Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease

Gluten Intolerance affects more than just Celiacs:

Those that have food sensitivities have heard of the “rare” allergy to wheat called Celiac Disease, or Celiac Spru. This is the most recognized form of gluten intolerance, identified through blood testing as well as tissue biopsy. The common syptoms associated with Celiac Disease are:

- Severe diarrhea, cramps, bleeding and pain, in addition to steatorrhea (floating oils.fats separated in the stool), severe weight loss and malnourishment.

This Celiac Disease is caused by a genetic Gluten Intolerance, which refers to a reaction to a specific molecule called “Gliadin” that occurs in specific gluten containing foods, but does not occur in all gluten foods.

IMPORTANT

There is a whole other sub-population of people who have gluten intolerance that do NOT have celiac spru, but DO have what’s referred to as SUB-CLINICAL GLUTEN INTOLERANCE.

It is believed that up to 60% of the US population has some degree of gluten intolerance; This can have major devastating effects on health, both short and long-term. And, because it is not a food allergy, can go undiagnosed or remain “hidden” compared to the symptoms one with Celiac Spru would represent.

Gluten Intolerance is a genetic intolerance to the Gliadin molecule: a protein molecule called a polypeptide (long-chain amino acid). If you have this problem, depending on the degree of intolerance and the amount of exposure of gluten containing foods, both daily and throughout your life, the following problems can develop:

  • Hidden inflammatory reactions in the small intestines, creating a breakdown of the healthy lining of the tissue
  • Diminishing of the mucosal barrier that helps protect against pathogens (compromising the immune system response)
  • Can contribute to a “leaky gut”, or increased permeability: foreign proteins from foods can leak through into the blood stream prematurely, as well as other problems such as bad bacteria.
  • This will lead to severe malabsorption: inability to get nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids. Inability to get amino acids, maintain blood sugar.
  • Will affect normal digestive processes

It’s extremely important to understand that people who are gluten intolerant will not only be intolerant, but can also develop numerous food reactions that they may or may not be aware of. This applies especially to dairy products, leaving people lactose intolerant. This is because the lacteals (enzymes that help digest lactose) in the small intestines are the first thing to get damaged when inflammation occurs in the small intestines due to gluten intolerance.

Dairy and gluten grain products combine to make up the top six foods we now eat. yet cow’s milk and wheat are two of the most commonly reported allergens in the world. With individuals genetically predisposed to food allergies and gluten sensitivity, eating these same nonancestral, genetically incompatible foods in large quantities day in and day out, is it any wonder that so many people suffer from chronic food sensitivities?

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity: (Different for every person)

Low Blood pressure, Heartburn, Esophogeal Reflux, Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies (Anemia), Coughing, Asthma, Shortness of Breath, Allergies, Autoimmune Disease, Digestive Issues, Cancer, Growth retardation, Learning Disorders, Neurological Disorders, Reproductive Problems, Seizures, Lung Disease, Fatigue, Anxiety, Depression.

Foods to avoid:

Gluten-free means avoiding all foods containing gluten, including wheat, rye, spelt, bulgar, semolina, couscous, triticale, and

durum flour. Gluten can be hidden, so read labels carefully. Be wary of modified food starch, dextrin, flavorings and extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, imitation seafood, and creamed or thickened products such as soups, stews, and sauces.

If you believe that you may be sensitive/intolerant to gluten and gluten containing grains, one of the best things you can do is eliminate the aforementioned foods from your diet for a minimum of 60-90 days to allow the healing process to occur within your small intestines. A mini-test can be done for 2-weeks to identify if any specific symptoms diminish, however the full 2-3 months is an absolute must for true healing to take place. This includes elimination of processed dairy products as these too will cause inflammation and are best left out of the diet for the duration of the healing process. NOTE: Raw milk products are usually acceptable as they often contain beneficial bacteria to help aid in the digestive healing process.

Just because the conventional medical community has not yet recognized sub-clinical gluten intolerance does not mean is is not pervasive within our society. This is due to absent or no-specific symptoms early in the diease process as well as human bias rooted in history and psychology, accompanied by a universal reluctance to embrace radically new information. “Acceptance of new ideas is often coupled with the recognition of having been fundamentally wrong all along – a difficult admission for anyone” (Braley and Hogan, Dangerous Grains)

For additional information regarding Gluten Intolerance:

http://www.celiac.com

http://www.glutenfree.com

http://www.glutenfreeliving.com

Book: Dangerous Grains by Braly and Hoggan