So what is it?
Gluten is a Latin word that means “glue,” it is so called due to its ability to hold grains like wheat, barley, and rye together. It's composed of two different proteins: gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein).
Gliadin in particular can be difficult to digest. This is because nature had a goal when designing grain seeds: durability. The prolamin along with other anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors, is what makes the outer shell of grains so tough.
Why are we hearing so much about it now?
Barely a decade ago, gluten intolerance and celiac disease were considered uncommon genetic anomalies, occurring in about 1 in 2500 persons worldwide.
Not anymore kids.
With the rate that these anomalies are currently increasing at, it is hard to get accurate statistics of the actual percentage of people they are affecting worldwide. It is expected to be about 1 in 133 but new research is indicating it could be more like 1 in 33. Most reports conclude that the condition is “widely unrecognised” and “greatly underdiagnosed”.
Celiac vs. Wheat allergy vs. Gluten sensitivity vs. IBS
Ø Celiac disease (CD) is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that occurs in reaction to the ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible people. The reaction to gluten causes the flattening of the cells lining the small intestine, which then leads to malabsorption of nutrients and many other symptoms.
Ø A Wheat allergy - is an immune reaction to any of the hundreds of proteins in wheat. When a person has a wheat allergy, one type of white blood cells, called T-cells, send out antibodies to “attack” the wheat. This reaction happens quickly and can involve a range of symptoms from nausea, abdominal pain, itching, and swelling of the lips and tongue, to trouble breathing, or in extreme cases anaphylaxis.
Ø Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is normally diagnosed when a wheat allergy or CD has been ruled out. It is not well understood but similar symptoms of CD are present.
Ø IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It also causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. Its exact cause is also unknown.
EVEN WITH THE CELIAC GENES PRESENT, YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STILL NEEDS TO RECOGNISE GLUTEN AS A FOREIGN INVADOR.
ENTER LEAKY GUT
For your body to react to the gluten it needs to first to consider it a threat like it would bacteria.