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Thursday, August 6, 2009
Celiac Disease Provides Clues To Solving Autoimmunity
Researcher Alessio Fasano reports new findings in the battle against chronic illnesses, Celiac disease

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- According to an article published in Scientific America, a study of potentially fatal food-triggered disease has uncovered a process that may contribute to many autoimmune disorders.

The epidemiology of celiac disease that once was thought to be in the rage of 1 in 10,000 is now known to be in the neighborhood of 1 in 133, although not all individuals with the disease face the same set of symptoms that makes celiac and other food-related conditions so dangerous and widespread.

Dr. Alessio Fasano, Medical Director with the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland Medical Center, has attributed gluten intolerance to classic gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, bloating, and indigestion and leading to disruptions in nutrient absorption. For example, failure to properly absorb iron may lead to anemia, whereas failure to absorb folate may lead to a variety of neurological conditions. Malabsorption of specific nutrients may lead to such diverse conditions as osteoporosis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, skin lesions (eczema, psoriasis), epilepsy, dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and seizures. In addition to the above conditions, the following diseases or conditions are considered autoimmune in nature: diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, acute ischemic heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

As researchers have elucidated the precise mechanisms involved in the cascade leading to what is considered autoimmune disease (where the body actually attacks its own tissues), it is apparent that both proteins from foods as well as several genetic components are involved.

"A growing body of evidence suggests that virtually the same trio of factors underpins most, and perhaps all, autoimmune diseases: an environmental substance that is presented to the body, a genetically based tendency of the immune system to overreact to the substance, and an unusually permeable gut," said Dr. Fasano.

The crux of the process involves a leaky gut where partially digested food proteins (the environmental factor) pass or leak through the gut to interact with genetically-sensitive elements of the immune system setting off a cascade of immune reactions.

Fasano has identified a specific protein, zonulin, involved in controlling the spaces at the tight junctions in the gut wall, which is partially responsible for the leaky gut syndrome. He and other researchers are looking for drug therapies to prevent the initiation of the autoimmune cascade.

Since this cascade is triggered by a number of food proteins, another viable and proven approach is to identify the offending culprits and eliminate them from your diet. Cell Science Systems has developed a laboratory technology, the ALCAT Test, involving whole blood which is incubated with various foods to identify specific foods that trigger food intolerance. The solution then involves not eating those offending foods.

Cell Science Systems has hundreds of examples of individuals who have successfully reduced or eliminated autoimmune disease symptoms by simply avoiding certain foods for a specified period of time.

Annette, an ALCAT tester, suffered from multiple sclerosis symptoms for decades. "It was as if I was drunk but I do not drink. Turning over in bed was nearly impossible to do," said Annette. After taking the ALCAT Test and following the recommended rotation diet, her symptoms immediately began to subside. Before long, she realized it had been over a month since her last spell of symptoms. According to her husband, "It was like being married to someone else's wife."

Fasano, Alessio (2009, July 27). Celiac Disease Insights: Clues to Solving Autoimmunity. Scientific American, Retrieved on August 2, 2009 from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=celiac-disease-insights

About Cell Science Systems

Cell Science Systems (CSS) is a life sciences company and the worldwide market leader in food sensitivity testing as the maker of The ALCAT Test . ALCAT identifies cellular reactions to over 300 foods and chemicals. These inflammatory reactions are linked to chronic health problems like obesity and diabetes, as well as skin, heart, joint, and digestive disorders. Located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, CSS is a FDA-inspected and registered, cGMP medical device manufacturer and operates a CLIA-certified laboratory.

For more information, please call 1-800-US-ALCAT or visit http://www.ALCAT.com

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