Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s and lupus are only a few of many autoimmune diseases we commonly see today. Although autoimmune conditions are complex and involve many body systems, a growing body of evidence suggests the microbial imbalance (dysbiosis) can play a huge role in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity.
Many mechanisms are involved (such as molecular mimicry, haptenization, and immune complex formation). Basically, dysbiosis can damage the intestinal lining causing absorption of “debris” from the gut which activates the immune system chronically and inappropriately. Deposition of immune complexes can appear in joints, kidneys, skin and vessels leading to tissue damage and further inflammation. Also certain microorganisms destroy protective antibodies in our gut lining decreasing our defenses to other microbes. This may explain the results of a study where women with chronic vaginal candidiasis (yeast infection) were found to have nearly double the incidence of allergic rhinitis (ie. hay fever) (Moraes, 1998).
As with other conditions, the body’s microbial balance seems to play a huge role in making sure our basic body functions (like the defense system) respond appropriately.