Increased Vulnerability To Gut Autoimmunity
Items #1-4 on this list discussed how wheat makes the gut more permeable, so all kinds of stuff can get into the bloodstream even though it shouldnt be there. Included in that stuff isgluten! Specifically, gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Once its inside your bloodstream, gliadin runs into your immune system, and thats where the problems really start, in the form of molecular mimicry.
Molecular mimicry works like this: some foreign thing gets into the bloodstream. The immune system forms antibodies against it. So far, so good: thats how the immune system is supposed to work. But if that foreign thing looks enough like your own bodys tissue, then the antibodies formed to fight it might start attacking your own body as well.
Molecular mimicry may be the reason why people with celiac disease mount an attack on their own gut cells: to your immune system, gliadin looks a lot like the cells lining the gut. But its not just celiac disease! Gluten-related inflammation may also be a factor in the development of Crohns Disease, another autoimmune gut disease. In this study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease , a gluten-free diet helped a majority of people who tried it.
And gut cells arent the only cells affected by gluten-related autoimmunity
You Could Have A More Upset Stomach
Typically, gluten-free foods especially processed gluten-free foods, do not contain as much fiber as grain-based foods. And according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, more than 90 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended daily amount of fiber.
Fiber keeps things running smoothly. It’s the roughage that your body can’t digest that helps bulk up your poop. If you don’t get enough of it, you’ll have a harder time making bowel movements, i.e. constipation. Thankfully, fruits, vegetables, potato skins and legumes are all great alternative sources of fiber.
The Truth About Gluten Intolerance
Gluten is the glue that holds it all together, and its a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Meaning its found in foods you probably eat every day – bread, pasta, crackers, cereals, salad dressings and more.
So what happens when your body has an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten? The results can be unpleasant, painful and downright dangerous to your long-term health. Heres what you should know about gluten intolerance.
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Common Signs Of A Gluten Allergy You Should Watch Out For
Consuming too much gluten can prompt various complications, such as a gluten allergy. This happens when the immune system develops weapons that aim to attack gluten in your system.6 However, a gluten allergy is not to be confused with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.7 It is quite similar to other food allergies, since these are all responses to a particular allergen. Some of the most well known gluten allergy symptoms are:8
|Swelling of the tongue and throat|
|A metallic taste in your mouth||Abdominal pain|
Gluten allergy may trigger anaphylaxis or an anaphylactic shock that can affect different organs. Patients might experience agitation, hives, breathing problems, reduced blood pressure levels, fainting or even death, if the reaction is very severe.
What Effect Does Gluten Have On The Human Body
The effect gluten has on the body depends on how your body responds to gluten. For people who have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, the effects can cause an array of unpleasant or even debilitating symptoms. For everyone else, gluten plays an important role in a healthy diet.
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Gluten does not have a negative effect on most people. It does cause an inflammatory response in people with gluten sensitivity, however, sometimes with serious consequences.
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Three Good Reasons To Go Gluten Free
If You Have A Sensitivity You’ll See An Improvement In Your Digestive Health
“If you are going gluten free because you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then you may feel relief of symptoms including GI issues, weight loss, improved nutrient absorption, a decrease in aches and pains and headaches, and increased energy,” Shapiro says. “If you have or suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, then removing it may decrease gas and bloating.”
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Autoimmune Reactions In People Without Celiac Disease
Point #6 above gave a lot of reasons why celiac disease is associated with other autoimmune diseases, but its not limited to people with celiac disease. If you thought non-celiac gluten sensitivity was unrelated to autoimmune disease, you thought wrong! This study found that a lot of people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have autoimmune markers in their blood, suggesting that the wheat exposure might be causing autoimmune issues even without celiac disease.
One interesting aspect of this is that patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may have a different type of autoimmune reaction, which just underlines that celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are two different things. But the point is that both involve potentially serious autoimmune responses.
Is Gluten Bad For You
Theres a lot of confusion about gluten being an evil food. Gluten isnt inherently bad for most people, says Rajagopal. We, as humans, have consumed gluten for as long as people have been making bread. For centuries, foods with gluten have been providing people with protein, soluble fiber and nutrients.
Gluten in itself, especially gluten found in whole grains, is not bad for healthy people whose bodies can tolerate it. However, grains like wheat are often stripped down to make processed foods such as snack crackers and potato chips. These refined products have very little resemblance to the actual wheat plant, which is actually highly nutritious, explains Rajagopal. They tend to contain things like white rice flour and starches, but not whole grains.
Many people who adopt a gluten-free diet but still eat processed foods find they continue to have weight gain, blood sugar swings and other health issues. So its not the gluten in foods thats causing their health issues, but the sodium, sugar and other additives in processed foods.
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But I Have No Symptoms Wheat Doesnt Seem To Bother Me
Some people can consume gluten and dont appear on the surface to be affected. According to Dr. Thomas OBryan, most of this has to do with our immune system and genetic predisposition. We can have a immune tolerance to certain foreign proteins in our body, but if the immune system becomes disrupted, due to environmental chemicals and toxins, gluten can be the tipping point, says Dr. OBryan. This is the hypothesis for why people do not seem to be diagnosed with these conditions until middle age. The body may work up a tolerance to a point and then, when the system is taxed, cannot handle any more. There are no current studies explaining exactly why.
