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Foods May Contribute to Rheumatoid Arthritis Through a Leaky Gut – The Gut-Joint Axis

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Foods that are commonly blamed for food allergies and sensitivity reactions are also thought to cause or contribute to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. These common foods likely do this through a process of intestinal inflammation that leads to leaky gut. This injury, which occurs particularly in genetically predisposed people and in the context of altered gut bacteria (dysbiosis) and immune stress, likely predisposes to further inflammation and a leaky gut. It is believed that this vicious cycle allows toxic dietary protein-bacterial complexes to enter the body, leading to a variety of inflammatory and/or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. In this regard, a new study is examined that sheds additional light on the link between food intolerance and rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers from Norway published further new evidence linking food and rheumatoid arthritis in the British journal Gut in 2006. Professor Bradtzaeg and his colleagues at the Institute of Pathology in Oslo measured IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies to food. They measured these antibodies in the blood and intestinal fluid of people with rheumatoid arthritis compared to healthy people.

Researchers performed blood and gut fluid antibody tests against the following food antigens: gliadin, oats, cow’s milk proteins (casein, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin), soy, pork, cod and egg (ovalbumin). These foods are among the top 10 most common food allergens and food protein intolerances.

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What they found was a “particularly prominent (presence) of cross-reactive food antibodies in proximal intestinal secretions,” as well as elevated IgM antibodies to some of these foods in the blood. The findings in the blood were less conspicuous than in the intestinal secretion. This is consistent with the difficulties in finding elevated blood antibodies to food in people with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune/inflammatory diseases, although much anecdotal experience and experience with elimination diets supports the role of food in these conditions. Interestingly, the stool antibody tests by Dr. Point something out to Ken Fine.

They say the results suggest that measuring blood antibodies to food in rheumatoid arthritis provides little information about the role of food in rheumatoid arthritis. However, not only do gut antibodies show a ‘prominent’ pattern of increases consistent with adverse immune responses to food, but there also appears to be a potential cumulative effect of multiple foods. That said, not only can some foods trigger an abnormal immune response that leads to joint inflammation, but the combination of several problem foods can be a key component to this compound. Their findings support the link of mucosal (gut) immune activation by food cross-reactions to rheumatoid arthritis, at least in some people.

What could that mean? This data supports the concept and experience of many people that eliminating certain problematic food combinations may be beneficial in preventing or reducing joint inflammation. This is both exciting and fascinating.

Several commonly consumed foods that are commonly associated with food allergies and sensitivities can contribute to inflammatory and/or autoimmune diseases. These common problem foods or their lectins likely contribute to the process of intestinal inflammation. This is likely to result in an intestinal injury leading to leaky gut. This injury and leaky gut, particularly in genetically predisposed individuals, may predispose to further injury in altered gut bacteria (dysbiosis). This then allows toxic dietary protein (lectin)-bacterial complexes to enter the body, particularly the bloodstream. The result is inflammatory and/or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

This gut-joint axis is likely the same mechanism as the gut-brain axis and gut-skin axis that produce the myriad of symptoms and diseases we now see. The associated immune reactions of food protein (lectin) and bacteria in the intestine are increasingly held responsible for the development of a large number of diseases.

There’s a lot more to learn, but it’s interesting that certain foods keep popping up as the usual suspects. These problematic foods or lectins include grains (especially wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn), dairy (casein), nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers), and peanuts, soy, and other legumes. Diets that eliminate or limit these foods have been reported to be beneficial for many symptoms and diseases. However, due to the limitations of scientific research, definitive connections are difficult to establish.

The foods involved are usually restricted in some way in a variety of elimination diets, such as: and six-food elimination diet.

The Paleolithic, or hunter-gatherer, diet specifically recommends limiting grains, dairy, and legumes. Various anti-inflammatory or arthritis diets typically recommend eliminating either wheat or gluten, dairy, and the nightshade family. The universally advocated dietary approach in autism is a casein-free, gluten-free diet.

Despite public lay reports of great success with such elimination diets, conventional medicine is still hesitant to study the dietary treatment of disease. However, especially in the last two to three years, further studies have appeared that show connections that prove an important role of food and bacteria in the intestine and various autoimmune diseases.

Thanks to Dr. Scot Lewey

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