Gluten: Hidden Factor in Many Diseases

Gluten, glutenin and gliaden are protein fractions found in high quantities in wheat, and to a lesser extent in oats, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and triticale.  Celiac disease is an extreme allergic reaction to gluten/gliaden that causes abdominal pain, gassiness, diarrhea, mucous or blood in the stools, and ulcers in the intestines that can be seen during a colonoscopy.

However, documented studies find these same protein fractions contributing to over 200 other health problems, such as: rashes, canker sores, malabsorption and leaky gut syndrome, various auto-immune diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis, muscle pain, sinus congestion, lung disorders, kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatic disease, scarring of the gall bladder duct, abnormal brain waves and certain forms of cancer.  Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (elevated antibodies against gluten) affects about 20% of the American and Canadian population.  The wheat in the U.S. and Canada has been hybridized to contain a higher content of gluten for better rising of baked goods.

In a study of 422 alcoholics, most were found allergic to wheat and rye.  Autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are often ameliorated on a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-sensitive people tend to become deficient in: magnesium, selenium, zinc, the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and vitamins B12, folic acid and B6.  Magnesium is especially needed for reversing osteoporosis, as well as other minerals.  Taking large amounts of just calcium contributes to bone spurs and other calcium deposits, as well as bone loss.  A balance of minerals is needed for proper re-mineralization of bone.

If gluten/gliaden is the cause, arthritic pain resolves after a few months on a gluten-free diet.  However, not a molecule of gluten can be ingested, not even as MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or in the base of many common medications.  Also, other food sensitivities may be contributing to the pain, and must be found and eliminated at the same time.

Those with gluten sensitivity sometimes do O.K. if the grain is soaked overnight before cooking (1 cup grain to 1 cup water with a heaping tablespoon of yoghurt or buttermilk added), and if old-fashioned sour leavening is used to make bread (under Sources in the book Nourishing Traditions).  Soaking, fermenting and sprouting grains help break down the gluten as well as the mineral-binding phytates in grain.  It also increases vitamin content and makes all the nutrients more available.

Grains that have no gluten or gliaden are: rice, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, quinoa, flaxseed and sorghum.  Corn is also free of gluten, though is an allergen for some people for other reasons.

References:

Dangerous Grains, James Braly, MD & Ron Hoggan, MA.
www.dangerousgrains.com
www.cerealkilllers.com
www.glutenfree101.com
Against the Grain, Jax Peters Lowell.
Going Against the Grain, Melissa Diane Smith.
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, PhD.
The Maker’s Diet, Jordan Rubin, ND.