Gluten is not bad for you…
…bad gluten is bad for you.
So what is gluten? And what is bad gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found in many grains. The family of gluten proteins includes wheat, rye, barley, rice, corn, quinoa, oats and more. Some of the members of the gluten proteins are primarily toxic as they can not be digested completely by humans. These grains high in gluten are dominant in todays nutrition. In fact, about 50% of all the calories humans consume worldwide these days come from wheat, corn and rice. Grains are not necessarily bad, they have their benefits. Still this dominant consumption or overconsumption of grain, often of poor quality, has been proven to be primary reason for obesity worldwide. Next to the high carbohydrate content the main factors are that the type of gluten found in wheat, rye and barley will cause inflammation and intestinal permeability in many. Dr. Alessio Fasano conducted research at Harvard University and recently published a paper that showed that gluten in wheat causes intestinal permeability in every human (1). His team studied four populations: recently diagnosed celiacs (thus recently eating gluten), celiac patients in remission (who havn’t eaten gluten in at least 12 months), non-celiac gluten sensitivity patients, and patients with no sensitivity to gluten. In his conclusion of the study, Dr. Fasano states, „Increased intestinal permeability after gliadin exposure (a piece of poorly digested gluten) occurs in all individuals“.
This is a highly interesting point. Gluten increases intestinal permeability in everyone. To put this in perspective, though, there are many other factors that increase intestinal permeability, too. So the degree of intestinal permeability developed by an individual is then a question of total volume of exposure and individual sensitivity.
We don’t have the enzymes to digest gluten. We eat it and excrete it. The majority of people eat gluten without digesting it an are symptom-free. Yet some people have consequences leading to symptoms because they possess a specific factor: genetic susceptibility. For them, they now have two factors in place: The genetics that reject gluten and the exposure to gluten. For those gluten is highly irritating to the intestines and the immune system. For many people with gluten sensitivity the brain seems to be highly vulnerable, causing decreased memory, poor attention, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, weight gain and more.
Still not having acute subjective symptoms doesn’t mean gluten doesn’t cause inflammation and also intestinal permeability, which Dr. Fasano’s research has clearly shown.
So whats the solution? Moderation in consumption of one food, primarily on the base of rotation, is clearly a key factor in nutrition. To get the most out of the gluten scenario, determining if and how much of which members of the gluten family one can tolerate is the goal to maximize the sustainability and benefit of going „glutenfree“.
All the Best choosing the right Gluten for you!
The world leader in gluten sensitivity Dr. Tom O’Bryan will teach the YPSI Autoimmunity & Gluten Sensitivity Seminar on September 15th/16th this year at the YPSI in Stuttgart, click here for more info
Parts of the above information are an excerpt of Dr. O’Bryan’s book „The Autoimmune Fix“, for a full review click here
Reference: (1) K. Hollen at el. Nutrients. 2015 Feb 27;7(3):1565-76. doi: 10.3390/nu7031565. Effect of gliadin on permeability of intestinal biopsy explants from celiac disease patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25734566