Gluten Intolerance (GI). Could it be what is causing your health challenges?

Many experts believe, and I concur, that the health of your gut is just as important to your physical well-being as the health of your mind.

If you think about the number of receptors that are used from the beginning of digestion (your mouth) all the way to elimination (your colon) it becomes very easy to understand the importance of all of the organs used during digestion, specifically the intestines and stomach. We have taken a quick look at food allergies and food intolerances over the past couple of weeks, just a few challenges for optimal gut health, and now we will spend some time looking at one of the food intolerances; Gluten.

Gluten is a highly complex protein that occurs in three main grains: Wheat, rye, and barley. Some people list oats here, but it still seems to be controversial, so it won’t make the list today. Gluten, a glycoprotein with the molecular name of Gliadin, can be found in all types of grain like whole grain wheat, wheat bran, spelt, triticale and others. This means Gluten is also present in all baked foods that are made from these grains: bread, pies, cake, breakfast cereals, porridge, cookies, pizza and pasta. There are thousands of processed foods which contain Gluten.

Obviously, Gluten is one of the most complex proteins consumed by man. Because of its very large molecular structure relative to other foods it becomes very difficult for the human digestive system to break down. Problems begin when it reaches the small intestine. In sensitive individuals Gluten actually tears holes in the lining of the gut, creating Leaky Gut Syndrome.

GI is a broad term which includes all kinds of sensitivity to Gluten. A small proportion of Gluten intolerant people will test positive to Celiac Disease test, and so are called “Celiacs”. But most Gluten sensitive people return negative or inconclusive results upon Celiac testing. The correct term for these people is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS) and may be as many as 1 in 7, compared to 1 in 150 for Celiacs. Unfortunately, Celiac testing is still used in many clinics as a first test for Gluten sensitivity, and it only picks up the small percentage of Gluten-sensitive people who are Celiac

Many people suffer from headaches, mouth ulcers, weight gain or weight loss, poor immunity to disease, and skin problems like dermatitis and eczema. But the common and well-known Gluten intolerance symptoms are gastro-intestinal (diarrhea, flatulence, bloating etc.). Because the symptoms overlap with many other ailments, Gluten intolerance can be missed or misdiagnosed.

Even the medical fraternity concedes Gluten Intolerance is poorly diagnosed. Both Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Celiac Disease are genetically inherited (indicators are Irish, English, Scottish, Scandinavian, and other Northern/Eastern European heritages). Some Gluten intolerance may be identified in children, but for others, it is not until much later in life that Gluten intolerance is actually suspected. Frequently it is triggered by some difficulty or painful occurrence in life. The best treatment is to exclude Gluten for life. Gluten is found in the major starches of our diet, if you are concerned that you may be intolerant, eliminate Gluten and replace those grains with rice, corn and potatoes. Some people feel better within days and others weeks. If you are intolerant of Gluten and you do eliminate it from your diet you may find yourself feeling better than ever before.

Your Gut will thank you!