Wheat and grains contain proteins that may do more harm than good to your gut. These proteins might be often inflammatory and could damage your gut lining.
How do you get around that? By cutting grains and gluten out of your diet, eating balanced meals, and getting enough probiotics in your gut.
Inflammatory Wheat Proteins
According to a recent study, wheat can contain amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), a kind of protein that could trigger digestive system problems including inflammation. ATIs can trigger inflammation and immune responses in the gut, but their effects can also reach beyond the gut. They can inflame tissue in kidneys, the spleen, lymph nodes, and even the brain. ATIs may even worsen conditions like arthritis, asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and of course inflammatory bowel disease. (1)
Gut inflammation triggered by ATIs differs from gut inflammation because of celiac disease, which occurs when gut inflammation caused by gluten triggers an immune response.(1) ATIs are, however, contaminating commercial gluten. (1) So those who suffer from ATI-triggered inflammation may face the same issues when consuming foods that contain gluten.
The inflammation and immune responses triggered by ATIs may lead to the development of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten Might Be Just as Inflammatory
Gluten is a protein found in grains like rye, wheat, and barley. While it binds together molecules in foods like bread and cake, it’s not a protein that humans are designed to digest. If gluten goes undigested, it could trigger the inflammation of the gut lining as well as an immune response.
Some gastrointestinal issues and even mental diseases may have gluten sensitivities and celiac disease to blame. Celiac disease has been found to be linked to the following symptoms and diseases:
- Abdominal pain
- Acute pancreatitis
- Atrial fibrillation
- Bloody urine
- Brittle nails
- Canker sores
- Chronic headache
- Crohn’s disease
- Delayed puberty
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Down syndrome
- Enamel defects
- Fluid retention
- Gastric ulcers
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- Hair thinning
- IgA deficiency
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint pain
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
- Lactose intolerance
- Lane-Hamilton syndrome
- Liver disease
- Loss of short-term memory
- Lymphocytic gastritis
- Muscle cramps
- Oral cavities
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Sjogren's disease
- Stomach discomfort
- Thyroid disease
- Turner syndrome
- Type 1 diabetes
- Weight loss
- Williams syndrome (2, 3, 4)
Celiac disease is also linked to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the intestinal lining becomes perforated. A weakened gut lining can let food particles and microbes out of the gut and into the bloodstream where they don’t belong and where they could lead to problems. This may trigger an autoimmune response like celiac disease.
Celiac disease can be a tricky beast to pin down. While blood tests for celiac disease do exist, they’re not the most reliable. Blood tests for celiac work by detecting corresponding antibodies. But these tests can come back with a false negative because:
- There aren’t any antibodies in the blood at the moment
- The person is a nonresponder and therefore can’t create antibodies against gluten
- The disease hasn’t progressed enough to trigger the creation of antibodies
- The disease has progressed so much that the immune system is too damaged to create antibodies
Dealing with Grain-Related Inflammation
The quick way to deal with issues linked to grains and gluten? Simply limit the amount of grains you eat or switch to an entirely grain-free diet. The latter may be necessary for those with celiac disease.
Any inflammation linked to wheat proteins could be addressed by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Some anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients you could include in your diet are:
- Certain teas
- Dark, organic leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens
- Fermented foods
- Ometa-3 fats
- Shiitake mushrooms
Removing grains, sugar (especially fructose), and trans fats from your diet may also be beneficial as these foods could promote inflammation.
If gluten and other wheat proteins have damaged your gut, leading to issues like malabsorption and malnutrition, you may want to consider our digestive tract test to pinpoint what you could do to support your gut. Digestive tract test we use checks:
- Gut inflammation
- The levels of good and bad bacteria in your gut
- The metabolic status of your gut
- Yeast levels
- Your gut’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients
We use this information to determine what you could do to support your digestive system. This may involve changing your diet or prescribing specific probiotics in order to seal and rebalance your gut.
Inflammatory wheat proteins can be problematic, but it’s really just about eating food that’s good for your gut. Limiting your intake of wheat and balancing your diet may be all you need to do to support your gut.