Malcolm Harker

Author The New Zealand Book of Health and Healing

“Gluten: is one of several protein principles within the endosperm (germ) of the grains WHEAT, RYE, OATS and BARLEY – also certain hybrid grains. It is very concentrated and adhesive, giving bread dough its tacky texture. During the turn of the century gluten was used as an efficient wallpaper paste!”

Dr Thomas O’Bryan

DVD: Unlocking the Mystery of Gluten and Wheat Intolerance

In this DVD, Dr O’Bryan explains when your immune system recognises gluten in the system and activates the antibodies to respond, they are active for 2-3 months. During this time those antibodies (soldiers) are attacking gut lining, nerve, brain, tissue, etc.

What is gluten?

Gluten is an umbrella term used to explain the protein found in many grasses including wheat, barley, triticale, rye, kamut and many more. Gluten is like the family name, but each of these individual grains has their own particular protein ‘strain’ – the protein in wheat is gliadin, rye is seculin, oats is avenin and so on.

When your GP runs tests for reactivity often they will test for gliadin (or alpha gliadin).

Only around 50% of those with coeliac disease will react to gliadin.

That’s a massive 50% of people who are potentially going undiagnosed simply because they don’t react to the standard test. No wonder so many coeliacs are undiagnosed!

A grain looks like this (thanks Katherine Branch for your awesome artwork – you’re a legend).

glutenThe bran is the hard outer shell.

The germ is where reproduction occurs and where Vitamin E may be sourced. The endosperm is the main ‘chunky’ part and that is where the protein comes from.

Where will you find gluten?

Gluten is a key ingredient in many modern foods including bread, baked goods, pastries, crackers, biscuits, and many processed foods (even sausages and bacon can contain gluten!) It binds and also allows for expansion. You will also find it in sauces, marinades, ice cream, medicine and supplements and… wait for it… body care products like shampoo. Oh my goodness – shampoo! Yes, so that’s good to know if your little one ends up with a face full of suds. If it goes in the mouth, check it out.

Why should you avoid gluten?

Well to be perfectly honest my question would be more like “why wouldn’t you avoid gluten?”

Here are some of the top reasons I reckon it’s worth avoiding gluten:

  1. It can cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to auto immune conditions like thyroid problems.
  2. It inhibits good digestion in many people
  3. We eat waaaay too much – often as many exposures as three meals a day (plus snacks)
  4. Gluten grains are often genetically modified and the gluten content is somewhere between 30-50% more than traditional grains (are you doing the maths? So much more gluten in the grains, being consumed so many times a day)
  5. It is not a friend of any autoimmune condition
  6. It contains a protein called zonulin which can impact the blood/brain barrier (Dr Alessio Fasano is the key researcher in this field – check out his work)
  7. (If you are a coeliac) When your immune system recognises gluten in the system and sends out the soldiers (the antibodies) they are active for 2-3 months. During this time those antibodies (soldiers) are attacking gut lining, nerve, brain, tissue, etc. (Dr Thomas O’Bryan)

Holy smoke! That’s 2 – 3 months of not getting the goodness out of your food no matter what you eat. That right there is reason enough to be very careful.

If you haven’t yet investigated whether gluten could be causing your:

  • exhaustion
  • skin problems
  • fogginess
  • constipation
  • lethargy
  • anaemia
  • osteoporosis
  • behavioural problems
  • just not feeling great, then why not go on over and download the pdf “Could Gluten Be Making You Sick?” to read all about it. You don’t need to try to figure it all out on your own!