We’ve all heard of ”glutens” as it relates to the sensitivity that some people have to wheat proteins. In particular people with celiac disease, glutens cause an auto-immune response that can damage the lining of the small intestine. However, current research has found that there is more to gluten and the issues it can cause in the intestine than just for those with celiac disease. Gluten may, in fact, damage the intestinal lining in healthy individuals.
The intestinal lining is a single layer of cells which forms a barrier to protect against invading pathogens (disease causing molecules). The intestinal lining’s ability to protect the body from foreign particles is based on tight junctions between the lining cells. Unfortunately, the structure of this protective lining is susceptible to damage caused by foods, inflammation, and stress. Alessio Fasono M.D. has done extensive research on this problem, which is commonly referred to as “leaky gut.” Many of his studies have focused on a protein called zonulin. Zonulin regulates how “tight” the junctions are between the cells lining the intestines and has the potential to make these junctions “leaky”. This allows larger than normal protein molecules to leak from the gut into the bloodstream causing an inflammatory response.
Glutens can increase the amount of zonulin within the gut, which can cause the tight junctions to loosen, resulting in a “leaky gut”. Leaky gut has a wide range of implications in the pathology of metabolic disease, systemic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and tumor-related diseases. It may therefore be prudent to consume wheat proteins in moderation. The below guide can better help you navigate gluten sources.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.