Wall Street Journal Acknowledges Public’s Negative Physical Reactions to Wheat Gluten

March 15, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Wall Street Journal, Health Journal Columnist writer Melinda Beck discusses public’s growing sensitivity to gluten.

Over at Discovery’s Edge, Mayo Clinic, one of the largest Celiac Disease treatment centers in the United States, there is a great article by Barbara Toman, from July 2010, that elaborates on the topic of what Beck discusses in the WSJ video. Read these profoundly insightful excerpts sandwiched together from the longer article:

Joseph Murray, M.D., a Mayo gastroenterologist, says celiac disease is becoming a public health issue. Studies show four times the incidence compared to 1950, with fatal complications if it goes untreated. “Celiac disease was rare, but it’s now more common in all age groups,” Dr. Murray says. Although the cause is unknown, celiac disease affects about one in 100 people. What’s more, Mayo has found a fourfold higher death risk for people with undiagnosed gluten intolerance. Celiac patients may suffer severe stomach pain and diarrhea if they eat even traces of the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and in many supermarket foods.

Celiac disease is an immune response to this common protein. The immune system attacks the villi, hairlike projections that line the small intestine. Because villi increase the intestine’s surface area, they help the body absorb nutrients. Think of the inside of a healthy intestine as looking like a deep-pile carpet. In a patient with untreated celiac disease, Dr. Murray says, the intestine “looks like a tile floor.” Patients may experience severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Not all individuals experience the same symptoms. Untreated gluten intolerance is associated with certain cancers, osteoporosis, infertility, skin rashes and joint pain.

As it turns out, just up the road in Minneapolis lay a gold mine of information: A collection of blood samples taken from Air Force recruits in the early 1950s amid concern about streptococcus outbreaks in barracks. Dr. Murray’s team tested the 50-year-old blood for gluten antibodies. Today’s young men were 4.5 times likelier to have celiac disease than the 1950s recruits.

He also urges people who suspect they have the disease to be tested before eliminating gluten from their diet, as that can cause a false-negative test result. At-risk patients include celiac patients’ family members and patients with type 1 diabetes, chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, premature bone disease and infertility. About one-third of the population carries the genetic background for gluten intolerance — but only 1 percent of people have it. Gluten intolerance has the same gene as diabetes. “Many of the processed foods we eat were not in existence 50 years ago,” Dr. Murray says. Modern wheat also differs from older strains because of hybridization.

[Read the full interesting article at Discovery’s Edge, Mayo Clinic.]

WSJ Melinda Beck mentioned how some parents say that when they put their kid on gluten free diet, symptoms of ADHD and Autism subside.

Many sources are now saying that 1% of people (1 out of 100) have Celiac Disease and a growing number of people are also having negative reactions to gluten, different from Celiac sufferers and different from the normal population who do not have a negative reaction. Several years ago, when I first learned I had Celiac Disease, the number given was 1 in 133.  So just in a few years, the number of people coming forward in the U.S. who are intolerant to gluten is rising.

Why the rise in an intolerance to gluten?

Beck spoke about how possibly the change in the production of wheat to boost protein may have caused the negative reaction in the human body. In the last 50 years, wheat has been bred to have a stronger and higher gluten protein content. The 1980s and 1990s brought the biggest changes to the anatomy of wheat by companies seeking to reap great financial rewards. These new hybrid wheat products, a good number of human bodies cannot process or handle.

Science moves much faster than the evolution of human genes! Surely scientists will provide you with a pill you can buy and add to your tasty gluten foods to make you think you can handle the bad foods that you shouldn’t be eating because they are damaging and weakening your body. Won’t that be swell? For the companies it will be swell, since they will make billions of dollars off your pain.

Isn’t it ironic that foods bred to be healthier and more widely available end up being unhealthy and even fatal to humans and animals? Too much of a good thing often turns out to be bad. Moderation and diversity are the keys to good health.

To improve your mental and physical health, along with your long term financial situation,try this: avoid gluten and genetically altered foods.

Watch the short Wall Street Journal video about gluten:



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