Gluten intolerance is becoming an ever more prevalent diagnosis in America today.  Gluten-Free foods are appearing on store shelves in increasing numbers.  Celiac disease is a more pronounced and severe diagnosis than simple gluten intolerance.  Adherence to the Gluten avoidance diet excludes wheat, barley and rye.  Apparently, the villi in the intestines become impaired when consuming these grains and shrink in size with the effect of drawing in nutrients in a less efficient manner due to decreased surface area of the ‘absorbing fingers’ in the digestive tract.  Simply stated; the intestinal villi become short and ‘stubby’ and become less efficient in regards to absorbing vital nutrients.  Inflammation in the colon is almost certain to follow.  Researchers point to a protein called Gliadin, which provokes the immune system to attack the bowels. Some other grains may contain proteins which further ‘attack’ the bowels.  According to prevailing wisdom in the medical community, malabsorption of nutrients can result and may lead to osteoporosis, anemia, and even stunted growth in children, besides a host of digestive problems ranging from mild to severe in terms of symptoms resulting in IBS, Crohn’s disease and broader digestive problems.  These types of diseases may even create secondary issues such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, chronic diarrhea, colon polyps, and constipation.

Gluten Intolerance is Often Misdiagnosed

The traditional symptoms of Gluten Intolerance can appear as severe in symptoms, and quite pronounced in terms of suffering.  Multiple digestive issues, impaired immunity, Hemorrhoids, IBS, spastic colon and even Crohn’s Disease can result from this seeming diagnosis and resulting impairment to health.  Wheat is a major culprit, and it is estimated that some 40% of the US population has an allergy to wheat, and most people will never know it.  They just accept that the bulging tummy, arthritic symptoms, digestive problems including gas and bloating, and perhaps even Hemorrhoids and broader health issues just relate to the aging process.  No, no, and NO!  Celiac disease in the severest form of gluten intolerance and most certainly exists.  Yet Celiac disease is over-diagnosed, and gluten intolerance is over-stated.  Do not blindly accept a diagnosis of Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance unless from a qualified practitioner.

Modern Farming Practices Contribute to Promote Seeming Symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

Most harvested wheat, 95% or more goes to grain silo storage.  It is said that all harvested wheat stored in silos will acquire a type of mold that is odorless, colorless, yet provokes strong allergies for many people.  The grains barley and rye are also are prone to acquiring this allergen during storage.  Take a trip back in time say 100 years ago, even 300 or 2000 years or more.  Grain was cultivated, harvested, and likely set out to dry before separating the chaff from the grain.  The moisture content was likely reduced, and the grains were stored well over time without much degradation through mold, fungi, excepting hungry rodents.  If proper fitting lids were used to secure harvested grains, they likely preserved well and were lacking molds or severe degradation in quality.  Today, we farm and harvest on a massive scale.  Harvested grains pour into the top of silos using modern-day farming machinery.  The grains that are harvested today must have higher moisture content than past farming methods of farming and storage. There are companies today that have identified this problem and have developed natural sprays that can be applied to harvested grain before travelling to the top of a grain silo.  These sprays are designed to address some of the pathogens such as Puccinia titicisa, (black rust,) P. recondite, (brown rust,) and P. striiformis (yellow rust.)   Whole Foods Markets now carries bread that uses wheat grain treated with natural mold retardants before going to storage. Eating this type of bread may negate symptoms previously thought to be originating from gluten intolerance.

A Review of the Wheat Grain

The transition of mankind from a hunting and gathering society to one of agriculture and settlement is estimated to have taken place some 12,000 years ago. (1) Wheat was likely first cultivated in the Middle East where the climate there would be most promoting of a successful crop.  While wheat is not the most superior grain and has a lower protein content that other grains, it does lend itself to producing superior breads, which have become a staple for many people throughout the world.  The most harvested plant in the US is corn, followed by soybeans, and hay. Wheat is the fourth most harvested grain.  Modern day farming has managed to harvest ever more crops from the same acre of farmland, but only to a point.  The use of pesticides, herbicides, and Genetically Modified seeds (GMO’s) have led to more successful harvest of crops in the US and elsewhere.  But ever more production of crops may come with a price that we can ill-afford.

The Missing Link to Understanding Wheat Allergies

It is safe to say the serious digestive disorders are being seen in ever increasing numbers in doctors’ offices across the country.  Severe digestive problems vary wildly from gastritis, to IBS, internal and external hemorrhoids, anal fissures, impaired colon function, and more serious problems of Crohn’s disease and even colorectal cancer.  This article was not written to support the integrity of the grain wheat nor other grains.  Instead, we have tried to more accurately point to the underlying issues that may actually be causing health problems unrelated to proteins or gluten naturally present in some grains.  Mold allergy, pesticides and herbicides no doubt create health problems for many.  But the bigger culprit may be Genetically Modified Food, (GMO’S) and the impact on digestion and inflammation in the gut.  Recently a doctor was a guest on a well-known radio talk show.  As a G.I. specialist, he was handed a group of patients suffering with severe digestive complaints.  Most defied easy diagnosis, and different courses of treatment proved unsuccessful prior to becoming his patients.  The first course of action this doctor employed was to put all his patients on a GMO restricted diet.  In every case, the health of his patients improved, sometimes with such dramatic improvement that they were sometimes symptom-free in just a couple of days.

Conclusion to Grain Allergies and Digestive Issues

Gluten intolerance most certainly exists.  Just be sure that you are not being fooled into paying higher prices for gluten-free food if your allergy lies elsewhere.  Also beware of packaging that shouts Gluten-Free which may not be organic, (no use of traditional pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer.)  Furthermore, products that shout organic may still be derived from genetically modified seed.  The majority of wheat, corn, barley, beet root grown in the US has been genetically modified.  The FDA considers GMO food to be safe, and refuses to bow to pressure from consumer groups to introduce laws that mandate labeling of products to show if the food is GMO.  Europeans have fought tooth and nail to reject the introduction of GMO seeds to their farming, and they are adamant about not wanting to eat products that are tampered with genetically.  Since the US does not require produce or food to show GMO status, many people assume the food we eat is safe, and nothing may be further from the truth.

 

  1. Wikipedia- the Neolithic Revolution