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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The problem with wheat

Why Gluten is Bad for You
Gluten is a family of proteins, including gliaden and glutenin (which have been the most widely studied). They are thick, gooey proteins that make things stick together when baked, instead of falling apart.

Gluten causes problems for people who lack the genetic ability to break it down into smaller amino acids that can be absorbed. Because it doesn't get broken down, the immune system recognizes it as a "foreign protein", and attacks it. In the process, the intestinal wall is damaged. That's why gluten acts as an intestinal abrasive.
How Many People are Affected?
How Gluten Creates Problems
Where Gluten is Found
The largest amounts of glutens are found in wheat, rye, and barley, a closely related trio of grains that contain, respectively, gliaden and glutenin.
Gluten's Effects on the Body

  1. Gluten addiction
  2. Pot belly
  3. Obesity & "Hunger Attacks"
  4. "Allergies"
  5. Adrenal Exhaustion
  6. Celiac Disease
  7. Depression
  8. Anxiety
  9. Eczema
  10. Psoriasis
Gluten Addiction
  1. Over time, gluten's erosion of the intestinal wall produces a "leaky gut" which absorbs full proteins that should have been blocked until they're broken down into amino acids.
  2. Glutens are opioid-like proteins that resist the digestive process, so they don't easily break down into amino acids.
  3. When the damaged intestinal wall passes them through intact, they cause a "gluten high" that lasts for a few hours, followed by an energy crash and a craving for carbohydrates--your next "fix".
Pot Belly
Your intestines swell with water as your body fights off the damage done by gluten. That gives you a "pot belly" ot "beer gut" that magnifies the appearance of any fat you have. In reality, it's a lot more water than fat. So regaining the flat stomach of your youth might be as simple as dropping gluten out of your diet.
Obesity and "Hunger Attacks"
  1. The addiction caused by gluten and MSG causes "hunger attacks" that cannot be denied with sheer will sheer power. You can try, but you're fighting a survival instinct that goes back a lot longer than you do. So you overeat and add fat.
  2. The adrenals are too busy dealing with inflammation in the intestines (or too exhausted from doing so) to release the hormone that lets you burn fat (progesterone). So what you gain, you keep.
  1. dairy
  2. tomatoes
  3. corn
  4. soy
  5. beef
  6. pork
  7. eggs
  8. shellfish
  9. peanuts, nuts
Celiac Disease and Other Problems
  1. Arthritis
  2. Cancer
  3. Depression
  4. Dermatitis herpetiformis (intensely itchy, blistering hives)
  5. Lupus
  6. Manic Depression
  7. Migraine headaches
  8. Neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ..., others)
  9. Osteoporosis
  10. Schizophrenia
Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity
  1. psoriasis (dandruff)
  2. lactose intolerance ("milk allergy")
  3. ringing in the ears
  4. sinusitis
  5. rhinitis
  6. slow, constant weight gain
  7. daily "hunger attacks"
  8. body chill and drowsiness a couple of hours after arising, and/or a couple of hours after lunch
  9. light-sensitivity (bright lights hurt your eyes)
  10. noise sensitivity
  11. insomnia
  12. massive fatigue and soreness one or two days after vigorous exercise
  13. chronic, low-level fatigue all the time
Avoiding Gluten
Absolutely Avoid
  1. Wheat, rye, barleyThese are the major gluten grains, responsible for much dietary mischief.
  2. Beer, pasta, bread Unless made from rice, nuts, coconut, or a gluten-free grain. 
  3. Gluten-based Additives
  • Fu -- dried wheat gluten
  • HPP -- hydrolyzed plant protein
  • HVP -- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • MSG -- monosodium glutamate
  • TPP -- textured plant protein
  • TVP -- textured vegetable protein 
Good Grains and Flours
  • Arrowroot
  1. Buckwheat
  2. Coconut
  3. Corn
  4. Millet
  5. Nuts
  6. Potato
  7. Rice
  8. Sorghum
  9. Soy
  10. Tapioca
  11. Coconut flour
  12. Quinoa
  13. Chia
  14. Flax
Healing the Damage
  1. Avoid gluten like the plague it is. That means avoiding wheat, rye, and barley. Eat grain-based foods made from rice, breads made with nut flours (pecan and almond are my favorite), and Indian foods made with chickpea and lentil flour. 
  2. Be alert for food sensitivity reactions. Once intestinal function is impaired, a variety of things can cause food reactions, including acidic foods and dairy products. Eliminate foods that cause problems until your intestinal tract has healed enough to deal with them.
  3. See how well you tolerate oats. If it causes problems, avoid it for a six months and try again. If it still causes problems, consider it a "gluten grain", as far as you're concerned.
  4. Drink Aloe Vera juice.
  5. Take L-glutamine, an amino acid supplement that helps to repair intestinal damage.
  6. Natural Antihistamines (nettle, vit C, quercitin, N-acetyl cysteine, MSM)
  7. Adrenal Support (B-vitamins, zinc, copper, hesperidin)
