Are you eating something every day that could be making you sick?
Gluten is a “sticky” protein that is found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Actually gluten is a misnomer, “gliadin” is the portion of wheat that triggers an immune response in people (since “gluten” is commonly used we will stick with that term). It also has been discovered that gluten is made up of more than 100 different components that can cause a reaction, not just one. Also, gluten is everywhere! It is so ubiquitous that our government does not require that it be labeled on packages, and could be, and is often hidden under names such as vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and modified food starch.
(Foods containing gluten are listed in the RepairVite brochure, of the RepairVite Program.)
Why are we so sensitive to this “staff of life”… the staple of our diet?
There are many reasons… They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America. Another problem is grains are stored in grain bins for a long time for economic pricing reasons, and can grow mold and fungus.
More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten (1)
These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and many other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.
Gluten sensitivity can create inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause-which is often gluten sensitivity-not just the symptoms.
Of course this doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone-but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.
Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity
There are now considered to be two primary types of gluten intolerance; celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease is considered to be an autoimmune process that destroys the villi of the small intestine. Celiac disease is diagnosed by advanced intestinal damage (total villous atrophy.) Research over the past 20 years shows that celiac disease can affect not only the gut but all other organ systems. Two-thirds of those with celiac disease do not have intestinal symptoms nor do they have intestinal damage. Symptoms that can be experienced by someone with traditional celiac disease are diarrhea, stomach and intestinal pain, iron anemia and malabsorption. It is estimated that the disease affects one in 133 people and that it runs in families. Up to 30% of those of European descent carry the genes for Celiac disease.(2) Many people suffer with celiac for years before being diagnosed. It takes an average of 12 years to diagnose, and complete villous atrophy needs to be present. Many who have celiac do not get diagnosed until the symptoms become very severe. Their symptoms are often diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome or gastritis, when celiac is actually the underlying issue. One study that was published in Gastroenterology compared 10,000 blood samples from individuals 50 years ago to 10,000 people today and found there has been a 400% increase in the incidence of celiac disease. (3)
Gluten sensitivity, also known as gluten intolerance, is much more vague than Celiac. Being gluten-intolerant isn’t as black-and-white as once thought.
Medical Director of the University of Maryland’s center for Celiac Research Alessio Fasano states “For the first time, we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease.” Patients have been told that if it wasn’t celiac disease, it wasn’t anything. Gluten, a staple of human diets for 10,000 years-triggers an immune response like an enemy invader in some people. Dr. Fasano and other experts speculate that once immune cells are mistakenly primed to attack gluten, they can migrate and spread inflammation throughout the body, even to the brain. Although the outward manifestation of eating gluten may be mild bloating, headache, or brain fog, inside the body the immune system is being stimulated and the effects may last for up to several months. For some, removing 100% of the gluten is not enough, many people may need to go completely grain free due to the gliadins sub-fractions in non-gluten grains and possibly other foods.
The diagnostic criteria for celiac disease need re-evaluation: endomysial antibody positivity without atrophy belongs to the spectrum of genetic gluten intolerance, and warrants dietary treatment. (4)
We must have healthy intestines to be healthy.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome (Intestinal Permeability)?
Leaky gut is increased permeability of the intestinal wall resulting from toxins, poor diet, gluten, parasites, infection, or medications. . The small intestine is about 23 feet long.
It’s lining is not smooth, it resembles shag carpeting with its many folded finger-like projections, with a surface area is as large as a tennis court! It is here our food is broken down into small nutrients that pass through this porous lining into the blood stream where these nutrients are delivered to our bodies trillions of cells. If this lining is damaged and there are tears, larger than usual particles such as toxins, microbes, undigested food, and waste escape into our circulation. These out-of-place substances affect the body directly or initiate an immune reaction.
This creates allergies and an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body.
How long does it take to heal leaky gut?
To determine how long it will take to heal, it requires knowing how much damage the small intestine has sustained.
If an individual has complete villous atrophy as in celiac disease, it will take longer to heal than the individual that is only gluten sensitive. Healing can happen in a fraction of time compared to the years of damage that has been done.
Once leaky gut has occurred, exposure to gluten and other foods that are cross reactive with gluten and can open up these tight junctures in the small intestine again to recreate this damaging cycle.
We recommend a restrictive dietary program, and the nutrients in RepairVite, Gl Synergy, and Strengthia (RepairVite Program). The length of time on average is 30 – 60 days for more progressed cases, and as few as 3 days for quick recovery after exposure to food sensitivities. To determine the appropriate length of the program for you, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.
1 New England Journal of Medicine 2002 Jan 17; 346 (3): 180-188
2 Lancet 2003 Aug 2; 362 (9381): 383-91
3 Gastroenterology 2009 July; 137(1): 88-93
4 Gastroenterology 2009 March; 136 (3): 816-823