Diet, Microbiome and Autoimmunity

The human microbiome play a major role in a numerous body functions such as immunity, digestion and protection against disease (1). An intestinal or gastrointestinal dysbiosis (a condition in which there is an imbalance of the bacteria within the gut) has been identified as an important environmental factor in the pathogenesis of inflammatory autoimmune diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Type 1 diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and  Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (2). Several factors can influence the gut and lead to dysbiosis such as: recurrent infections and inflammations, obesity, smoking, lack of sleep and a westernized diet (3,4,5). 

Nutrition has emerged as one of the most relevant factors in influencing the gut microbiome and current understanding has established that the western diet pattern, which is high in saturated fat, animal protein and processed food, has been positively linked with raised inflammatory markers (CRP) (5).

How to support a healthy microbiome: It has been suggested that dietary fiber can reduce local and systemic inflammation, and that modulating effects on the gut bacteria composition, Short Chain Fatty acids (SCFAs) production, and intestinal barrier integrity could be involved. (6). Whole plant based foods have protective effects since are abundant in phytoestrogens, isothiocyanates, powerful polyphenols (6) and prebiotic fibre favoring the growth of SCFAs in the colon and leading to a healthier and more diverse microbiome (6,7). Additionally, research has shown that vegans and vegetarians have significantly higher counts of certain good bacteria (Bacteroides)and reduced pathogenic bacteria responsible for triggering low grade inflammation compared to omnivores (8,9).

Nutritank: An inspiring young medicine community in recognition that healthy nutrition is a simple measure that can prevent or delay many chronic diseases. The enthusiasm, motivation and commitment by the Nutritank co–founders, crossed through the borders and reached Greece! I am honoured to support such an empowering community.

“let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates






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