Food intolerances are usually spotted by linking physical symptoms to consuming a certain food type. Gluten is a regular cause of such responses and therefore more and more people are deciding to ditch it.
However, the absence of the typical immediate intolerance symptoms, such as wind, bloat, abdominal pain, loose stools or skin rashes, means that there’s still many people who wrongly believe that gluten is doing them no harm. Let’s look at the big players:
- Damages the gut microbiome, which can be known as your ‘second brain.’ The gut digests your food, whilst regulating your immune system, hormones and mood.
- Disturbs the natural immune barrier in the gut which then increases gut permeability (aka leaky gut).
- Provokes an inflammatory immune response in the gut and therefore leads to systemic inflammation in the body.
Looking after your gut is proven to be imperative for your overall health and it is no longer a matter of opinion whether gluten is damaging your gut microbiome; it is overwhelmingly apparent that the proteins in gluten are harming the all-important gut equilibrium.
5 WAYS GLUTEN MIGHT BE SILENTLY DAMAGING YOUR HEALTH:
We have all heard a lot of ‘border control’ recently, but have you thought about what’s guarding the all-important borders inside your body? It’s a given fact that it’s important that parts of your body stay in the right place and not become a wobbly mess, right?
Well, on a more granular level our gut is operating a strict and effective border control to allow good nutrients into our bloodstream and keep any nasties out.
Enter zonulin, the ultimate border control disruptor. Gluten accelerates the process of releasing a protein called zonulin, which loosens the walls between the cells in the gut, contributing to leaky gut.
INCREASED INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE
Inflammation occurs at any site of injury, and this is how you should look at the results of gluten in the gut – a sign that its consumption isn’t the healthiest choice.
An inflamed response can cause abdominal pain and the aforementioned leaky gut.
This has major knock-on effects, such as an ineffective immune system, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue and changes in weight and appetite.
TRIGGERED AUTOIMMUNE RESPONSE
Have you heard of gliadin? Not many people have, and that’s a problem for our understanding of the effects of gluten on the gut.
Gliadin is a component of gluten, which, if it gains access to the bloodstream, it can trigger molecular mimicry.
Molecular mimicry, sounds complicated, what’s that?
Here’s the breakdown: if a foreign protein or molecule finds itself in the gut, the immune system releases a load of antibodies to fight it. This is how our amazing body fights off illness and allows us to recover from viruses and diseases repeatedly.
However, if there is something that looks incredibly similar to the cells lining the gut, which gliadin does, there is a possibility that our antibodies will mistakenly see our own tissues as foreign substances and go after it.
The response doesn’t only affect people with celiac disease. This inflammation from gluten could be a contributing factor or catalyst for developing Crohn’s disease or IBS.
This immune response isn’t isolated to the gut, this response can lead to a multitude of autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and similar chronic issues.
Moving even farther from the gut again, gluten can indirectly affect your brain, via the development of celiac, Crohn’s and gut related disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
Brain fog collectively describes increased confusion, inability to focus and disorganised thoughts – often associated with fatigue, stress and burnout.
There is more and more evidence of the incredibly strong gut-brain connection.
The gut regulates hormone distribution and signals to the brain, if this is disrupted it can directly affect brain function and your mood, leading to mental health issues.
Scarier still, there is the possibility that this can lead to increased vulnerability to dementia and Alzheimer’sdisease.
With all the above ticking away on the inside, there can be some external signs that gluten is damaging your health.
The skin is your biggest detox organ and is very good at letting you know if something isn’t right beneath it. If you’re run down, suffering from a virus or having an allergic reaction, your skin will usually find a way to communicate this, whether it’s through a rash, lump or acne.
I highly encourage you to cut out gluten if you suffer from skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and acne.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is undeniable that gluten has a detrimental effect on the gut, causing inflammation and increased gut permeability and, in turn, autoimmune responses that lead to further health issues.
It is also clear that our mind and body are intrinsically connected, and our gut regulates so much of both. Therefore, a healthy gut maintains the perfect equilibrium in our body which keeps us fit and healthy: healthy gut, healthy body, healthy mind.
Apart from reducing or removing gluten, I highly encourage you to look into your gut health if you suffer from skin issues, brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, bloating, and joint pain.
I’ve been able to help hundreds of people optimise their gut through my GI Protocol because it works on leaky gut in three key ways in a specific, science-based manner.
Please remember that advertised ‘gluten-free’ food doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘healthy’.
All of the recipes in my membership platform are gluten-free, making it easier to cut out gluten given the wide range of delicious healthier alternatives.
If you’d like more support and a tailored approach, I recommend working with me directly (or any other certified integrative health practitioner that you trust) on a one-to-one basis.
A more personalised approach means an in-depth look at your diet which will then allow for nutritional and supplement advice tailored to your unique nutritional deficiencies and toxicities.
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