Health Effect of Gluten and Wheat

by Dr Don Colbert

It is a known fact by now that the human digestion system was not built to accommodate the amount of wheat and gluten that we eat on an everyday basis. Gluten-grains, including wheat, barley and rye, can be damaging to our health by causing autoimmune diseases.

Top Reasons to Pass on Gluten

Other grains such as oats and corn are also damaging because they contain gut irritating lectins and mineral binding phytates. Not everyone is sensitive to gluten & wheat, so this is not everybody. Here is a list of reasons why you should make a lifestyle choice to be wheat and gluten free:

Effects of Gluten

1. Cause Inflammation

Gluten can lead to gut inflammation for over 80% of the human population. In addition, another 30% of the population develops antibodies against gluten proteins in the gut. These antibodies cause reactions in the body even if you don’t have full-blown celiac. Over 21 million Americans have this problem, which comes with its own set of problems such as stomach pains and acidity.

2. May lead to autoimmune diseases

Gliadin is the main problem-causing gluten protein and is somewhat similar in structure to other proteins found in tissues of organs such as the thyroid or the pancreas. Because of this, antibodies against gliadin can end up attacking those organs and ultimately cause autoimmune diseases like hypothyroidism and type 1 diabetes.

3. Intestinal cells die

Because of the inflammatory effect that Gluten introduces in our system, intestinal cells can die prematurely. This effect creates a ‘leaky gut’, which can allow bacterial proteins and other toxic compounds to get in the blood stream. This is another major reason for autoimmune attacks on the body. When the digestion system of the body is compromised, food does not get digested properly and nutrients are not absorbed fully, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

4. Linked to cancer

Gluten has been strongly associated with cancer. It is potentially cancer causing, and at the very least, cancer promoting.

Effects of WGA

A NON-gluten glycoprotein or lectin (combination of sugar and protein) in wheat called wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) is also found in highest concentrations in whole wheat. This is why experts maintain that wheat is bad for your system as well as Gluten.

5. Heart tissues

WGA increases whole body inflammation as well. This is not an autoimmune reaction but can be just as dangerous and cause heart attacks.

6. Premature cell death

WGA, like gluten, irritates and causes premature cell death in the gut. Your immune system is weakened beyond repair, leading to a leaky gut condition. WGA also disrupts the mucus membrane in the gut, leading to bacterial overgrowth and a host of digestive issues like GERD and ulcers.

7. Leptin resistance

Gluten builds up leptin resistance and cause effects similar to insulin. Insulin and leptin are the two most important hormones that regulate our body in order to maintain a healthy weight, and a deficiency has been shown to be linked to obesity. This could be a cause or promoter of obesity.

8. Vitamin D Deficiency

Due to a chemical imbalance introduced in the body because of WGA, vitamin D stores deplete abnormally fast and can therefore lead to vitamin D deficiency. As we all know, a deficiency of vitamin D leads to weakening of the bones, a weakened immune system and a vulnerability to infectious diseases and bacterial attacks.

9. Associated with schizophrenia

Studies have shown that WGA and Gluten can be linked with Schizophrenia as a possible cause or at least as a promoter of the disease. As a result, researchers have noted that a gluten-free diet lead to a decrease in the symptoms of schizophrenics.

10. Can Cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms

The opioid peptides found in wheat are known to cause addiction to wheat in some people. As with every other addiction, a reduction in its consumption can lead to withdrawal symptoms at first.

As mentioned earlier, humans did not adapt to eat and digest wheat and the gluten. It is unhealthy to have wheat become so prominent in our diet and daily lifestyle. The main reason for its popularity is that wheat is cheap and efficient to produce. Many health conditions would probably not even exist if it were not for our high consumption of wheat. Positive changes are often noticed immediately after removing wheat and other gluten containing grains from the diet.

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