• Dr. Cirelli

The Effects of Gluten on Your Gut Health


Everyone seems to be talking about gluten and its potentially harmful effects. While we typically only associate gluten sensitivity with those who suffer from celiac disease (an autoimmune reaction to the consumption of gluten), people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) may also experience an autoimmune reaction to gluten--albeit it a different kind.


But gluten isn’t the only component of wheat that can present issues.


Wheat--which is a grain--also contains two other potentially problematic proteins: wheat germ agglutinin and amylase trypsin inhibitors. While gluten has gotten an especially bad rap, wheat germ agglutinin and amylase trypsin inhibitors can cause issues in individuals independent of those caused by gluten.


As you can see, grains are a common source of sensitivities and allergies for a wide range of individuals for a number of different reasons. What’s more, they can lead to physical, mental, and/or emotional disorders. But let’s focus on gluten. Here’s what you should know:


Gluten And Your Gut


The proteins in wheat can irritate our gut and cause inflammation. This inflammation can cause a condition called intestinal permeability. “Leaky gut,” as it is more commonly referred to, is a condition in which inflammation in the gut can loosen the junctions between the cells in our gut and allow viruses, bacteria, indigestible molecules, and more to pass into our bloodstream.


When it comes to gluten, as our gut becomes more permeable with the consumption of wheat, a component of gluten called gliadin is able to enter our bloodstream. Molecular mimicry is a potential result.


During molecular mimicry, our body produces antibodies against foreign invaders (which it’s supposed to do!), but if those invaders look similar to our own body tissue, then the antibodies may start attacking our own body, too. Because gliadin in gluten looks similar to the lining of the gut, it’s no wonder those with celiac disease experience an attack on their own gut.


Both those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience issues with their gut microbiome--the collection of bacteria living in our gut. These problems, however, can considerably be reduced by following a gluten-free diet.


Other Symptoms


Your gut isn’t the only thing at stake when it comes to wheat and gluten--your brain and skin can be affected, too!


Both those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can experience fatigue and brain fog as a result of exposure to wheat and its components. What’s more, the immune-inflammatory response to gluten may increase one’s chances of experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Additionally, dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic skin disease caused by the ingestion of gluten in sensitive individuals. It can show up in both celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitive individuals and typically appears in a person’s 20s-30s as red, itchy bumps/rash.


The Takeaway


Here at Total Body Health, we know how important a healthy gut is to achieving ultimate health. If you suspect you could be sensitive to wheat or are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, give us a call for a FREE consultation.



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