Wheat is a mild to moderate toxin for every human. Now you may think this is a bold statement but this is what the science is telling us.
A study conducted by Justin Holland and Allessio Fisano and a few others showed this to be true. The study used people with Celiac Disease, people who had Celiac that were in remission for 2 years, people who did not have Celiac but when they ate wheat they experienced symptoms, and people who ate wheat who had no symptoms. All four groups, everyone, developed intestinal permeability, the slang word is leaky gut. The study concludes that all humans develop some degree of intestinal permeability when they eat wheat. They were able to test this using a technology called confocal endomicroscopy which is a camera they put into the gut that allowed them to see, within 5 minutes, how the lining of the gut was affected. They saw that the tight junctions in the lining of the gut started to gap or split open and the top of the cells start facing into the intestines, start to burst and then molecules can get into the blood stream that are not supposed to be there. Their conclusion was that this happens to every human.
In the US the average person consumes 131.7 pounds of wheat products per year. There is so much wheat in products that you may not even be aware of like catsup, makeup, body products and vitamins, to name a few.
Regeneration to Loss of Oral Tolerance
We have an entire new body every 7 years. Some cells regenerate more quickly than others, some every 3-5 days, but other cells are slower to regenerate. When you eat a mild toxin (i.e., a bagel for breakfast), it tears the gut lining, it heals, then you eat another mild toxin (pasta for lunch), it tears the lining, it heals, then another mild toxin for dinner (croutons on your salad), it tears and then it heals. This process of the lining of your gut tearing then repairing itself keeps happening, until one day it doesn’t heal and that is called “loss of oral tolerance”. Now it becomes pathogenic intestinal permeability, which means that macro molecules can now get into the blood stream. The blood stream is like a highway and blood flows in many different directions. What is a macro molecule?
As an example, take a raspberry and picture its many parts and as we eat a raspberry each part of it, each little bump is digested in our intestines (which is about 20 feet long). Some parts of the raspberry digests quickly while other parts take longer, which is why the intestines are so long. Some parts get digested quickly and are small enough to go right through the lining of the intestines into the blood stream, others are slower and they go need to go further down the intestines to get digested. These tears in the intestinal lining that don’t heal allow the larger molecules (macro molecules) that haven’t had enough time to be broken down, can get through these tears (picture a cheesecloth with a rip in it). Then, the immune system says, “this is not good for me,” and it starts making antibodies to protect you. It recognizes these macro molecules as foreign and sends out its soldiers (antibodies) to attack these macro molecules that are not supposed to be in the blood stream. That is why when people do a food sensitivity test, which I highly recommend, they are often sensitive to many foods they eat every day. Then when they go off these foods for 6 months or so and heal their gut, then they do another food sensitivity test and they may have just one or two. And those foods they need to avoided permanently. This mechanism is the root of autoimmunity including, acne, skin conditions, RA, MS, Lupus, Dermatitis and many other autoimmune diseases.
One of the leading experts in this field, Dr. Allesio Fasano, A world-renown expert on celiac disease and professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the Center for Celiac Research, states:
“Although we’ve been eating wheat for thousands of years, we are not engineered to digest gluten. We are able to completely digest every protein we put in our mouths with the exception of one—and that’s gluten. Gluten is a weird protein. We don’t have the enzymes to dismantle it completely, leaving undigested peptides that can be harmful. The immune system may perceive them as an enemy and mount an immune response.”
When you look at studies of all the different conditions, almost all develop from pathogenic intestinal permeability. It begins in the gut! It’s an inflammation issue at the cellular level.
If everyone is sensitive to wheat, and that is what the science is telling us, it begs the question, why now? There is no question that wheat has saved lives in places like Africa during a famine. However, they do not have the other onslaught of chemicals that we do here. They don’t have the overload of toxins and chemicals that we have to address every day.
No human has the enzymes to break down the gluten protein in wheat into amino acids. Then when we add other insults to our body, like BPA (bisphenol A.), which is an industrial chemical used to soften plastics. BPA is in so many products from the lids to our coffee cups to soft contact lenses. This chemical binds to your estrogen receptor sites and can create hormone related disorders. BPA mimics estrogen in the body. What are receptor sites? Every cell in your body has a receptor site. Estrogen cells have receptors that open the door to the cell and allows estrogen in. Insulin will not go into an estrogen receptor site it will go into an insulin receptor site. Thyroid will not go into an estrogen receptor site, it goes into a thyroid receptor site. Receptor sites are specific!