  8. There are also adrenal hormones you can take, like DHEA and pregnenolone. But they should be taken under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. The idea is that you start with a dose that's as large as you need to compensate for impaired adrenal function, and you taper it off gradually during the 3 months or so it takes for healing to occur, so that the adrenals take over the load as they grow stronger.
  9. Note, too, that healthy intestinal flora create all the B-vitamins you'll ever need--way more than you can take in supplements--so find a dairy-free acidolpholus, practice intestinal cleansing, and eat fermented foods like Kimchi.
Healing Time
Because dairy is the last food that will come back to your diet, and because healing takes 6 to 12 months, there's no point in testing dairy products until 6 months after you start the healing process. You might then test it once a month, until you find that it no longer gives you problems. At that point, you'll know that you have fully healed.
2013 Update: Modern Wheat is Poisonous
  • "Today's wheat is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago.
  • "Back in the 1950s, scientists began cross-breeding wheat to make it hardier, shorter, and better-growing. This work, which won U.S. plant scientist Norman Borlaug the Nobel Prize, introduced some compounds to wheat that aren't entirely human friendly.
  • "It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. (Which can produce nasty effects of its own. According to this eHow article, "Gamma rays change the molecular structure of the food, which can produce mutagens such as formaldehyde and benzene, chemicals suspected of causing cancer. Food irradiation also causes nutrients in the food to be destroyed. Vitamins A, C, E, K, the entire B group, amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are all affected by irradiation.")
  • "According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten
  • "We do not have the enzymes to break it down," he said in a recent interview with TenderFoodie. "It all depends upon how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it." His concern is that the gluten protein, which is abundant in the endosperm of barley, rye, and wheat kernels, is setting off an aberrant immune response.
  • "Grains…create an immunogenic response which increases intestinal permeability, thus triggering systemic inflammation by the immune system, what can lead to any number of autoimmune diseases, including celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and so on. And this holds true for people who don't have celiac disease.
  • "Davis also believes that gliadin degrades to a morphine-like compound after eating, what creates an appetite for more wheat; his claim, therefore, is that wheat actually has an addictive quality to it.
  • "Wheat also raises blood sugar. Two slices of whole wheat bread increases blood sugar levels higher than a single candy bar. 
  • "Lectins are a class of molecules, can be found in beans, cereal grains, nuts, and potatoes. When consumed in excess, or when not cooked properly, they can be harmful.
  • "The problem with the lectins found in whole grains, is that they bind to our insulin receptors and intestinal lining. This increases inflammation and contributes to autoimmune disease and insulin resistance. It also facilitates the symptoms of metabolic syndrome outside of obesity.
  • "A common argument in favor of continuing to eat whole grains is that they provide necessary fiber. This is actually a bit of a myth…" (My favorite sources of fiber are peas, lentils, and chickpeas--three ingredients that featured frequently in dishes from India.)
What's Wrong with American Foods? (Obesity and Disease)
Aloe Vera: Ancient Healer
Coconut Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill
Conquering Allergies
Healing the Skin
Intestinal Healing
The Importance of Fermentation
What Makes Kimchi so Healthy?
Health Now Medical
A consortium of doctors, chiropractors, and clinical nutritionists who first alerted me to the dangers of gluten. Their focus on identifying root causes, rather than treating symptoms, provided the key that exposed the hidden cause of a variety of non-optimal symptoms I was experiencing.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health
A recent book that reveals the toxic nature of modern wheat.
Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Good introduction to the subject. Contains a long list of scientific studies and peer-reviewed medical reports in support of its assertions. Much of the information in this report comes from its pages.
Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic
The first two chapters are particularly helpful for understanding the mechanics of the problem. Chapter 1 shows how a healthy digestive system works. Chapter 2 shows the effect of gluten. Both chapters are well-illustrated, so you can see what's happening.
Why You Should Probably Stop Eating Wheat
A Discovery News article that revealed the toxic compound contained in modern, hybridized wheat.
Negative Effects of Gamma Rays
An eHow artcile that nicely summarizes the problems associated with irradiating foods. (It improves profits. It's just not good for people!)
Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance
Unbelievably informative and authorative exposition of the problems that gluten can cause, most especially with respect to autoimmune diseases. 

