The clinical course of autoimmune diseases is quite similar to allergic processes. In both cases, the disorder develops as a result of an abnormal (pathological) reaction of the immune system. In allergic diseases, the immune system treats food or inhaled allergens as “the enemy” and tries to eliminate them out from the body, generating chronic inflammation. In patients with autoimmune disease, the mechanism of the process is analogous, however the cells of the body become the enemy. Depending on the tissue/organ attacked by the immune cells, we distinguish many autoimmune diseases (e.g rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Sjorgen’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and others). Since autoimmune diseases have become a global health concern in the 21st century, scientists associate their occurrence not only with the genetic component, but also with unhealthy lifestyle, environmental pollution and excessive hygienization.
The link between the disrupted intestinal microbiota and the increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases seems very clear. If the intestinal microflora is the leading factor shaping the proper immune response, dysbiosis must adversely affects the immune profile. It was undoubtedly confirmed that the intestinal microflora composition of a modern man is changing strongly, unfortunately to the disadvantage. In comparison with our ancestors, the composition of the intestinal ecosystem is currently significantly poorer and devoid of a number of microorganisms with favourable properties. Consequently, the profile of immune system functions has also changed, thus the processes is under the control of the intestinal microbiota. Asking yourself which factors induced such a strong imbalance within the gut microbiota, we should mention Western lifestyle at first. The progressing westernization of the environment, low-quality food and at the same time high frequency of psychoactive substance abuse, chronic stress and antibiotics disrupting microbiota for years are all thought to be directly related to the increasing prevalence of autoimmune diseases.A comprehensive assessment of the intestinal microflora profile of existing disorders is a necessity in patients with autoimmune disease.
Studies have shown that the use of properly selected probiotics inhibits the inflammation, being the essence of the disease. Probiotics have been shown to beneficially affect cytokine profile, restore the balance within the immune system and bacterial environment, all preventing from an unwanted metabolic activity in the gut.
The second most important component in autoimmune diseases aetiology is food. There are multiple theories linking the consumption of modified food, preservatives, dyes or flavour enhancers with the development of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The role of gluten in the activation of autoimmune reactions is of the most widely discussed issues. Gluten – a glycoprotein present in numerous cereals – was proven to damage the integrity of the intestinal barrier. The damaged intestine is no longer a filter that protects against the penetration of undigested food particles, toxins, bacteria, viruses and others to additionally activate the immune system. As a consequence, latent food hypersensitivity develops and inflammation spreads in other tissues and organs. Patients with autoimmune diseases are encouraged to perform IgA and IgG dependent allergy examination. On the basis of the results a tailored diet may be introduced to reduce inflammation in the body and maintain the disease in remission (inactive).
For autoimmune diseases, the following tests are recommended: