Processed Foods and Additives May Lead To MS, Autoimmune Diseases

The following article, which I wrote, first appeared on

Processed foods have been added to the list of “no-no” items that we are not supposed to eat if you, like me, are unfortunate enough to have MS. We were already warned against gluten, salt and various other ingredients in our diet; now it’s processed foods and additives.

shutterstock_397595314This is because research says that additives commonly used in processed foods can cause damage to the intestinal tolerance and immunity balance. This appears to be a knock-on effect of the food additives seriously harming the tight junctions that protect the intestinal mucosa, also called the gastric mucosa, which is the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

The immunity balance is important as it works to prevent multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

As the incidence of autoimmune disease continues to rise around the world, according to a variety of authorities, so both processed food and food additive industries continue to grow.

Professor Aaron Lerner.
Professor Aaron Lerner.

Professor Aaron Lerner, of the Technion Faculty of Medicine and Carmel Medical Center, in Haifa, Israel, and a lead author of the study that led to this latest warning, said: “In recent decades there has been a decrease in incidence of infectious diseases but, at the same time, there has been an increase in the incidence of allergic diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

“Since the weight of genetic changes is insignificant in such a short period, the scientific community is searching for the causes at the environmental level,” he said.

Avoid Processed Foods

The result of the study: “Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease,” was published in the journal Autoimmunity Reviews.

Now, I am an MS patient with knowledge of the disease at that level, so there is no way I am qualified to plough through all the technical scientific language. However, I can say that with all the information gathered on this subject, the researchers recommend that autoimmune disease patients, and their family members, avoid processed foods as much as possible.

“Control and enforcement agencies, such as the U.S.A.’s Food and Drug Administration, stringently supervise the pharmaceutical industry, but the food additive market remains unsupervised enough. We hope this study and similar studies increase awareness about the dangers inherent in industrial food additives and raise awareness about the need for control over them,” Professor Lerner concluded.

Anyone for dinner? Nothing processed, though.


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Ian Franks is Chief Patient Columnist with He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist Health & Disability blog at Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.


3 thoughts on “Processed Foods and Additives May Lead To MS, Autoimmune Diseases

  1. I am going to send you a challenge…Look into the work being done by Dr. Raymond Damadian, original inventor of the MRI, and Dr. Scott Rosa. They feel MS and other neurodegenerative diseases are related to head and/or neck trauma. This causes a blockage in the CSF flow which causes the CSF to leak from the ventricles in the brain. It also causes the CSF pressure to more than double normal in the brain…and that causes the blood flow in the brain to be restricted (CCSVI). Now all this would be just theory if Dr. Damadian hadn’t developed new software that can image CSF. AND wouldn’t it be nice if all the researchers could see this. Oh, but they could if they weren’t so hell bent on discrediting Dr. Damadian. A book has been written covering this science,”The Craniocervical Syndrome and MRI”. This certainly flies in the face of the theory that MS is the result of a mysterious virus (no longer being looked for) that the human body, while fighting it off, is attacking the myelin coating on the nerves. It just might be worth looking into. A journalist like you would be just the person to possibly gain if it could have some credibility.


  2. CCSVI was ‘the big thing’ 6-7 yrears ago due to amazing results published in Italy. However subsequent studies have failed to produce the same results so altho treatment has helped some people, it has not been enough to say that this is an influential cause of MS.


    • This article does not mention CCSVI, it is only about processed foods. However, as far as Liberation Therapy for CCVSI is concerned, it is a treatment that is highly controversial within the medical field and is unsubstantiated by independent clinical trials. Also, research has since indicated that there is no correlation between CCSVI and MS; it is just as likely to appear in people without MS as those with it.


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