Gluten and Autoimmune Diseases – Is there a connection?
Research Links Gluten Sensitivity to Multiple Autoimmune Diseases
Research continues to link the autoimmune spectrum of diseases to gluten sensitivity. In the research studies referenced below, gluten intolerance was found to be present in patients with multiple types of autoimmune conditions. Below are direct quotes from studies:
“Results of our studies revealed in the group of 110 patients with diagnosed gluten enteropathy, coexistence of autoimmune disease, such as diabetes mellitus type 1 in 7.2% cases, hyperthyreosis on 1.8% of cases, vitiligo in 0.9% of cases, primary biliary cirrhosis in 2% of cases and rheumatoid arthritis in 0,9 of cases. In the group of 80 ulcerative colitis patients, coexistence of celiac disease basing on serological histopatological investigation was found in 4 patients (5%).”
“A total of 111 patients (40%) were diagnosed with additional autoimmune diseases…autoimmune thyroiditis was the most common concurrent disease (28 patients, 10%). Other concurrent autoimmune diseases comprised vitiligo (5 patients), rheumatoid arthritis (5 patients), Sjogren syndrome (4 patients), ulcerative colitis (4 patients), conjunctivitis (4 patients), celiac disease (3 patients), systemic lupus erythematodes (2 patients), type I diabetes (2 patients), multiple sclerosis (2 patients), polymyalgia rheumatica (2 patients), and urticaria (2 patients). One patient each was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, autoimmune gastritis, collagenous colitis, hypophysitis, and sarcoidosis.”
Celiac is Just The Tip of The Iceberg
Gluten sensitivity is most commonly linked to celiac disease. This is unfortunate. An abundance of research studies show that celiac disease is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to autoimmune conditions related to gluten sensitivity. Scientists have even given the phenomenon a name – Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
In a comprehensive research review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology the authors concluded the following:
Non celiac gluten sensitivity is an expanding field of investigation within gluten-related disorders. Similarly to celiac disease, it shows a systemic involvement, therefore several extra-intestinal manifestations have been hypothesized and investigated in many studies. They may involve many districts and have neurological/psychiatric, dermatological, rheumatologic and nutritional implications. Moreover, the possibility of association with other autoimmune diseases should not be underestimated.
World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 14; 24(14): 1521–1530.
What Triggers Autoimmune Disease?
There are a number of triggers for autoimmunity. Some of them are summarized by looking at the diagram below. But a simple overview of these triggers are:
- Foods (gluten, dairy, processed sugar are common)
- Chemicals (pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, etc)
- Nutritional Deficiencies (vitamin and mineral inadequacy)
- Microbes (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic)
- Intense prolonged stress
- Genetic predisposition
Is Nutrition The Answer to Autoimmunity?
Although we have identified a number of environmental and genetic triggers for autoimmunity, the most well studied, confirmed, and scientifically agreed upon cause for any autoimmune disease in gluten. Gluten, the protein found in grains that is notorious for sparking an inflammatory response. When will doctors quit trying to micro analyze autoimmune diseases and look at the obvious connections?
Treatment for most autoimmune conditions consists of steroids, DMARDS (Disease Modifying Mnti Rheumatic Drugs), biologics, and other anti-inflammatories. Do doctors ever consider where the inflammation is coming from?
Why is it so hard to accept that simple dietary changes can improve disease and health? The answer is simple. Nutrition is not taught in medical school. Most doctors devalue or dismiss nutrition because they don’t understand it. Unfortunately this translates into more drugs, less real health care solutions, and sicker people. I recently put together a video guide on conquering autoimmune problems naturally. Check it out here <<==
Gluten & Autoimmune Diseases – The connection that needs more attention…
Autoimmune diseases collectively are the number 1 disease condition in the U.S. As the American diet becomes more and more processed, so too does autoimmune disease increase. It is time to look at food a little more seriously. As we have linked gluten sensitivity as a cause of celiac disease, we should turn our sites to food with the other autoimmune disease as well. To ignore this is folly.
As the wise Thomas Edison put it – “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Speak your mind – if you have experienced the connection between gluten and autoimmune diseases, let us know about in the comments below…