Dr. Fasano estimates that up to 20% of people with autoimmune conditions, the trigger may be gluten, and removing gluten will reverse the autoimmunity. Other panelists also discussed other contributing foods, such as grains, dairy, and lectins. Dr. Tanya Dempsey discussed the role of food sensitivities that may be unique to each person and her success with autoimmune conditions through addressing food intolerances.
Infections may act as additional triggers. Some of these infections can be treated; others can be managed.
In some cases, the triggers may be difficult to identify, or may not be modifiable. Another target is intestinal permeability, which is largely determined by the foods we eat and the state of our intestinal bacteria. If we can reverse intestinal permeability, we can prevent or stop autoimmunity!
Dr. Fasano has also provided an update on a new drug his team is developing to address intestinal permeability. This medication is currently being studied for celiac disease and has shown positive results in animal models of other autoimmune conditions. The name of the compound is larazotide, and as a pharmacist, I am very excited about it so far. It may be an option for those that have not been able to identify their triggers or may not be able to implement lifestyle interventions that can address intestinal permeability. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Fasano and thanked him for the work that he is doing for the autoimmune community!