Why is Gluten the Cause of So Many Health Issues?
Dr. Ramachandra explains the science behind this buzzword.
Anyone who has been on the internet or watched TV in the last decade has most certainly heard of gluten intolerance. For some time, “gluten” has been a key buzzword among wellness influencers, doctors, and nutritionists. The spotlight, although, hasn’t been shone on gluten without good reason, as it has been proven to cause serious side effects in certain people.
So, why is gluten the culprit behind so many health issues? Discovering the how’s and why’s may allow people who have a gluten intolerance live a healthier life.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in many grains, from wheat to rye and others. It’s what is known as a “binder.” It holds food together and adds that stretchy quality some grains have. Think of how a ball of dough can stretch and then be rolled back into a ball again. This is due to gluten. Grains that are naturally gluten-free such as oats can sometimes contain gluten due to cross-contamination. Gluten is found nearly everywhere, and it can be exceedingly difficult to avoid altogether.
The Problem With Gluten
Gluten can be a source of some severe health issues in many people. In some bodies, gluten is targeted as a toxin. The immune system overreacts to the presence of gluten and attacks, leading to a range of symptoms, including rashes, swelling, diarrhea, fatigue, and bloating. When the reaction to gluten is severe, people can be diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is chronic and can lead to intestinal failure if not treated. The digestive issues that come with Celiac Disease can cause long-lasting problems and a dangerous lack of nutrients.
An estimated 1% of the population has full-blown Celiac Disease, whereas between 1% and 3% of the population have a non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). With hundreds of thousands of people suffering from the adverse effects of gluten, medical experts have taken steps to combat gluten intolerance. A wide range of products can contain gluten, from soy sauce to certain makeups and lotions. Unfortunately, this means that some people with a gluten intolerance may not even be aware that some of the products they are consuming or using on their bodies contain gluten.
When gluten-free products hit the shelves, it is often born out of a personal story involving the negative effects of gluten. My own experience with gluten intolerance has informed my work in providing gluten-free products to people seeking medically clean skincare through Epilynx. I had experienced complicated pregnancies, high blood pressure, and a near-lifelong battle with psoriasis. Eventually, there came a day when I looked in the mirror and saw the large red spots on my skin. I knew something had to change, but I also knew that if I was experiencing issues, other people were likely also struggling. I approached my husband, and we decided to work together to get to the root cause of my issues and the issues other people have grappled with.
We combined our years of experience — myself with a Doctorate of Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Chemistry, and my husband with a background in healthcare — and set out to create the best Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free, Vegan, and Clean skincare on the market.
With the sharp rise in people reporting gluten intolerance issues, scientists, food and beverage companies, and healthcare experts have had to scramble to create and provide gluten-free options to these consumers. With every passing year, more gluten-free options hit the market, catering to this section of the population that needs a way to stave off the harmful effects of gluten.
Different Reactions to Gluten Sometimes Puzzle Experts
It is not yet well understood why some people react negatively to gluten, and some people experience no side effects at all from gluten intake. Experts surmise that some people cannot absorb carbohydrates as well as some others, and that this may be a potential source of gluten intolerance.
Further confusing these issues, gluten can still be a part of a well-rounded diet for people who do not have an intolerance to it. The inclusion of whole-grain foods in a diet can actually have some positive effects on heart health. Gluten can also act as a probiotic, which feeds the “good” bacteria in the body and aids in gut health. So, given all the problems with gluten that have been publicized in the past few years, eliminating gluten if you haven’t experienced any gluten intolerance symptoms may not be necessary, and could even be detrimental to your overall health.
Despite the need for continued studies into gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease, it’s clear that gluten can seriously affect some people inside and out. Seeking out foods and products that are medically clean and certified gluten-free can radically change one’s health and wellness for the better. Those experiencing gut issues, skin issues, or other unexplained problems may want to speak to their doctor about possible gluten intolerance. As I discovered, and as we have seen from our Epilynx customers, uncovering the source of your medical issues and finding solutions can radically change your life.
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