Some say it’s harmless, some say it’s poison. Today, we are going to share our take on it.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a naturally occurring protein present in whole grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. Technically, gluten is more of a mixture of hundreds of related (but distinct) proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin. But, to keep things simple, we will discuss the “gluten family” as a whole.
Gluten has sticky and viscoelastic properties. That is why many grain-based foods present a soft chewy texture. These unique traits also make gluten an excellent additive to improve texture and moisture retention in other foods. Thus, it is used in most processed foods to enhance texture and flavor.
Gluten: Friend Or Foe?
The truth is that we have been consuming grains for thousands of years. But now, all of a sudden, gluten became enemy number one. What caused this shift in perception?
Sadly, it’s not just a shift in perception. Gluten has changed.
Our “modern gluten” has nothing to do with the gluten we consumed 1000 years ago, or even 100 years ago. With the advances in agricultural technology (such as hybridization and genetic manipulation), our grains have evolved. They are not the same grains our genes evolved with.
Then, we also have the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides that end up in all the products made with these grains. We also cannot forget that grains were only eaten seasonally, back in the day. Now, we consume grains every day, multiple times a day.
Finally, we have to recognize that our ancestors prepared grains in a much different way than we do nowadays. They used to soak, sprout and ferment these grains to make them more digestible. Currently, we skip all these steps. And, on top, we still add a bunch of preservatives and other additives.
Ask your grandma what used to happen to bread that was left uneaten for one day. She will tell you how one-day-old bread would become harder than a rock.
Today, we have loaves of bread sitting in stores for days or even weeks, all soft and chewy. Think about that for a second.
Is it a coincidence that we’re now seeing a growing incidence of celiac disease, gluten-related sensitivities, and many other serious health conditions?
Most of us have been educated to think about gluten as this harmless protein that only affects people with Celiac Disease. However, we have not been told the whole story.
From Leaky Gut to Autoimmunity
Our immune system is more than capable of addressing these gut invaders once in a while, but when they start occurring daily, it simply cannot handle all the attacks. Additionally, the changes in the intestines’ permeability can become worse over time (which is associated with the development of autoimmune disorders).
We can compare autoimmunity to friendly fire. The immune system is fighting so many threats at the same time that, eventually, bullets will start hitting our own innocent cells. And, even when you don’t eat gluten, your immune cells will be in such a “PTSD state”, that they will simply attack anything that resembles gluten. That could be dairy, eggs, or even our own tissues.
That is why we see cases every day of clients that started having issues with grains, but now also feel terrible after eating many other foods. Due to the overactivation of their immune system, these clients developed cross-reactivity to other foods.
Sadly, Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity cause problems beyond just food sensitivity and allergies. Left unchecked, these issues can lead to serious medical conditions. Bringing it back to the war example. When the war first starts, many infrastructures will remain unaffected. And life may even continue in many parts of the country. But, as it progresses, the destruction just piles on; until eventually, the whole country is just a pile of debris. That is what autoimmunity can do to our bodies. It all can start with just some digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, and skin rashes. Before we know it, that can progress into Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or even Multiple Sclerosis.
The good news is that in the same way we created these issues, we can also heal our gut lining and recover our immune system.
As always, the first step is to get data. There are plenty of great diagnostic tests that allow us to evaluate the gut and determine current food sensitivities; and other inflammatory triggers. With that data, we can then come up with a game plan to remove these aggressors; and introduce the substances that will expedite our body’s healing response.
If you want to learn more about this topic, and even learn about some of the therapeutic tools we use at BIOHAX to address these issues, click the button below to check this week’s video lecture.
Have questions? Need more guidance?
Contact us and one of our team members will provide you with some one1-on-one1 support on how you can address some of these issues ASAP.
Marcos de Andrade MD, MBA Biohax