We hear alot about gluten and gluten intolerance – that wheat, barley, rye and oats should be avoided and in a few weeks you should feel much better. But what exactly is gluten intolerance, how does it happen?
Wheat contains very complex and difficult to digest proteins – they are called glutens. It’s a real challenge for a healthy persons digestive system to break down wheat proteins, as it requires optimum amounts of stomach acid to make pepsins – enzymes that break down proteins. To make stomach acid, you need salt – and because of the popularised idea that you should avoid salt, understandably many people are going to have problems making stomach acid, and thus, breaking down proteins. In addition, all sort of allergies can appear, because of undigested food particles that enter the blood stream, and are treated as invaders by the immune system. So without enough salt you can’t make enough stomach acid, and cannot break down proteins – especially complex wheat proteins.
What happens next, is all these undigested proteins enter your intestines and become a dangerous chemical there, because the digestive system is not designed to absorb whole proteins. Intestinal walls are made of tiny villi, that absorb all the nutrients and send them into the blood stream. As the undigested proteins touch the intestines, the villi swell up to close-off the spacing in between to prevent absorption, because it treats it as a poison. That not only reduces the surface area of absorption, but it also swells in the inside of the villi, squeezing the blood vessels that are used to transport nutrients to the blood stream . This scars the contacted area of intestines, making it unable to absorb nutrients. As the intestines are continuously being damaged over time, the overall ability to absorb decreases, thus making the body starve, regardless of whether nutritional supplements are being consumed or not. It also causes cracks in the intestines leading to leaky gut syndrome, and possibly irritable bowel syndrome. A condition when intestinal villi start to die is called celiac disease.
The undigested wheat proteins (glutens) also can be passed on to babies via mothers milk, causing their intestines to become irritated. Further gluten damage in children can cause rashes or asthma, caused by the inability to absorb nutrients, especially essential fatty acids and cholesterol (an essential nutrient).
Gluten intolerance should not be confused with gluten allergy, or wheat allergy – an intolerance is a contact that results in scarred intestines, while an allergy is an immune system response to substances in the blood.
What can you do about it? Well, the good news is that the intestines have the ability to repair themselves – just like the skin does. Going completely gluten-free, and using probiotics can heal and repair your intestines, increase your absorption and eliminate chronic illnesses that are caused by body starving for nutrients.
Source: Cerial Killers - Joel D. Wallach BS, DVM, ND