The problem with Gluten

The most well known problem with wheat is celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Celiac disease causes an inflammatory response and damage to the small intestine and other parts of the body, resulting in a wide range of possible symptoms. Often, the connection with gluten is not recognized.

Inflammation from wheat is also a problem even for people who aren’t Celiac. Recently there has been an increase in non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Inflammation in the gut contributes to a problem called intestinal permeability or leaky gut. When microbes and dietary proteins “leak” into the bloodstream they cause an inflammatory response by the immune system. This condition can lead to a whole host of health problems.

Leaky is a big problem because it’s an essential factor in the development of autoimmune diseases. When a foreign body leaks into the bloodstream the immune system forms antibodies against it. That’s how the immune system is supposed to work. But if that foreign body is similar to your own body’s tissue, then the antibodies formed to fight it might start attacking your own body as well. This is called molecular mimicry.

Molecular mimicry may be the reason why people with celiac disease mount an attack on their own gut cells. Gluten-related inflammation may also be a factor in the development of Crohnís Disease, another autoimmune gut disease.

In one study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohnís Disease and ulcerative colitis), a gluten-free diet helped a majority of people who tried it.

Problems with gluten are not limited to autoimmune diseases, one study has proven that gluten can cause "brain fog" and fatigue. Other linked health issues are skin problems, migraines, anxiety, depression and more.

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3266166/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24865778
  3. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apt.12809/full