What Is The Problem With Gluten?

A question that I am frequently asked by patients is: Why all of the sudden are people unable to eat gluten? My answer is twofold:

The first thing we need to consider is that major food producing corps have genetically modified this grain so that it is no longer in its basic original form.

The second is that many people have developed absorption problems in their GI system over time that do not make them able to properly break down the gliadin part of gluten. 

When we are young, in most cases our GI tract is healthy since we have not yet been exposed to antibiotics, yeast overgrowth, hydrogenated oils and other toxins. After our GI system has been exposed to these stressors we can develop a common problem that the literature calls 'Leaky Gut Syndrome'. This condition affects the permeability and the ability of the gut to properly break down gluten. In turn, the undigested gliadin enters the blood,where it is not supposed to be. When this occurs, our immune system starts to see gluten as foreign, and tries to attack it by releasing antibodies. This causes the immune system to be amped every time gluten is eaten. This immune response can create the following symptoms after gluten consumption:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Inflamed Joints
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Problems
  • Brain Fog and Memory Loss

Common gluten sources:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Barley
  • Kamut

Removing gluten from the diet is half the battle. The other part is fixing the gut's permeability through proper food and supplement choices, so that later on, all foods can be properly absorbed and enjoyed. There are exceptions; some people are 100% gluten intolerant and suffer from Celiac disease. More commonly I experience people who have developed a temporary intolerance due to a break down in healthy GI function. There are many new tests to check your level of intestinal health. Ask your health care professional on your next visit.