At your local grocery store, you may have noticed the increased availability and labeling of foods that are ‘gluten free’. What is gluten, and why do so many people want to be ‘free’ of it?
So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gluten is composed of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten’s structure acts like ‘glue’ or elastic, to bind bread and baked goods so they keep their shape. Gluten protein is difficult for our bodies to digest. Problems occur when the body’s immune system reacts to gluten.
What is Gluten sensitivity? 70% of our bodies’ immune system is located in the gut. If for some reason the body has been sensitized to gluten, the body attacks the components of gluten as if they were unwanted intruders, causing inflammation in the gut and other symptoms (see below). Gluten sensitivity is not the same as Celiac Disease, in which the body is completely intolerant to gluten.
Why might more people become sensitive to Gluten? The following are ideas that have been proposed by the medical and scientific community to explain the increasing prevalence of gluten sensitivity:
- Environmental Toxins (pesticides, pollutions, etc.)
- Selective Wheat Breeding
- Genetic Modification of crops
- Consumption of gluten products before 6 months of age
- Gastric viruses (Stomach flu)
What are the symptoms of Gluten sensitivity?
- Digestive issues
- Stomach pain
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Skin rashes
Could an undetected gluten sensitivity be contributing to your symptoms? Call Atlanta Function Medicine 770.667.3006 to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive evaluation of your health today!
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