Many people all over the world suffer from gluten related issues. From the usual bloating, abdominal discomfort, constipation, diarrhoea to coeliac disease and auto-immune conditions.
Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye and historically it has been around 10,000 years. This is relatively new in our evolution and humans have not evolved to digest it yet, hence the health issues associated with it.
There are 100 different proteins, peptides and enzymes associated with wheat that may cause the body to react with inflammation and an immune response. However, there are 12 that are more common and one of these is a protein called gliadin found in gluten. When inflammation occurs due to gluten this is called Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) but many of us will not have heard of this term before.
There are around 100 diseases and 300 symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity and gluten produces digestive discomfort in 1 in 8 people. 56% of people with headaches are gluten sensitive and 30% of those with IBS would have positive markers if tested for NCGS.
10 – 35% of the population have a wheat allergy, NCGS or Coeliac Disease. 1 in 10 people are gluten sensitive/intolerant but have no digestive symptoms. Instead the inflammation damages the weakest area of the body i.e. the brain, heart, skin, liver, kidneys etc without the individual knowing until years later when symptoms appear.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are on the increase and in these conditions there is always brain inflammation. Some experts believe gluten has a role to play. Recent figures from the USA estimate that 1.8 million have Coeliac Disease but 78% go undiagnosed. In the UK we can assume we have similar statistics.
The No 1 cause of sickness and death is heart disease. Gluten contributes to atherosclerosis and hardening arteries. The 3rd most common cause of death is autoimmune diseases. Three triggers are necessary for any one of the 80 or so autoimmune diseases around and one of the triggers is gut permeability, often caused by gluten.
So, if you cannot get to the bottom of why you are feeling unwell then consider your gluten intake. Reduce it and see how you feel or even better avoid it completely. Bear in mind though that if you are considering a gluten sensitivity test then you must currently be eating gluten for the test to be reliable.