In the latest study, one in three people were found to be gluten sensitive, even though they were showing no symptoms at all. They were pre-symptomatic. Of people with any kind of digestive disorder (gas, heart burn, diarrhea, consitpation, or what have you) one in two were found to be gluten senstive. And if any blood relative was gluten senstive, the chances were a near certainty that they were, too.

So let's say that half the people in the country have some kind of digestive problem (a very conservative estimate). If the studies are accurate, then half of those folks are gluten sensitive (25%), as are a third of the remainder (17%). That would mean that something like 42% of the population has a problem with gluten.
So as much as half the population could be affected but we don't know how big the problem really is, because doctors don't typically test for it.

In the DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance, Dr. O'Bryan gives a lecture that consists entirely of quotes from medical journals. There is no excuse for the fact that doctors are by and large ignornant of this material, and no excuse for failing to test for gluten sensitivity in every medical checkup. If they did that, we would have precise numbers in very short order.
The changes it makes in your body eventually cause sometimes-violent food reactions. Note that I didn't say "food allergies". A true "allergy" doesn't develop slowly, over time. And the severity of the symptoms don't depend on how much you have, or on how long you have been exposed. When you have a true allergy, the smallest amounts create a severe response, immediately.

The gluten grains aren't that dramatic. They immune reactions they incite slowly erode the intestinal wall, creating increasingly severe problems over a long period of time. Because of that immune response, gluten acts as an "intestinal abrasive". It sandpapers the intestinal wall it is so thin that it no longer functions properly. The glutens cause a variety of problems that collectively come under the heading,gluten sensitivity, or when severe, are said to cause a gluten reaction.
• Gliadin is the worst of the offenders. Gliadin does not occur in oats, but other gluten proteins do, such as glutenin. So oats are a "borderline" grain. It may be that they don't cause problems, or it may be that we just haven't studied glutenin enough.
Then there is triticale (wheat and rye), kamut (Egyptian wheat) and wheat products like couscous and semolina. Plus spelt, club, durum, bulgur, and einkorn, all wheat or wheat products, and all to be avoided by anyone who is gluten intolerant.

The only grains or flour from which gluten proteins are completely absent are rice, corn, potato, buckwheat, and coconut flour, arrowroot, millet, tapioca, teff, amaranth, and quinoa. Those are the only realistic grains for anyone who is gluten sensitive.
You've already seen a fairly lengthy list of harmful effects. This section will dive a little deeper into the mechanisms that cause harm, and add to the list of undesirable effects, including:
Wheat proteins break through the blood brain barrier and attaches at the opiate section of the the brain that incite feelings of euphoria, only to create feelings of misery a few hours later, producing the need for another "fix". It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the hamburgers use a wheat filler, the fries are brushed with wheat to make them crispy. The process by which wheat becomes addictive works like this:
The addictive nature of gluten means that you can't help yourself from eating more and more. Making it even harder is the fact that most people don't even know they're fighting a real addiction.

Of course, it takes a fair amount of gluten before the intestinal walls degrade to the point that the undigested proteins can pass. So it takes a long time. But bread and cereal are such a basic part of the American diet that folks who have a genetic inclination to gluten sensitivity will have begun to reflect those problems by the time they're in their teens.

As the intestinal abrasions accumulate, one very observable effect is the slow accumulation of weight, in addition to a stomach size that seems out of all proportion to the weight you've gained.

There's a good chance you're gluten senstive if you're experiencing a slow weight gain that seems unstoppable from month to month and year to year, regardless of how much you exercise. If it only stops when you starve yourself on some diet or another, only to come charging back with a vengenance when you finally stop, you should definitely get yourself tested for gluten senstivity..
You keep adding fat for two reasons:
If you wake up in the middle of the night because you're hungry, you should be tested for gluten sensitivity. If you slowly gain weight from year to year, you should get tested for gluten sensitivity. If you gain it rapidly from month to month, you may not even need to test. There is a good chance you are suffereing from adrenal exhaustion brought on by gluten intolerance. (More on that subject coming up.)
As the function of the intestinal tract degrades, you can become to susceptible to many other "food allergies", as well. In reality, you are experiencing a food-sensitivity reaction, but it feels just like an allergy. At first, you think it's the flu. You have the aching muscles and massive fatigue you experience when you're sick, and your nose is all stuffed up, too.

After a while, you begin to notice that you're getting "sick" in the middle of summer and in the spring, when the flu season is long over. So you begin to suspect grasses and pollen and every natural thing in the environment, never realizing that as your intestinal lining erodes, you are reacting to more and more of the things you eat.

