Gut Health Series – The Truth About Gluten
Why does Gluten cause so many digestive problems?
Here’s a little background into gluten and other grains that you may not be aware of. We’ve all been raised to believe that grains are an intrinsic and necessary food to eat. Part of a balanced diet. I want to inform you that they’re not. They cause harm. They cause disease. Yet we all eat them.
The history of grain
Seeds are designed to perpetuate their own species. They are not designed to be a staple food for another species. (1) This very protective mechanism is what hinders our ability to digest them. There are types of proteins in grains that have been shown to shut down pancreatic secretions in humans. They do this for one reason and one reason alone to come out the other end in tact, and undigested.
Why is digestion of grains so important to gut health?
If we’re unable to digest grains, and especially gluten grains this can lead to an imbalance in our gut flora, this condition is called gut dysbiosis and it can mimic IBS symptoms. This is because our gut bacteria have to deal with undigested food. If this goes on for any length of time we can end up with gut permeability or ‘leaky gut syndrome’ as it is often called. The latter can lead onto allergies and even autoimmune disease if not corrected.
Why are grains fortified?
Grains are fortified because they cause disease and even death through creating vitamin and mineral deficiencies, unless they are fortified with nutrients. In 1943 it became mandatory to fortify grains with niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and iron, with the addition of folate in 1998. (2) So we’re tricked by the marketing companies to think it’s good to eat these cereals that are fortified with vitamins and minerals, when in fact it’s those very cereals that cause the nutritional deficiencies in the first place.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in all grains. It is composed of two primary subfractions, prolamines and glutelines. There are different percentage amounts of prolamines in all grains. For example, wheat contains 69% gliadin, the most well researched prolamine and the one lined with celiac disease. Rye contains 30-50% secalinin, oats, 12-16% avenin, corn 55% zein, rice 5% orzenin, millet 40% panicin, barley 46-52% hordein. (3)
While gluten intolerance and sensitivity is not a disease it can cause diseases.
Common diseases caused by gluten intolerance/sensitivity.
Bone Loss Osteoporosis
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
When we have either an intolerance or a sensitivity to gluten we react to it. If we’re sensitive to gluten we have an immune response whihc triggers an inflammatory cascade which can lead onto tissue damage ad the development of disease. If we’re intolerant to gluten, we struggle to digest it, this leads to malabsorption, gut dysbiosis, nutrient deficiencies and gut permeability which can then also lead onto the development of disease.
If you know you react after eating gluten it is wise to cut it out of your diet and consider going completely grain free.
(1) (2) Functional Medicine University. Dr Osborne P. Gluten Certification, 2015