At the Metagenics Congress two weeks ago, one of the important points they focused on was inflammation, leaky gut, allergies and auto-immune conditions, and their connection with certain foods in the diet.
Naturopath’s have been aware for a long time, the links between auto-immune diseases, and the incidence of “leaky gut”. Even though the medical profession dismisses leaky gut as a fallacy, science today has proven this condition exists, and that there are many contributing factors to it’s development.
At the congress, they talked about certain foods which contain plant chemicals called saponins and lectins. Saponins have been found to produce pores in the gut lining which increases intestinal permeability, and lectins have been found to cross the gut barrier through binding to specific types of cells. This increased permeability allows large food particles to enter the bloodstream.
These food particles may be recognised as foreign and trigger the immune system, resulting in allergies and other related conditions – but in genetically susceptible individuals, this can also trigger an attack on their own body.
Some of the more common autoimmune conditions which are linked to a leaky gut include Allergies, Asthma, Akylosing spondylitis, Autism, Dermatitis, Eczema, Type 1 Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, although the list includes many more suspected auto-immune conditions.
Saponins and lectins are found in many foods, and if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease, then eliminating these foods whilst doing a gut repair program with your naturopath, is essential.
- All legumes (lentils, chick peas, mung beans etc)
- Grains especially wheat
- Dairy contains other damaging proteins
Different foods react with different genetic markers, so it’s not every food for every person that is going to cause a problem – but the research as to which foods effect which genetic sub-types is going to be years away.
In the meantime, taking those foods out of the diet and cleansing and healing the digestive system, is going to be the first step in recovering from autoimmune conditions. Even sprouted legumes still contain saponins unfortunately, so for those who rely on legumes for protein, an alternative needs to be used during the elimination phase.