So, here it is. Researchers have found a link between autoimmune disease and diet. An article describing these findings was published in the journal Nature last month. (For those of you who may not know, Nature is super-dee-duper prestigious... if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere).
Here's the dumbed down version for us mere mortals. In short, researchers in Australia found that fiber in the diets of rats supports immune cell functioning, and a lack of certain kinds of fiber can make those cells go funky. Here's a quote:
Dude. This is big. The link between autoimmune disease and diet has not been taken as seriously by the mainstream research community. Yet those of us who have tried elimination or autoimmune diets have seen good (if not complete) results. I find this finding thrilling - I'd love for more serious, well funded research to look into this link.
Working along with PhD student Kendle Maslowski, Prof Mackay investigated the operation of an immune cell receptor known to bind with "short chain fatty acids" - what fibre is reduced to once processed by bacteria in the gut.
This broken-down fibre was found to "profoundly affect immune cell function", Prof Mackay said, and without it the immune cells appeared more likely to go awry....
"When (immune cells) go bad they cause inflammatory diseases, so asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease ..." Prof Mackay said.
"We think one of the mechanisms for their normal control is short chain fatty acids binding to this receptor.
"And if we were to speculate on the real significance of this, we believe firmly that the best explanation for the increase in inflammatory diseases in western countries ... is our changes in diet."