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Gluten: Sabotaging Your Health, Your Brain & Your Weight

Gluten: Sabotaging Your Health, Your Brain & Your Weight

What is Gluten? Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of grains, especially wheat, rye, spelt and barley. It constitutes about 80 percent of the proteins in wheat, and is composed of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is also used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent found in ice cream, soy sauce, ketchup, beer and many other items. Gluten provides elasticity to dough, which gives breads and bagels their chewiness.

 Gluten: Sabotaging Your Health, Your Brain & Your WeightAn individual does not have to have celiac disease to suffer the negative effects of gluten. Both celiac disease and gluten intolerance tend to be most common among people of Scandinavian, Irish, English, Scottish, and Eastern European, although gluten has negative consequences for just about everybody.

Often it’s assumed that gluten intolerance is a food allergy, however it’s actually an autoimmune disease that harms the gut creating inflammation, intestinal permeability, gut irritation and destruction, a compromised immune system, autoimmunity and negatively affects nerves and the brain causing neurological conditions. 

Gliadin, the protein found in gluten has a direct effect on the small intestines causing:

  1. Increased permeability of the endothelial cells allowing food to enter circulation
  2. Irritation to the gut and difficulty digesting = inflammation
  3. Blockage of protease enzymes so protein is unable to be digested
  4. Destruction of tight junctions in the gut lining

An estimated one person in 133 in the U.S. has celiac disease (CD), whereas gluten intolerance affects an overwhelming percentage of the population. Gluten intolerance is often misdiagnosed or undetected. One estimate says that 97 percent of all sufferers (hidden non-celiac gluten sensitivity)  don’t even know they’re intolerant to gluten since the medical community is unfamiliar with it. No human can properly digest wheat.

Even more astonishing is a review in the New England Journal of Medicine that listed 55 diseases caused by gluten! Many of the diseases are neurological and psychiatric including anxiety, migraines, epilepsy, neuropathy, schizophrenia, dementia, depression, and autism. The National Library of Medicine has found over 200 adverse health effects linked to gluten-containing grains. Gluten has adverse neurological and cognitive consequences following ingestion. Gluten destroys the brain and nervous tissue more than any other tissue in the body, including the GI tract.

Scientists at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s Center for Celiac Research have proven that gluten sensitivity is different from celiac disease at the molecular level and in the response it elicits from the immune system. The research, published online in BMC Medicine provides the first scientific evidence of a different method that leads to gluten sensitivity.

Alessio Fasano, MD quoted in an article for Scientific American“a person whose immune system has managed to tolerate gluten for many years might suddenly lose tolerance if the microbiome (gut flora) changes in a way that causes formerly quiet susceptibility genes to become active.” Chronic stress and other factors may also turn on the susceptibility genes.

The amount of gluten in wheat today is twice what it used to be, is genetically modified and is a direct cause of inflammation, belly bloat, autoimmunity, gut dysfunction and excess weight. It also contains opiate-like compounds called gliadorphins that mimic the addictive and debilitating effects of opiate drugs like heroin and morphine. The majority of individuals have an opiate peptide issue with gluten resulting in cravings and addiction to gluten-containing products. When these individuals give up gluten, they tend to experience withdraw symptoms such as headaches and irritability.

All grains are sprayed with Round Up (glyphosate), a potent and toxic antibiotic. Round up is a chelating agent, particularly chelating trace minerals from the body. All grains have elevated levels of mycotoxins, which are endocrine disruptors.

Clinical pearl: Remove ALL grains from your diet and testosterone increases.

Eating foods you’re sensitive to increases inflammation in the body. According to Mark Hyman, M.D., “the two most common sources of inflammation in the 21st century are sugar (and processed carbs), and hidden food allergens (perhaps most important, gluten).”

If you have any autoimmune disease or thyroid dysfunction, any mood, attention or autistic disorders, completely eliminating wheat and gluten should (must) be high on your priority list. An article published in Health Psychology Review noticed dramatic remission when gluten was eliminated in those with in mood, attention (ADD and ADHD) and autistic disorders. More research published in the journal Psychiatry Research indicates that sensitivity to gliadin found in wheat, could be driving some people into states of acute mania.

One of my clients was diagnosed by her physician with rheumatoid arthritis. Upon my suggestion, she completely eliminated gluten and wheat from her diet. She’d been on numerous prescription drugs (some with awful side effects). Initially, she experienced a slight healing crisis, fatigue and headaches. By the second week of her gluten- and wheat-free diet she could not believe the incredible transformation and how good she felt. After years of hell, her pain and suffering surprisingly disappeared. She chose to stop taking the drugs and has never looked back.

