Everywhere you look there are new gluten free products, articles and books like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly touting the benefits of cutting gluten out of your diet. But maybe you aren’t sold just yet. Fair enough. So for today’s post let’s drill down on the basics.
What is Gluten?
Let’s keep things simple: gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is by far the most commonly consumed. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is responsible for most of the negative health effects.
Gliadin gives wheat bread its doughy texture and increases production of zonulin, an intestinal protein which opens up gaps in the normally tight junctures between intestinal cells increasing intestinal permeability or “leaky gut.”
By the way since we all create zonulin in response to gluten, it makes sense that we are all affected to some degree. In fact, according to Dr. Alessio Fasano in his new book, Gluten Freedom, “Gluten sensitivity affects six to seven times more people than celiac disease.”
People think only those with celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease, are affected by gluten. But this isn’t true. Many people have wheat allergy or some level of gluten intolerance or sensitivity. In fact some experts believe most people experience some level of gluten sensitivity simply because it is found in so many foods and even cosmetics and as noted above, we all react to it.
Possible Effects of Gluten
Don’t think that digestive problems like leaky gut, IBS symptoms, gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating are the only ones that can indicate sensitivity to gluten.
Gluten is also known to contribute to health problems you might not immediately associate with it such as:
Immune system sensitivity and increased inflammation
Autism (gliadin is being studied as being a possible link)
Depression and anxiety
Joint and muscle aches
Dental issues like cavities, canker sores (mouth ulcers,) broken teeth, tooth decay
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Hormonal imbalance including adrenal fatigue
Wheat allergy is a reaction to certain proteins in the wheat, whereas non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance can be related either to a reaction to the proteins, or to poor absorption of carbohydrates called fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAPS).
Visit http://3dlivingnutrition.wordpress.com tomorrow to read part two of this series: “Nutrition: Is There More to it Than Just Cutting Out Gluten?”
Do you experience any of the symptoms noted and believe they could be related to gluten sensitivity?
Want to see more articles like this? Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader. To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D as well as getting exclusive information on giveaways and special offers, be sure to like me on Facebook, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report, follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!
Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.