Before you roll your eyes
I think this post is important if you are health conscious or if you find troubled health runs through your family.
Now, this educational little number isn’t quite so little, so I broke it down into 2 parts. The second part is found here.
Let’s start with the nuts and bolts, move into the finer points and then finish with choosing your next step.
“I don’t care!!”
I get it, not all people are bothered by gluten.
However, just because you feel fine when you eat gluten, doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a negative role in your health. It’s the silent assassin for most people, and yet is still largely overlooked.
Alession Fesano, MD – (Prof of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology) states that ‘Humans cannot digest gluten proteins in wheat. Just because you don’t have symptoms, doesn’t mean you can digest it’. (1)
In my interpretation it means, relax homie, you’re not that special.
Nuts and Bolts
Celiac Disease is a primary sensitivity to Gluten. It’s a disease in which people cannot consume gluten because it will attack and damage their gut lining.
They simply have to consume foods that have no gluten whatsoever.
This is what is referred to as Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
Now to those that are non-symptomatic to gluten:
There are also people that walk this glorious planet that have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Their body does not tolerate Gluten but it doesn’t damage their gut lining (so they don’t know they are sensitive)… it damages other parts instead… but I’ll come to that in the finer points.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease of the gut.
So what is autoimmune disease?
When we are sick – we have an internal defense mechanism that helps us to get better. It’s called our immune system. A healthy immune system can tell the difference between what is normal in the body and what is foreign.
In an unhealthy immune system, people can develop a condition called an autoimmune disease, whereby the person’s own defense system starts to attack itself. It could be in the joints, muscles, nerves, heart, or even the brain. Not fun to anyone.
All autoimmune diseases appear to have similar mechanisms in their development:
The Trilogy of Development of Autoimmune Disease(2)
1. Genetic Vulnerability:
Thank your parents for this one. Doesn’t mean you’ll get it but it just means you could be more vulnerable to getting it.
Consider it a weak link in your immune armor. Could be anywhere too; the gut, kidney, liver, joints, heart, brain, or even just your energy levels.
2. Environmental Trigger:
This is what we call the final straw, the straw that broke the camel’s back, final nail in the coffin, the drop that spilled the drink… ok, enough of the same metaphor…
3. Intestinal Permeability:
Leaky gut. This is a direct response from repeated exposure to the environmental trigger.
This trilogy is what can collaboratively lead to an Auto-Immune disease.
Important Side Note
Coronary heart disease is the No.1 cause of death in the world correct?
Well, the pipes plugging up said arteries has been argued to be closely associated with autoimmune disorders.
“Individuals with autoimmune disorders show an enhanced occurrence of cardiovascular complications and subclinical atherosclerosis” (3).
So, you could say that autoimmune disorders can be closely linked to the No.1 cause of death.
Do I still have your attention?
The No.1 in the trilogy we can’t really get around – that’s gene-related and gene splicing kinda goes waaaay above the scope of this little post.
Let’s get to No.2 – environmental triggers – repeated exposure to something that is bothersome to our bodies that we may not yet be aware of. In this particular example, our beloved friend or fiend gluten.
For every single person that complains of tummy trouble after a bout of pasta, there are 8 that don’t have the ‘tummy trouble’ but have something else that initially goes unnoticed.
They don’t possess a gut issue, they possess a genetic weakness issue.
The Advantage of Gut Trouble
The only good thing coming out of gut trouble is that it can be more quickly identified (bloating, gas, diarrhea) versus brain, liver, kidneys, or heart which are a little more stealth in their demise.
The first hurdle we face is that when one goes to the doctor for a problem, the problem is remedied with big pharma and we don’t actually get to the bottom of the problem by finding the root cause. Finding the root cause costs money, temporarily fixing the problem makes money – what would you do if you were a megalomaniac pharmaceutical business… pop them pills baby… kneel down to the beast!! But I quickly digress.
Sometimes fixing the root cause may be as simple as just fixing your diet – but again that’s not helping line anyone’s pockets – bah… fuck that … where are dem pills??!!
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity can manifest in different forms, so rather than focusing on gut-related issues, we focus on where the manifestation is instead.
One popular area of manifestation is in the joints. Most people have heard of rheumatoid arthritis?! Well, it’s one of the most common autoimmune diseases, so that’s probably why.
You cannot heal rheumatoid arthritis with pharmaceuticals. You can reduce and modulate the symptoms, but the disease will progress if your diet doesn’t change.
Can We Have Some Attention Please?
In 2011, The International Celiac Society finally recognized Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. (Clinicians have known this for 30 years but it was looked upon it as bunk research). Maybe they didn’t want to lose all the attention.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is at least 6x more common than its counterpart. (some studies say as high as 20x). The symptoms will depend on the manifestation of the sensitivity.
*Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, Schizophrenia, MENTAL HEALTH* are all examples of possible None Celiac Gluten Sensitivity just in the BRAIN.
When these people removed gluten from their diet, their symptoms were alleviated.
Do I still have your attention?
The most common system affected by gluten is the brain.
The most common literature affected by gluten is the gut. That’s those Celiacs grabbing all the attention again!
Let’s start at the gut which is where all this shit began (no pun intended).
The lining of the gut contains the fastest-growing cells in the body. Within 3-7 days you have a totally new gut lining. Pretty neat huh?
EVERY time you eat wheat in any of its forms, it aggravates your gut lining. It creates microscopic tears to the lining of the gut. But it’s cool, cos we regenerate a whole new lining with a week, right? Right…
So, you have toast for breakfast – boom, the gut heals itself, then you have a sandwich for lunch – boom, gut’s repaired, then some pasta when you get home – boom healed. Job done.
So far so good.
But typical westerners and their typical shitty diets just can’t seem to get enough of wheat-based products, they’re just so damn yummy.
Well over time, as I’m sure you can imagine, your gut starts to get a little tired of having to repair and repair and repair and fucking repair because you eat like a gluttonous little pig. At some point, somewhere along this merry little road do we trip and fall flat on our face and develop a loss of oral tolerance.
Basically, your body cannot tolerate what you eat anymore.
So now the gut can’t heal as quickly as it once did and now we start to develop what’s called intestinal permeability; these tiny microscopic holes in the lining of the gut – also more commonly known as leaky gut (syndrome).
Now all of a sudden, microscopic particles that shouldn’t have been absorbed into the gut find their way into the bloodstream. The body doesn’t recognize them and so instructs the immune system to come and attack said foreign invaders.
Now in some cases, you may develop an insensitivity to certain foods… and so by eliminating them you reduce your symptomology. Cool, I can deal with that. In other cases, it’s not so easy.
Now for those looking to get into the weeds and nerd up please continue here.
For those that are happy with these takeaway points might want to think about adjusting their diet to exclude gluten a little. Even if you are not symptomatic, your best bet is to go and get tested before you face plant into that spaghetti carbonara.
Think of the long game. The last thing you want to be concerned with is why you keep losing your damn car kays… you know, the ones in your hand!