What Causes Gluten Sensitivity

Welcome if you’re new and welcome back if you’ve been with me for a while. In yesterdays post I talked about how certain allergies environmental and food could cause for your weight gain. In that post, I mentioned Gluten Sensitivity. I’m sure I missed some key facts sorry.And finally, I want to say that this is for Gluten Sensitivity and not Celiac Disease. And like always if you believe you may have Celiac please go to your doctors for proper testing. And if you think you may have sensitivity I don’t believe there is a blood test I got put in the direction of a food intolerance test and gluten came up high (3) on that test.

If you want to take a food intolerance test you can purchase this one and if you are looking for a more in-depth intolerance test that test over 100 different foods and drinks you can click here. 


 

It’s not clear at all whether gluten really causes gluten sensitivity

wheat bread

 

 

When talking about the health condition that many clinicians now call “non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” it’s easy to focus strictly on the gluten protein. After all, it’s gluten that leads to intestinal damage in celiac disease, and so it didn’t seem like a major stretch, when this new condition was first described, to assume gluten was to blame for symptoms here, as well.

In addition, the gluten-free “diet” is well-known largely because people can remember that gluten is the problematic protein in celiac disease. Therefore, if someone gets relief from symptoms by following the gluten-free “diet”, but that person does not have celiac disease, it’s still fairly logical to assume that the person is reacting to gluten.

But what if the culprit causing the symptoms of “gluten sensitivity” isn’t gluten? What if, instead, it’s some other compound—or even multiple compounds—found in the gluten-containing grains wheat, barley, and rye, and possibly even in other foods, too?

This is an idea that’s getting some attention. Possible problematic compounds found in those grains include fructans (a complex carbohydrate that can cause symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome) and amylase trypsin inhibitors (which are proteins), in addition to the protein gluten.

Here’s what the research shows on all of the three-grain components, and how they might be related to non-celiac gluten sensitivity.


Gluten Is the Primary Suspect

This is the grain component on which most people focus. Gluten is a protein that grain plants use to store nutrients for the next generation of plants. It’s found in the seeds of grain plants — the part of the plant we think of, and use, like food.

The initial research on non-celiac gluten sensitivity fingered gluten as the problem in the newly described condition. That study said gluten made some people’s intestines leaky and inflamed without causing celiac disease. The researchers concluded these people were reacting to gluten in the foods they ate.

Since that initial study, there have been several more studies that used pure wheat gluten to try and induce symptoms in people who believed they were gluten-sensitive. These have had mixed results.

One study, for example, removed all gluten grain-based foods from 37 subjects’ diets, and then fed them with pure wheat gluten (the subjects didn’t know when they were eating gluten and when they were eating a placebo). The people in the study didn’t experience digestive symptoms while eating pure gluten, but some of them did get depression.

Another study used the same technique to “challenge” people who said they were gluten-sensitive with gluten and found that some of them did react to pure gluten. In that study, 101 people said their digestive symptoms improved when following a gluten-free diet, and 14% of those got worse when they unknowingly ingested gluten as part of the study.

The bottom line: Some people who say they’re sensitive to gluten grains do seem to be reacting to gluten, but many others don’t react when fed pure gluten unknowingly. More research on this is needed.


FODMAPs Is a Problem in IBS

It’s possible that the problem with wheat is its fructans. That’s what one of the recent studies on gluten sensitivity—the one with the 37 people who didn’t get digestive symptoms from pure gluten—concluded.

Fructans are a complex carbohydrate that ferments in your large intestine, potentially causing gas, bloating, cramping, pain, diarrhea, and constipation. This particular study fingered FODMAPs (fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols), which are sugars found in wheat grains and multiple other foods when the people in the study did not see their intestinal symptoms worsen with pure gluten.

 FODMAPs seem to cause digestive symptoms in many people with irritable bowel syndrome, and a low-FODMAP diet is proven to reduce symptoms in nearly three-quarters of those with IBS. But it’s far from clear whether the problem in “gluten sensitivity” is really the FODMAPs, and whether the solution is a low-FODMAP diet, rather than a gluten-free diet. Again, more research is needed.

Amylase Trypsin Inhibitors Are Drivers of Inflammation

There’s a third component of modern gluten grains that scientists have identified as a potential problem: amylase trypsin inhibitors. These proteins are actually natural pesticides — they’re made by the plant to protect itself from insects.

Amylase trypsin inhibitors in gluten grains actually make it difficult or impossible for bugs to digest the starches in the grain kernel. Modern wheat has been bred to have lots more of these proteins.

The problem is, amylase trypsin inhibitors in wheat (and possibly other gluten grains) seem to cause inflammation in some people, both in their intestines and elsewhere in their bodies. Researchers studying these proteins speculate that they could play a role in celiac disease, in non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and possibly in other conditions that are driven by inflammation.

 Amylase trypsin inhibitors may contribute to or even cause what people call non-celiac gluten sensitivity. However, right now they’re the least studied of these three possible causes.


Gluten Sensitivity And Intolerances Causes Are Unclear

It’s nowhere near clear right now what might cause the condition we’re calling “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” or (NCGS).  It could wind up being gluten, FODMAPs, amylase trypsin inhibitors, some combination of the three, or something else entirely.

If gluten isn’t to blame but something else in gluten grains is, then people who have the condition might need to follow a “diet” free of all components of wheat, barley, and rye … not just gluten.

Research over the next several years should tell us more about what causes non-celiac gluten sensitivity and how many people have it. That, in turn, should help us figure out how to diagnose and treat it.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


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