You have probably heard the word “gluten” used a lot in recent years in regards to things that should be avoided, if possible. But what is gluten, and why is it a bad thing? Gluten is a substance present in wheat products that helps bind together ingredients. It is what makes bread stretchy without it falling apart. It is classified as a protein, but it the human body is not able to digest it. Every other protein can be digested. It can stick in your intestinal tract, and cause pain and discomfort. Here are some other facts about gluten.
Gluten is sometimes not identified properly by the body’s immune system. That means that it will sometimes get attacked as a disease or bacteria, when in effect the body is attacking itself. This damages intestines, which causes inflammation and discomfort. If you already have an affliction that is affected by inflammation, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, then your problems could be exacerbated. Limiting gluten can help provide relief from the symptoms of those diseases.
Whether or not you have an intolerance to gluten or Celiac disease, it can still cause a lot of discomfort in your gut from gas and bloating. The inflammation that gluten causes can happen almost immediately after ingesting it. If you are sensitive to gluten, then this discomfort can be quite painful and difficult to deal with. Irritable bowel syndrome can also be exacerbated by gluten, but can be relieved by avoiding gluten.
There is some evidence that Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, an autoimmune disease, has a connection with gluten intolerance. Gluten protein’s molecular structure is very close to that of the thyroid gland, so when the immune system attacks the gluten, it also ends up attacking the thyroid. This is bad enough, but if you already have a thyroid problem, your symptoms will get even worse.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
The gut is where vital nutrients are absorbed. Gluten can cause breakdowns in the cells lining the gut wall, toxins and other particles escape from the intestinal system and leak into the body, where they are attacked by the immune system. This causes many symptoms, like pain, discomfort, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and nutritional deficiencies.
Cutting out or reducing gluten may be a way for you to boost your health and get you feeling the best that you can.