You may even see a relationship to seasonal pollens, never realizing that main culprit is really gluten--especially if you were never allergic to those pollens before, and are now experiencing a reaction. It could be that they are a minor stress, well within your body's normal capacity, but in the presence of the continuous stress created by gluten, they put you "over the edge". As with obesity, the adrenals come into play here. The same cortico-steriods that are prescribed in nasal sprays are produced naturally by the adrenals. The amount the adrenals can produce determines your capacity for handling allergens. When the adrenals are otherwise preoccupied with dietary stresses, it can't produce as much antihistamine as it otherwise might. So what looks like a seasonal allergy can very well have one or more dietary reactions at its core.
The good news is that once you've restored your intestines to full health, you'll be able to add back many of the things that give you trouble. But until then, you need to avoid the ones that cause problems for a 2-12 months, until the intestinal wall heals.

When the intestinal problems reach critical levels, the diagnosis is Celiac Disease, which just means "disease of the abdominal cavity". (Informative, huh?) But long before that kind of intestinal atrophy is reached (or diagnosed), many other conditions may occur--conditions that may have gluten reactions as their underlying cause:
Much of the population has the wrong genetic makeup to deal with gluten. If you have any of the severe symptoms described above, you should definitely get a gluten test. If you display any of these early warning signs, you may want to get yourself tested, as well:
There is a very simple blood test that will tell you if gluten is the likely cause. (There's also a saliva test.) All they have to do is take a sample of your blood and look for antibodies (markers on your white blood cells). Given that gluten-senstivity is the most prevalent food reaction on the planet, it is absolutely astonishing that this test isn't part of the everone's standard medical checkup. (I can only conclude that agribusiness supplies the funding for medical schools, along with drug companies.)
Gluten can be difficult to avoid, because it turns up in so many places. But if you suffer from gluten sensitivity, once you find out how much energy you have and how much better you feel without it, you'll have no difficulty convincing your self that it is worth the effort.
Remember, gluten is addictive. So for a couple of weeks it will feel like you're giving up the whole world. You may wonder, "What on earth will I eat?" But in a matter of weeks, the addiction will be gone. You'll be less hungry, and you won't go hungry. You especially won't be having those hunger attacks that make you feel like you're starving. After a while, as Dr. Rick Peterson says, "It's just the way I eat". It may not seem possible now, but you'll look at cookies and cakes, bagels and donuts, pancakes and muffins, and find yourself thinking: "Yuch. Who needs it?"
As mentioned earlier, a food elimination diet is the best way to identify the secondary food reactions that result from degraded intestinal operation. If you're dealing with a severe problem that stems from gluten inolerance, that's a good thing to do. But the most important thing is to avoid gluten in all its forms.
Flours made from these foods do not contain gluten:
If you are gluten-sensitive, the bad news is that gluten is everywhere in the American diet. But the good news is that there are many things you can do about it:
Once gluten has been removed from your diet, there are a variety of ways to promote intestinal healing:
While your intestines heal, take supplements to offset the damage and give your body the extra ammunition it needs to function effectively:
The body's fastest growing cells are in the intestinal wall. They replace themselves every 4 months. So much healing can take place in that time, as long as you totally avoid gluten during that time. You also need to avoid triggers of "secondary allergies"--foods that cause problems because the compromised villi (tiny, hair-like projections in the intestines) can't produce the enzymes necessary to digest them.

The restoration of those villi takes additional time. Cell replacement in the intestines only takes 4 months, but cellular growth takes 6 to 12 months. The time you'll need depends on the rate at which you heal--a rate which is affected by age, but which is primarily determined by the overa-all quality of your diet and the degree to which you can successfully avoid the dietary ingredients that trigger intestinal inflammation.

Basically, intestinal healing is a process that can months or years, depending on how long gluten has been in your diet. Most importantly, it is a process which can only occur when gluten has been completely removed from the diet. Even a small amount can cause a major setback in healing, because the body reacts so vigorously to it.
To determine which foods cause you problems, it's a good idea to remove every possible suspect from the diet. Get down to a minimal diet that you know is healthy, and then try new things every three or four days. Give each one 3 days to manifest systems before you decide that it is ok, then either avoid it or add it back to your diet. (This "elimination diet" is best done under the supervision of qualified nutritionist, so you find out everything you should avoid.)

As your intestinal wall regrows, foods that gave you problems before become easily tolerated once again. So every three months or so, you can re-test the foods that are on the not-OK list.
The villi that produce lactase--the enzyme necessary to digest the lactose in milk--are at the very tips of the villi.

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