So what is gluten anyway?
Well the actual dictionary definition is;
a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.
Gluten is a binding protein that helps glue carbohydrates together. In people without gluten sensitivity, the body does a wonderful job of breaking down the gluten, and moving it through the digestive tract. With gluten sensitivity, however, the body mounts an immune response to the gluten itself, which causes inflammation, irritation and possible tissue breakdown along the digestive tract. As a byproduct of the immune reaction, the body secretes inflammatory chemicals that can cause swelling and tenderness in the skin and joints. Given enough time the body will repair the damage caused by the inflammatory reaction. Unfortunately, that process can take up to six months, so dietary changes are by no means a quick fix.
Research is continuing to link many hormone problems with a gluten intolerance. Such conditions include:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disorders (PID)
- Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and Graves’s disease
- Amenorrhoea & Hypothalamic amenorrhoea
- Delayed onset of menarche (when periods first begin)
- Female infertility
- Male infertility including low sperm count and low motility
When PCOS sufferers go gluten-free they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms including weight loss. Screening for coeliac disease gluten intolerance should be a priority in infertile couples.
GLUTEN IS A HORMONE DISRUPTOR
Hormone disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the functioning of the endocrine or hormone system. They could be mimic hormones, causing our bodies to over or under respond or release hormones at the wrong time.
In the case of gluten, wheat crops are sprayed with pesticides that act as xenoestrogens. These substances mimic the role of estrogen in our bodies and makes us even more estrogen dominant
How do we avoid Gluten?
Anything with white flour or wheat is the WORST, but it doesn’t stop there, please avoid;
- wheat starch
- wheat bran
- wheat germ
- cracked wheat
- fu (common in Asian foods)
- graham flour
Oats contain a gluten-like property called Avenin (i.e. oat gluten), which only one in ten thousand westerners may have an intolerance to so i’m pretty sure oats are ok. Rolled oats or steel cut oats only though, none of that instant or quick cook nonsense!
Food manufacturers sneak gluten into many foods / beverages such as beer, malt vinegar, malt flavoring, soy sauce (you can buy a gluten free kind or substitute), stock cubes, gravy and sauce mixes. You need to READ YOUR LABELS! if it says gluten, put it down.
Gluten Free grains include;
another one that scares me is Gluten in babies cereal! Did you know that babies digestive systems are not developed enough to even digest gluten until they are around a year old! Yet we all just go by the ‘tradition’ of cereal first, not to mention the amount of sugar in these baby cereals, its frightening! Why in the world Would you knowingly give your tiny baby a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of gluey, goopy gluten for breakfast? That’s pretty much what most of these cereals are. I will blog about this soon and give my recommendations for good gluten free, low in sugar cereals.
Please go to the the research site to see research on gluten and its effects on miscarriage and menstrual cycle regularity. I think the tests speak for themselves!