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Gluten is a protein composite found in foods derived from wheat and grains such as bread and pasta.   Unknowingly most of us are addicted to it as it gives some of our favorite foods their texture and consistency; cookies, cakes, pizza and gravies are just to name a few.  Its clear that gluten is the very foundation of our beloved food pyramid.

Gluten is made of proteins called gliadin and glutenin. These proteins can become “stuck” to the intestinal wall of the intestines.  Once this happens your body will creates antigliadin antibodies to attack these foreign substances.  This is the normal reaction of the immune system; except due to the gliadin attachment to the cells of your gut the antibodies inherently attack both the protein and the human host cells.  This is what sets up for further autoimmune pathology.

bread

Grains are carbohydrates that when digested they form sugar, more specifically fermentable sugars which often lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea in patients.  We know this because when they are removed from a patients diet the symptoms disappear.   These fermentable sugars can also feed pathological gut bacteria already present and “fuel the fire” so to speak.

If I don’t have Celiac disease than I’m ok to eat gluten, right?

WRONG!  More and more research has emerged finding that gluten is the cause of many diseases that plague America even in those non-Celiac patients.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with Celiac disease, both diagnosed and undiagnosed along with Non-Celiac  gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death mostly from heart disease and cancer. 1  This study lasted close 40 years and looked at over 30,000 patients.

“The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia,cancerfatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxietydepression,  schizophrenia, dementiamigraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.”  Gluten can cause many vitamin and mineral deficiencies by its interaction with the villi (finger like projection in the intestines that help absorb nutrients) which can spiral alterations in your body’s energy cycles, hormone imbalances and thyroid dysfunction.

gluten-monster

We now find gluten in much more than just our breads and deserts.  Gluten is currently found in make-up, beer and postage stamps!

We suggest everyone avoid gluten as much as possible or better yet all together whether you are “sensitive” to it or not. I never ask my patients to do anything that I don’t do, and staying gluten FREE is among my top priorities when preparing my meals. There are some simple blood test that can be performed by the your Doctor to assess your reaction and the long term ramifications of consuming gluten.

 

1Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.

2https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html