Are You Intolerant to Gluten?
Cutting Out Gluten
In the United States 1% of the population are gluten intolerant. Many people are finding alternative foods that don’t have gluten in it, such as gluten-free breads, buns, bagels, and cereals. Now there are gluten-free flours like brown rice, coconut, and almond that is healthier.
What Is Gluten
Gluten is a type of protein composite found in different types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. There are two proteins in gluten: gliadin and glutenin. However, it’s the gliadin people have a bad reaction to. When gluten is mixed with water, it forms a sticky cross-linked network of proteins. When water is added to flour, it forms a dough that causes it to rise when it’s baked. The word “gluten”comes from the term glue-like properties.
When gluten goes into the digestive tract, it’s exposed to cells in the immune system; they think it’s coming from a type of foreign invader such as bacteria. As a result, the immune system reacts in a negative way.
Having Celiac Disease
In people who have celiac disease, it is difficult to digest gluten in the foods that they eat, because it attacks the proteins in the gluten, and it attacks an enzyme in the cells of the digestive tract, which is called tissue transglutaminase. Therefore, with people who have celiac disease, gluten attacks the digestive system in the intestinal wall. As a result, celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune disease.
Over time, a reaction to gluten can cause degeneration of the intestinal wall that leads to nutrient deficiencies, such as different kinds of digestive problems, anemia, fatigue, stomach aches, bloating and many other kinds of health concerns if consumed a lot.
Celiac disease affects 1% of the U.S. population and 2% of the elderly population. Over the years, celiac disease has been on the rise in North America and continues to rise every year. A large portion of the U.S. population don’t show symptoms and, as a result, they don’t know they have the disease; however, symptoms over time, may show up, like stomach aches. nausea, and bloating to name a few.
There are many people who have gluten sensitivity, but don’t have celiac disease, which is called non-celiac. People with gluten sensitivity have no symptoms in body tissues, but many symptoms are similar to celiac disease, such as bloating, stomach cramps, fatigue, diarrhea, as well as pain in the bones and joints. In many cases, there is no way to diagnose people who are sensitive to gluten; therefore, it’s hard to diagnose the condition. However, there are some tests that are helpful in diagnosing gluten sensitivity like finding antibodies in blood tests or stool samples. Also, some people carry the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes that may cause people to be sensitive to gluten. Another way you can diagnose gluten sensitivity is by not eating foods with gluten in them for 30 days, then go back on gluten to see if there are any symptoms you may have.
Gluten Effects On The Brain
There are other ways gluten affects you other than the intestinal tract, but the brain as well. Many cases have found that gluten may cause neurological disorders, as a result from gluten consumption, which is called gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy. One neurological brain disorder from gluten is cerebellar ataxia, which is a disease of the brain that affects balance coordination, movements and speaking clearly.
Studies have found cases of ataxia that are linked to gluten consumption called gluten ataxia that causes permanent brain damage to the cerebellum, which is a part of the brain that is important to motor function. Many studies have shown that a gluten-free diet may improve brain function, as well as digestive function. If you think you have any symptoms that are related to gluten consumption see your doctor and get tested.