A few weeks ago, a member of my Facebook group asked what the most essential change she could make was. My quick answer was to give up gluten.
The more research I do and the more books I read, the more it all seems to come back to gluten.
I am also going to say again to please approach any eliminations or recommendations as a trial and error process. It doesn't hurt to try different approaches. If one thing doesn't work, try another. We all have different genetics and life histories, so what works for one person, may not work for another.
Also, because of our different genetic backgrounds, symptoms and disease from the same cause or causes can manifest in different ways.
Chronic inflammation may cause heart disease in one person, headaches, arthritis, or diabetes in another.
First lets go back to the gut.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about leaky gut (here) and how when the gut is "leaky" or has impaired permeability, the wrong particles either get through to the blood stream or to another layer of the gut lining and cause an immune reaction from your body, which causes inflammation. If this continues, the inflammation can become chronic.
Chronic inflammation is linked to most chronic diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, auto-immune diseases, and so on.
Some of the common contributors to leaky gut are:
So how does the gut become "leaky"?
Protein structures called intracellular tight junctions, seal up the spaces between the epithelial cells in the gut lining. During digestion they stay closed. Nutrients make their way to the blood stream by passing through the epithelial cells either by diffusion or active transport.
These tight junctions can stretch or tighten. If they are stretched, like a piece of cheesecloth, the openings grow so that larger molecules can pass through.
A protein called zonulin regulates the opening of the tight junctions. The benefits of the zonulin regulated opening of the tight junctions isn't entirely known. Potentially in the short term they could let a harmful bacteria through the lining, so that the immune system is activated to fight the pathogen, but on a long term basis, this wouldn't be beneficial.
If too much zonlulin is released by the body, and the tight junctions loosen too much, leaky gut can occur.
Elevated levels of zonulin has been implicated in many chronic inflammatory diseases. (1):
If you suspect you have leaky gut, there are three types of tests your doctor can order:
So why eliminate gluten?
Gluten is made up of two groups of proteins, glutenins and gliadins, which are proteins in wheat and many other grains.
Gliadins are one of the two major triggers for the release of zonulin, the other being specific bacteria.
So the gliadins from wheat and other foods containing gluten, contribute directly to the loosening of the tight junctions and leaky gut.
Eliminating gluten can begin the healing process of the intestinal lining.
While eliminating gluten isn't the only step to take, it does remove a major factor in the continuation of leaky gut.
Many people feel much better with the elimination of gluten, and can then go on to address other factors such as, other food sensitivities, stress, and environmental factors.
I realize that it can seem like a lot of work, but how many things are you missing out on right now, because your joints are achy, you have frequent headaches, your brain is foggy, or if you are experiencing any of the diseases listed above.
While you may not be able to completely cure a disease, you can certainly reduce the effects or the symptoms of the disease.
To make it a little easier, I've created a Quick and Easy Guide to Gluten Free Cooking and Eating that you can download right now!
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Women's Wellness Circle: From Inflammation to Vibrant Health
Hi, I’m Crystal!