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WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Defined as a cohesive, elastic protein, gluten is left behind after starch is washed away from wheat flour. Only wheat is considered to have true gluten.
There are two main groups of proteins in gluten, called the gliadins, and the glutenins. Upon digestion, the gluten proteins break down into smaller units, called peptides (polypeptides or peptide chains) that are strings of amino acids – almost like beads on a string. The parent proteins (gliadins and glutenins) have polypeptide chains that include hundreds of amino acids.
GLUTEN INTOLERANCE OR CELIAC DISEASE – What is it the difference?
Celiac Disease “CD” (also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, or gluten sensitive enteropathy) is an immune-mediated, chronic condition, where there is a reaction to certain protein chains – commonly referred to as glutens – found in some cereal grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system attacks the protein. This damages the intestinal lining and causes destruction of the villi in the small intestine, hampering the ability to absorb vital nutrients from food and eventually leading to malnutrition. Developing CD requires three things: a genetic predisposition (two specific genetic markers, called HLA subfactors, are present in well over 90% of all celiacs in America); exposure to gluten through digestion; and a trigger to start the atypical immune system response. The allopathic field considers CD an autoimmune disease, believing the body is attacking itself in an inappropriate immune system reaction. My theory is that instead of attacking the body, the immune system is attempting to breakdown the gluten which is causing damage to the villi located in the small intestine. In CD the reaction is caused by exposure to gliadin, a protein of the food molecule gluten found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Celiac often runs in families and occurs in both children and adults.
Gluten intolerance is a chronic and permanent sensitivity to the food protein gluten, found in the grains wheat, barley and rye. With gluten intolerance, the body is not able to metabolize the gliadin, typically because it lacks the enzyme necessary to break it down.
Gluten intolerance differs from CD in that the immune system is not activated upon consumption of gluten and there usually isn’t the hereditary connection. Both target the intestines which become unable to absorb food. This leads to a wide range of symptomatic health issues. Besides the typical malabsorption symptoms (diarrhea, weight loss, and extended abdomen) CD can create problems in almost any organ system. The only known resolution to either situation is total avoidance of any foods containing gluten.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a severely itchy skin condition that often starts abruptly, affecting the elbows, knees, buttocks, scalp, and back. It usually starts as little bumps that can become tiny blisters. DH can occur in only one spot, but more often appears in several different areas. The condition is related to antitissue trangluatiminase (IgA) deposits under the skin. These occur as a result of ingesting gluten. These deposits take a long time to clear up, even when on a gluten-free diet.
Gluten Sensitivity Controversy
In the recent news, blogs and published articles there has been the opinion expressed that Gluten sensitivity is a fad and not really a physical problem to the body unless it is Celiac. While a diagnosis of Celiac is not deniable, the question is: Is Gluten sensitivity really a problem? Many people feel so much better when they remove grains from their lifestyle that the evidence grows proving, at least to me, there is something in the grain that is causing discomfort. As research on Celiacs, gluten, and gluten sensitivity continues, more is learned about what parts of the grain can cause discomfort to the body and the many different symptoms which can develop as a result.
If you have suspected Gluten or grains to be creating health issues and your medical doctor is determined you do not have a problem with grain, it is time to do some research on your own and learn more about what parts of the grain might be causing the problem.
The video below is an interview by Dr. Tom O'Bryan with two of the well known experts in the field, Dr. Deanna Minich and Dr Jeffery Bland, discussing this issue of gluten sensitivity as a fad.
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