Autoimmunity & the Gut Part #3: What is the Connection between Autoimmunity & the Gut?

The Microbiome-Autoimmune Connection, Part 3: Dr. Alessio Fasano’s work on Autoimmunity

This week we will review the groundbreaking work of Dr. Fasano and autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is when the immune system becomes overactivated and attacks the body’s own tissue.

What causes this attack? Read on for more details.

These are three steps that can cause an autoimmune condition:

  • a genetic tendency
  • an environmental trigger
  • a leaky gut

To prevent and address an autoimmune condition, it is vital to work on improving your gut health. We can help you to do that.

Zonulin is a substance found in the gut that controls permeability or leakiness. There are tight junctions, which are like doors, on the gut lining. Zonulin opens these doors. Then food molecules, toxins and bacteria can get out of the gut tract and into circulation in the body. We call this condition, when the doors are open, leaky gut.

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We want to avoid leaky gut because these food molecules and other things that escape from the gut into the body through these doors, cause an immune system reaction and inflammation. Over time, this immune system reaction becomes an overreaction and can lead to autoimmunity.

One thing that causes zonulin to increase and to open these doors is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is when there is an imbalance in gut bugs in the microbiome. This happens when you have more bad gut bacteria crowding out the good gut bacteria. Gluten (anything containing wheat, rye, or barley or anything made from these contains gluten) also raises zonulin and opens these doors. Gluten is the main trigger for celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition.

It is possible to improve dysbiosis, by reducing the bad gut bacteria and increasing the good gut bacteria. We can help you to do this. Then zonulin will not increase and your gut won’t be leaky, which reduces the chances of getting an autoimmune condition.

In scientific research, solutions to autoimmunity are being studied. One of these is a pill that would block zonulin from increasing. This would prevent the development of a leaky gut, one of the steps leading to autoimmunity. In other research, it was found that a certain probiotic can prevent leaky gut.

A healthy gut is so important for good health overall.

You might be wondering how you can improve your gut health. Is it as simple as taking a probiotic? Or what about prebiotics? Or how about stool testing or parasite treatments? What about Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth? Or candida overgrowth?

In reality, any gut issues can cause leaky gut and contribute to autoimmunity. It is not as simple as taking a probiotic for most people. That is where functional medicine lab testing and targeted treatment for root causes of gut imbalance comes in. By following our functional medicine process, we have seen autoimmune markers in the blood like ANA (commonly positive with Lupus) become “negative” on multiple occasions after working for several months with people in our clinic. We have also seen dramatic reductions in thyroid antibodies (autoimmune conditions like Hashimotos and Graves) through our process at Medicine with Heart. If you would like to find out more about working with us (we work with people all over the world), please CLICK HERE to book a 15-minute discovery call.

Please stay with us for next week’s article when we will look at some ways of predicting autoimmunity. Read this article here for ways to address an autoimmune condition. Or better yet, call us and book a free discovery call to see how we can help you with an autoimmune condition and/ or to improve your gut health!

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