Reference Number: 495
The incidence of autoimmune diseases is increasing along with the expansion of industrial food processing and food additive consumption. The intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junction, controls the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self-antigens. As a result, particular attention is being placed on the role of tight junction dysfunction in the pathogenesis of AD. Tight junction leakage is enhanced by many luminal components, commonly used industrial food additives being some of them. Glucose, salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles are extensively and increasingly used by the food industry, claim the manufacturers, to improve the qualities of food. However, all of the aforementioned additives increase intestinal permeability by breaching the integrity of tight junction paracellular transfer. In fact, tight junction dysfunction is common in multiple autoimmune diseases and the central part played by the tight junction in autoimmune diseases pathogenesis is extensively described. It is hypothesized that commonly used industrial food additives abrogate human epithelial barrier function, thus, increasing intestinal permeability through the opened tight junction, resulting in entry of foreign immunogenic antigens and activation of the autoimmune cascade. Future research on food additives exposure-intestinal permeability-autoimmunity interplay will enhance our knowledge of the common mechanisms associated with autoimmune progression.
Significance of this study to the baker:
Bread is identified as a common trigger for IBS and there are more and more people who report sensitivities to the proteins found in bread called gliadins (aka gluten). However, this study suggests that it could be down to the emulsifiers used in some commercial breads. These emulsifier are likely to lead to increased intestinal permeability (aka ‘leaky’ gut). This means that food molecules can ‘leak’ out of the gut and the said food is often seen as foreign to this local immune system in the gut resulting in digestive symptoms and/or issues with immunity such as autoimmune conditions.
This highlights why bread made from good quality flour and baked with a lengthy fermentation time, as in the case of sourdough, supports the physical health of our gut, reducing the symptoms of autoimmunity and digestive dysfunction.