Friday, 2 September 2011

Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease have recently been getting increased attention in the health media. Issues with gluten stem from the body's inability to break down the wheat protein gliadin. Reports state that in the last 60 years the incidence of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease has more than quadrupled. So why is that? The simple answer is that our wheat has been genetically modified from it original form so much so that the body now has greater difficulty processing the new structure and lectin content. Who doesn't love genetically altered / modified Frankenstein like foods!!?

So how do you know if you have a wheat sensitivity? Common symptoms of a gluten reaction can include headache, gastrointestinal issues such as: cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, mal-absorption, fatigue, mental dullness, headache, ADD, autism and even joint pain (neck pain, low back pain, shoulder pain etc.). Gluten can also be a contributing factor in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as truncal obesity and some would even argue miscarriage and the delay of puberty onset.

In the worst of times gluten can engender an inflammatory reaction in your gut and actually damage the lining of the intestinal wall. Intestinal damage can then inhibit efficient absorption of a variety of vital nutrients (Vitamins A/D/E/and K (the fat soluble ones)). When the intestinal wall is damaged its permeability is changed. What can happen in this scenario is that proteins are then able enter into the blood stream. The body then sees these proteins as foreign invaders and mounts an inflammatory immune response. Inflammation, inflammation, inflammation. This is what we don't want, and what chiropractors work so hard to avoid. Allowing the body to remain in an inflamed state for a prolonged period of time can have negative and long reaching consequences. Furthermore, unchecked inflammation creates poor outcomes in regards to overall body performance.

In the event that you suspect you have an issue with gluten, there are a number of tests to definitively diagnose the presence of a gliadin reaction. Typically the recommendation is to start with a blood test (check for anti-tTG antibodies). In the event of a positive finding the blood test is then followed by an endoscopy and biopsy. For those that suspect they may have more of an intolerance, not full-blown Celiac disease, its easy enough to just remove gluten products from your diet. Generally the gut wall will start to heal in about two to three weeks. A reduction in symptoms is likely a good indicator of some level of intolerance.

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