Posted on September 7, 2011
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. We’re the world’s biggest consumer of wheat gluten today. American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe.
This super gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America. Wheat gluten also gives vegetarian “fake meat,” like DIY seitan and pet food a meat like texture and binds together processed foods like chicken nuggets, turkey burgers, ad imitation crabmeat.
Gluten even makes its way into shampoo and biodegradable sporks (clever combination fork / spoons for those of you that don’t dine at Taco Bell).
Many, many other foods contain gluten that you wouldn’t suspect, such as; hotdogs, baked beans, soy sauce, ice cream, candy bars, gum, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) Licorice, potato chips, canned broth, self basting turkeys, beer, egg substitutes, communion wafers, toothpaste and play dough.
What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health issues in those sensitive to it. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease. A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.
Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable. And it’s not just a few who suffer, but million.
Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide- ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases”, such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and dermatitis herpetiformis.
To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is most often gluten sensitivity–not just the symptoms. A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases.
Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy. It has also been linked to autism.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, there are specific tests now to determine if in fact you have gluten sensitivity. Conventional physicians with their symptoms-based orientation, frequently overlook gluten sensitivity as a probable cause. Their patients can go for months trying one solution” after another that only masks some of the symptoms, while exacerbating others
It generally takes a week or less for me to provide my patients with a definitive answer, after which we can create a clear, easy to follow plan for managing their sensitivity. The results are often life changing.