Many people say they are not gluten-sensitive because they don’t have any GI symptoms. They continue to eat breads, pastas, crackers, commercially prepared salad dressings, gravy and sauces. As much information as we have on gluten and leaky gut, people still don’t make the connection between eating this grain protein and things like auto-immune diseases (especially thyroid) , chronic tiredness, migraines, delayed menarche, early menopause, infertility, recurrent miscarriages, brain fog, skin rashes, failure to thrive, psychiatric illness, neurological disease and death.
The fact that past generations consumed grain products and didn’t evince illness is due to the quality of the soil, the seeds, and the finished product back then. There were no genetically modified or hybridized grains when our grandparents were alive. Also gluten is stored in bins for long periods of time which can lead to enterotoxin contamination.
You can be gluten sensitive, have eaten it all your life, never experiencing any problems and then 20 or 30 years later come up with a host of ailments. Because the gluten was always there, you don’t associate that with your health problems, but eventually – after eating food that is toxic to your body – somethings got to give. The connection is often missed. Gluten will stay in your system for about six months. This means that a person who is gluten-free can inadvertently ingest gluten and six months later, this will still be showing up in blood work. Cross-contamination can be troublesome: you eat in a restaurant that has gluten-free choices, but a kitchen that uses one grill or griddle, the same cookware for all dishes. There are also foods, while not containing gluten, can be mistaken for gluten in the body. The reaction is as though gluten had been eaten. Dairy, coffee, milk chocolate, yeast and oats are among the 19 or so foods that can create a reaction when eating.
Gluten hides in places that will shock you: glue on envelopes and stamps (remember the Seinfield wedding invitation episode?), toothpaste, shampoos, vegetable cooking sprays, flavored instant coffees and teas, some veined cheeses such as Roquefort and blue, artificial coffee creamer, ground spices, chewing gum, communion wafers, canned soups and tomato sauces, lip stick and lib balm sunscreen, cosmetics, lotions, creams and prescription drugs and health supplements like vitamin pills.
One last word: if you do have inflammation of the gut, you have inflammation of the brain.
You can take a gluten sensitivity gene test at www.enterolab.com.
Good books are Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD and Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD, and Ron Hoggan, MA.