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With time, people have become extremely conscious of their health and general well-being. So much that they have started eliminating certain products and substances from their diets in order to improve their health and live a better life. One of these rather dangerous substances is that of gluten, which is typically found in wheat grains, rye, barley, etc. It is a collective term referring to a collection of two protein groups - gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is responsible for causing the desired elasticity in dough and is hence, found in most bread products, specifically those with wheat. Recent research and case studies show that gluten can indeed cause a variety of negative effects.

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Celiac Disease

Gluten is known to be responsible for triggering the dangerous and hard-to-detect condition of celiac disease. When gluten reaches the intestinal tract, our immune system confuses it with some sort of an external invader, like a dangerous microbe. This causes the immune system to trigger a defense against it. However, in the process of attacking the protein, the immune system also attacks a certain enzyme in our digestive system, known as tissue transglutaminase. This causes a breakdown of the intestinal wall, which further leads to a number of harmful consequences like fatigue, digestive trouble, deficiency of nutrients, etc. Celiac disease also makes our body prone to a number of other diseases, making gluten much more harmful than it actually seems to be.

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Gluten Sensitivity

People who are sensitive to gluten may exhibit many symptoms, which may or may not resemble the symptoms of celiac disease. These symptoms may include digestive problems, stomach ache, fatigue, diarrhea and even pain in bones and joints. However, the worst part about gluten sensitivity is that it is almost impossible to diagnose it clinically. This has made the determination and quantification of gluten’s effect on the human body next to impossible. The only way to determine the same is by eliminating gluten from the patient’s diet completely and then reintroducing it again so that the recurrence of sensitivity symptoms can be studied.

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Irritatable Bowel

Gluten is also known to cause severe inflammation in the intestinal tract of our body. This results in highly damaged intestinal walls as well as countless troubles in bowel movements. Many studies have concluded that gluten can cause painful bowel movements, bloating, irritation, inflammation as well as inconsistency in stool samples. Although not considered to be an example of gluten sensitivity, these symptoms are associated with ill health, weakness, lethargy and nutrient deficiency.

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Intestinal Leakage

Certainly one of the most dreadful ill effects of gluten, gut leakage can cause a lot of health-related problems in the affected individual. The inflammatory action of the protein on the intestinal lining causes the untimely death of the wall cells, causing severe degradation of the walls. This results in the gut being leaky, allowing the diffusion of toxic substances as well as foreign organisms to enter the bloodstream. This may cause the immune system to malfunction further forcing the person to suffer from diseases like hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Moreover, it causes an incomplete absorption of nutrients in the body, resulting in nutrient deficiency as well as weakness.

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May Increase Cancer Risk

Another very severe ill effect claimed to be associated with the presence of gluten in a person’s diet is that it strongly promotes the growth of carcinogen cells in the body. Although it cannot be said that it causes cancer directly, but it may certainly escalate the chances of a person to be plagued by it. Also, as mentioned above, gluten causes malfunction of the immune system, which may inhibit its strength in case cancer cells actually start building up in the body.

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Psychiatric Issues

As strange as it may seem, gluten causes severe disorders of psychology as well. Many studies have shown that a number of psychiatric disorders are triggered and caused by excessive consumption of gluten. In the medical world, this phenomenon is termed as gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy. The most common disorder that is caused by gluten is that of gluten ataxia, which damages the cerebellum irrevocably, causing motor impairment in the suffering person. This results in difficulty managing mind-body coordination, which can make conversing with others, performing complex tasks, and even physical movement challenging.

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Triggers Heart Diseases

Our body naturally promotes the growth of anti-gluten bodies in the bloodstream due to the ill effects that it causes. These antibodies, however, have been known to attack the tissues of the heart, triggering a lot of heart-related troubles. Many major studies have shown that a lot of heart diseases have been directly or indirectly caused by the presence of a high amount of anti-gluten bodies in the bloodstream.

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Inhibits Mineral Absorption

Gluten is given its name due to the fact it sports properties similar to glue. It has the potential to cause the same binding effect in the digestive tract, causing the minerals and other nutrients to bind up together. This inhibits the capability of the digestive system to absorb these nutrients into the bloodstream. Such a condition causes the person to suffer from severe mineral and nutrient deficiency. The bound material in the digestive system inhibits digestion as well, triggering problems like indigestion and upset stomach.

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Addictive

A study on gluten in the field of chemistry shows that when gluten is broken down, then it results in the formation of small protein peptides called Gluten Exorphins that can stimulate the opioid receptors of the brain. This action of gluten is similar to that of morphine, and a high intake can even lead to a person being addicted to it. This further escalates the same problem, as well as all the myriad of problems that gluten causes to irreparable levels. To support this claim, statistics have showed that wheat is the second most addictive food form, topped only by sugar!

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Medical Statistics

There have been a number of cases where patients suffering from a variety of largely different diseases have shown remarkable recovery when gluten was removed from their diets. Disorders like epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism have been seen to be associated with a high amount of anti-gluten bodies in the bloodstream of the patients. These patients respond very well to gluten-free diets, giving doctors another reason to promote gluten-free diets for everyone.


Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.