Does Gluten Cause Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Many of us in the natural health community have been exploring the causes and treatment of leaky gut syndrome for years. What we have found is that many fingers are pointing to gluten as the evil that causes and perpetuates leaky gut. Is this true, should you be swearing off gluten forever?

What Is Gluten?

Gluten can be defined as a “cohesive, elastic protein”, and refers to a mixture of 2 protein groups found in most cereal grains: glutenin and gliadin.  Gluten is not a man-made substance. Rather, it is a natural protein found in wheat, rye, barley and other common grains. However, it is also used in many processed foods to thicken and shape.

As a naturally occurring substance, most people can consume wheat and other grain products containing gluten without experiencing any health problems. For others who may be genetically susceptible to intestinal disorders, or whose lifestyle and eating habits have created the “right” environment for leaky gut, gluten poses a problem.

The Link Between Gluten And Leaky Gut

There is no definitive cause of leaky gut, but research has listed various triggers which play a role. In the case of gluten, we know that this protein stimulates the release of a protein called Zonulin in our intestinal tract.

Zonulin is the gatekeeper of the intestinal walls, specifically the intercellular tight junctions which control the migration of nutrients into the body while keeping the harmful substances contained for expulsion. Simply put, a constant stream of gluten would produce an overabundance of zonulin which basically compromises the “gates” and allows the wrong molecules through this safety barrier– those that are not recognized by the body and which trigger an immune response.

Logically then, less gluten equals less zonulin.

However, our bodies are complex organisms with each function relying on – and being affected by another. The permeability of the intestinal tract is a factor in diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, Types 1 and 2 diabetes, IBS, schizophrenia, and some form of cancers. In most cases, it develops prior to the disease, but doctors are still researching the cause-effect relationship between these diseases and intestinal permeability.

We firmly believe in treating the cause of illness, and not just the symptoms. Looking at the above, it should be clear that so many diseases can be arrested by proper diet and nutrition, and a holistic view of our health.

If this is your philosophy too, we’d like to encourage you to talk to Dr Sanua today.


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