Gluten intolerance is an inability to digest the protein portion of grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats). In those who are gluten intolerant, these grains cause a reaction in the intestines that sets off various symptoms. Often it goes undiagnosed because the reaction can appear 12-24 hours after eating gluten.

Gluten intolerance causes multiple nutritional deficiencies and inhibits absorption of nutrients. Wheat raises blood glucose higher than almost all other foods…higher than a Milky Way bar or a Snickers bar.

Conditions Related to Gluten Intolerance/Sensitivity

      Alcoholism Candida Chronic fatigue Celiac disease
      Allergies Infertility Diabetes Hypoglycemia
      Anemia Depression Eating disorders Crohn’s disease
      Inflamed Brain Rosacea Osteoporosis Ulcerative colitis
      Hypothyroid IBS & leaky gut Autoimmune disease Gut inflammation
      Man boobs Inflammation Aging skin & wrinkles Frail bones

Symptoms of gluten intolerance can vary per individual. Children may experience allergies, asthma, anemia, a constant upset stomach, or milk intolerance.

Are Your Symptoms Related to Gluten?

       Fatigue; Anxiety; Depression Weight gain; Water retention
       Diarrhea and/or constipation Brain fog
       Skin rashes; Acne Gas; bloating; cramping
       Nasal and throat mucous Dry skin
       Joint pain, muscles aches, inflammation Headaches and Migraines
       Gut dysfunction Tendency to overindulge in alcohol
       Hormone imbalances Food allergies/sensitivities


Following a gluten-free diet. Always read the list of ingredients. A smarter option: STICK WITH REAL FOOD! Gluten is in every grain except rice, amaranth and buckwheat, and quinoa, which is actually a seed. Some labels reveal if the product contains gluten, but most do not. Usually the more processed a food item is (often evidenced by a long ingredient list), more than likely it contains some gluten.

Just because a product is labeled gluten-free does not mean it’s a healthier option. An organic, gluten-free cookie loaded with sugar and rice flour may have fewer pesticides, but it’s still processed junk food and will create an insulin spike. The majority of gluten-free products are processed junk food designed with clever marketing designs. Breads, cereals, cookies, muffins, etc. labeled gluten-free typically replace wheat with potato starch, soy flour, tapioca starch, sorghum, rice and corn (flour) starch, which quickly metabolize into sugar, spike insulin, increase inflammation and cravings. Healthier alternatives include coconut flour or blanched almond flour. Just eat real food folks!

Hidden Sources of Wheat and Gluten

    OTC or Rx meds Beer Malt vinegar
    Cosmetics, lipstick & gloss Pickles Couscous
    Glue on envelopes Root beer Canned baked beans
    Soy sauce Pudding Boxed soups
    Twizzler’s licorice Salad dressings Powdered gravy
    Communion wafers Sausages and cold cuts Blue cheese

Many restaurants and supermarkets offer gluten-free items. And, be sure to check out my favorite cookbooks with gluten-free recipes.

Are YOU Ready for the Gluten- and Wheat-free Challenge? Do you want to look better and feel your best ever? Are health, vitality, longevity and fat loss important to you? Do yourself and your family a favor: Avoid all products containing wheat and gluten. You will notice positive changes in how you look, think and feel, less bloating, joint pain, and as a bonus you’ll probably some lose weight too! It can take 30-60 days for the inflammation to subside, and 9-12 months for the small intestinal lining to heal.

While eliminating gluten from your diet will alleviate various symptoms for some, I encourage people to see qualified medical professional for a celiac panel (Cyrex Labs) for a proper diagnosis to rule out celiac disease. Most individuals receive incomplete testing for gluten sensitivity and are often misdiagnosed. Cyrex Labs is a trusted lab and the Godfather of labs that tracks and detects gut permeability and gluten sensitivity.

Revolutionize your health: Read more in my books, The Power of 4 and Fat Loss Revolution.

Copyright © Paula Owens. All Rights Reserved


  • “Genomics and the Consequences of Autoimmunity.” LaValle, James. IAACN Conference 2013.
  • Psychiatry Res. 2012 Mar 2. Epub 2012 Mar 2. PMID: 22386570

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This entry was posted in allergies, Brain, Controversial, Depression
, Diabetes
, Diet and Nutrition
, Featured, Weight Loss

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