No Evidence Gluten-Free Diet is Effective for Autoimmune Disease

The prevalence of autoimmune disease has risen dramatically in the last few decades, leading to significant health concerns. In fact, one study found that 1 in 4 people suffer from an autoimmune disease, while others estimate the number to be as high as 1 in 2 people. For those who suffer from one of these illnesses, the chance of finding a cure is considerably smaller than it is for most common diseases. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for many autoimmune diseases. One of the most promising emerging trends that can help to address this issue is the gluten-free diet. This diet drastically reduces the chances of developing autoimmune disease, and it can do so even if you have a genetic predisposition to the disease. If you or a loved one are suffering from an autoimmune disease, you should consider moving towards a gluten-free diet as soon as possible.

What Is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s own immune system begins attacking healthy tissues and cells. These immune system cells, known as T cells, act as if they are protecting the body from invasion by foreign agents (for example, bacteria or viruses). In reality, these agents are usually harmless, but the overzealous immune system responses that result in damage to healthy tissues can cause serious health problems. Autoimmune diseases can affect every part of the body, with the most common ones including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. The list is extensive!

Why Gluten-Free Diet?

The gluten-free diet stands out among the diets that aim to avoid autoimmune disease for good reason. First off, gluten is a protein found in wheat that is highly allergenic and can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people. Second, eliminating gluten allows the immune system to relax and rests it, preventing damage to healthy tissues. Third, a gluten-free diet allows those who suffer from autoimmune disease to maintain good digestion and a healthy liver, which helps in processing toxins from the food we eat. Lastly, consuming gluten causes the body’s insulin levels to increase, resulting in more fats being deposited in the blood stream. Those who follow a gluten-free diet have a much lower chance of developing obesity and its comorbidities (for example, heart disease and type 2 diabetes). To put it simply, eating gluten can cause a whole host of problems that can be effectively avoided by following a gluten-free diet.

The Rise in Autoimmune Disease

With the advent of genetically modified organisms (for example, GMOs) and highly processed foods, the incidence of autoimmune disease has increased across the globe. Those who suffer from one of these illnesses find that their pain and discomfort are not adequately controlled by medication, which only serves to further increase their risk of infection. In the absence of adequate clinical trials, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of autoimmune disease. It is suspected that environmental factors (for example, viral infections or heavy metal exposure) act as inducers, setting off the immune system response that results in tissue damage. Interestingly, some people believe that gluten may play a role in the development of autoimmunity. Although it is not necessarily true that removing gluten will prevent the disease, it is known that those who are exposed to gluten early in life are at a significantly increased risk of developing autoimmunity. For this reason, it is advisable for families to avoid gluten as much as possible during the first few years of a child’s life.

The number of people affected by autoimmune disease is staggering, and it has reached the point where some have questioned whether or not there even is a future for those who suffer from the disease. One of the major issues with autoimmune disease is that there is no cure. The only way to manage it is through strict medication and often times, that is not enough. In the U.S., the incidence of type 1 diabetes has increased by nearly 50% since the 1990s, and it is the third leading cause of death among children. The good news is that there are various ways in which one can take care of themselves while dealing with this condition. One of the most effective strategies is by changing their diet to avoid gluten and highly processed foods. Those who follow this approach notice significant improvements in their health and well-being, and it is not uncommon for those who do not have the disease to help out with the care and feeding of those who do. This is because proper diet controls the inflammation that can arise from a damaged immune system, and it also enables those who suffer from the disease to maintain a good balance between their immune system and their bodies. There is also the option of trying experimental drugs, such as interferons or other biologics — although their effectiveness is still under study.

Autoimmune Disease And The Genetics Of Gluten

In some people, an autoimmune disease can be hereditary. This means that they are born with the disorder and it does not go away with treatment, as with most other forms of the disease. The severity of these cases varies, but it is not uncommon for those who have been affected by the disease to have grandchildren who also inherit it. This is why it is essential to know your family history, as you may be carrying the gene for autoimmunity. There are several disorders that run in families, and those who inherit them are at significant risk of developing the disease. Some of the most well-known ones include ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. In these cases, the risk of developing autoimmunity is much higher if the individual does not follow a gluten-free diet. This means that not only will removing gluten be beneficial to those who suffer from the disease, but it may also be necessary for those who are at risk of developing it as well.

In other words, if you or a loved one are finding that their symptoms do not improve with treatment and you have a family history of autoimmune disease, then it is time to consider changing your diet to avoid gluten. This way, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Getting Started With The Gluten-Free Diet

If you are reading this, then you may already be aware that gluten is responsible for a variety of health issues. However, if you are not, then it is important to note that it is not necessarily the quantity of gluten that matters, but rather how the body processes it. When food containing gluten is consumed, it passes through the gastrointestinal system without being fully broken down. This leads to the formation of microscopic bits of acid, which then react with the protein in the small intestine. As a result, some of the serious problems that people face include intestinal inflammation and ulcers, among others. There are also some people who are allergic to gluten and suffer from various forms of immune response, ranging from mild skin reactions to life-threatening anaphylaxis (in rare cases). As you can see, gluten is not good for everybody.

It is important to note that the gluten-free diet is not the same as the vegan diet, as those who follow the former eat foods containing gluten. The latter is a diet that excludes all animal products as well as dairy and most forms of gluten. It should also be noted that a gluten-free diet is frequently supplemented with nutrients (such as vitamin B12) that are found in products containing animal protein. It is advisable for those who suffer from autoimmune disease to aim for a healthier vegan diet if they want to reduce their chances of developing the disease again. Alternatively, they can opt for a gluten-free diet if they want to reduce their risk of suffering from various complications.

The Pros And Cons Of Both Diets

If you are deciding which diet to follow, then it comes down to personal preference. One of the major advantages of a gluten-free diet is that it provides a variety of health benefits, even if you have a family history of autoimmune disease. This is because gluten is found in many processed foods and restaurant meals, and thus eliminating it allows the body to restore and nourish itself. As a result, many people who follow this diet report feeling much healthier, with some even saying that it has allowed them to finally achieve their ideal weight. The gluten-free diet has also been shown to improve the symptoms of those who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Because the diet reduces the autoimmune attack and increases the body’s overall wellness, it has emerged as one of the most promising approaches in treating various diseases.