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What is the REAL DEAL with Gluten???

I bet nearly everyone knows someone who is "gluten free" and you may even be practicing a reduced gluten diet yourself. So WHY is this the latest craze, does anyone REALLY benefit from going gluten free, what's the deal with gluten free items, and is it worth the higher price? Turns out, the answer is not that simple and the reasons why are quite complex. Hold on, before I lose you on just the thought of the whole gluten free movement and get the eye rolling nonchalance of those who are so over this whole craze, I am going to hit you with a fact or 2 of how gluten affects even you, and hopefully raise the awareness of why some are choosing this lifestyle. After all, the wheat we are eating now has 50% more gluten than in ancient times. The goal is NOT to convince you to go gluten free, just provide some education about why some are making the choice, so next time you host a party you can serve that hamburger - without a bun - with greater understanding. First off, everyone who ingests gluten has an immune response at the innate (or your gut) level. The wheat protein, gliadin, provokes an innate response. Now whether you feel that response or not has numerous contributing factors. Several studies have shown that heavy gluten eaters often have a higher level of a bacteria in their gut that can break down the gluten proteins. While this is good for digesting the gluten, these bacteria have no benefit in supporting your body through immune response or otherwise. Genetics and nutritional levels play a large factor in whether your body will create an adaptive response bringing in a higher whole body immune reaction. This is often called Gluten Sensitivity. The most extreme being diagnosed as Celiac disease which brings genetics into play. So what's the big deal? Whether your adaptive (whole body) immune system is engaged or not, your innate (gut) immune system is forced to constantly react every time you eat gluten, leading to immunity exhaustion and persistent levels of inflammation. Secondly, gluten upregulates (increases) the protein zonulin, which your gut uses to open the "gates" that should only allow appropriately digested proteins into your blood stream. Because gluten stimulates zonulin excessively, this allows for larger proteins, bacteria, and viruses to creep out into your blood stream (which plays a large role in the development of cardiac illness, liver and kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases). When this "leaky gut" occurs, which is nearly inevitable with continued ingestion of gluten, your body now has an ongoing inflammatory immune response throughout. The pathogenic bacteria and viruses that normally would have been eradicated in the gut where 70% of your immune system is, are instead released into your blood stream to venture throughout causing disease where they may and requiring a much stronger and exhausting immune response along with persistent levels of inflammation. So what's the big deal? In case you haven't heard, inflammation is at the root of nearly all disease.

And here is where it gets intense. The proteins that snuck out without being fully broken down into useful amino acids in your digestive tract are now floating about being attacked as pathogens. Many of these proteins look similar to other proteins in your body that make up your organs. This is where 'molecular mimicry' becomes an issue. We already know our immune system is being constantly stimulated and is somewhat exhausted. It is firing in all directions because your blood stream is overwhelmed with invaders. Quite often, autoimmune disease is the result of your body's tissue being caught in the crossfire. The thyroid is particularly susceptible. The big deal: Your overly tired immune system is no longer able to differentiate between your tissue and the alien proteins and begins attacking itself. Thus the definition and causation of autoimmune disease. To add to this, the wheat protein gliadin also has the ability to permeate your blood brain barrier and create a low narcotic response. Let's face it, just the smell of a bakery can elicit a euphoric response. Combine that with the texture and taste and you have the perfect reason to never give up gluten! But there is strong research showing those are secondary responses to the addicted craving generated in your brain. When the longer gluten proteins are released into the blood stream they pass into the brain and activate opoid receptors. This is where the association with neural disorders such as schizophrenia, ADHD, autism, and related neurological disorders come into play. Gluten has also been shown to decrease blood flow into the frontal cortex. It has long been held for decades that going gluten free can have a huge impact on reducing the severity of the brain disfunction. Casein, or milk proteins, are also implicated In the neural inflammatory response as well. Everyone has an opiod response (could this possibly be why it seems impossible to give up bread?!) but the nature of our genetic expression to it is what differentiates the degree of the neural toxicity. The big deal: As we look at the alarming increase in ADHD and autism along with other neural disorders this information should not be passed over lightly. Now that you know a little more about gluten, what are some alternatives? Sprouted and sourdough breads have the gluten proteins broken down and are easier to digest. Unfortunately most gluten free choices are high in sugar and starches and have nearly no nutritional value, but cost much more. And often include gmo corn as a primary ingredient. Oats which are gluten free, but unless organic are most likely sprayed with RoundUp as a desiccant and have extremely high levels of glyphosate (Cheerios contain levels of glyphosate nearly 1000x of that of other cereals!). So just marching down the gluten free food aisle to overspend on some products isn't necessarily your best option. Although there are some great products made from coconut flour, sorghum, buckwheat, etc., I would encourage you to look more towards using whole foods as much as possible. And hopefully the next time you hear that some one is choosing to be gluten free you'll consider ditching the bun as well…/research-proves-wheat-can-cau……/dark-side-wheat-new-perspecti……/gluten-brain-wheat-cuts-blood… is a site that contains vast amounts of scientific studies that have been read and sorted to verify that sound scientific procedures were used making them a reputable resource.

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