This week, Columbia University announced a “breakthrough” in our understanding of how gluten relates to health issues. Their findings, published in the journal Gut, revealed that the complaints gluten-sensitive people (those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity) experience are a consequence of a disruption of the gut lining – what has come to be called “leaky gut.”
Here in Alaska we watch grizzly bears chow down on blueberries like nobody’s business each fall. I used to wonder how berries could help bears put on fat, as I had thought you needed fat to put on fat! Then the pieces came together!
I often forget why I walked into a room, and I experience a triggered memory begin to follow a synaptic path at times to have it disappear into a nebulous nothing.
I am not considered overweight, but could feel visceral fat inside after menopause. Now, I am very happy to include plenty of fat in my diet and in even just 5 days, the extra body fat is melting off and I am understanding my symptoms must have been due to a long-term, undiagnosed gluten and dairy sensitivity.
The prevalence of gluten sensitivity has been the subject of lively debate over the past several years with some researchers indicating that as many as 30% of us have a bona fide reaction to gluten and even more recent science indicating that in fact, all humans have some degree of gluten sensitivity. But that was until a recent massive Australian study was published in the journal Gastoenterology.
This new research has captivated the press as it has been manipulated to send a message that in reality, gluten sensitivity doesn’t actually exist, and that the reactions people may have to consuming gluten containing products may well have to do with other components of the foods called FODMAPS – a group of poorly absorbed carbohydrates.
I recently had the opportunity to appear on a National Public Radio interview in which several “gluten experts” were also interviewed. Sure enough, this study, calling into question the whole notion of gluten sensitivity was debated. In fact, one of the authors of this highly comprehensive study was also a guest on the program.
I recently treated a patient who had a history of headaches for 40 years. I did some blood work and found that she was gluten sensitive. I took her off of gluten and her headaches went away. She then visited with her gastroenterologist who picked up the phone and called me and said “Why did you put this patient on a gluten free diet? She doesn’t have celiac disease.” I began to explain about something called non-celiac gluten sensitivity and I have to admit there was a lot of silence on the other end of the phone. There are still a lot of people that don’t believe that there really is such a thing as being gluten sensitive if you don’t have celiac disease. Let’s look at what the science is really telling us about this notion of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
As I have discussed on many occasions in this forum, the process of inflammation is a cornerstone of virtually any degenerative condition in the human experience. This includes diseases like cancer, diabetes, coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, arthritis, and so many more. So it’s really important that we take a step back and try to gain an understanding as to what influences inflammation in the first place.
I am certain that many of you now embrace the notion that a “leaky gut” predisposes us to this process of inflammation. Basically, in the healthy condition, the gut lining is selectively permeable, as well as selectively impermeable, to various bacterial components, proteins, and other gut related particles. When the integrity of gut lining is challenged, these entities gain access through the gut wall and stimulate immune reactions that activate the production of inflammatory chemicals.
So it’s really very important to gain an understanding as to the factors that can lead to loss of integrity of the gut lining and, as such, a “leaky bowel”. Continue reading