Gluten – why so many of us react to it?
Gluten has become one of the major dietary components that so many of us have an adverse reaction to. In the last 40-50 years the incidence of coeliac disease and other gluten related illnesses has skyrocketed. This is most likely due to how our grains are grown and genetically modified. Through modifying and hybridising these plants, they have become easier and faster to grow, resistant to harsh environments and ultimately more profitable to produce.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, oats, rye, barley and products made from them. Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation of the gut, eventually leading to intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. This can trigger allergies, sensitivities and inflammation in the body. The lining of the small intestine contains millions of tiny hair like projections called villi which absorb our nutrients from our food. Coeliac disease is a condition, where gluten causes an autoimmune reaction in which the immune system mistakenly attacks itself. This results in the lining of the small intestine becoming damaged, thereby reducing the person’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. The process may damage other areas of the body also and increase the risk for diseases like bone disease, anaemia and intestinal disorders. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include:
Diarrhoea Constipation Weight Loss Chronic Tiredness Anaemia Indigestion Depression Infertility Mouth Ulcers Abdominal Cramps Vomiting IBS
Research studies cited in many medical journals have linked Gluten Sensitivity to behavioural and developmental disorders in children such as Autism, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome
By Richard Sheehan Nutritional Therapist Dip NT mIANT
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