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Gluten Proteins & Immune-Mediated Disease
Gluten is a general name used to describe proteins found in wheat and other cereal grains. Any flour made from the starchy endosperm of grains contains proteins that are potentially problematic to the grain intolerant person. Gluten is a mixture of proteins classified into two groups, the prolamines and the glutelins. The prolamine, gliadin, seems to be a major problem in celiac disease; anti-gliadin antibodies are found in the serum and in circulating immune complexes associated with this disease. Wheat, barley, rye and oats have been excluded from “gluten-free diets.” Most of evidence implicates wheat as a problem food. Recent studies suggest that oats may not be as problematic as wheat. Both the type and the amount of the gluten proteins decide the kind of reaction that is likely to occur. It should be noted that there is considerable variability in the protein content of various foods made from cereal grains, and this variability is one of the many reasons why food reactivity is not consistent.
Gluten is the sticky, elastic component of grains, essential for breads and baking. Bread is the most desired wheat product and is, unfortunately, the hardest food to duplicate with non-grain flours. The exclusion of cereal grains significantly alters vegetarian regimens dependent on grains. Rice and rice products are the principle substitutes for cereals. Regular pastas, for example, are made with high gluten flour and are replaced by rice-based pastas.
Immune responses to gluten, the proteins found in cereal grains are a common cause of immune-mediated diseases. In celiac disease, the gastrointestinal tract is the primary target organ; however systemic disease is an important consequence of cereal grain ingestion in many patients. We think that the people diagnosed with celiac disease are a sub-population of a much larger group with gluten allergy. Often, an assortment of related whole-body problems accompanies celiac disease. We think the related problems are typical of delayed patterns of food allergy and use celiac disease research information to create a model of food allergy. Celiac patients have increased gastrointestinal permeability and demonstrate the whole-body effects of food allergy, including brain dysfunction, arthritis, and inflammatory lung disease.
Gluten is a Prolific Cause of Disease
The classic presentation of celiac disease is chronic diarrhea, with abdominal bloating, sometimes pain, weight loss, iron deficiency and other evidence of nutrient malabsorption. The disease is immune mediated. Immune responses to gluten in the digestive tact are just the beginning for remarkably prolific disease-causing mechanism that can affect every tissue in the body. For example...
Allergy to gluten is a common cause of eczema, hives and asthma. Lubrano et al evaluated the overall prevalence of joint involvement in 200 adult celiac patients An Arthritis was present in 26% of patients. Prevalence ranged from 41% in patients on a regular diet to 21.6% in patients on a gluten-free diet. Arthritis was peripheral in 19 patients, axial in 15 and an overlap of both in 18 subjects. Their data suggest that arthritis is more common than previous reported. Arthritis occurring in 21.6% of patients on a gluten-free diet suggests that other food allergens may be responsible - cow's milk, eggs, meat and soya protein would have to be considered high risk foods and further diet revision undertaken.Splenic atrophy occurs frequently in patients with celiac disease and is related to the severity of the disease and degree of dietary control. Splenic atrophy predisposes to infection with capsulated bacteria, although mortality studies indicate that infection with these organisms is not a major cause of death in patients with celiac disease. A number of reports have indicated an increased prevalence of autoimmune hepatitis in patients with celiac disease. Similarly, patients with celiac disease have been reported to have various forms of fibrosing lung disease of uncertain causation. In recent years, there have been several reports, mainly from Italy, of a syndrome of epilepsy and bilateral brain calcification occurring in celiac patients. The pathogenesis of this condition is not known and its prevalence in other communities is uncertain. The Solution... Alpha Nutrition Program
Gluten restriction should be part of a more comprehensive dietary study, preferably in the form outlined in the Alpha Nutrition Program. The best dietary plans are based on what is good to eat, more than what is bad to eat! No-one wants to be confronted with long lists of foods they must avoid. It is better to build a diet from scratch, emphasizing the positive. There is an entire universe of foods not related to milk, gluten-cereals, and eggs, the most common problem foods!
The Alpha Nutrition Program is gluten-free and is recommended as the best diet revision strategy for anyone with diagnosed celiac disease, or any person with symptoms suggestive of gluten allergy.
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