Gluten, a protein in wheat and certain grains, is now found nearly everywhere in our modern world. It is not only in flour-based foods such as pasta and bread, but also used as a filler in meat substitutes, medications, and supplements. Additionally, is used in body products such as toothpaste, and it can even find its way into “gluten-free” foods through cross-contamination.
To top it off, modern-day gluten is not the same gluten your grandparents ate. Scientists developed hybrid strains of wheat-containing new forms of gluten that our bodies are unfamiliar with. Scientists were also able to deaminate gluten, allowing it to be dissolved into liquids and other products including lunch meat and shampoo. Therefore, we are not only eating a different kind of gluten than our ancestors, but we are also eating and being exposed to more of it.
What are some of Gluten’s Effects on our Bodies?
The modified gluten protein causes problems with both your gut health and your immune system. It’s the perfect storm for the development and progression of inflammation and autoimmune disease. Even if you do not have an autoimmune disease, eating gluten can still be harmful to your health — it has been linked with more than 55 diseases.
When toxins and large particles are allowed to pass through the gut wall, they are identified as invaders in the body. This causes our immune system to launch an attack (through the process of inflammation) in order to get rid of them. This is a natural process designed to keep us healthy.
But, if we are constantly being bombarded with toxins (because of a leaky gut) and our immune system is constantly having to create inflammation in order to protect us, we will soon have chronic inflammation, which can lead to several health consequences.
Additionally, when gluten proteins slip through a leaky gut and enter into our body, our immune system recognizes that they should not be there either and once again launches an attack to destroy the gluten particles.
For individuals who are sensitive to gluten, the following chain reaction can literally be set off every time they eat gluten:
The problems begin when gluten activates zonulin and contribute to the formation of a leaky gut.
A leaky gut then allows toxins and undigested particles (like gluten) to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
These toxic substances (including large particles of gluten) then trigger our immune system to create inflammation in order to destroy these foreign invaders.
Continuing to eat gluten on a regular basis leads to a state of chronic inflammation as our body tries to continually fight off these foreign invaders.
And, finally, our body may begin to attack its own tissues that just happen to be similar in structure to gluten, such as our thyroid.
Goodness! This chain of events is definitely not something any of us want going on in our bodies because it truly can have a dramatic impact on our health.