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Explain how these affect immune system function

Explain how these affect immune system function
Explain how these affect immune system function


In today's fast-paced world, convenience often comes at the expense of nutrition. Ultra-Processed Foods.

However, a diet that includes a lot of ultra-processed foods Numerous health problems It contributes to a variety of health problems, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Ultra-processed foods are often low in nutritional value and lack essential nutrients and dietary fiber. play a key role in these health risks.

There is also growing evidence that ultra-processed foods may affect how the immune system works, which may be why some studies point to a link between ultra-processed foods and the immune system. Inflammatory bowel disease And potentially Autoimmune disorders.

Ultra-processed foods (such as packaged snacks, sugary drinks, instant noodles, and prepared meals) often contain emulsifiers, particulates (such as titanium dioxide), thickeners, stabilizers, flavors, and colorants. While human studies are limited, studies in mice have found that these ingredients alter the gut microbiome (the group of microorganisms that live in the gut) in a variety of ways. Many of these microbiome changes can affect immune system function.

The Microbiome and the Immune System

In mouse studies, Low concentration of emulsifier The intestinal mucus barrier can become weakened, which allows microbes (including harmful ones) to more easily enter and leave the intestine. Changes in the integrity of the mucus barrier also correlate with increased levels of inflammatory markers, which are signs that the body's immune system is activated.

of Fiber deficiency A diet high in ultra-processed foods, typical of this diet, may also affect the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Gut microbes need to digest fiber to produce short-chain fatty acids. These molecules maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier and Modulating the immune response They reduce inflammation and aid in the production of T cells, a type of immune cell that attacks pathogens. Without these molecules, the integrity of the intestinal barrier can be weakened and inflammation can increase.

Ultra-processed foods have also been associated with changes in gut microbiota composition: diets high in saturated fat, sugar, salt and additives (such as emulsifiers) have been shown to impair gut microbiota composition. Rich in beneficial bacteria It helps maintain the intestinal barrier function in mice, and also increases harmful bacteria that cause inflammation.

A depiction of the gut microbiome and the microorganisms that live there.
In mice, ultra-processed foods have been shown to reduce levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock

What's more, ultra-processed foods can activate harmful genes in normally harmless gut bacteria. This is because: Chronic inflammation.

Real World Evidence

Observational studies in humans seem to support these findings.

Research shows that a diet high in ultra-processed foods Signs of systemic inflammationChanges in the diversity of gut microbiota, increased production of gut molecules, inflammation and Decreasing production Contains beneficial short-chain fatty acids.

for example, 1 attempt Diets high in ultra-processed foods were associated with higher calorie intake and weight gain compared to diets containing no ultra-processed foods, both in terms of calories and sodium. Over time, diets high in ultra-processed foods were associated with: Obesity and chronic inflammationBoth factors are closely related to changes in the gut microbiota. Decreased microbial diversity and increased intestinal permeability – This can then affect immune function.

Other studies Eating high amounts of salt, often found in ultra-processed foods, has been shown to increase the number of T cells produced in the body, which can increase inflammation. A high-salt diet has also been linked to lower levels of beneficial T cells. Lactic acid bacteria Gut bacteria. These bacteria help maintain gut health by suppressing harmful bacteria and supporting the intestinal barrier.

read more:
The Gut Microbiome: Introducing Lactobacillus acidophilus, the Gut Health Superhero

Another study People who avoided ultra-processed foods were found to have significantly lower levels of systemic inflammation and healthier gut microbiomes than those who ate a normal diet, although it is unclear how much ultra-processed food was included in that diet.

It's important to note that these are observational studies and can only show correlation, not prove causation. It's quite possible that there are other factors (other than diet) that influence these results.

More research is needed to fully understand why ultra-processed foods are so harmful, but the current evidence linking them to adverse health outcomes is particularly striking. Gut health and immune functionThe argument is compelling: as ultra-processed foods become a more important part of the global diet, it is important to understand how they affect our health.




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