Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease
Today, we can tell that including of the processed foods and microwave meals in our diet is to blame for the rapid raise in autoimmune ailments like multiple sclerosis, alopecia, asthma and eczema.
According to the scientists from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany and Yale University in the U.S., the junk food diets could be partly to blame.
‘This study proves that the excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors causing the raised occurrence of autoimmune diseases,’ they explained.
The fast foods and the processed foods are the biggest sources of sodium consumation from the refined salts.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal decided to send an international team of researchers to measure the salt content of 2.123 products from fast food companies like Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They revealed that the salt amount varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.
The products sold in U.S. contain almost twice as salt-laden as those in other countries. The health campaigns paid by the government and legislation efforts have decreased the refined salt amounts in many countries, but the U.S. government has been unwilling to solve this problem. The fast-food companies were free to add salt as much as they wanted, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.
In order to improve the taste, many low-fat foods lean on increased amounts of salt. One package of KFC’s Marzetty Light Italian Dressing might have 15 calories and 0.5 grams of fat, but it also includes 510 mg sodium-about 1.5 times as much as one Original recipe chicken drumstick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the bread is the largest source of refined salt in the American diet. Only one 6-Inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway, without meat or cheese includes 1,260 mg sodium, approximately as 14 strips of bacon.
How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease
Team of experts from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the organism. These cells are charged for activating and assisting the other cells to fight harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and infections. Some studies conducted previously suggested that a subset of these cells-known as Th17 cells- also play crucial role in the expansion of autoimmune ailments.
In a recent study, the scientists found out that by exposing these cells in lab conditions to a table salt solution makes them more aggressive.
They discovered that mice consumed a diet with increased amounts of refined salt and they experienced rapid increase of the amounts of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that eventually led to inflammation.
They were prone to develop an dangerous form of ailment related with multiple sclerosis in people.
Then the scientists made a closer analysis of these effects at a molecular level.
According to the laboratory tests the salt exposure raised the amounts of cytokines discharged by Th17 cells 10 times more than normally. Cytokines are proteins which job is to pass the messages between the cells.
Ralf Linker, who is the study co-author, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, explained: ‘These findings are very important for the understanding of multiple sclerosis and could offer new targets for a better treatment of the ailment, for which today there is no cure.’
It occurs when the immune system mistakes the myelin that is located around the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.
It takes the myelin off the nerve fibres, which obstructs the messages between the brain and body leading to problems with vision, balance and speech.
Professor David Hafler who was also included in the team researchers, from Yale University, said that the nature never intended for the immune system to be aggressive against its own host body, so he suspected that some outer factor was the real cause.
He said:”These ailments are not caused of bad genes alone or by the environment, but ailments of a bad interaction between the genes and environment.”
‘People were genetically picked for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where the salt is not presented. This is one of the reasons of having a gene that make African Americans much more sensitive to salt’.
‘In present times the Western diets include high amounts of salt and that resulted with raised blood pressure and autoimmune ailments as well’.
The team also intends to research the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that impact the skin.
‘It will be very interesting to discover if people who suffer from psoriasis can ease the symptoms by lowering the salt consumption,’ they said.
‘Anyway, the appearance of autoimmune ailments is very complicated process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’
Stick to Good Salts
Refined, processed and bleached salts are harmful for our body. Salt is dangerous for our health and is the most common nonmetallic mineral in the world. Because it has not nutritional value, our bodies cannot process refined sodium chloride. Anyway, when the salt is loaded with 10 or more minerals like rose-colored crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, they are pretty beneficial for our organism when included in the diet.
“These mineral salts are the same with the elements of which our organism has been made and originated from the primal ocean which is the source of the life,” says Dr. Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “Our tears are salty and we have salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral structure of our blood and body fluids are very similar with the sea water. Even when we are unborn babies, from the beginning of life, we are encased in a salty fluid.”
“The salt dissolves into mineral ions, when in water,” says Dr. Hendel. “These stimulate electrical nerve impulses that promote muscle movement and thought processes. Just a single and simple act of closing the door needs millions of directions that come from mineral ions. They are also necessary for regulation of the pH levels in our organism.”
She states that the mineral salts are healthy because they provide our body with many mineral ions which are necessary to balance our body’s functions, for healing and maintaining good health. The people from central Europe acknowledged these healing characteristics long time ago. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been built in a salt mountain. The people who suffer from lung ailments, asthma and allergies claim that inhaling the air in the saline underground rooms is very helpful for easing the symptoms in almost 90% of the cases.
Dr. Hendel believes that several minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health issues. This theory is supported by other academics like David McCarron, from Oregon Health Sciences University in the U.S.
He states that the salt was always contained in the people’s diet, but the mineral content in our food is the new moment. People don’t consume food loaded with minerals like nuts, fruits or vegetables instead they eat processed food and drinks that don’t include minerals at all.
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