Updated: Mar 3, 2019
Gluten is protein complexes (not the good kind of protein) that are found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats.
There are people with coeliac disease, which is a common digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten. People with coeliac disease eating foods containing gluten can trigger a range of symptoms, such as diarrhoea, bloating and flatulence, abdominal pain, feeling tired all the time – as a result of malnutrition (not getting enough nutrients from food).
Gluten sensitivity may not be confined to people with coeliac disease. Everybody has a certain or varied sensitivity to gluten. This sensitivity is an inflammatory response within the body. This is a body-wide inflammation; the majority of which are in the gut and intestine, but also in musculoskeletal and the nervous systems (including the brain), which are contributing factors to Alzheimer’s. Studies on gluten sensitivity have also shown its negative impact on thyroid function, making the thyroid gland underactive, causing havoc to the body’s metabolic rate (the pacing of bodies function).
The terminology of Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is sometimes used, and studies have found extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headaches, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested.
The sensitivity to gluten is diagnosed by a simple blood test; a positive test is indicated by a raised immune response, in the form of antibodies, that are specific to the protein structure of gluten.
Gluten can promote obesity by causing adiposity, inflammation (chronic inflammation has been linked to obesity) and insulin resistance. It is the analogy of fat being a sponge, absorbing the toxic by-products of inflammation.
Everyone reacts to certain things uniquely based on the fact that we all have unique chemistry and physiology. If drugs can alter this chemistry, to target inflammation, then it makes sense that food or eating behaviour can also target inflammation, and therefore, it can be used as a treatment plan.
A tip for going gluten free is to try, for one week, in eliminating gluten in any shape or form. This includes bread, cereal, and pasta, and read the label for any hidden gluten additives. Gluten is addictive, with people having real cravings for gluten filled foods, and this makes it difficult to go gluten free. However, you will feel a profound and notable difference to the level of energy, reduced post eating lethargy, improved digestive health, overall you will feel a significant difference in your body.
To know more about gluten sensitivity, I recommend listening to a podcast – Gluten Sensitivity, Coeliacs & Bulletproofing Your Gut, with Dr. Tom O’Bryan.
Dr Tom O’Bryan is a nationally recognised speaker, workshop leader, healer, and researcher specialising in Celiac disease & gluten intolerance.