Do you already know that you are sensitive to gluten? Or maybe you have some of the symptoms, such as digestion problems or brain fog, but you didn’t find a specific connection yet? Maybe something that you are consuming could be triggering your health issues.
So many people are getting more and more sensitive to gluten. But why now? Our ancestors were eating breads without any problems, but now everywhere that you look you’ll find gluten-free products. In fact about 100 million people in the US choose to buy gluten free. Unfortunately the environment has changed, the soil in many places is depleted of nutrients and many agricultural toxic chemicals are causing an accumulated effect on us.
Gluten is a protein which you can find mostly in wheat, barley and rye. Science suggests that our body is not able to digest gluten very well. Especially as we age it becomes much harder for us to digest it. Gluten also does not provide the body with essential nutrients.
Gluten has been described as the rubbery mass that is left when wheat flour is washed with water to remove starch, non-starchy polysaccharides, and water-soluble constituent. It is comprised of 80% to 85% protein and 5% lipids, most of the remainder is starch and non-starch carbohydrates. Gluten is a main storage protein of wheat grains, a complex mixture of hundreds of related but distinct proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin contains peptide sequences that are highly resistant to gastric, pancreatic, and intestinal proteolytic digestion in the gastrointestinal tract.
When you consume gluten you may recognize some of the sensitivity symptoms including headaches, diarrhea, constipation, nasal congestion, stomach pains, cramps, itching and swelling of the skin.
So why not just avoid gluten? It’s unfortunately not that simple. Even when you completely stop eating gluten you still need to be careful with cross-reactivity from other foods, which happens when the immune system confuses tissue in the body with the tagged antigen because they are similar in structure. The body then attacks and destroys its own tissue, at the same time that it’s trying to attack the antigen.
That means that if you have a gluten sensitivity your immune system will have created antibodies for the gluten. But these gluten antibodies tag gluten and alert the immune system to destroy it every time you eat it. Even when you eat a very small quantity, it can cause inflammation.
And since gluten has protein sequences that are identical to the protein sequences in the brain, thyroid, pancreas, and in other tissues in the body, if you are still eating gluten then eventually the gluten antibodies may begin to attack, and destroy, one or more of these tissues at the same time that it’s attacking the gluten. That can actually also happen with pathogens already in your body, such as unhealthy gut bacteria.
Unfortunately most grains, such as amaranth, corn, millet, spelt, soy, sorghum, tapioca, teff, oats, millet, rice, and quinoa can have cross-reactivity effects. Also dairy, whey, chocolate, sesame seeds, eggs, yeast, and instant coffee too. If you are not sure whether you are sensitive or not, the best thing would be to cut out all grains and dairy for 3 to 4 weeks from your diet. Monitor how you feel and then slowly start adding one thing back at a time to see any side effects that each ingredient might be causing.
Did you know that developing diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimers happens over many years? So maybe you can reduce the risk of inflammation in your body and thus eventually reduce your risk of many diseases as well. You may also think that these reactions are all over exaggerated and you don’t need to worry, but really the only way to find out is, at least temporarily, to remove it from your body and see how you react. I know it is not easy to eliminate many of the food sources that you are already consuming on a regular basis, but I am sure that your body and your health will be thankful for this.
1 — “WHAT FOODS CONTAIN GLUTEN?”; https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/guidelines-for-avoiding-gluten-unsafe-ingredients-for-gluten-sensitivity/
2 — “Nonceliac gluten sensitivity”; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25583468/
3 — “Immunoreactivity of Gluten-Sensitized Sera Toward Wheat, Rice, Corn, and Amaranth Flour Proteins Treated With Microbial Transglutaminase”; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30972033/
4 — “Are you eating a gluten-free diet but still have sensitivity?”; https://healthangelwarrior.com/are-you-eating-a-gluten-free-diet-but-still-have-sensitivity
5 — “Gluten Associated Cross Reactive Foods”; https://www.drperlmutter.com/eat/foods-that-cross-react-with-gluten/
7 — “ NUTRIENT UPTAKE, TRANSPORT AND TRANSLOCATION IN CEREALS: INFLUENCES OF ENVIRONMENT AND FARMING CONDITIONS”; https://pub.epsilon.slu.se/4083/1/malik_a_091030.pdf
8 — “Ditch the Gluten, Improve Your Health?”; https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ditch-the-gluten-improve-your-health