Many have heard of celiac disease, but non-celiac gluten sensitivity, not so much. However, this condition is rising and extremely important. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is responsible for many autoimmune conditions and the reason why many individuals feel constantly sick, bloating, or have joint pain.
What is gluten? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Unfortunately, gluten is the stable of the American diet and hidden in many foods, like soy sauce for example. 99% of people who have a problem with eating gluten do not even know it. They associate their poor health and discomfort with other instances. However, this is becoming an epidemic as those who have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity (diagnosed or undiagnosed) have a significantly higher chance of developing heart disease. So far, there have been 55 diseases that are linked to eating gluten.
Gluten did not always use to be horrible, in fact over the years the cases of gluten intolerance and gluten sensitives have skyrocketed due to “super gluten” and our lack of genetic adaptation. Celiac disease and Non-celiac gluten sensitivities cause inflammation throughout the entire body and cause many other symptoms. Super gluten has grown and now infects nearly all wheat strains grown in America. Super gluten is modified gluten with the use of chemicals and different additives to reduce the rise time.
Additionally, the specific gluten proteins gliadins and glutenins are resistant to gastric digestion and increase the permeability throughout the small intestine. Increased intestinal permeability has shown connections with chronic health conditions such as iron deficiency, osteoporosis, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and other autoimmune diseases.
There is testing available to see if you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gut inflammation, and to see your gene variation. For gluten intolerance, there are six gene variations in the human leukocyte antigen HLA gene region. These are HLA Haplotype. The HLA SNPs include:
For more information on the SNPs, view this document below:
A haplotype is a set of DNA variations that tend to be inherited together. These can be referred to as a combination of alleles or a set of SNPs that are found on the same chromosome. These genes determine the risk level for celiac disease as well as produce the antigen complex responsible for how the body’s immune system distinguishes proteins from foreign invaders. DNA Health from DNA life helps us test an individual’s genetic factors for gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, and inflammation. A sample report is shown below:
Although the information we know regarding these conditions is more than in the past, we are still lacking knowledge in many aspects of these syndromes. An article that shows the connection between gluten and gut permeability and inflammation can be read below, or you can click on the title to review the article:
Understanding that eating gluten if you have a sensitivity is damaging your immune system, health, and gut is vital. We have the ability to learn about our genetic makeup and decrease the risk of abnormal cellular apoptosis. The small intestine needs to be kept in homeostasis for our other body systems to properly function. When gluten proteins alter the intestinal lining we see a change in the inhibition of epithelial cell growth. A healthy immune system plays a central role in the maintenance and tolerance to dietary antigens and harmful pathogens.
The more research that is uncovered, we are finding a distinct connection between our environment (the food we ingest), our gut permeability, and our overall health. By eating foods like gluten that we can not break down, we are essentially just adding fuel to a fire in our digestive tract that never should have been started. We could be what is making ourselves sicker. Genetic testing and food sensitivity testing are always great ideas, but if you are not able to do that right now, start by going completely gluten-free (no exceptions!) for two weeks and see how you feel. Then, eat gluten again and see if there is a difference. If you experience uncomfortable bloating, problems with bowel movements, headaches, joint pain, inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, or feel overall uncomfortable, chances are you should not be eating gluten! -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Volta U, Caio G, Tovoli F, De Giorgio R. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity: questions still to be answered despite increasing awareness. Cell Mol Immunol. 2013;10(5):383‐392. doi:10.1038/cmi.2013.28
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