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Why Gluten May Be Hurting You

Ever feel bad after eating a sandwich?

Humans have been eating gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains, for 10,000 years in agrarian societies and even longer in hunter-gatherer tribes that wild-harvested their grains.

About 50 years ago gluten was identified as the culprit in Celiac disease, a disease associated with severe intestinal disturbances. 

It may sound like along time, but 10,000 years of eating wheat is a drop in the bucket when compared to how long human DNA has been on this planet. Processed wheat and grains tend to cause a lot of health problems due to their over-representation in the American menu. The high-octane fuel that our body needs rarely comes from grains but rather from food in its natural form that comes from the earth. Those foods are: vegetables, fruits, legumes, meats, nuts and seeds.

When a person with this condition consumes gluten, the body’s immune system creates specific antibodies that ultimately destroy the finger-like villi in the small intestines. These villi are used to absorb nutrients but are flattened in Celiac patients.

The result is a lack of absorption of nutrients and intestinal discomfort. Cramping, bloating and diarrhea are common due to unabsorbed food putrefying in the small intestines. Children with this condition often suffer from failure-to-thrive. Celiac disease is a serious condition but one that is well-controlled through diet.

Gluten sensitivity though, according to a study in the BMC Medicine Journal, appears to be more of a general inflammatory reaction. Celiac again, was specific antibodies against gluten. People with gluten sensitivities may experience a more general immune reaction like itching, hives, and swelling in the acute phase and indigestion, bloating and brain fog as more of a chronic and delayed reaction.

This is good news for people suffering from any condition that is based in inflammation like arthritis, heart disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. If these patients do have a gluten sensitivity, their condition may well be improved from the elimination of gluten in the diet. Also, people with fatigue and brain fog could potentially see improvement after eliminating wheat from their nutritional program.

(This column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.) 

Minnie Cooper September 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The article you put up for reference doesn't say anything at all about gluten causing a general inflammatory response with gluten sensitivity. What do you base your statement on? Dr Fasano states that gs isn't associated with any complications that celiacs get. In other words, people claim to feel bad when they eat gluten, but no damage can be found....nothing,nada zip! That's why there isn't a test to prove non celiac gluten sensitivity.
Sally Spangler September 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Remove guten,i.e., bread and anything else made with or containing wheat. Before, it was remove all meat from your diet. One fad for another. Yes all that is said above is probably true. But, is that all? Probably there is yet another piece of the usual diet - that someone hasn't latched onto yet. All cereals - whether eaten at breakfast, including the phase where babies are introduced to lots of gluey oatmeal, or rice cereal, or those slices of toast some of us eat to make do with a simple breakfast. Coffee, orange juice (not more than 4 oz) and toast with a piece of fresh fruit. Yummy - strawberries, melon pieces, grapes, pineapple pieces and maybe my favorite of all - raisons! Oh yes, 4 oz of fresh milk some time during any day.
Sally Spangler September 26, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Sorry Chris - no way to get entirely away from those foods that are bad for us. Stop eating entirely? (grin) Then we would all be within our healthy eating habits and look like a person from one of the WWII prison camps! (I'm kidding you gal!) Regards, Sally
Chris Ogilvie, Naturopath September 29, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Hello Sally, Great to hear from you again. Honest to God Sally I want you to eat whatever makes you the happiest. For some people, wheat is aggravating to their body. Others can eat it with no problem. If you eat wheat and feel good, eat on!
Chris Ogilvie, Naturopath September 29, 2012 at 03:01 AM
The article talks about symptoms caused by wheat sensitivity. I was explaining the mechanism.


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