How can eating gluten create health problems in so many parts of our body?
This is a question I get asked a lot during coaching, and the answer can get quite complex.
In this week’s video I explain very simply how eating something like gluten (in breads, pasta, pizza, etc) can not only give you digestive problems such as bloating and IBS, it could be the culprit for many problems in your body, including but not limited to:
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- IBS and abdominal pain
- Malnutrition/Failure to thrive
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Celiac disease
- Hair loss
- Chronic Fatigue/ME
- Multiple sclerosis
- Anxiety and depression
- Memory loss
- Thyroid disorders, eg hypothyroidism, hashimoto’s disease
- Skin disorders, eg eczma, psoriasis, rosacea
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Water retention
That’s quite a list, huh! So, how can so many different symptoms possibly be related to eating gluten?
The problem begins in your gut, or your lower intestine to be precise.
Because gluten is not easily digested, these proteins damage the wall of your intestine – where your body absorbs nutrients from your food.
Over time, the millions of tiny protrusions called Villi that absorb nutrients become damaged and the surface area available for absorption reduces.
This means that even if you are eating nutrient-rich foods, your gut may not be able to take up those nutrients and convert them into energy and other functions such as body maintenance and repair.
Gluten proteins also damage the ‘barrier’ between your intestine and what lies behind it – your bloodstream and immune system.
This is commonly called Leaky Gut Syndrome, because your gut literally has holes in it that leaks particles of food past where they should be!
Once gluten particles get into your bloodstream, they are free to roam wherever your blood takes them. They’re on the trip of a lifetime with an access-all-areas ticket!
But in the meantime, your immune system is on to them, uh huh… sounds like your body’s home guard are going to save the day, right? Um, not exactly…
One of the first actions your immune system takes is to attach an enzyme to the gluten proteins in a bid to neutralise the threat.
The problem with this response is that the enzyme your body sends to jump on the gluten and grapple it to the ground, is the same type of enzyme that is also present in countless cells and organs of your body!
When your immune system sends the troops in to attack gluten, it assumes that the enzyme now attached to it is also part of the problem (I feel bad for this enzyme – Tissue Transglutaminase or Ttg – it got mixed up in the wrong crowd and it’s guilty by association!).
This means your immune system thinks that wherever it comes across this enzyme, it should attack.
It may detect this enzyme in your brain, joints, thyroid, liver, heart, skin… are you seeing the potential scope of the problem?
This is where auto-immune diseases take hold: your immune system attacks your own body’s cells because it thinks they are the enemy.
When your own body begins to attack itself, that’s bad news… but there are ways to bring peace to your body.
- The first step is to literally stop feeding the problem.
Quitting gluten can be tough when we find it in most of everyday foods. But it is essential to find out if it really is the culprit. I help my clients navigate this challenge without feeling confused or denied.
- The second step is to heal the damage.
The leaks in your gut and your compromised absorption in your intestine CAN be healed. And until you close that unauthorised access AND get the most nutrition from your food, your body can’t even think about dealing with the war happening elsewhere in your organs.
- The third step is to take care of your wacko immune army and re-educate those trigger-happy soldiers to stop attacking the good guys!
If this unconventional biology lesson has set off some alarm bells for you and YOUR random symptoms, that is actually GREAT NEWS!
Because you can start the healing process.
If you want to start the amnesty process with your body, I am offering free sessions to three lucky readers in the next week where we can create an action plan for your first steps to peace in your body.
If you have questions about your symptoms or the information here, please leave a comment and I’ll help you with answers.