Walter J. Crinnion ND
Gluten-free is becoming one of the new food and supplement marketing buzz-words. Restaurants chains including Dominos Pizza have gluten-free offerings, and regular grocery stores have gluten-free sections for shoppers. Many websites are solely devoted to gluten-free living, along with cookbooks and cooking classes. Yet, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to wheat sensitivities (also mistakenly referred to as ‘wheat allergy’), gluten intolerance and Celiac disease.
Celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune illness, and also fits the general description of intolerance because humans don’t have the enzymes necessary to properly digest the gluten protein (gliadins). In Celiac disease antibodies to all of the following are found: antibodies to tissue transglutaminase, the endomesium and gliadin. Gluten intolerance typically refers to one who is intolerance of gluten-containing grains (again no enzymes to break down the gliadins) but only antibodies to gliadin are present. Theoretically, the absence of anti-transglutaminaseand anti-endomysial antibodies should indicate that the villi are not damaged sufficiently to cause malabsorption. But, clinically these individuals (with only positive anti-gliadin antibodies) exhibit an inability to absorb Vitamin D supplementation[i] and 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid[ii].So, some degree of malabsorption is present, even when the celiac antibodies are absent. Wheat sensitivity is an adverse reaction to all wheat products and typically is not associated with gluten intolerance/celiac disease.
Wheat is one of the main food sensitivities that is found by alternative medicine practitioners and some published studies[iii][iv]to be the main underlying cause of debilitating health symptoms. Interestingly, one group of researchers has found that all the participants with non-celiac and non-IgE mediated wheat reactions (non-food allergy) did have positive anti-gliadin antibodies[v][vi]. Dr. Peter D’Adamo, in his book Eat Right 4 Your Type, recommends that wheat be excluded from the diet for all of the blood types (along with dairy and sugar- covering all of the most common food sensitivities) and his adherents have reported dramatic health improvements[vii]. Wheat elimination is also recommended by several major diets including the new popular Paleolithic diet. So, it appears clear from several vantage points that eliminating wheat and gluten appears to be a positive step towards better health. What is not clear is what role our inherent lack of gluten-digesting enzymes plays in wheat sensitivity. Since all human are deficient in these enzymes, it is likely that their absence is a major contributing factor to wheat sensitivity[iv].
One of the main problems with wheat elimination is the fact that wheat products are ubiquitous in our food supply, and a prominent component in many of our dietary staples. Fortunately, research has shown that the addition of thebacterially-derived enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV(DPP IV)to the small intestine is able to break down the gliadin protein. Rats who are deficient in DPP IV rapidly loose weight when fed gluten, while those with DPP IV showed no adverse reaction to gluten[viii]. Since then it has been established that DPP IV is a rate-limiting enzyme for the digestive breakdown of gluten proteins[ix]. Adding DPP-IV to ones digestive supplements prior to, and after a gluten-containing meal (or a gluten-contaminated meal) may reduce the onset of symptoms associated with intolerance by breaking down gluten and gliadin proteins.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease ^This blog was written by an outside source. This blog does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Natural Partners. [i]Crinnion W. Unpublished research