Fast-food diets are confusing people’s immune systems and leading to a rise in autoimmune diseases

0

Eating highly processed foods, including hamburgers and chicken nuggets, is leading to a rise in autoimmune diseases around the world, scientists say.

They believe that people suffer because their immune systems cannot tell the difference between a healthy cell and a virus-like organism invading the body.

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London are studying the cause in more detail, but expect it to be due to fast-food diets lacking ingredients like fiber, which affect a person’s microbiome — the collection of microorganisms we have in our gut. which play a key role in controlling various bodily functions.

Autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, are caused by the body attacking its own tissues and organs.

About 40 years ago, western countries, including the UK, saw an increase in autoimmune cases, and this trend is now occurring in countries that have never had the disease before, according to James Lee and Carola Vinuesa of the Francis Crick Institute.

Eating highly processed foods, including hamburgers and chicken nuggets, is leading to a rise in autoimmune diseases around the world, scientists say.  stock image

Eating highly processed foods, including hamburgers and chicken nuggets, is leading to a rise in autoimmune diseases around the world, scientists say. stock image

FLAMMABLE INTESTINAL DISEASE

IBD includes two conditions, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system, all the way from the mouth to the anus, and the cause of the condition is unknown.

Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon and is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning a trigger occurs that causes the body’s own immune system to attack the colon’s tissues. The reason why this happens is unclear.

People can develop IBD at any age, but the diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 15 and 49 in the UK.

Symptoms of IBD can vary, with some people experiencing only a few or may have additional symptoms. Some of the most common include: pain, cramping or swelling in the stomach, recurrent or bloody diarrhea, weight loss, extreme fatigue.

There is currently no cure for IBD, but treatment is available to relieve symptoms.

According to the researchers, some people in the West are now getting more than one autoimmune disease under control at a time.

In the Middle East and Asia, there has been an increase in the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, places where the disease was almost never seen until recently.

Vinuesa and Lee are looking for the exact cause of the different types of diseases and are looking for connections with nutrition.

In the UK there are four million people with an autoimmune disease, and internationally the number of cases is increasing by 3 to 9 percent per year.

Previous studies have found a link between environmental factors and the increase in such conditions, including more microplastic particles entering the body.

“Human genetics has not changed in recent decades,” Lee told The Observer, adding that this means that “something has to change in the outside world in a way that increases our predisposition to autoimmune diseases.”

One trend, noted by Vinuesa, is the increase in Western diets being adopted in more and more countries, including the Middle East and Asia.

“Fast food diets lack certain key ingredients, such as fiber, and there is some evidence that this change affects a person’s microbiome,” explains Vinuesa.

The microbiome is the microorganisms found in the human gut that play a key role in regulating bodily functions.

“These changes in our microbiomes then trigger autoimmune diseases, of which more than 100 species have now been discovered.”

This isn’t the full picture, as every body is different, the scientists say, with different risks associated with contracting a disease and other pre-existing conditions, which also play a role in susceptibility to autoimmune disease.

“If you don’t have a certain genetic susceptibility, you don’t necessarily get an autoimmune disease no matter how many Big Macs you eat,” Vinuesa told The Observer, adding that “we can’t do much to stop it.” to the spread of fast food.’

“So instead, we’re trying to understand the basic genetic mechanisms underlying autoimmune diseases that predispose some people, but not others. We want to tackle the problem at that level.’

New study groups have been set up at the Francis Crick Institute in London to understand the impact processed foods have on healthy cells in the body.  stock image

New study groups have been set up at the Francis Crick Institute in London to understand the impact processed foods have on healthy cells in the body.  stock image

New study groups have been set up at the Francis Crick Institute in London to understand the impact processed foods have on healthy cells in the body. stock image

To understand what underlies this disease, the team uses techniques that can detect even the smallest DNA differences in large groups of people.

This allows them to identify common genetic patterns in people suffering from autoimmune diseases.

The technique involves sequencing DNA on a large scale and then looking for patterns and trends within the large amount of data generated.

“When I started research, we knew about six DNA variants that are involved in the development of inflammatory bowel disease,” says Lee. “Now we know more than 250.”

Lee said new treatments were needed more urgently than ever due to the spread of the various diseases around the world as there are currently no treatments available.

“Currently, there are no cures for autoimmune diseases, which usually develop in young people – as they try to complete their education, get their first job and start a family,” he explained.

‘That means that more and more people have to undergo surgery or have regular injections for the rest of their lives. It can be grim for patients and a huge strain on health services. Hence the urgent need to find new, effective treatments.’

.