The word "gluten" comes from the Latin word for glue, and its adhesive properties hold bread and cake together. As noted in the video, bread makers may also add extra gluten in order to create a more spongy texture.
But those same “binding” properties also interfere with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, including the nutrients from other foods in the same meal. The result can be likened to a glued-together constipating lump in your gut, which can impede proper digestion.
The undigested gluten then triggers your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine, which can cause symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, nausea and abdominal pain.
Over time, your small intestine becomes increasingly damaged and inflamed. This in turn can lead to malabsorption of nutrients and nutrient deficiencies, anemia, osteoporosis and other health problems.
The condition can also cause a wide array of other symptoms that are not gastrointestinal in nature, including neurological or psychological problems, and problems related to the skin, liver, joints, nervous system and more.
Celiac disease is also connected to autoimmunity. If you’re diagnosed with celiac’s after the age of 20, your chances of developing an autoimmune condition skyrocket from the average 3.5 percent to 34 percent. Undiagnosed celiac disease is also associated with a nearly four-fold increased risk of premature death.2
Wheat Has Changed Dramatically
Wheat is one of the most widely grown crops in the Western world. But the wheat of today is vastly different from the wheat our ancestors grew and ate. This is likely part of the explanation as to why celiac disease and gluten intolerance have risen four-fold since the 1950s.
Some believe the sharp increase is merely a sign of improved diagnosis, but research suggests the rise in prevalence is real, and that dramatic changes in the diet play a distinct role.3
The proportion of gluten protein in wheat has increased enormously as a result of hybridization. Until the 19th century, wheat was also usually mixed with other grains, beans and nuts; pure wheat flour has been milled into refined white flour only during the last 200 years.
The resulting high-gluten, refined grain diet most of you have eaten since infancy was simply not part of the diet of previous generations.
How Gluten Triggers Leaky Gut
According to some experts interviewed in the featured video, including Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research in Massachusetts, mankind did not evolve to eat gluten and therefore cannot digest it properly.
Research suggests the human gut views gluten as a foreign invader against which it must mount an immune response, and Fasano believes this is true for everyone.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone must avoid gluten. Most people, he says, can handle gluten without clinical consequence. Others are not so lucky. People with autoimmune disorders are particularly at risk for complications.
Sixteen years ago, Fasano and his team found that gluten can stimulate a molecule in your gut called zonulin — a protein that triggers the opening of junctures between the cells in your gut lining.
In essence, it makes your gut more permeable, allowing food particles to escape into your bloodstream, causing inflammation, immune reactions and raising your risk of various autoimmune disorders. This is known as leaky gut syndrome, and you don’t have to have celiac disease to suffer the consequences of leaky gut.
Glyphosate-Treated Wheat Promotes Celiac Disease, Immune Reactions and More
While the question of whether gluten should be avoided by everyone is a controversial one, it’s quite clear that today’s wheat is far riskier than the wheat of bygone days, and that it causes problems for many.
Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), believes the recent rise in celiac disease is related to the use of glyphosate. Together with Anthony Samsel, Ph.D., Seneff has published some fascinating research on this connection.4,5
Glyphosate — one of the most widely used herbicides in the world and an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — has been shown to severely damage your gut flora and cause chronic diseases rooted in gut dysfunction. It’s actually patented as an antibiotic.
In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), determined glyphosate is also a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A). Their determination was based on “limited evidence” showing it can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can cause cancer in animals.
The use of glyphosate on wheat crops specifically has risen in tandem with the rise in celiac disease. In fact, according to Seneff and Samsel, it correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on corn and soy.
You may not have realized this, but desiccating6 non-organic wheat with glyphosate just before harvest became popular about 15 years ago. When the mature wheat is exposed to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it releases more seeds. This results in slightly larger yield, which is why most wheat farmers do it.
But it also means that most non-organic wheat — and all the processed foods that contain it — is contaminated with glyphosate. And we now know this may have serious health ramifications.
Not only does the glyphosate seriously impair the villi in your gut, it also inhibits a process that normally helps your body digest wheat proteins. The gliadin in gluten is difficult to break down and digest. Normally a reaction takes place that builds connections between different proteins in the wheat.
Glyphosate appears to attach to the gliadin as a consequence of a chemical reaction, and by interfering with the protein connections, glyphosate makes the wheat highly indigestible — more so than it already is — and more likely to cause an immune reaction and gut dysbiosis.
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