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What is Gluten?

three associated conditions to be cautious of

Dr_Alisha_MoadabGluten is a protein that is found in wheat and other grain products, with the exception of a few “gluten free grains” . Many people may be familiar with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder, which is associated with positive antibodies in the blood, intestinal villous atrophy as shown on a biopsy, and symptoms such as abdominal pain, skin rash, headache and more that are resolved when on a gluten free diet. The statistics are staggering, in that the average person may have to suffer for 6-10 years to a get an accurate diagnosis. Further 1 in 133 Americans have are Celiac. [1]  May is Celiac Awareness Month!

There are two other conditions that do not have the triad of diagnosis criteria as above, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity. In a clinical setting one can not differentiate the 3 of these. A wheat allergy is similar to other types of allergies, which is a would be confirmed with testing via IgE antibodies. Gluten sensitivity would be negative for IgE antibodies, and atrophy, but have anti-gliaden antibodies IgA and IgG. A fourth possible term is still in the works for creating an accurate definition, which is gluten intolerance. This is thought to be similar to lactose, in that people could lack an enzyme and have trouble in the break down, as opposed to an immune response.

Joint pain, neurological problems, anemia, depression are a few other possible related problems associated with gluten. [2]  Going “gluten free” can be beneficial to one’s health, even if not diagnosed with these 3 gluten conditions listed above. Many stores do carry various gluten free grain products, so one could still enjoy bread, crackers, cookies, etc, although in moderation of course to avoid a carbohydrate crash. One way to try to keep to a healthy diet, is living by a motto of “lean and green”. Think of lean protein sources: chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, lean beef, along with green or other colored vegetables. Imagine you were a hunter and gatherer, living many years ago from the land, not a box. Save the “box or bag” only for buying things like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, or millet which are all gluten free grains. Eating this way has numerous benefits on your mind, body and spirit!

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