Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and some oats. It is extracted from these grains and used in other foods to add texture and protein as well. No human can digest gluten from wheat, rye, and barley. Therefore gluten is one of the most common food sensitivities a person can have and is linked to over 55 diseases!
Gluten is also highly addictive. Your brain’s receptors are affected by gluten, much like opium. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it can be so challenging to eliminate from your diet. Gluten is known to cross the intestinal barrier, either intact or partially digested, and can disproportionally feed the bacteria in the gut, leading to gut dysbiosis. It also stimulates the release of zonulin, which acts directly on the tight junctions in the gut; this causes them to open up and leak out the gut’s contents. Once gluten has leaked out, it interacts with the immune system of the gut.
What is Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten sensitivity is a disorder of the immune system with a wide range of manifestations throughout the body and brain. When we consume gluten, the immune system responds by producing inflammation, which causes damage throughout the body. The immune response from gluten is delayed (from 10 minutes to 2 days) but long-lasting. Many people with gluten sensitivity seem to have zero symptoms, making the diagnosis and avoidance more difficult. Whether or not we experience a reaction to gluten is due to crossing an imaginary threshold in the body. Since this is an internal process, so most of us don’t even know when it happens.
Symptoms can vary, but no tissue, organ, or gland is immune to the effects. The brain and nervous system are commonly affected, causing difficulty concentrating, memory problems, fatigue, and irritability.
“In children, gluten sensitivity is linked to disorders such as ADD and ADHD, depression, anxiety, and apathy.”
-Dr. Tom O’Bryan
The following are examples of diseases and symptoms triggered by gluten.
- Fatigue Liver Disease Hormonal Imbalance
- Infertility Diarrhea/Constipation Brain Ataxia
- Obesity Some Cancers Dermatitis
- Diabetes Headaches/Migraines Being Underweight
- Depression ADD/ADHD Muscular Pain
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Acid Reflux MS
- Anxiety Autism Alzheimer’s
- Thyroid Disease Brain Fog/Poor Memory Osteoporosis
Where Gluten Hides
Check any packaged or prepared foods, candy, or beverages such as hot chocolate and soda for hidden gluten-containing ingredients, including salads, soups, and so-called “healthy” options.
Familiar sources where gluten hide includes:
- artificial colors
- baking powder
- caramel color
- food starch and modified food starch
- French fries
- hydrolyzed protein
- natural flavorings
- and non-dairy creamers.
Essentially, if you buy anything in a package, you MUST read labels carefully. The good news is that animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats are naturally gluten-free!
Do I Need to Avoid Gluten Completely?
“Just a little bit” of gluten is enough to cause a significant reaction from the immune system that can last weeks or even months. It may take up to 6-months for the immune system to calm down and heal from a single small exposure! If you have a known autoimmune disease/condition (overactive immune system), I encourage you to eliminate gluten from your diet. Trust me; your body will thank you!
“Gluten is the most common environmental toxin that we are exposed to.”
-Dr. Tom O’Bryan
Why would we continue to eat something that causes/increases inflammation and increases gut permeability (leaky gut) every time we eat it?
I encourage everyone to pull gluten out of their diets for 21 days and notice how much better you look, feel, and perform. I have a book that can help you remove gluten and so much more in “Clean It Up”>> Our 5-Step Guide!
If you’d like more personal guidance, done-for-you packages, and accountability – then consider becoming a member! Let’s clean up your diet, get your body moving (effectively, efficiently, pain-free), and achieve any fitness goal you may have while we’re at it!
Are you starting your healthy journey and are looking for more information – then I recommend looking at our post on Sugar.