's 'Teflon coating' (pun intended) will protect them and yield no changes.




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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.