About Gluten
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About Gluten

What is gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins present in some cereal grains, especially wheat. It consists almost entirely of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, which make up 30-50% of the protein in wheat. The exact proportions depend upon the variety of grain. It is responsible for making bread springy. However, gluten does not agree with everyone. Some digestive problems are associated with a gluten intolerance such as celiac disease. Gliadin has several components. It is a syrupy substance that binds the dough. Gliadin is also the protein in rye flour and in a wheat-and-rye blend called triticale. Gluteomorphin, another component of gluten can also create adverse immunological and inflammatory symptoms, as well as foster an addiction-like attraction to eating gluten. In some poeple, it can actually mimic mild morphine-like effects, hence the addictive nature of it to some people.

What is a gluten intolerance?

A digestive tract that cannot tolerate gluten is characterized by malabsorption due to damage to the small intestine. When gluten intolerance becomes an extreme condition, it is called celiac disease, non-tropical sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy. This is known as an auto-immune condition, and it's prevalence seems to be increasing worldwide, according to numerous authorities. Symptoms may include weight loss, greasy and foul-smelling stools, mild to severe gut pain, and diarrhea. There are often multiple vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Eczema-like skin conditions often occur with a gluten intolerance. Genetic testing for human leukocyte antigens HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 can be used to rule out celiac and is available through numerous labs.

One of the hallmark signs of celiac disease is iron-deficiency anemia and extreme fatigue, not corrected by iron supplements. Also present are low serum calcium levels. Breast-fed children, along with delayed introduction of cereals and cow’s mild, can provide a protective effect ant greatly reduces the risk of developing gluten intolerance. Children or adults diagnosed with celiac disease experience relief soon after starting a gluten-free diet.

Dermatitis, herpetiformis, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease may also be the results of a gluten intolerance. It is a common problem for food-sensitive individuals and can trigger more symptoms such as fatigue, joint pains and headaches. There has recently been an association between gluten intolerance and lichen planus.

NOTE: Over 50% of people with a gluten sensitivity or allergy do not have any skin or gut symptoms at all but instead have brain-based symptoms such as brain fog, and poor memory. Other symptoms can include such as joint aches and pains, headaches, tremors, tics, neuropathies, thyroid-related symptoms, and anxiety.

A blood test is available for diagnosing 'gluten intolerance'. Tests use the alpha gliadin antibody level to identify individuals who are likely to respond to a gluten-free diet. People with recurrent oral ulceration, but who had normal small intestinal biopsies, have been studied. The study found that people with a gluten intolerance had raised levels of antibodies to alpha gliadin. In 3 out of these 4 people, the ulceration disappeared on a gluten-free diet and relapsed after again having gluten. Among the people who did not have raised alpha gliadin antibody levels, none responded to a gluten-free diet. Other valuable tests include serum tissue transglutaminase (TTG), and even stool testing for alpha glaidin, if it uses qPCR techniques like Diagnostic Solutions Lab. 

Am I sensitive to wheat because it contains gluten?

You can be sensitive to wheat, but not just because it contains gluten or one of it's components. Other factors to consider are the many inherent molds that grow on wheat (their mycotoxins), pesticides, deamidation of wheat, genetic modification (GMO), and hybridization. Some people seem to tolerate (or less symptoms) gluten better when they eat gluten-containing foods like croissants or bread when in other countries like Europe. This may be due to using traditional heirloom wheat, or the European baking method, where the bread is allowed to 'set' overnight when the cultures have time to pre-digest many of the larger molecular weight proteins such as gluten - hence making it easier to tolerate. If you are ready to reintroduce wheat back into your diet, try organic sourdough bread, which is made with active cultures that may help break down the proteins to smaller sizes, and hence create less symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with ANY auto immune condition, consider leaving all gluten foods out of your diet forever. Gluten is an inflammatory-producing compound. Over the decades, I have noticed many of my patients with an A.I. condition feel and function better when they leave it out for good. I have seen this is critical in all cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (one of the biggestv reasons for low thyroid function worldwide).

What other foods besides wheat contain gluten?

Rye, barley, and anything containing barley malt, most beers, postum, products containing cereals, triticale, kamut, spelt, and possibly teff. Products derived from cereal grains may contain gluten. People who are not able to eat other gluten-containing grains can often tolerate millet. Check with your health-food store for availability.

Millet has small amounts of gluten, but virtually no gliadin. Malt comes from sprouted barley and from the hydrolyzed starch of other grains. Barley contains hordein, a protein with similar properties to gliadin. Hordein is so similar to gliadin that it should be avoided by people intolerant to gluten.

