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How Food Sensitivities Develop

How Food Sensitivities Develop

All foods have proteins that are structured in a sequence. When you digest your food, your body’s enzymes break down those protein structures into chains of amino acids. If this break-down fails to happen, your immune system will see an unbroken protein sequence and says, “Hey! You don’t belong here, you’re foreign and it’s my job to attack and remove you.”

Your immune system then carries around the unbroken protein sequence and uses it as a flag to identify the food, preparing for the next time it sees the same protein sequence. If it sees the same protein sequence again, it will mount a faster immune response. This is the beginning of a food sensitivity. This is why it’s so important that our enzymes do a good job of breaking down protein sequences in the food we eat.

Food Coloring Prevents Protein Break-down

Food coloring can lead to food sensitivities. Artificial food coloring blocks the enzymes needed to break down protein structure sequences into amino acids, leaving an unbreakable protein sequence that is tagged by your immune system, thereby creating a sensitivity to that food.

Food Sensitivity, Autoimmunity, and Molecular Mimicry

For some, food coloring and its resultant food sensitivity can lead to autoimmunity by way of molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry is a term used to define certain protein sequences that come from food which have the same protein sequence as human tissue. Molecular mimicry happens with several foods that have similar protein sequences to body tissues.

One well-documented case of molecular mimicry is between the protein sequence of gluten, the protein sequence of thyroid tissue, and the protein sequence of cerebellum tissue. Gluten is commonly found in foods, both naturally occurring and processed. The thyroid is a gland at the base of your neck that produces endocrine hormones. And the cerebellum ​is the portion of your brain in the back of the head between the cerebrum and the brain stem, chiefly responsible for the control of balance for walking, standing, and other motor functions.

 

In this instance, if your immune system has tagged gluten (A-​T-R-Z​-V) as a foreign invader that should be attacked when present, it may mistakenly see your thyroid (C-​T-R-Z​-T) as gluten because of the similarity in protein sequence and may attack it. Likewise, a gluten-sensitive immune response can attack the cerebellum protein (P-​T-R-Z​-T) for the same reason—molecular mimicry. As you can imagine, autoimmunity due to molecular mimicry can have a devastating effect on a person when they aren’t aware of their food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities may not always cause anaphylaxis like a deadly peanut allergy, but they are not to be ignored and can cause traumatic changes to the body if left unchecked.

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