In 2012, I attended a seminar on Gluten Intolerance by Dr. Rhonda Nelson from Diagnos Techs Laboratories, and I'd like to share some of the information I learned with you.
Gluten (from the Latin word meaning "glue") is the composite of two proteins called gliadin and glutenin. Gluten "intolerance" is a well-known and mostly undiagnosed food sensitivity that causes a mucotoxic inflammatory reaction in the intestines. This inflammation may go undetected for years, but the ultimate effect of this hidden wear and tear is the slow destruction of the healthy mucosa, or lining tissue of the small intestine which ultimately leads to all kinds of health problems.
SO THE QUESTION IS WHY IS THIS HAPPENING AFTER EATING GLUTINOUS GRAINS FOR CENTURIES?
In 1943, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center wanted to help Mexico achieve agricultural self-sufficiency which grew into a world-wide effort to increase the yield of corn, soy, and wheat. Hybridization took over and soon, many different strains of wheat were being planted and harvested. By 1980, thousands of new strains of wheat had been produced. These new varieties were geared toward making the plant resistant to environmental conditions, greater resistance to pathogens such as fungus, and increased yield per acre, tenfold greater than farms of a century ago. Increased yield meant top-heavy plants and grain losses occurred as plants could not withstand the weight. Continued manipulations produced smaller plants considered "dwarf" wheat. More than 99% of wheat crops are now "dwarfed", growing to only 18" tall compared to non-hybridized wheat that grows naturally to 4.5 feet tall.
Despite increases in crop yield, no animal or human safety testing had been conducted on these new strains of wheat. Geneticists were confident that hybridization yielded safe products for human consumption. So, all products were released into the food supply unquestioned. Assumption was that altered protein structures, enzymes and gluten content would have no human consequence ~ but they were wrong.
Tens of thousands of hybridization experiments were carried out with no regard to possible alterations to gluten proteins. It was later discovered that wheat gluten proteins had the most significant changes. New, never-before-seen gluten proteins are now being discovered which are foreign to the body. Some estimates suggest that the hybridization and genetic engineering of wheat has resulted in an up to 500 fold increase in wheat gluten produced today. This may be one of the primary reasons behind the massive rise in incidence of wheat gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other autoimmune conditions in recent decades. In fact, today’s gluten has the potential to create an autoimmune epidemic.
IT ALL STARTS IN THE GUT
It is no coincidence that, at that same time, we experienced a huge increase in health challenges. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. Ingestion of gluten triggers an immune response that causes inflammation in the intestinal mucosa and causes the release of an intestinal protein called zonulin. Zonulin breaks apart the tight junctions in the intestines which allows unwanted proteins or other large molecules to gain entry directly into the blood stream. This is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome and is associated with inflammatory and infectious bowel diseases and can ultimately lead to a variety of intestinal dysfunctions such as food allergies, malabsorption, anemia, vitamin & mineral deficiency, chronic diarrhea or constipation, abdominal distension, and celiac disease.
Conditions that have paralleled this process and are related to gluten are inflammatory and infectious bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, etc), several types of arthritis (including Rheumatoid Arthritis), acne, psoriasis, AIDS, chronic liver disease, pancreatic disease, thyroid disease, insulin resistance & diabetes, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, MS, intestinal cancers, heart disease, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, acid reflex, osteoporosis & osteopenia, muscle weakness, bone or joint pain, migraines, accelerated aging,
infertility, miscarriage, & numerous hormone related problems, and more. Ingestion of gluten has also been linked to a multitude of neurological problems including schizophrenia, bipolar disease, seizure disorders, Bell’s palsies, neuropathy, nerve pain syndromes, depression, ADD/ADHD, autism and other developmental disease.
WHERE IS GLUTEN FOUND?
Wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, couscous and oats all contain gluten. Oats are actually NOT a glutinous grain. However, they are grown next to or rotated with glutinous grains, and processed on the same equipment as glutinous grains so are cross-contaminated, and are usually included in lists of glutinous grains. (Gluten-free oats can be purchased at most health is found in soups, rice mixes, sauces & gravies, some ice creams, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, frozen vegetables with sauce packets, imitation bacon bits, beer, barbecue sauce, anything with malt flour, chocolate bars, farina, sausage products, imitation crab meat, meat marinades, candy coatings, glue on envelopes & stamps, and hundreds more!!!