When in 2010, the GEK research group began to study BAFF (an inflammatory cytokine) and started to relate its presence to many commonly inflammatory disorders, very few was known about its real function; it was not clear what BAFF actually does.
In 2007, Fabris evaluated BAFF as a possible celiac disease marker. He published his results on the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (Fabris M et al, Scand J Gastroenterol, 2007 Dec, 42 (12): 1434-9). However, it was lately found that BAFF levels increased in response to different foods too, other than gluten; so his study was gradually put aside.
This was until 2010, when Lied, together with his group of Norwegian gastroenterologists, published on the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal the results of their study. They demonstrated that BAFF is the cytokine produced by the organism when it responds to food. In addition, they stated that a problematic relationship with foods, one that causes discomforts, was actually mediated by BAFF (Lied GA et al, Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jul; 32 (1): 66-73, Epub 2010 Mar 26).
For the GEK’s scientific team, who has been extensively working on the Nutritional Immunology field, the paper published by Lied was striking. At that moment, we began to devote much of our efforts to study this molecule and investigate its possible practical applications.
This article was an important inflection point from the scientific perspective, that made it possible to “put an end” to the theme of the so-called “food intolerances” (a label currently deprived of scientific value because of its constant erroneous use). For the last 6-7 years we’ve been very carefully avoiding the use of this therm, except for the two sole intolerances recognized by science: the biochemical lactose intolerance and celiac gluten one.
Therefore BAFF is a molecule that revolutionizes the perception of the reaction phenomena towards food. It represents an inflammatory substance that plays a “signal” role of the reaction, and that explains the symptoms related to food inflammation.
It is a big deal for a substance that no one has ever looked up before, not until the last few years. BAFF is active in situations and areas in which food inflammation plays an important part, such as in rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, migraine, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic respiratory diseases and in all autoimmune diseases.
Then in 2017, exactly on April 27th, it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (perhaps the most prestigious medical journal in the world) a study in humans that confirmed the importance of BAFF in autoimmune diseases, paving the way for new perspectives in the diagnosis and therapy areas (Steri M. et al, N Engl J Med. 2017, April 27, 376 (17): 1615-1626. Doi: 10.1056 / NEJMoa1610528).
It is an international scientific study, coordinated by the University of Sassari, that finally connected Genetics and Functional Biology in a precise way. The survey also defined the ways in which certain types of DNA mutations can be expressed on the clinical level. In fact, the study highlighted that BAFF is not only involved in the genesis of Lupus but in all the autoimmune diseases.
Besides, since 2013, a research published on Cytokine & Growth Factors Review intensified this perception. This specific article defined that BAFF, in addition to its autoimmunity action, is importantly involved in cancer, infectious diseases and allergies (Vincent FB et al, Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2013 Jun; 24 (3): 203-15.00: 10.1016 / j.cytogfr.2013.04.003 Epub 2013 May 15). A molecule that must be respected, don’t you think?
Today’s reflection, now supported by scientific data and certainly unexpected in the past few years, is that the study of the relationship with food has a fundamental importance in the human clinical practice. BAFF (as well as PAF, measured both through the Food Inflammation Test) represents a “signal” molecule. A warning alarm for the organism that reacts accordingly to a pathological way.
Having understood that BAFF and PAF can be modulated and controlled through simple food choices, has restructured the healing strategy for common chronic and degenerative diseases; focusing more on the preventive actions rather that on the therapeutic ones.
The knowledge of BAFF and PAF allow everyone to confront with their own wellness and encourages us scientists to carry on; we’re on the “right way”.