NEW STUDY showing systemic immune activation and intestinal cell damage with gluten sensitivity (in the absence of celiac disease!)
I have many patients, clients, and friends who have experienced first hand the demolition that gluten can take on one's body, but when tested and celiac disease is ruled out, they're left wondering "So, what is actually going on with my body?" This new study (click on the image below to pull it up), confirms that a lot is still happening! As an ND who has clinically observed the effects of gluten in many individuals who have no known celiac disease, this is a pretty groundbreaking review. It's surprising there haven't been more efforts to understand the physiological+immunological process our bodies undergo when regularly exposed to gluten, since SO many people claim to experience some kind of issue around gluten intake. I'm very excited about what this can mean for the social shaming that comes up for people who are experimenting with cutting out gluten (How many times have we heard "Oh, it's just a fad"?) It wasn't all in your head... or your gut. Read the article by clicking the image and read below to understand more about what gluten is, the differences between sensitivity and an allergy, and what the signs and symptoms of gluten issues can look like.
What is "gluten"?
Gluten is essentially a conglomerate of glutenin and gliadin proteins. Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and even oats (although we tend to see less reactivity in oats, especially the specific “gluten free” kind). There is much debate over whether reactivity is triggered by glutenin or gliadin, since they share similar properties in structure. These proteins are what make bread doughy and soft… and delicious. I call gluten “the devil in a red dress.”
Gluten sensitivity vs intolerance vs allergy:
“Wheat intolerance syndrome” is used to summarize all of the gluten issues into one category: celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or gluten allergy. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder; people can be born with active celiac disease, or one can have a latent activation of the gene through environmental toxicity, stress, or weakening of the body’s systems for various other reasons. Gluten sensitivity is when one mounts a “stress” response following consumption: this is the stereotypical gas, bloating, diarrhea/constipation, and skin-related issues. With gluten sensitivity, however, you don’t see the immunological response that one experiences with a gluten allergy. Gluten allergy stimulates an immune response because the foreign proteins glutenin and gliadin can trigger a “danger warning” to our immunoglobulins, which we can pick up on an allergy panel. Sensitivity, however, doesn’t stimulate this immune response. It’s typically understood that gluten sensitivities and allergies don’t cause lasting damage to the intestines, whereas celiac disease does. However, through my own experience, one can still experience “leaky gut” through a sensitivity or allergy, signifying damage, but that can be repaired once gluten has been removed.
Common signs and symptoms of a potential gluten sensitivity or intolerance:
Gas & bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, headaches, brain fog, history of migraines, light sensitivity, skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis, hair loss, low energy, difficulty concentrating, joint pain, prematurely aging skin, brittle nails, micronutrient deficiencies (like Vitamin B12), painful menses, PMS, decreased stamina, depression, and anxiety. The list can go on and on, as this becomes a systemic problem that affects the entire body in ways that are often unexplainable.
Are you feeling like you have had a rough experience with gluten, but aren't sure how to proceed in healing your gut? Reach out to me! I'd love to help you.
In healing and magic,
Jacqueline Thomas, ND