Why is necessary to differentiate a Traditional Gluten-free Diet from a True Gluten–free Diet?
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Gluten is a family of storage proteins found in all grains.
Bran is the outer coating, and inside the bran is the endosperm where the majority of gluten is found. Gluten serves to nourish the grain, but it also protects it from predation- noxious.
There are many families of grain proteins, gluten is just one family. In other words, alpha gliadin is not the only grain protein that causes problems. Gliadin, specifically alpha gliadin, is the gluten protein implicated as the offending protein in Celiac disease. However, it is not the only grain protein implicated in the spectrum of gluten–related disorders. While wheat contains the highest percentage of alpha gliadin, two types of other proteins found within wheat and barley were actually found to be even more reactive than gliadin [Osborne, 2016].
Gliadin is composed of two primary sub fractions: prolamines [any class of simple proteins soluble in alcohol]. These are sub divided into alpha [alpha-gliadin), beta, gamma, and omega fractions. The other sub fraction is glutelin. Different grains have different compositions of these sub fractions, thus a person with the genetic predisposition may react to one more than another, or many.
Traditional Gluten Free
A traditional gluten-free diet removes wheat, rye, barley, and oats (depending the oats). While oats (depending the oats), millet, corn, rice, sorghum, and teff are allowed, because they are considered gluten
free. The gluten in oats can cause damage [Osbourne, 2016].
Keeping in mind that corn and rice are not off the hook either. Numerous studies show that corn gluten causes inflammatory damage (Gluten Free Society), and villous atrophy. Corn is second to wheat in total concentration of alpha gliadin [Osbourne, 2016]. As far as rice? Again, there is really no such thing as a gliadin free grain [Osborne, 2016]. However, one food that may be neglected in a True gluten-free diet is wild rice!
Further, grains and meats can be cross-contaminated with gluten. Cows and chickens are grain fed and this carries over into the humans eating them. Even farmed fish are fed corn! A true gluten-free diet therefore contains non-grain fed factory-farmed meat, grass-fed or naturally fed [game] meat sources, and wild fish.
If a gluten-free diet is still ineffective at ameliorating or relieving symptoms, it may be necessary to be completely grain free (TRUE gluten free).
If Traditional & True Gluten Free Still Fails!
Grain in general may not be the problem. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity may not be the diagnosis. Some grains contain amylase trypsin inhibitors [ATIs] that shut down pancreatic secretions in humans. This is why it is important to soak whole grains, then rinse the "phytic acid" away before cooking and eating them. Grains may also be contaminated with mycotoxins, and pesticides [e.g. glyphosate] to which as person is reacting to.
GMO grains present a different genetic footprint than their antecedents. We have not evolved together with their genetic imprint; therefore we may not be well adapted to digesting them. This result in only God knows what type of reactions. A parasitic infestation called Tropical Sprue can cause GI disturbance due to villous atrophy [Osborne, 2016] similar to that seen upon biopsy of those afflicted with Celiac disease.
These differentials can be considered as sole or confounding factors:[Osborne, 2016]:
As mentioned earlier, a person must have the genetic predisposition to manifest a gluten sensitivity disorder, including Celiac disease [Alexander, 2016]. And there is also a genetic disposition toward autoimmunity. The genes HLA-DQ, HLA-DR, and HLA-B27 can be triggered by nutritional deficiencies, infections [viruses, bacteria, and other types], and some vaccines. In any case, once these genes are activated, chronic intestinal mucosal inflammation ensues. This leads to the insidious onset of problems such as leaky gut and malabsorption syndromes that account for the extraintestinal symptoms.
According to Dr. Vojdani (2015), testing should first encompass the foods & chemicals that are highly allergenic; or most likely to cause auto-immunities. Testing should also encompass the foods & chemicals that best match up with the patients actual diet, diagnosis, and/or major signs & symptoms. Then the major allergenic foods & toxic chemicals can be narrowed down to those best eliminated from the diet. For example, in studies the following correlations were found (Vojdani, 2015):
Joint disorders = pectins [and polygalacturonic acid] are major components in apples, quince, oranges, grapefruits, and berries. They cross react with major oat antigens in joint tissues.
Scleroderma [antibodies against SCL-70]= wheat germ agglutinin, peas, corn and spinach.
Lupus [ribonucleoprotein antibodies] = many foods including soy, carrots, corn and spinach.
Collagen Disorders = glycine-rich proteins found in beans, cereal, fruit, vegetables and gelatin. They cross react with procollagen, collagen, actin, and keratin. NOTE: Glycine-rich protein can cause false positivity for Epstein-Barr Virus nuclear antigen, as well as food IgG or IgA testing.
Multiple Sclerosis & Neuromyelitis optica = soy, tomato, corn and spinach contain Aquaporin 4 which has a greater than 70% amino acid similarity with human Aquaporins. Human Aquaporins are water channel proteins, in blood brain barrier that cross-react with Aquaporin in soy, tomato, corn and spinach. Aquaporin 4 then crosses the BBB, opening tight junctions, and activating astrocytes & microglia causing neuraonal damage and neuromyelitis optica in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Wheat germ agglutinin inhibits fibroblast motility leading to fluid retention. Wheat proteomes cross react with 20 different tissue antigens implicated in multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, Addison’s, type 1 diabetes,autism, migraine headaches, neuromyelitis optica, epilepsy, and ataxia.
Milk proteins = Celiac, Chron's disease, Bechet’s, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, uveitis.
Food coloring/ dye forms covalent bonds with proteins [peptides] in our tissue which sets the stage for antibody production against both the food coloring AND our own tissues. When the coloring is bound to peptides in meat the complex inhibits digestive enzymatic activity upon that meat. Protein, which is otherwise digested within 1 hour, takes 8 to 16 hours to digest in the presence of food coloring.
Meat glue is keeps meat looking pretty and pink in the market. It contain transglutaminase, casein and many other factors. 9% of people may react to meat without meat glue, but 28% reacted to meat containing meat glue.
Rheumatoid arthritis/ Rheumatoid factor = lectins + glucosaminoglycans and proteoglycans cause IgG aggregates, and IgM antibodies against those IgG aggregates.
Nephritis = lectins
infertility = lectins
Diabetes = lectins
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Alexander, T. (2016). Gluten related disorders. In Functional Medicine University.
Gluten Free Society. (2014). Traditional gluten free diets fail. Retrieved from
Jaffe, R. (2016). LRA by ELISA/ACT: Functional tests for immune tolerance. In Functional Medicine University.
Osborne, P. (2016). Gluten certification. In Functional Medicine University
Vojdani, A. (2015). Food immune reactivity and autoimmunity. In Funcional Medicine University.