One current theory about why people are having so many food allergies and sensitivities has to do with something called the “hygeine hypothesis”. The hygeine hypothesis states that the current state of cleanliness in the western world, which includes not just frequent bathing and sanitary water, but also vaccines and antibiotics, has left us with immune systems that don’t work correctly.

There are two theories about how this happens. Both may be true and neither may be true. The research is not conclusive. Both are controversial.

The first theory is that the human immune system needs multiple actual illnesses (not just vaccines) to be experienced by a certain age in order to learn how to properly distinguish between an invading bacteria or virus and a harmless protein. The idea is that human beings are designed to get sick as tiny babies as part of developing their immune systems, sort of like exercise and gravity develop muscles and that our emphasis on vaccines, antibiotics, and good hygiene is preventing our babies from getting the illnesses that they need to set up their immune systems.

The second theory is called “leaky gut” Leaky gut states that for several reasons including caesarian delivery, maternal use of antibiotics, child use of antibiotics without subsequent probiotic use, parasite free water, and plain old handwashing that we put our bionome out of whack and our intestines leak food into the bloodstream which sets off an immune reaction.

What is the bionome? In the human body at any time there are literally pounds of microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts. This is a symbiotic relationship. When the relationship between the human host and its parasites is in balance the microorganisms in the intestines assist with food digestion, keeping the intestines themselves healthy and also with fighting infections. A surprising amount of your immune system is in your digestive tract.

According to the theory, when healthy humans have an event that kills off a lot of the beneficial bacteria, or if they never get them in the first place (we are all born with a sterile digestive tract) then “bad” yeasts or bacteria can grow rampant. They may punch microscopic holes in the intestines. These holes allow food that normally would stay in the intestines to get into the bloodstream. The intestines literally leak hence the name “leaky gut”

Your immune system is trained to fight invaders like strep and mono and measles all of which are bacterial or viral life forms. Your immune system does not recognize them as life forms but instead recognizes them as proteins that are not supposed to be there. When the white blood cells encounter a protein, living or dead, that is not part of a human the rule is to identify it, remember it, destroy it and then be ready to destroy it faster if you ever see it again. This is how most vaccines work. Dead smallpox gets injected. The body learns what smallpox looks like from the dead organisms and voila, when exposed to smallpox your body mounts an immune response and while you actually do get smallpox, nothing happens to you as your body mounts a swift assault and kills it off before you ever know what happened.

If, however, the foreign protein in your bloodstream is say, gluten, then your body mounts a full assault on gluten. It flushes all of the offending protein from your intestines. It attacks intestinal tissue in an attempt to eliminate the invader. And you get sick, not from gluten, but from your owm immune system’s reaction to it.

Autoimmune arthritis is when the body becomes convinced that joint tissue is or is hosting an invader and it attacks the joints. Type 1 diabetes is when the body attacks the islet cells of the pancreas. In Hashimoto’s the target is the thyroid gland. MS attacks the myelin sheaths on the nerves and the brain. And so on.

If you believe in leaky gut then the theory implies that if you can find a way to stop your gut from leaking and making your immune system crazy and fix the bionome then you may be able to turn off the damage.

Since I started sharing my story I have met several people who have healed themselves of autoimmune diseases by healing their gut. I have also found story after story of recovery from MS, from autoimmune arthritis, and even from what appears to be the autoimmune autism subtype. Often it requires going on an elimination diet, eliminating the offending foods and then rebuilding the gut with probiotics and a plant based whole food diet.

Is it a pain to do? Yup. Its a challenge. That said, compared to what my friend with MS goes through managing her illness…its a cakewalk.

Will it work for everyone? Nothing works for everyone. That said, given how many people it seems to help it might be something that you may want to look into and try under the care of a nutritionist or other licensed medical professional.