BPA is just one of the many toxins we may encounter. We know it mimics estrogen and it stimulates the cell saying, “there is more estrogen here.” However, your body does not have the ability to break down these toxins, these man-made chemicals from the chemical world. Then these toxins accumulate in your cells and your body says, “I need to fight these.” It then sends out antibodies to go after them and you damage the cells. When you have damaged cells, the body has to get rid of them. There is a normal reference range to get rid of damaged cells but when you have BPA in cells, you have more damaged cells and more damaged cells so you are producing more antibodies and then you have an abundance of damaged cells. You could be making more antibodies to breast cells for example. You then develop breast cell dysfunction which can lead to breast cancer. The immune system is trying to protect you. You don’t need to suppress your immune system, you need to reduce the need for your immune system to protect you. Stop eating wheat, get rid of BPA, eat organic and detox from heavy metals. It is the loss of oral tolerance that we are exposed to every day with the number of toxins we are exposed to. That is why it is so important to reduce those toxins, whether is wheat or other toxins that can accumulate.
It is mainly a toxicity issue and wheat just happens to be most common food that we take in multiple times a day that is a mild toxin. Again, once you develop a problem with wheat, the body produces antibodies to the wheat when it is eaten, then you stop eating and the antibodies don’t need to protect you. Think of these antibodies as an army of soldiers coming out to protect you. When you stop eating wheat, the army subsides because General Gluten says it is no longer a threat. However, if you are exposed again to wheat, the General doesn’t have to build the assembly line of soldiers again, it’s already there waiting for the next onslaught. This General is called a Memory B Cell. From all the research, it is found that the only food that doesn’t make Memory B Cells is wheat. What that means is once you have alleviated antibodies to wheat, it is permanent. This means you can’t have a little every so often. You don’t make Memory B Cells to wheat. You can’t be just a little pregnant! That is if you have crossed the line (loss of oral tolerance) and have made elevated antibodies to wheat, and now you have pathogenic intestinal permeability. When you go off wheat and your antibodies come down to normal, does that mean you can eat wheat? What is the danger of a few antibodies to wheat?
There is something called molecular mimicry and I will explain what that means and how it manifests. When General Gluten makes antibodies to wheat, depending upon which peptide of wheat, the most common one being alpha gliadin. Keep in mind that most laboratories that test for wheat sensitivity test for this one, which is unfortunate because there are over 60 different peptides. If you get tested by one of these labs that just test for that one and it says you don’t have a sensitivity, does that mean you don’t have a sensitivity to wheat. No! They have only tested for the most common one. There are some labs that check more. So General Gluten makes antibodies to that wheat peptide and it is 33 sequence long, but let’s just call it AABCD. Then, General Gluten is going through the blood stream, which is like a highway looking for this sequence and firing these antibody bullets into the blood. The blood is going past the thyroid, and the thyroid has a sequence in its protein of AABCD. Now the wheat antibodies are attacking the thyroid and you damage the thyroid cell. You now have a damaged cell so the thyroid starts making thyroid antibodies. You have a normal amount of thyroid antibodies, then you have toast for breakfast, more thyroid antibodies, pasta for dinner, more thyroid antibodies. Now your antibody load to the thyroid is going up and that becomes self-perpetuating and then you have the mechanism of the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, being caused from a wheat sensitivity. The same thing happens on your skin, many who have skin issues, they stop eating wheat and their skin clears up. It is the molecular mimicry of the autoimmune process.
Glyphosate and other Toxins
Post World War II, we had wholesale dumping of over 44,000 chemicals. We have no way to adapt to it. Your immune system is the same immune system of your ancestors. It is designed to protect you from bugs, parasites, viruses, mold and fungus. It doesn’t have the protective mechanisms to protect you from mercury in tuna, glyphosate in food and water, or other toxic chemicals.
Something else to consider is that glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp and other glyphosate-based herbicides, is sprayed on some wheat as a desiccant (drying agent), unless it is organic. Glyphosate is a carcinogen at low levels, an endocrine disruptor, has been shown to cause fatty liver disease, allergies, and it too tears holes in the gut lining. There are no safe levels of glyphosate. Learn more here:
The entire process described above is all outlined in more detail in Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s book, The Autoimmune Fix. I highly recommend it. I hope this article helps you understand why gluten and wheat are a problem for so many people. It’s not just a fad and if you look at the science, it makes sense why now we have so much of a problem with gluten. I want to thank Dr. Tom O’Bryan for all his research and teaching in this area. To find out more about his work, go to thedr.com. He is the expert in this area!
If you need assistance in healing your gut, I can help! Be well.