There are many foods that the vast majority of people recognize as harmful to their health, either through occasional consumption or in their day-to-day life. However, there are other frequent ingredients in the modern culinary menu with effects underestimated by most and that, in some cases, reducing or eliminating their consumption can generate much greater changes than could have been thought.
One of these components so important in modern times, but with few known adverse effects, is gluten. In FastlyHealwe clarify what are the effects of gluten on health: celiacs and healthy people .
Effects of gluten on health
The celiac disease is a disease that affects approximately the 1% of the world population , although it is considered that more than half the cases of celiac disease are undiagnosed or underdiagnosed. This is characterized by an accentuated sensitivity to gluten , which is a protein present in cereals such as barley, rye, oats and mainly in wheat, as well as in all their derivatives and in various modern processed products.
The entry of gluten into your digestive system can cause a wide variety of symptoms and problems characteristic of celiac disease and similar conditions such as gluten intolerance:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased appetite
- Damage to the gums and tooth enamel
- Growth problems in children
In the case of a gluten intolerant or allergic to cereals, the response is gradual in proportion to the degree of intolerance or allergic reaction of the subject. In the case of celiac disease, these symptoms are only the expression of a much more serious and latent intestinal damage, which in some people does not even produce apparent symptoms until very advanced stages, which is why it is almost not diagnosed.
In the following paragraphs we give some additional consequences in healthy people and that in some cases can allow to identify an asymptomatic celiac.
Gluten effects: celiac disease and asymptomatic intestine
Sometimes a known enemy is better than an unknown friend. In this case we would not refer to a person but to this component that in many cases usually produces damage in silence, without many diners being able to easily realize it.
Gluten, together with other anti-nutrients present in cereals, contribute to intestinal damage, by developing a kind of mucus that covers the villi that are responsible for absorbing the nutrients that pass through the small intestine. The real problem in celiac disease and gluten itself begins here, and when we refer to people with underdiagnosed or undiagnosed celiac disease, it is because in such cases the body fails to express significant symptoms -for modern clinic- that these damages are happening.
This is the first factor that triggers problems with optimal growth and development in fetuses, children and adolescents, as well as correct nutrition in adults. It can also promote inflammation and less sensitivity in the large intestinal tract, facilitating constipation and the accumulation of stool , by not presenting the necessary stimuli to produce the urge to defecate.
Another possible long-term consequence is an increased disposition to anemia , thyroid and osteoporosis problems . If you have any of these symptoms and diseases, it would be recommended that you study your intestinal health and possible asymptomatic celiac disease.
The fact that this intestinal damage is found in a person when consuming gluten or after many years of consuming it can be used to diagnose celiac disease, but it does not mean that it was at first, even though there is a very important hereditary factor in the appearance of celiac disease. The word gluten itself, originally, means “sticks”, in fact it has the same origin as the word “agglutinate”, which is also related to this sticky effect on the body.
Health effects of gluten: intestinal permeability
Our digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus, is considered an external environment. Although much of it is ‘inside’ us, any substance that passes through it remains ‘outside the body’ and only passes if the body considers it necessary and safe through specific physicochemical interactions. All this is possible thanks to the so-called ‘common intestinal mucous barrier’, which is responsible for defending us from unwanted intruders and toxins that we ingest. It plays a role -in this sense- similar to that of the skin, but inside.
Gluten produces as a consequence that this important barrier is broken, giving free access to unwanted antigens to our body that can harm our health. Even gluten itself can leak into the bloodstream and cause damage.
Any of these unwanted invasions of the bloodstream produces pro-inflammatory immune reactions that greatly deplete the body in general, not only the intestine or digestive system, but also the metabolism, making it easier for us to feel more tired, depressed and irritable. It can also break the blood-brain barrier, being able to infiltrate the central nervous system and cause serious damage.
That is why in many modern and hypoallergenic diets the consumption of cereals with gluten or products that may contain it is eliminated or considerably reduced, as it has been proven that this effect occurs in both gluten-sensitive and healthy people.
The gluten and intestinal permeability that occurs then increases the risk, sustain and worsen over time:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Bacterial, parasitic and viral infections
- Ulcerative colitis
- Neurodegenerative diseases and Alzheimer’s
- Cognitive deficits in children
- Chronic fatigue
It also reduces the possibility of curing any of these problems, even if it is not the main cause, since it distracts the immune system and wears down the metabolism (whether or not the individual is celiac), preventing it from accumulating strength to heal and / or attack other potential threats.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.