Tag Archives: gluten

The Scintillating Smell of Bread Can Take You Down


Photo used with Creative-Commons license, flickr user surlygirl.

Photo used with Creative-Commons license, flickr user surlygirl.

Gluten is to some a marvelous ingredient which makes bread sticky, gooey and delicious. It makes our stomachs wake up and pay attention to its aroma. I know; I worked in a bakery as a college student. I could close my eyes and smell the scent and be happy just walking in the door.

Gluten is the term used for a group of proteins found inside many grains and seeds, such as wheat, rye, barley , kamut and spelt.  Gluten is not only in breads and pastas, but weasels itself into a variety of products like soy sauce, MSG, marinades, sauces and imitation meats. You don’t have to be diagnosed with celiac disease to have an issue with gluten.

What I did not know was gluten is a poison to my body. It could be to you too. Gluten caused chronic back pain, constipation and weight gain in me, despite high intense exercise.

How could I say that?

Our ancestors consumed little to no grains.  What we label as wheat has little resemblance to the Einkorn variety that they infrequently ate. The wheat molecule today has been changed from 13 chromosomes thick to 42 to increase the yield per square acre in farming. It is such a dense protein the gut lining cannot process it in a vast majority of us.

The average American consumes 133 to 150 pounds of wheat a year. This wheat has no generic, structural, or chemical likeness to what our ancestors ingested.  We have been duped.

Gluten’s damage can begin very gradual to irritate the nervous system  beginning in the gut and moving to the brain. The damage could begin with headaches, unexplained anxiety and progress to the more sinister conditions of depression and dementia.

In the book ‘Grain Brain’ Dr. David Perlmutter writes “When I tell people that gluten sensitivity represents one of the greatest and most under-recognized health threat to humanity, the response I hear is pretty much the same: ‘You can’t be serious.'” Part of this response is an understanding that gluten affects the gut but not necessarily the brain.

In individuals with celiac disease gluten attacks the small intestines. In non-celiac individuals the immune system attacks gluten mounting a full-scale war, like it would with a virus or bacteria.  The body produces an arsenal of antibodies to attack whatever gluten you’ve ingested-even if it is a tiny amount.

Over time every time gluten enters the body of someone intolerant,  in some of us it is three times day with what we eat, the immune system goes into a frenzy. Then gluten-induced inflammation seeps throughout the body, establishing remote outposts for chronic disease.

If you suspect you may have an issue with gluten, see your health care practitioner for specific testing to find out for sure.  Awareness is key here. We live in a day and age where gluten sensitivity is growing and the gluten-free options in our stores is expanding.

Now that I am gluten free I live without chronic back pain, constipation and a weight issue. You might fine by stopping your gluten intake your health challenges clear up or dramatically improve. It is worth a try.

To your health,

Dr. Dana

Remnant Health Center



Testing Your Gut Part 2: Serum Test

There is another amazing biological reality in your body to ensure you are safe and secure and your health can prosper.  Tight junctions between the cells that line the small intestines are a necessary protection against the outside world becoming a part of your inside world.  I call the protein that holds the cells together a type of glue because when the cells do not adhere to one another the gut lining can become permeable or open.   The glue that binds cells to cells at the gut barrier is called Zonulin.

Zonulin is a protein in your body when over produced signals channels to open at the gut barrier allowing large molecules to pass directly into the blood stream.  On some level it is like the Panama Channel in your gut but in multiple locations which should never occur.

When the gut barrier becomes “leaky” allergies can develop to foods and autoimmune conditions can develop over time like celiac disease, insulin dependent diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.  The long term results are inflammation that can occur at the gut lining and/or at a distant site.  Both neurological disorders and cancer are also a result of high Zonulin levels.

The top reasons why high levels of Zonulin can occur are:

  •          Overgrowth of unwanted organisms, for example parasites in the intestine
  •          Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) so an imbalance of good/bad bacteria
  •          Fungal over growth or Candidia overgrowth
  •          Allergic reaction to gluten containing foods (Gliadin in the diet)

Repairing the damage and refurbishing the gut barrier is the job of a clinician in tandem with you the patient. The actions your clinician will take will be based on your test results, your history, lifestyle and dietary habits and how your current state of health is today.

Identifying the offending organisms will be of great value. If there is an unwanted parasite a remedy will be put in place to treat that critter. If bacterial overgrowth is present a probiotic/prebiotic will be used to repopulate your gut with good flora. If an overgrowth of fungus is present an antifungal will be given whether pharmaceutical or herbal. Lastly, if you have a food sensitivity or allergy to gluten containing foods elimination of this food will be highly recommended.

Zonulin is a simple serum or blood test. This will have to be drawn and submitted to a unique lab that specializes in this gut marker.  Your clinician needs an account with the lab as well. Traditional doctors routinely do not know about this marker and do not have an account with this specialized lab unless they do functional or integrative medicine.

You may have to educate him or her about this marker and its value to understanding your health challenges more comprehensively.  I will continue to encourage you to become your own health advocate and at some level your own doctor.

To your health,

Dr. Dana

Remnant Health Center