Why should gluten and wheat be avoided?

by | Functional Medicine

Here are several reasons why consuming gluten containing grains and wheat can be very detrimental to ones health. Gluten is the main protein in wheat that most people are aware of, however there are many different components that can cause unwanted side effects. Several will be discussed below.

Gluten causes gut inflammation in at least 80% of the population and another 30% of the population develops antibodies against gluten proteins in the gut. In addition, 99% of the population has the genetic potential to develop antibodies against gluten. This means that 99% of the population would decrease their risk of having gluten associated problems by removing gluten from their diets.

Gliadin, the main protein in gluten that causes problems, can be similar in structure to other proteins found in tissues of the body such as the thyroid and pancreas. When gluten antibodies are present they can actually end up attacking these organs leading to autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and type 1 diabetes.

Gluten’s inflammatory effect in the gut causes the intestinal cells to die prematurely and causes oxidation (rust) on those cells. This can lead to leaky gut which allows the bacterial proteins and other toxins to get into the blood stream and also lead to autoimmune attacks on the body. Leaky gut also leads to nutrient deficiencies because the food is not digested and absorbed appropriately.

Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), another component of wheat, also causes irritation and premature death in the intestinal cells and therefore leads to leaky gut and all of the associated problems.

WGA can disrupt the mucus membrane in the gut which leads to bacterial overgrowth and can end up contributing to GERD and ulcers.

Another component of wheat is called opioid peptides. These can actually cause people to be addicted to wheat and those same people will experience withdrawal symptoms upon removing wheat from the diet.

This is just a brief overview of why wheat and gluten can have negative impacts on a persons health. In the upcoming weeks check back for more on gluten, leaky gut and auto immune conditions.


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