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Autoimmunity and the Gut

A single layer or epithelial cells is all that separates the bloodstream and the contents of the intestines.

Source: http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/ap/ap_prep/bioC7.html

This thin layer of separation between contents of the gut and bloodstream is controlled by a complex of proteins called tight junctions. One of the most common causes of breakdown of these tight junctions is exposure to gluten and gliadin, both proteins found in wheat, and other grains from the Triticeae family (barley, rye, spelt).

The effect from these grains is damage to the tight junctions resulting in intestinal permeability. The result is a condition commonly referred to as leaky gut, which has been linked to many auto immune conditions.  Incompletely digested proteins will enter the bloodstream causing over stimulation of the immune system, resulting in autoimmune responses.

Autoimmune conditions – a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells and tissues. Some common autoimmune disease include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis just to name a few. 

Looking at diet beyond Canada’s Food Guide, and examining how gut health could be affecting your overall health is just one of the ways Naturopathic Doctors can work to optimize your health.

Remember everyone is an individual and the it is important to look at the root cause of disease, so why not look inside at your gut.


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