As more and more people learn about the link between diet and health, lifestyle changes are having a significant impact on what people eat. In this BLOG, I will discuss what gluten is and the effects of a diet with gluten.
What is gluten?
It is the general term for a mix of proteins in many grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten has found itself in much of our food supply, disguised in packaged foods, and featured in most pre-prepared dishes. It is no surprise that our consumption of gluten has increased immensely, and our health is suffering from it.
Gluten allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances are becoming increasingly more common, “gluten-free” has become a buzz word within the health community, and people are finally beginning to explore how dangerous gluten can be for their health.
How is it dangerous, you ask?
Gluten makes your gut leaky. Simple as that. Zonulin, a protein found in gluten, increases the permeability of the gut by further opening the spaces between cells, which leads to more inflammation, more bodily confusion, and more health complications. In other words, your body reacts to the consumption of gluten by creating a defense mechanism to fight it. Once this damage has occurred within the digestive tract, it is then distributed throughout the entire body.
Harmful effects of gluten
Aside from contributing (if not entirely causing) leaky gut, gluten increases inflammation, overall digestive distress, AND alters the balance of our microbiome.
Without the proper balance of bacteria, the following functions are disrupted:
- Immune response
- Nutrient absorption
- Hormone regulation
- Vitamin production
- Mood management
The primary effects of gluten include:
- Intestinal hyperpermeability (leaky gut)
- Permeability of the blood-brain barrier
- The onset of autoimmune diseases
- The development of psychological disorders
- Dysbiosis, or abnormal bacteria growth
- Acute allergic responses
The secondary effects of gluten exposure include:
- Severe nutrient deficiencies (such as iron and vitamin B12)
- Systemic inflammation (leading to organ and tissue breakdown)
Gluten is a significant component of the leaky gut cycle. It is present in the onset, the maintenance, and the progression of this dangerous condition, and it should not be taken lightly.