Going gluten-free is all the rage these days. It’s the diet of choice for Hollywood starlets and health nuts alike; supermarket aisles are packed full of products touting their lack of the stretchy protein. But for a lot of people, the gluten-free lifestyle may do more harm than good.
Among thoughtful and informed medical providers and public alike, there is an ongoing transition toward recognizing adverse health effects from grains as being common and normal rather than rare and abnormal. Not all medical providers, of course, support this change in perspective and some are downright hostile toward it. Likewise, a segment of the public seems to be irritated by the gluten free trend and consider it just a silly fad.
Yet, if medicine is to be science based, no credible medical provider can dismiss the possibility that a large proportion of the U.S. (and possibly world) population may be sensitive to certain molecules present in most grains. Similarly, those that belittle the gluten free movement as a fad might, in fact, be an unknowing victim of grain sensitivity.
Celiac disease may have been described by the ancient physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia in the first century CE. It was not until the 1940′s, however, that the Dutch physician Willem Karel Dicke connected the disease to wheat as a result of the Dutch famine of 1944, in which wheat was scarce and those suffering from the disease seemed to dramatically improve. Since that time, modern medicine has narrowly defined the disease as an autoimmune disease resulting from the ingestion of gliadin, a component of wheat gluten. (more…)
Gluten Sensitivity, Autoimmune and Neurological Disease
by Jeffrey Dach MD
This article is Part Three of a Series.
For Previous Parts,
Click Here: Part One and Part Two
Two Very Mysterious and Complicated Cases caused by Gluten Sensitivity
What is wheat gluten?
Gluten is a protein in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale, kamut,and possibly oats.
In susceptible individuals, about one per cent of the population, Wheat Gluten stimulates an immune response which may damage the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract, or cross-react with other tissues in the body producing auto-immune, neurological and psychiatric illness.
Upper left image: A variety of foods made from wheat, all containing gluten. Courtesy of the USDA and Wikimedia Commons.
Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity ? Shag Carpet or Flat Carpet ? (more…)
Gluten is composed of a group of proteins that are found in many different types of grains (wheat, barley, triticale, kamut, rye and spelt). Gluten can also be present in oats, often as a contaminant from mixed grain processing, and is often used as a “thickening agent” in processed foods, a filler in pills or supplements and it is even present in some cosmetics. The prevalence of “hidden” gluten in food and processed items can present a challenge to those who must avoid it. (more…)