New immune trigger discovered in wheat; gluten is not the only one
You probably know someone who is gluten-free and avoiding wheat and wheat-like grains for better health. Gluten-free products have exploded on grocery store shelves. But new research shows gluten may not be the only source in wheat triggering an immune reaction. A family of proteins called amylase-trypsin inhibitors, or ATIs only make up four percent of wheat proteins, but they have been shown to trigger powerful immune reactions. This inflammation can spread from the gut to other tissues in the body, such as the lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen, and even the brain. ATIs also inflame existing chronic conditions, including multiple sclerosis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, non-alcohol fatty liver disease, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease. ATIs lead to the development of gluten sensitivity. Research is not entirely clear on how much of a role ATIs play in inflammation compared to gluten. Also, previous research shows that people react to several different types of gluten, as well as lectins and agglutinin. Alpha gliadin, the compound the word "gluten" refers to, is only one of many proteins in wheat that can cause symptoms associated with inflammation and autoimmunity.
Understanding wheat sensitivity
Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition, was once the only recognized immune reaction to wheat. Celiac disease affects a small percent of the population and diagnosis is medically invasive. However, in the face of increasing scientific evidence and clinical outcomes, mainstream medicine is beginning to accept non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The sheer numbers of people who feel and function better on a gluten-free diet has made gluten sensitivity impossible to deny.
Gluten reactions common in brain
Most people think of gluten sensitivity as just affecting the gut. However, it causes symptoms headaches, joint pain, eczema, brain fog, and a number of dysfunctions in the brain and nervous system. In fact, the tissues most affected by gluten sensitivity is brain and nerve tissue.
Research on wheat sensitivity continues
Research continues on why wheat is inflammatory for so many people. The more we learn, the better testing will be so that we can diagnose more people who might come up with negative results on a standard gluten sensitivity test. Either way, if you react to gluten, it is the best to go strictly gluten-free not only so you feel better, but also so you lower your risk of triggering or exacerbating a chronic inflammatory disease. If you think wheat may be causing you health symptoms, contact my office. Functional medicine has highly successful protocols to assess, diagnose, and manage gluten sensitivity.
About Dr. Josh Redd — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.