By Dr. Oakley
Why is gluten such a big deal these days? Why do so many adopt a gluten-free diet? I will tell you why! My good friends and colleagues, Drs. Tom and Stephanie Chaney, publish an exhaustive review of gluten and how it affects the body in their book: ‘Lose the Gluten, Lose your Gut. Ditch the Grain, Save your Brain.’1 I will briefly summarize the important and detrimental aspects of how gluten may worsen your health.
Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye and spelt. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.2
Gluten is found in many foods (breads, cereals, cookies etc.), and hidden in lots of processed foods like dressings, condiments, and even gum! Wheat is a grain that has the highest amounts of the protein gluten.
Our body’s have a hard time digesting gluten, there are some researchers that suggest that humans shouldn’t even eat grains at all! When we do, many of us get inflammation of the intestinal lining which results in ‘increased intestinal permeability’ (a.k.a. ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome’).
The body’s immune system has its soldiers, ‘Antibodies’ (Immunoglobulins, i.e. IgG, IgA etc.) which attack foreign molecules (‘Antigens’) including gluten and its smaller partly digested proteins and peptides. The more you eat gluten, the better the immune system will recognize and attack the gluten byproducts – however, any particular proteins in the body which are similar to these gluten byproduct proteins will also be attacked – so your immune system will no longer differentiate the gluten byproducts from a particular part of your body!
‘Autoimmunity’ results when your immune system ends up attacking different parts of your own tissues. This will cause ‘flare-ups’ which result in attacks of pain, swelling, and inflammation resulting from eating gluten-laden foods.
Depending on which exact tissues are being attacked determines what disease might result. A scary fact is that many researchers are starting to believe that once thought of as different disease processes might actually be a single entity – the cause being the body’s autoimmune response to a constant bombardment of a gluten-laden diet (gluten reactivity).
I quote from the Chaney’s book:
“Some researchers claim that gluten-related disorders is a group of diseases itself; diseases that may involve several organs outside of the intestines and without Celiac disease, resulting in Type I diabetes,65,66 multiple sclerosis,67,68 systemic lupus erythematous(SLE),69,70,71 autoimmune thyroid disease,72 rheumatoid arthritis,73,74 addison’s disease,75,76 vasculitis,77 autism,59 asthma,78 neurological disorders and seizures,79,80,81 Alzhiemer’s and dementia mimicking gluten ataxia,82,83 Parkinson’s,84,85 dermitis herpetiformis (a rare skin disease) and other skin conditions such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,86,87,88,89 headaches,90,91 liver disease,92,93 cancer,94,95,96 muscle disease/myopathy,97,98 depression,99,100,101 and likely many other autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases once thought to be independent of each other.” p.31-32. (For a more comprehensive discussion and relevant references purchase the Chaney’s book on Amazon)1
What at first may only be symptoms of indigestion, bloating, constipation, cloudy headedness etc. may be early signs of gluten sensitivities and intolerances which may lead to more serious disease processes down the road.
*Get checked to see if you have a sensitivity/intolerance to Gluten – Call to book your Hemocode Food Intolerance test today!
- Chaney, S.J. & Chaney, T.A. (2012) Lose the Gluten, Lose your Gut. Ditch the Grain, Save your Brain. Discover how gluten and “healthy” whole grains contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, and other deadly diseases..And what you must do to prevent and reverse them. ISBN:9789-0-9854157-0-9. To order go to: http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chaney+gluten&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Achaney+gluten
- Wikipedia. Search term: ‘Gluten’ Retrieved July 7, 2015.