Chris Y Perez

Is Gluten Triggering Your Symptoms?

Gluten is known to trigger digestive problems in patients with Celiac disease.  In the past, it was thought that only Celiac patients had gluten sensitivities, which could trigger irritable bowel disease (IBD). However, more studies are finding even non-Celiac patients can have gluten sensitives and similar symptoms.

Leaky gut

People with weak digestive systems have difficulty digesting gluten, the protein found in wheat and similar grains. This causes inflammation and a “leaky gut.” Our intestines are meant to be selectively penetrable. It allows toxins from our blood to exit via our gut.  It also allows nutrients from our gut to enter and nourish our body. However, a leaky gut will make this system inefficient and allow toxins, including gluten, to enter our body.

Some folks can easily identify that they have gluten sensitivity because they experience abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, and fatigue.

Leaky Gut and Leaky Brain

When the digestive tract is inflamed, the brain may also be inflamed. A “leaky gut” leads to a “leaky brain”. Thus neurological issues usually accompany gluten sensitivity (Obrenovich, 2018).

Gluten and autoimmune conditions

A leaky gut allows undigested gluten into our bloodstream. Our immune system recognizes gluten, tags it as a foreign invader, and then activates our immune response to attack it.

Unfortunately, gluten’s molecular structure closely resembles an enzyme found in the thyroid gland called transglutaminase. This molecular mimicry can aggravate autoimmune conditions. When the immune system attacks gluten, which it has tagged as foreign, it also mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland.

Several studies have confirmed that the gluten-free diet positively affects patients with autoimmune thyroid conditions (Piticchio et al. 2023).

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is another autoimmune condition that can be aggravated by the inflammation triggered by gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free diet has shown to improve symptoms of RA even in patients, even those who could not be helped by drugs (Bruzzese et al. 2021).

References

1. Obrenovich M. E. M. (2018). Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain?. Microorganisms6(4), 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6040107

2. Croall, I. D., Hoggard, N., Aziz, I., Hadjivassiliou, M., & Sanders, D. S. (2020). Brain fog and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity: Proof of concept brain MRI pilot study. PloS one15(8), e0238283. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238283

3. Piticchio, T., Frasca, F., Malandrino, P., Trimboli, P., Carrubba, N., Tumminia, A., Vinciguerra, F., & Frittitta, L. (2023). Effect of gluten-free diet on autoimmune thyroiditis progression in patients with no symptoms or histology of Celiac disease: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in endocrinology14, 1200372. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2023.1200372

4. Bruzzese, V., Scolieri, P., & Pepe, J. (2021). Efficacy of gluten-free diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Reumatismo72(4), 213–217. https://doi.org/10.4081/reumatismo.2020.1296