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Nutrition and Its Impact on Inflammatory Diseases

In first world countries, the incidence of allergies, autoimmune diseases, asthma, and other inflammatory conditions has risen significantly. Some postulate that the hygiene hypothesis may be the reasoning for this increase. Other studies, however, have pointed toward diet and bacterial metabolites playing a larger role in inflammatory diseases, according to a paper published in the journal Immunity.

Diet, for instance, may take part in managing a handful of differing immune pathways such as regulatory T cell biology, inflammation, and immune homeostasis. Certain metabolites stimulate G-protein-coupled receptors like the GPR43, GPR41, GPR109A, GPR120, and GPR35. These receptors–which are located on gut epithelial cells and immune cells–create an anti-inflammatory effect when triggered by the metabolites.

The western lifestyle including eating less nutritious and unhealthy foods may actually affect the likelihood of inflammatory diseases. A low amount of nutritious food intake can actually harm the production of bacterial metabolites.

The metabolites coming directly from food can benefit immune pathways greatly. The researchers proposed that a lack of dietary and bacterial metabolites may lead to the development of inflammatory diseases in first world countries.

Essentially, it is important to address the steep rise in chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and autoimmune diseases over the last several decades. Studies have suggested that inflammation and improper immune response may be responsible for these higher rates.

A paper published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism by researchers from Spain-based University of Girona explains how the world most human beings live in today has changed tremendously from the past. With the advent of technological advancements, as many as three out of four people do not meet standard physical activity requirements and the majority of modern food is new to human evolution.

The investigators also propose that the large amount of media and information constantly launched on the everyday human being trigger stress signals in the brain and cause emotional distress. The paper describes how an improper diet and psychological stress may lead to a rise in inflammatory diseases. The researchers describe the term “Resoleomics” as a way for the body to resolve inflammatory responses.

Essentially, the immune system and the sympathetic nervous system control this process. If these systems are weakened, it can lead to an increased risk of inflammatory diseases. Dietary factors also affect a wide range of hormones in the human body including cortisol, catecholamines, and insulin. The severe changes in food composition since the agriculture revolution cause systemic stress on a daily basis, the investigators report.

Some of the dietary changes include a low intake of vitamin D and K, an excess of saturated fatty acids and refined carbohydrates, a lack of antioxidant intake, and not enough dietary fiber. Research like this points toward the direct link of the altered diet and inflammatory diseases. By changing diet and choosing a healthier lifestyle, the risk for many medical conditions may be reduced.

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Categories: Inflammatory diseases

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