Food Intolerance and Intestinal Microbiota

June 11, 2014

Food Intolerance and Intestinal Microbiota

Research suggests that dietary manipulation and other lifestyle changes can reduce inflammation and risk factors for diseases. Our body tends to over-produce inflammatory chemicals due to poor lifestyle and poor diet. What was once classified as food intolerance today are scientifically called “food inflammation.” Often a vicious circle of inflammation from food and fat deposits is established, in that inflammation promotes obesity and at the same time fat cells produce inflammatory chemicals increasing risk factors and accelerating the aging process. Thus one enters a vicious circle because excessive inflammation makes it difficult to lose weight.

The digestive system is the most extensive area of the body in relation to the outside world, it contains a high amount of lymphatic tissue that must provide for the defense of our body. The human body is completely sterile at birth, but at the time of birth the infant comes into contact with a number of fecal, vaginal and cutaneous microbes from his/her mother. The interaction with the various microbial populations means that the child, in a period ranging between 6 and 36 months (depending on the duration of weaning), develops a “microbiota base” that colonizes his/her intestinal tract, genitourinary and respiratory systems. With this microbiota base, which includes mutualistic bacterial, fungal and viral species, the human being will live with it for life. It should be emphasized that the microbiota base is not composed of only bacteria, but also fungi and various species of Candida. Thus, in our intestine we have from 1 kilogram to 1½ kilograms of bacteria that are sending messages to the cranial brain that also affect our calorie needs, but what is more interesting is the discovery of three enterobacteriaceae bacterial types that characterize us as blood groups. The three strains were called Bacteroides, Prevotella and Ruminococcus, named after the bacterium that is mainly present in each one of them. From the research there has also been demonstrated a correlation between the enterobacteriaceae and functions of the individual, such as the production of certain vitamins or predisposition to obesity. In this context also autoimmune diseases are included, upstream of which there is an alteration of the microbiota, which can produce antigenic substances able to determine immune responses which react against antigens belonging to our organism. This is an aspect highlighted by recent research that correlates food allergies with the equilibrium of the microbial ecosystem of the intestine and the host defense mechanisms. According to Japanese authors, in fact, to avoid excessive inflammatory reactions in the intestine the microbial components assume a role that directly regulate the function of mast cells through Toll-like receptors: receptors that recognize molecular patterns (PRR, Pattern Recognition Receptors) able to recognize certain structures typical of pathogens and microbes and involved in defending the body, in particular, innate immunity. This may explain the reason why the manifestation of food inflammation or food allergy are correlated to proper maintenance of the symbiotic intestinal flora.