Study: Processed & Fast Foods Major Contributors to Autoimmune Disease

processed foods

Doctors Health Press, a division of Lombardi Publishing Corporation and publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, is reporting on a new study finding processed and fast foods are a major contributor to autoimmune disease.

As Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin notes in a recent e-bulletin issue, most people don’t need to hear about more high-salt diets causing weight gain, heart problems, and diabetes, because they hear about them all the time. But a new joint study from Yale University in the U.S. and the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg in Germany blames refined salts in fast and processed foods for making people more susceptible to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis by impacting the body’s ability to fight infection, making these foods a major contributor to the rising rates of the disease.

As the article “Would You Like Some Salt with Your MS?” reports, about 23.5 million Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease, and the amount is quickly rising. It is a top 10 cause of death for women in the United States. Some of the more common types of autoimmune disease are multiple sclerosis, alopecia, Crohn’s disease, Lupus and celiac disease, to name a few.

The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article states that the body is equipped with an immune system to help fight bacteria, viruses, and other infections. People who have an autoimmune disease don’t get the response from the body to fight these infections, which can attack specific organs or, in the worst cases, their entire body. Autoimmune disease is a chronic condition that can be fatal.

As the article reports, in this study, researchers looked at how high-salt diets affect the proliferation of Th17 cells—a subset of Helper T cells (cells that act as the immune system’s front line of defense) that play a role in the proliferation of autoimmune disease. In this lab setting, mice fed a high-salt diet displayed “a dramatic increase” of Th17 cells and, as a result, increased inflammation. The mice also showed a far greater likelihood to develop an autoimmune disease.

Considering these results, the Doctors Press Health e-Bulletin article also reports that a Canadian group researched sodium content in a number of menu items from fast food chains across the globe. They found that American recipes, on average, contain twice the salt of their global counterparts, which is likely the reason why a “Big Mac” and fries tastes different when traveling abroad.

The article concludes by advising readers to protect themselves from autoimmune disease, especially as these conditions become more common. In the article, Doctors Press Health e-Bulletin advises its readers that the best defense is to limit their intake of processed and fast foods, while paying attention to the per-serving sodium content on nutrition labels, especially when it comes to frozen and pre-packaged foods. A person’s daily intake of sodium should not exceed 2,400 milligrams.

(SOURCE: “Autoimmune Disease Fact Sheet,” American Autoimmune Related Disease Association web site, last accessed May 17, 2013; McCarthy, A., “Scientists officially link processed foods to autoimmune disease,” Prevent Disease web site, March 7, 2013, last accessed May 17, 2013.)

Comments are closed.