Arthritis, what to do?
Arthritis is one of a collection of about 120+ autoimmune diseases which can reduce the quality of life. Other autoimmune diseases include: inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, nerve damaging diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, skin problems like psoriasis, and type 1 diabetes.
These diseases were first documented in the 1900’s and have one thing in common. The body’s immune system appears to be confused about what is you and what is a foreign invader. As a result the body’s immune system attacks healthy human tissue causing progressive damage to different tissues depending on the condition itself.
In the USA alone, more than 20 million people suffer from some form of autoimmune disease with women more impacted than men.
Medical treatments usually only target the symptoms of these diseases as we do not seem to understand the cause.
What we do know, is that some types of food we eat can stress the tight junctions between individual cells in the lining of the gut and can open these junctions up allowing foreign proteins to pass through from the gut into the blood supply. These foreign invaders are attacked by the immune system which then learns to recognize the invading proteins. However when these invading proteins are similar to “self” proteins, this may confuse the immune system into classifying some “self” tissues as foreign invaders.
In 2000 a team from the University of Maryland School of Medicine led by Alessio Fasano discovered Zonulin. This protein increases the permeability of these tight junctions in the gut and higher levels of this are found in people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and Coeliac disease.
We know that Gliadin which is a protein in Gluten, activates zonulin leading to increased permeability of the gut and is proven to provoke autoimmune diseases caused by an abnormal immune response in genetically susceptible people. Gliadin is found in products such as wheat flour and other grass seeds from which we refine flour.
Some doctors who prescribe low carbohydrate diets for weight loss and other health conditions, in which eating wheat flour is restricted, have noted that these patients frequently find their autoimmune conditions such as arthritis have improved significantly. Fasting can also help reduce the impact of some autoimmune diseases.
The take home summary of all this is that by eating bread, pasta, cereals and any other carbohydrate manufactured from wheat flour, you may be increasing the permeability of the tight junctions in the epithelial layer of your gut lining and thereby increasing your risk of suffering from autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
There are numerous other reasons for avoiding these grain based carbohydrates, including the problem that they are immediately converted into sugar (glucose) and then elevate insulin levels, both of which can contribute to poor health outcomes.
Seek professional medical advice before making dietary changes, particularly if you have underlying health problems. Good health, George Elder, Diet Researcher, Dip. Nutrition.