Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. Its name comes from the root word “glue” because it is what gives bread and other grain based foods their sticky, stretchy, glue-y nature.
The medical research is still trying to figure out exactly why gluten seems to be such a problem for so many people. The best we can tell at this time is that the issue is threefold:
1. In some people gluten damages the small intestines and results in a decreased ability to absorb nutrients. These deficiencies lead to a wide variety of symptoms and associated diseases like osteoporosis, anemia, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, difficulty gaining weight, growth issues in children, and hormonal imbalances just to name a few.
2. Another major concern is the damage itself causes a chronic inflammatory state in the digestive system which leads to local stomach issues like pain, cramping, gas, bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, reflux, and eventually diseases like Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, and GERD. It has yet to be shown in the research but I suspect gluten intolerance plays a roll in the development of GI cancers, like colon and stomach cancer.
3. The last issue is a further development from the above two. The chronic inflammation and nutrient deficiencies lead to a state in the GI tract called leaky gut. This is exactly as it sounds. The inflammatory process leads to small openings in the GI tract to let the large immune cells in to heal, but can also accidentally let undigested food partials out where they don’t belong. This can then trigger hypersensitivity immune reactions to those foods and even an autoimmune reaction to our own cells due to the over activity of the immune system itself. Associated conditions include: ALL autoimmune diseases, especially hashimotos thyroiditis, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, difficulty loosing weight, arthritis, infertility, PMS, irregular menses, migraines and other chronic head aches.