Oats are technically a gluten-free grain and should be fine. However, if you have celiac, it's best to avoid unless the oat source shows 'certified gluten free' on the label. This is because oats are often made in the same factories where wheat is produced, and even small amounts of the wheat flour particles can cause problems.

What gluten-containing flours should I avoid?

Barley, rye, spelt, triticale, and wheat (white, semolina, durum, kamut, couscous, bulgur, whole wheat).

What gluten-containing pastas should I avoid?

Artichoke, durum, semolina, secale, spelt, wheat. If you are in doubt about the contents of a four product, write or call the company that makes the product before using it. If it says 'Gluten Free' on the label you should be fine. If you have an adverse reaction, it's not from gluten or related compound. Read labels!

What are some substitutes for gluten-containing grains?

Gluten-free goods are organic corn, rice, wild rice, amaranth, soybean and potatoes. Although not a grain, soy products are free of gluten and often used as a grain substitute.

What are some gluten-free flours?

These include arrowroot, coconut, almond, pea, lentil, kudzu, amaranth, rice, garbanzo (chick pea), quinoa, corn, potato, soybean and other bean flours, and all nuts and seeds. Make sure these flours are wheat-free. It is common to find wheat added to other types of flours.

Nutritional Support to Aid Gluten Tolerance/Digestion

The enzymes DPP IV and Tolerase G Prolyl Endopeptidase can significantly help the breakdown and digestion of gluten when an accidental or limited exposure occurs. The digestive enzyme products with the best success include any of the following, and are available on my website's online pharmacy at 20% off: GlutenEase, by Enzymedica; Digestzymes, by Designs for Health; SIBB-Zymes, by Klaire Labs; Digenzyme, by DaVinci Labs; and Gluten/Dairy Digest, by Pure Encapsulations. I have clinically seen all of these products work quite well for the occasional gluten intake. They are work equally so any one of them will do the job, however for some people it's not 100% relief, nor should it be used as an excuse to eat gluten all the time. Typical adult dose is 2 caps during or immediately after any food with gluten. This is not recommended for celiac patients, which need to strictly avoid gluten.

What about other food intolerances?

People who cannot tolerate wheat fiber or gluten often have delicate stomachs or intestinal linings. This creates sensitivity to many foods. They may experience difficulty tolerating raw vegetables and other fiber-rich foods.sure these flours are wheat-free. It is common to find wheat added to other types of flours.

Carbonated beverages, milk, buttermilk, skim milk, tea, coffee that does not contain cereal products, vodka, wine
Coffee substitutes, commercial chocolate, malted milk, Postum, Ovaltine, ale, beer, and brandy, all other alcoholic beverages, instant coffee
Bread products made from arrowroot, corn. Gluten-free starch flours, rice, or soybean
All bread products made from wheat, rye, or barley, all commercial products and mixes, flour mixes, and bread crumbs
Hot cereals made from corn meal and rice, all other ready-to-eat cereals made from corn and rice products with allowed ingredient
Many commercial cereals contain gluten grains
Salt, pepper, sugar, herbs, and spices
Homemade custard, gelatin, cornstarch, or tapioca puddings; ice cream and sherbet without gluten stabilizers; desserts prepared with allowed flours and starchess
Desserts prepared from wheat, rye, or barley; all commercial desserts and mixes; ice cream and sherbet
Butter, cream, margarine, fats, real mayonnaise; commercial salad dressings without gluten stabilizers, shortenings, vegetable oil, and lard
Commercial salad dressings withgluten stabilizers
Fruit and Fruit Juices
Beef, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, veal, and liver; pure all-meat cold cuts, frankfurters, and sausage; cheese, eggs, and peanut butter; all prepared meats without the addition of wheat, rye, oats, or barley
Meats and Substitutes
Commercially prepared entrees; processed cheese and cheese products containing gluten stabilizers, processed meat with fillers; meat alternatives or protein substitutes that may have glutenstabilizers
White and sweet potatoes’; grits, hominy, and rice, and any non-gluten products
Potato and Substitutes
Barley, macaroni, noodles, and spaghetti made from wheat; any prepared with wheat, or rye
Clear broth, homemade cream soups thickened with allowed flours, and allowed vegetable soups
Any containing wheat, rye, or barley; canned soups containing prohibited ingredients
Pure candied, honey, jams, jellies, marshmallows, sugars, syrups, molasses, and corn syrup
Any containing wheat, rye, or barley
Vegetables and Vegetable Juices
Any prepared with wheat, rye, or barley, such as cream sauces and bread crumbs
Baking powder, baking soda, chocolate, cocoa, coconut, gravies made with allowed flours and starches, nuts,olives, vinegar, mustard, catsup, pickles
Any containing wheat, rye, or barley