Candida and Toxicity: The Immune System’s Role
Sometimes the body’s immune system gets confused.
The immune system will produce antibodies, or immunoglobulins, to identify or neutralize a pathogen. The pathogen, which can be a virus, bacteria, fungus, or foreign body, is the antigen that prompts the immune response. The antigen has something on it called an epitope, which is like a nametag that the immune system uses to produce antibodies. Sometimes two different antigens will have similar epitopes, or in some cases, two different antigens will share an epitope. In either case, this leads to a partial binding between an antibody and antigen, stimulating an inappropriate immune response.
Both the wheat protein, alpha gliadin, and the protein present in candida can bind to the same antibody.
This means that the immune system confuses wheat for candida – which could explain sensitivity to gluten.
This confusion, or cross-reaction, happens with other common foods like dairy, coffee, and chocolate.6
Partial binding of antigenic epitopes to an antibody can also happen with the protein casein found in milk and, strangely enough, has been found to occur with coffee and chocolate as well. That means that although these foods contain no gluten, they will still create the same immune response as if you were eating a doughy piece of wheat bread.
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