What is gluten?
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. What many people don’t realise is that it’s also found in oats. Supermarkets that label their oats ‘Gluten Free’ are usually referring to the fact that the oats were grown, processed and packed in an area without the presence of wheat, rye or barley. However, oats contain the gluten protein ‘avenin’. There’s a large body of research on this particular debate which is worth investigating.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which is thought to affect one in every hundred people worldwide: it often goes undiagnosed. Coeliac disease is the result of the small intestine’s adverse reaction to gluten. The body attacks the threat thereby causing damage to the small intestine. This damage prevents the proper absorption of vitamins and minerals into the body. For someone with coeliac disease, just a couple of crumbs containing gluten are enough to cause issues. The long term effects are serious and include developing other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and other problems such as infertility, dementia and cancer.
Gluten Sensitivity or Intolerance
People who are intolerant to gluten, don’t suffer the same damage to their intestines as those with Coeliac disease but studies have shown that gluten intolerance can cause problems such as ME, Lupus, depression and anxiety. Some studies have shown that over 70% of the world’s population has some degree of intolerance to gluten, some studies claim it’s 100% of the population.
Blocking of Vitamins and Minerals in the Gut
It is thought that foods containing gluten may block not only the absorption of vitamins and minerals but also have an effect on the production of digestive enzymes. These enzymes are vital to the proper breakdown of the foods we eat.