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July 22, 2019 - The Facts You Need to Know About Gluten

The Facts You Need to Know About Gluten

July 22, 2019 Puzzle Piece
Responses to eating wheat can be divided into different categories and severities.  There’s a difference between being “allergic” to gluten, having celiac disease, and just being gluten sensitive.  Allergic responses like skin rashes and breathing problems appear to be related to a variety of wheat proteins. Studies done with purified wheat proteins that tracked specific autoimmune antibodies in patients’ blood showed that 60% had antibody responses to α-gliadins and β-gliadins, 55% to γ-gliadins, 48% to ω-gliadins.

There are other wheat reactions, like WDEIA or “Wheat Dependent Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis” that are syndromes that are known to be caused by a specific type of grain protein, ω5-gliadins.  Those with gluten sensitivity don’t experience their reaction in the same way that those with celiac disease do. Gluten sensitivity is not the same at the autoimmune response of celiac. People with gluten sensitivity have a reaction to set up a barrier to fight an irritant, while those with celiac disease start building an internal army and develop specific antibodies to gluten so they are constantly prepared for attack.  This reaction destroys the body’s own tissues.

Celiac Disease is four times more common today than it was 50 years ago.  Gluten free diets isn’t just a passing fad.  The number of people with real autoimmune response to gluten is rising. An autoimmune response is much more serious than an intolerance because this response causes your body to begin to attack its own cells. An intolerance or sensitivity to gluten is bad but is less severe and is more like your reaction to an infection, which attacks the invader, but not the body like celiac.

The increase in celiac disease is likely due to the constant experimenting and hybridization of wheat to increase growth rate and the amount of grain each plant grows. There’s also the fact that wheat and flour-based products now make up a large majority of the average person’s diet.  This is even becoming true in countries like China, where rice was the staple.  Now wheat-based products are beginning to increase, and gluten-related illness are on the rise.   There isn’t testing to determine if these newly developed grains are safe for human consumption.  As many as 29% in the US may have a gluten allergy or intolerance and do not even know about it.

A real wakeup call was a study published in 2007, where researchers took gut biopsies from celiac patients as well as patients with no gluten-related symptoms. Five out of six of the patients “without symptoms” showed inflammatory autoimmune blood proteins when they were exposed to gliadin (a component of gluten).

Similar studies accomplished on populations in the UK and Germany showed that when tested, 3 times more people were sensitive to gluten than they originally thought.

These “autoimmune blood proteins” are markers that tell the body to create a system-wide inflammation response and especially in our intestines. This happens for two reasons: One, it helps our body get rid of the offending gluten as quickly as possible; And two, it sends us a painful message telling us not to eat that food again.

This full-body inflammation creates stress in our digestive tract and can lead to tiny holes in our intestines, known as “leaky gut syndrome”. The compromised intestines allow small particles of undigested food to pass into our bloodstream. This causes even more stress and inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation destroys the specialized cells in our intestines that are designed to absorb nutrients, which can lead to malnourishment and an increasing #’s of foods we react to.

It’s has been estimated that for every 1 person with celiac disease, there is 6-8 people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  These people may have one symptom after another and not know the cause.

Eating gluten can lead to other allergies.  Gluten sensitivity can cause dairy intolerance. This is because the enzyme we need to digest the milk sugar lactose (an enzyme called “lactase”) is created by the cells in our small intestine.  These cells can be destroyed by inflammation caused by eating too much gluten.  A person frequently begins to react to other groups of foods such as nightshades, which are potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, chilies and peppers.

The effects of gluten sensitivity add up over a period of a few years of constant inflammation.  Remember that this inflammation may be killing off the cells in the small intestine that are designed to absorb nutrients, which can leave you both fat and starving. Chronic inflammation anywhere in the body has full-body effects.  Chronic inflammation has been linked to terminal illnesses like arthritis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  It also can be a trigger in acne, female and male problems, depression and increased visceral fat.

Studies show that those diagnosed with celiac disease demonstrate several micronutrients to be low.  Zinc deficiency was the most prevalent. In a test of 309 people, 59.4% of the patients were found to be zinc deficient.  OHS Essential Zinc, developed by Dr Marc Harris can be helpful.

essential_zinc 2

Another study of micronutrient assessment of those diagnosed with celiac, gluten sensitivity and intolerance showed zinc, vitamin D, iron, folate, vitamin B12 and copper to be the most the common deficiencies. 
Zinc deficiency alone has been associated with low energy, nervousness, depression, light sensitivity, impaired taste and smell, acne, thinning hair/baldness, slow wound healing, prostatitis, infertility, frequent infection and anemia.  We must use support nutrition.
It is important to support probiotics like OHS’s Optimal Flora, GI support like Opti-GI, Adrenal support like Opti-Adrenal.  Test for Thyroid dysfunction and support specific nutrition if necessary.  Consider Opti-Thyroid, Opti-Iodine for thyroid balance and Optimal 1 Digestion to assist in digestion and utilization in these compromised patients.

Please do not ignore the possibility of Gluten Sensitivities and Celiac Disease in your patients.  It is all to frequent a player in your complicated cases.

Marc Harris, ND, ND, PhD, PhD, PhD
and John Brimhall, DC, FIAMA, DIBAK Present
Marc Harris, ND, ND, PhD, PhD, PhD
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