Answers about Autoimmunity

Mike over at Agriculture is a Fad posted a link to this awesome article about Celiac and Autoimmunity. I am so excited about this article that I can't even pull my thoughts together to write this post. Alessio Fasano basically breaks down the Celiac process, saying that CD is a result of a genetic pre-disposition, exposure to an environmental trigger (gluten) and an unusually permeable intestinal wall. He says that scientists are starting to believe that this may be the case for many, if not all autoimmune disorders. What have I been saying all along?!?! There is some environmental factor that is triggering my Crohn's disease, so how the heck can we figure out what it is and eliminate it? And what if there are multiple factors? I am just so glad to find out that the research is being done and that we are getting closer to having solid answers about these diseases. The article ultimately is about the therapies that he is working on, "...celiac disease might one day be prevented or treated by ingestion of selected helpful microbes, or 'probiotics.' " I'm still on the fence about these types of therapies but the rest of the article is very informative and I highly recommend checking it out.


Mike said…
What I found interesting regarding Crohn's in this was the part that talked about how intestinal permeability is regulated -- it's not just damage caused by one thing or another but it's a process that the body is doing for some reason, and it's a process that can be inhibited. If you can do that, according to the theory, it doesn't matter what environmental trigger you throw in there; it'll pass right by.

On the other hand, if you're extremely permeable in general your immune system will come into contact with all sorts of stuff it shouldn't, and will start taking offense to it. This explains a little bit of why my food sensitivity tests came back high for a lot of the other ingredients in baked goods -- milk, eggs, yeast, etc -- all guilty by association from hanging out with flour. Gluten threw the party and eggs were passed out on the front lawn when the cops showed up.

Anyway, I'd recommend trying to find the printed version of the article. There are several good diagrams and such that aren't in the online version. It should be in stores right about now.

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