What Does Leaky Gut, Vitamin D, Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases Have To Do With Gluten?
GUEST POST BY CYNDI O’MEARA
It was once thought that heart disease was the biggest killer in the western world, but much of heart disease can be traced back to inflammation and autoimmunity.
The body attacking itself is called an autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes, dementia, Hashimotos, Graves, CREST, scleroderma, mycariditis, idiopathic cardiomyopathy rhuematoid arthritis, muscle soreness, and osteoporosis are some of the autoimmune diseases that plague people eating a modern diet.
Everything you eat except for pure clean water has an inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Inflammation is caused when there is an injury or foreign hazard on or in the body. If you eat a food that the body sees as foreign, it will mount an immune response in order to rid itself of the offender. If you continue to eat the food or food-like substance that causes the problem, the immune system is heightened and starts to look for that foreign particle in many parts of the body.
Most people who eat modern food have no immediate reaction, and therefore believe the food is okay for them. But if you have a sensitivity to the food or additive it is seen as an enemy to the body and the immune system will go into attack. If you continue to eat the food, the armed forces will stay on high alert. When you stop eating the offending food or additive things calm down.
THE ISSUE WITH GLUTEN
Many autoimmune diseases start at a very young age and are perpetuated by a daily dietary habit. They are also perpetuated by a body that has lost its intelligence.
Gluten is one protein that over the last 20 years has become a real problem. There are good and bad glutens. Rye, barley and wheat contain the glutens that cause most sensitivities in humans. It would not be a problem if we ate this food on occasion, but as soon as we are weaned from breast milk, the bread cruskits are administered and then before we know it the diet consists of breakfast cereal, toast, pasta, biscuits, crackers, cookies, and muffins. If you have a sensitivity to these glutens then the body is on high alert 24 hours a day. It may take years for the symptoms to show, but they will appear.
Many people think of gluten sensitivity as something that affects the gastrointestinal tract, as in coeliac disease. But gluten sensitivity is the umbrella and coeliac is just one part of it. For instance, osteoporosis has now been documented to be a gluten sensitivity. A gluten-free diet immediately starts to change the bone density, faster then drugs and calcium supplements.
Of course gluten is not the only food or food-like substance that causes an inflammatory response, but it is one of the natural ones that keeps cropping up. Most additives, preservatives, colours, flavours, modified milks, hydrogenated vegetable oils and other new age foods are also seen by the body as foreign and therefore cause inflammation and a progression of disease.
WHY IS GLUTEN A PROBLEM NOW MORE THAN 30 YEARS AGO?
Before every food was available to us at all times of the year and in plentiful supply we ate seasonally. We also ate real foods rather than a bunch of additives, preservatives and flavourings disguised as food. As a result, if we did eat a food that the body had a sensitivity to it would only be for a small amount of the year and then the body had time to heal and mend. But now we might eat gluten six or more times a day our whole lifetime, and for people who have a gluten sensitivity this is a real problem. It is believed now that between 45% and 60% of the population has this sensitivity.
INFLAMMATION, VITAMIN D, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND A LEAKY GUT
The body is equipped with most of the immune system surrounding the gastrointestinal tract, as this is where most foreign particles go first when they enter the body. The bacteria (probiotics), proteins, and the epithelial lining of the gut protect the body from e-coli, staphylococcus as well as foreign food particles such as gluten and anything the body sees as a danger.
The body is a well-oiled machine as long as everything is working. One course of antibiotics destroys bowel bacteria for up to two years, creating an imbalance in the system, thus breaking down the whole system of protection.
A lack of vitamin D also is a huge problem as vitamin D is needed to open and close the epithelial lining tight junctions or kissing joints in order for the immune system, probiotics and GUT to do its job. If the tight junctions were not there, anything foreign would get into the body. If vitamin D is lacking, then leaky gut can be the result causing foreign particles to enter the body setting up an inflammatory response. This in turn affects the brain and thought processes as well as leptin sensitivity, exposing the body to a succession of health problems including the thyroid and hormonal (endocrine) system.
Medications, poor food choices and exposure to heavy metals and chemicals interfere with the body’s innate intelligence. The more we know, the more naive we realise we were about bombarding the body with drugs for every slight ailment. Many doctors now realise that food should always be first and medications last.
Vitamin D, cholesterol and sunlight are some of the gatekeepers of the immune system, yet we’ve been told to slip, slop slap and that the sun is dangerous. We are also told that cholesterol is bad and at least 10% of the population are taking dugs to lower this important nutrient and many others are avoiding the foods that help manufacture cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol and sunlight in turn make vitamin D, which is instrumental for immunity especially against foreign foods, allergens, sensitivities entering the GUT. If the tight junctions in the GUT wall are working then the body is protected and the immune system is able to work to keep you healthy.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE SENSITIVE?
Knowing if you have a sensitivity, intolerance or allergy to a food or food like substance is half the battle – staying away from the offender is another matter. If I was to give a blanket statement about food, I would say what I say in my book Changing Habits Changing Lives: stay away from all processed foods with additives and stay away from any food that has been modified, such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, homeogenised milks, margarines etc. Eat real foods and eat them seasonally as best you can. Have a vegetable garden in your back yard and eat as close to nature as possible.
As for gluten, there are a few ways that you can find out whether you are sensitive. Having a biopsy only shows coeliacs, it doesn’t show whether the gluten sensitivity is affecting other parts of the body. Blood tests and saliva tests are your best indicators. I am not an expert in this so I recommend you go to www.thedr.com, click on the gluten tab and find out what tests will let you know whether you are sensitive to gluten or not. Print it out and take it to your doctor. If you are sensitive to gluten, then it would be prudent to avoid it all the time.
Do you want good health and are you prepared to do what it takes in order to get it? I know I am and the more I learn, the more equipped I am to make the decisions that enhance my health and give me clarity of mind and energy. For me there is no other way to live. If I don’t have my health and my clarity of mind then I can’t do what I love.
Happy Changing Habits,
Positive affirmation for the day: All of my relationships are harmonious.
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