Gluten Free and Gut Health….how they are linked.
I find it sad that we need to learn about health issues the hard way. Our grandparents didn’t have to deal with such issues because they ate real food. Today it is essential to educate yourself and learn how to get back to basics. It is also essential to know your sources. Where is your information coming from? There are a several Doctors I follow in functional health and medicine, Dr. Osborn is one of them and has a fabulous book out, “No Grain, No Pain”. He breaks down how it’s all connected. I believe it’s a triangle of health, can’t just pick one thing, it’s all related because our bodies work as a whole.
If you are interested in learning more or need help deciphering through what it all means, call me, I’ll help simply it for you. No need to spend hours researching on the internet…we’ve already done that for you.
A quick break down…
Lack of essential and bioavailable proteins are a major contributing factor to persistent illness in those with gluten sensitivity. Why? Protein is the main ingredient your body uses to build immune antibodies as well as heal inflamed structural tissues and muscles. These functions are vital for the following reasons:
1-Antibody production, particularly IgA is essential for your body’s ability to combat infection, chemical toxins, as well as allergies. Research has shown that antibody deficiency is a common phenomenon in those with gluten sensitivity. Lack of these vital proteins puts you at risk for multiple chronic health issues.
2-Muscles are required for movement of the frame. As part of this process, muscle serves as a pumping system for your lymphatic vessels. These vessels are crucial because they help the body transport immune cells and antibodies. They also help remove damaging toxins. Research has also shown that a large majority of those with gluten sensitivity have poor muscle to fat ratios.
Gluten Destroys Muscle & Causes Protein Wasting
In more than a decade of seeing patients and dealing with the consequences of gluten, one of the most common side effects of gluten is inflammation in the muscle and joints. The gluten proteins create an inflammatory reaction in these tissues that over time leads to many negative outcomes:
•Muscle atrophy (loss)
•Joint pain and arthritis
•Weight gain (increased visceral fat – AKA belly fat)
•Weight loss (due to muscle atrophy)
•Increased risk for injury in those trying to exercise
Gluten consumption leads to body protein disruption in several ways…
1-Inflammation – Gluten can cause the immune system to literally attack the muscle and joints leading to chronic pain and inflammation. A prolonged immune system attack contributes to chronic degradation of these tissues and subsequently atrophy of the muscle and arthritis in the joint.
2-Hormone Release – To deal with this chronic damage, the body produces cortisol as an anti-inflammatory hormone. Increased cortisol leads to increased visceral fat (belly fat).
3-Damage to the Stomach and GI Tract – Gluten can damage the specialized cells in your stomach and small intestines that secrete vital acid and digestive enzymes. Over time this damage makes it almost impossible to properly digest and break down dietary proteins from meats and vegetables. Many with gluten sensitivity have lost their ability to digest properly and develop protein and amino acid deficits.
Gluten Induced Gut Damage Can Make Meat Digestion a Challenge
Many who embark on a gluten free diet still have inflamed and damaged gastrointestinal tracts. Some suffer with low acid production making it hard to digest dietary proteins. This is a big part of the “Catch 22″ in healing. To heal the gut, you need protein, but to digest the protein, you need a healthy and functional gut.
The Critical Role of Protein
Protein balance plays a major role body function. It is essential for proper maintenance of the immune system, the detoxification systems in the liver, antibody formation, muscle maintenance, tissue repair, digestive enzyme production, neurotransmitter (brain chemicals), and hormone production. Protein is responsible for building cellular receptors (antennas) that help recognize hormones, regulate blood sugar, control our circadian rhythm, and control our metabolism.
Too Many Carbs
Most people following the gluten free diet seek out alternatives to bread, pasta, cereal, etc. Unfortunately, these alternatives are highly processed, contain GMO ingredients, and they disrupt the carb, fat, protein balance. Excessive carbohydrate intake causes damage to important proteins in our bloodstream. This damage, often referred to as AGE (Advanced Glycation End products) is a major contributing factor to inflammation and chronic illness. And if you remember from the lesson above, chronic inflammation leads to hormone changes that tax our body’s protein stores and our ability to heal and repair is minimized.
The Problem with Over the Counter Protein Powders?
For patients with digestive issues, doctors commonly recommend meal replacement or protein powders. Unfortunately, most protein powders available over the counter contain cheap and highly processed ingredients that are subjected to high heat and chemical processing. These processes denature the protein creating a suboptimal food source that is harder to digest. Many other protein powders are also loaded up with artificial sweeteners and GMO chemicals like aspartame, sucralose, corn fructose, and maltodextrin. Some people will attempt to consume rice based proteins. Big mistake. Most rice proteins are devoid of nutrients, are low in biologically valuable amino acids, have a high potential for arsenic contamination, and most importantly contain a concentrated and very difficult to digest rice gluten. Other common protein options contain foods with severe allergenic potential. The most common include dairy, soy, and egg.
All three of these protein replacements can have severe drawbacks. Dairy is usually a major problem for those with gluten sensitivity. Aside from it’ s allergic potential, most dairy proteins are heat processed and derived from GMO cows being fed GMO grains covered in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are known gut irritants and have been shown to alter the microbial gut balance and contribute to intestinal permeability (AKA – leaky gut).
Soy proteins are high in phytates and tannins (compounds that inhibit mineral absorption – calcium, iron, zinc). Most soy proteins are also GMO and have been treated with chemical pesticides.
Egg protein replacement powders are typically derived from chickens being fed diets high in GMO grain sources. The birds suffer from poor environmental conditions. It is extremely common for those with gluten sensitivity to react to eggs from grain fed chickens.
If you want a high quality protein without the drawbacks to help support your recovery and overall health, Collagen and correct supplementation is necessary. Call me and we can develop an individual plan for you!