Doctor Oz's program was about Gluten ---- a topic that I RECENTLY DID AN ENTIRE BLOG SERIES ON. He had professional quarterback Matt Hasselback's wife on the program, who is some sort of celebrity in her own right. She told her story about going from an undiagnosed Gluten-induced nightmare, to real health, vitality, and energy (and fertility). Getting off Gluten literally gave her her life back! The cool thing is that both of them were talking about some of the very same things that I have been talking about for quite some time in my clinic.
You see, for a huge segment of the population (particularly the 60 TO 100 MILLION AMERICANS WHO ARE AUTOIMMUNE), Gluten (wheat protein) is not just toxic; it's incredibly toxic. And it's not just incredibly toxic; it's neuro-toxic. It causes the body to progressively attack itself in all sorts of different and macabre ways --- affecting particularly the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, the NERVE SYSTEM, and ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (most particularly, the THYROID). What were some of the most common symptoms of Gluten Intolerance as listed by Hasselback, Dr. Oz, as well as their "Guest Panel" of three Gluten-Sensitive women? Here are some they talked about. You should start to recognize that most of these are absurdly common, seem to be plaguing about 3/4 of the American population, and affect far more women than men.
- Weight Gain
- Inability to Loose Weight
- Hormonal Problems (mostly female --- including infertility)
- All Sorts of Digestion Problems
- Diarrhea / Constipation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Migraine Headaches
- Fatigue & Lethargy
- Skin Rashes
- Cravings (Sugar & Junk Carbs)
- Chronic Pain / Fibromyalgia
- Diminished Thyroid Function
- Diminished Immune System Function
Although they spent a good deal of time on this program talking about the wide range of "Gluten Free" foods on the market, they did not mention the fact that there are lots of people who have Gluten-Like reactions to non-Gluten foods. How does this happen?
GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY
Anyone who deals with Gluten Sensitive patients on a daily basis will tell you that many continue to have Gluten-Sensitivity-Like symptoms --- even though they are completely off of Gluten. This is because many people are so absurdly Gluten Intolerant that they have developed something called "Gluten Cross Reactivity". There are new lab tests available that will tell you not only whether or not you are Gluten Sensitive, they will tell you on a scale of one to ten just how sensitive you are. They can also test for something called "Gluten Cross Reactivity". Cross Reactivity is a real problem because there are many common food items that act / react just like Gluten in a large segment of the "Gluten Intolerant" population.
The mechanism behind Cross Reactivity is complicated, but I will attempt to give you the way-oversimplified version. Your immune system recognizes various substances in you body via their configuration (shape). For instance, every food molecule has a slightly different shape to it. In those people who exhibit at least some degree of Gluten Sensitivity, it simply means that your immune system has become sensitive to the "shape" of the gluten molecule. The body then makes "shape specific" antibodies to fight against this perceived invader --- Gluten.
However, for reasons that scientists cannot really explain, the immune system will often mistake similar-shaped molecules for Gluten, and then react to them exactly like they would react to Gluten. In fact, for many Gluten Intolerant people, these "Cross Reactive" foods can actually cause reactions that are indistinguishable from the reactions that a Gluten Intolerant person would get from ingesting (or simply coming in bodily contact with) Gluten! In other words, if a person has a positive test for Cross Reactivity to coffee, their body will react to coffee in the exact same manner that it reacts to Gluten. Although there are others, here is the most common list of Cross Reactive foods.
GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY LIST
- Cow's Milk
- Quinoa (A popular African Grain)
- Alpha and Beta-Casein (Milk Protein)
- Casomorphin (fragments of protein from the digestion of Casein)
- Butyrophilin (a protein associated with fat droplets in milk)
- American Cheese
For those not wanting to spend any money, the other option is to do an Elimination Diet. You simply remove all Gluten from the diet, as well as the Cross Reactive foods listed above (by "all", I mean all). After three or four months, you can begin adding the Cross Reactive foods back to your diet one at a time, at the rate of one per week (make sure that you keep very detailed records!). If you react, that food is considered positive for Gluten Cross Reactivity. The drawback to this method is that it will take you the better part of a year to get through the process. Or longer if you have to test every single food you eat.
It is important to keep in mind that Celiac Disease (full-blown Gluten Intolerance) is an Autoimmune Condition. If you have any degree of autoimmunity (look at THE LIST --- I promise you'll be shocked), you have about a 90% of testing out as Gluten Sensitive. And unfortunately, once the gene for autoimmunity has been turned on, it can never be turned off again. However, it can be suppressed by watching what you eat as well as trying to control other variables. Other things that can trigger Autoimmune Reactions in your body include STRESS, INFLAMMATION, acute and chronic INFECTIONS, environmental chemicals, and physical trauma / CHRONIC PAIN.
Oh, and in case you are one of those people who has actually been tested for Celiac Disease, but came up negative, despite the fact that you have every symptom ----- just realize that regardless of what your doctor tries to tell you, you are Gluten Intolerant. It frankly does not matter if you are "officially" Celiac or not. If you are Gluten Sensitive, your body can have the exact same reactions to Gluten as someone with Celiac Disease --- in some cases worse. Testing negative for Celiac Disease simply means that your biopsy came back negative (you did not yet have enough damage to the micro-villi in your small intestine to qualify). But keep eating Gluten or your Gluten Cross Reactors and you will get there soon enough!
By the way, your single best Gluten Resource on the web today is Dr. Tom O'Bryan's THE GLUTEN SYNDROME.
If you have questions, you can contact Schierling Chiropractic, LLC at (417) 934-6337. If you suspect you are Gluten Sensitive, have an AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION of any sort, or an ENDOCRINE PROBLEM, you need to read my SERIES ON GLUTEN.