It is also really hard to tell what the body could be like otherwise. It is easy to feel normal when you are used to your body feeling a certain way. Headaches, joint pain,arthritis, allergies, seizures, asthma, high blood pressure, skin problems, diarrhea, depression, thyroid problems, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, hormone imbalances, infertility, and many other diseases and symptoms can be thought to be normal. Or at least, not related to the pasta you ate for dinner.
Any symptom of the body can be attributed to gluten. Dr. Thomas OBryan
What Are The Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
The symptoms of celiac disease vary so much between people, which makes it extra difficult to diagnose it. To complicate things, many other autoimmune diseases share the same symptoms as celiac disease. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all, but if you suspect you have celiac disease, these are some of the most common signs:
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To Gluten Or Not To Gluten
So what’s a gluten-fearing girl to do? At the current war-torn state of the food industry, you’re not going to get a clear answer. But if there’s one thing that you can always rely on, it’s yourself. Blindly eating whatever is within reach without paying attention to its nutrition label or how it’s making you feel is setting you up for heartache and heartburn.
Does your Wednesday night spaghetti frequently end in tummy aches? Do you feel a lot better after eating a bowl of steel cut oatmeal than a bowl of cinnamon-swirled cereal? Then follow your stomach. It’s trying to tell you what to do.
Reduced Risk Of Exposure To Toxic Heavy Metals
Rice and fish are often favored on a gluten-free diet, but these foods may concentrate toxic heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and lead. In one study, researchers evaluated blood samples in 11,353 subjects, 55 of whom had celiac disease. They found that in people who were observing a gluten-free diet, blood levels of mercury, lead, and cadmium were higher than in those who did not avoid gluten. The increased burden of toxic heavy metals was found in those with and without celiac disease following a GFD.
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How Much Gluten Can A Person Eat Without Causing An Inflammatory Response
A research study was done about a woman with Celiac disease who wanted to partake in communion each Sunday at church. The bread wafer was studied, and in her particular case, it was broken into a crescent shape about an eighth of a fingernail in size. She, like many others thought that as long as she kept gluten consumption down, she would be okay. The study was called A Milligram a Day Keeps the Healing Away. The study showed that even ingesting as little as one tiny milligram can cause the assembly line of antibodies ready for destruction, and according to Dr. OByran, the memory B cells produced in our bodies when gluten is eaten, will cause an assembly line of antibodies that continue attacking your body for 2-3 months even after you resume a gluten free lifestyle. AHHH! How alarming for the mostly gluten-free person who occasionally wants that slice of pizza.
From Head To Toe For Some
Gluten intolerance or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, to be specific can affect your body in more ways than one. Aside from digestive symptoms, gluten intolerance may present itself physically through skin rashes, joint and muscle pain, and numbness in your arms or legs. It may also cause neurological conditions such as anxiety, brain fog and depression.
The time it takes for these symptoms to manifest ranges from person to person, with some experiencing an almost instantaneous surge of reactions right after consuming gluten. Symptoms can last for a day or more, depending on the individuals level of intolerance.
Heres the catch: majority of the human population can digest gluten without experiencing any discomfort whatsoever, proving why a gluten-free diet is not suited for everyone.
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Is Leaky Gut That Big Of A Deal
Now that we recognize how gluten can be a contributing factor to increasing the probability of developing a leaky gut, you may be wondering if a leaky gut is really that big of a deal.
Over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates wisely stated: All disease begins in the gut. And Hippocrates was not wrong. Science continually confirms the importance of gut health for optimal health overall. This topic is actually one Id like to explore more in another blog post, but for now, just know that around 70-80% of our immune system is actually located within our digestive system. Without a healthy gut, you are much more at risk for a variety of health conditions and diseases.
As an example, some researchers now believe that you can only develop an autoimmune disease if you have a leaky gut . Additionally, reversing the symptoms of autoimmune diseases usually relies on healing the lining of the gut .
So, yes, a leaky really is that big of a deal!
Things That Happen To Your Body When You Go Gluten
It might get worse before it gets better.
For most people, gluten isn’t the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad protein it’s made out to be, and doctors insist you shouldn’t avoid it just to follow a trend. But if you’re sensitive to gluten about 1 in every 133 Americans cutting it out of your diet is a necessity. Like with any other major change you make to what you’re putting in your body, there could be side effects. Here are some things you might want to prep for.
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You Could Experience Anti
Inflammation is the body’s attempt to bring more nourishment and immune activity to a site of injury in the body. It’s a healing response. The problem, however, is when inflammation persists without reason. Chronic inflammation is at the root of America’s most popular illnesses heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and a whole host of autoimmune conditions.
According to Romero, because gluten creates inflammation in the body, when one has an allergy or sensitivity, a significant reduction in symptoms is noticed pretty quickly. These can include rashes, GI issues such as IBS, autoimmunity, and pain/fibromyalgia.
When Should I Call My Doctor
Some symptoms of gluten exposure can be severe. Seek medical attention if you experience diarrhea or vomiting. Dehydration can lead to dangerous electrolyte imbalances.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gluten intolerance may make you feel sick after eating gluten. You might get bloated, nauseous or gassy. Gluten intolerance causes a lot of the same symptoms as celiac disease, but its not the same condition. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to damage to the digestive tract. People with gluten intolerance usually find relief from their symptoms by following a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diets do have some health risks. Its important to work with your healthcare provider and a dietitian to build the right treatment plan for your needs.
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