Could Gluten be Causing Your Health Problems?
Increasing numbers of individuals with health problems are finding that being gluten-free improves their health. They are called "non-celiac gluten sensitive" and may experience symptoms like IBS, abdominal pain, bloating, headache, fatigue, and joint and muscle pain. Also associated with gluten consumption are autoimmune diseases like Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus.
Here are several possible explanations why wheat and gluten are causing problems for people today.
*Changes in the wheat itself: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. The chemical composition of wheat today is nothing like the wheat our ancestors ate. In the 1960s, breeders introduced new varieties of wheat to increase grain yield, drought and insect resistance, and shorten the growing season.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan, a world-renowned expert on gluten and visionary behind The Gluten Summit, reports that the gluten content of wheat is up 50% in the last 50 years, changing the structure of the protein molecule. While higher amounts of gluten make better cupcakes and pastries, it is more difficult for the human digestive tract to break down.
According to Doctor Alessio Fasano, a pediatric gastroenterologist and leading research scientist on gluten and celiac disorders, humans can break down gluten, but not completely. The gluten protein contains three peptides that cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes in the stomach, and as a result, reach the small intestine intact. While some people can excrete these undigested molecules without a reaction, it's estimated that 5% of the population will have gluten sensitivity resulting in various symptoms.
*Modern preparation methods: Our ancestors instinctively soaked, sprouted, or fermented their grains, beans, nuts, and seeds to improve their digestibility. Modern science has taught us that these foods contain phytic acid in their outer layer or bran, which can bind with minerals in our digestive tracts and block their absorption by our bodies. These minerals include calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and especially zinc.
Today, many well-meaning nutritionists encourage us to consume more whole grains without advising us how to prepare them properly. Evidence exists of pre-industrialized peoples from all over the world soaking or fermenting their grains before making them into bread or porridge. In America, we know that the pioneers were famous for their sourdough bread, pancakes, and biscuits. In Europe, grains were soaked up to several days in water or soured milk before consumption.
For more information on grain preparation, I recommend checking out the first two resources listed below.
Summary: This article covers two of the possible reasons why modern-day wheat is a growing problem for our digestive tracts. If you have any of the health problems mentioned above, you may want to consult a holistic health professional regarding removing gluten products from your diet.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: thedr.com
Dr. Alessio Fasano: celiac.org/provider/alessio-fasano-md/