One of the main reason I eat very little plant based food is because as part of their defense against herbivores they produce many substances that can contribute to leaky gut and also cross-reacting antigens associated with auto-immune diseases. For example, Raphides contained in many plant cells can be like hypodermic needles, piercing and injecting poisons into the cells that line the gut causing them to become inflamed and even self destruct, loosening the “tight junctions” between them. This allows foreign proteins in the gut to present themselves directly to our immune systems leading to antibody formation and subsequent allergy problems. In some instances these plant proteins are so similar to human proteins that the antibodies we produce in response to them can attack our own cells. This is what causes Type 1 diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease and thousands of other autoimmune diseases. Here’s a nice article that talks about how fiber damages our intestines. Here’s a link to a scientific description of the “leaky Gut Syndome”. Also the zonulins found in many vegetables especially wheat can cause the tight junctions in our gut that normally protect our immune systems against this exposure to foreign plant antigens to loosen, triggering exposure and the potential for many autoimmune diseases. Here’s a scholarly link about that. In people who are insulin resistant the high carb levels in most plant foods can raise blood sugar level and High glucose causes leaky gut.
Once you have antibodies against a plant protein whether it produces common allergies or an autoimmune condition every time you damage your gut with plant fiber or zonulins, you risk re-exposure to the plant protein that caused the initial antibodies to form. You have “memory” white blood cells for every antibody against which you are able to produce antibodies, including the bad ones that attack your own body. When the memory cells are re-exposed to the antigen in the inflamed gut that they are watching for, they cause the antibody producing cells to go into high gear producing antibodies against that protein. If it’s an allergy, you get allergy symptoms. If it’s an autoimmune disease, you get a flair of your condition for example an outbreak of a scaling rash in psoriasis.
Remember “Corn Oil Margarine”? I can still remember opening the shiny green paper boxes with the big ear of corn on it and getting the sticks out. Well here’s a quote from this article. (The article says “maize oil” this is the European term for “corn oil” which is high in Linoleic Omega-6 fatty acids): “On the other hand, excessive intake of linoleic acid may aggravate type 2 autoimmune disorders.” Type 2 disorders that are known include Grave’s disease, goodpasture’s Syndrome, Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, and Pemplagus, and If you look at the table of autoimmune diseases in the Wikipedia and look in the column labeled “Hypersensitivity” those with a Roman Numeral II are type 2 diseases. You will also see that for most autoimmune diseases the type class of hypersensitivity reaction hasn’t been determined yet. Much research to be done. The article also admits that Type I immunity is suppressed in the first line.
Too much fiber is also associated an increased risk of diverticulosis. . This is a painful condition where the strain of moving all that fiber through the gut causes weakening of the wall of the large intestines and eventually bubble like outpouchings to appear where food can get trapped an life threatening infections call diverticulitis can occur. This sometimes requires emergency surgery.
Leaky Gut and diverticulosis are a couple of the many reasons I do not include plants in my diet.
Leaky gut has also been strongly implicated in the development of of a painful, disabling illness of women called endometriosis as this article shows. In this condition the endometrial cells that grow in the womb and are shed every month during a woman’s period start growing outside the womb on things like the ovaries, fallopian tube and bladder often causing severe pain especially during menses.
The good news is that the Intestinal epithelial cells that form the gut lining can quickly heal sealing this barrier. In fact the entire epithelial cell lining of our gut is replaced every 4-5 days by new cells that grow up from the base of the villi just like the top layer of our skin is completely replaced every 3 weeks. Another piece of good news is that an all meat diet contains none of the Zonulins or raphides that cause the tight junctions to loosen up and become leaky, generates very little inflammation and also prevents the blood sugar from going high which is another source of leaky gut. In fact in Hungary researcher, Dr. Zsofia Clemens has been reversing autoimmune conditions with an all meat diet for over 5 years including Type 1 diabetes if caught early enough. Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Clemens about this work.
Dr. Zsofia Clemens
Autoimmune diseases cannot be completely cured but they can be put into remission. Here’s how that works. The disease started when the body first encountered the foreign protein that triggered it to make the antibody that also reacts against some protein normal and necessary to the human body. Once the body makes an antibody to a foreign body it never forgets how to make it. However as the concentration of the triggering protein drops, the amount of antibodies against it also drop dramatically and can reach very low levels that do very little damage to human protein in question. Most autoimmune diseases follow a typical course with flares which are often followed by periods with decreased symptoms as levels of the offending antibody increase and decrease. The way eating a diet devoid of plants can prevent leaky gut and thus the symptoms of the autoimmune disease is that the immune system stops encountering the stimulating plant protein and the symptoms go away and stay away. I know if someone I loved developed an autoimmune condition I would try my best to convince them to follow and all meat diet.