When talking all about gluten who better to interview than Dr. Tom O’Bryan one of the worlds leading experts in Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease, and Autoimmunity. Hearing what gluten actually is and what it does inside everyone’s body is hugely insightful especially when gluten intolerance/sensitivity is often dismissed as a fad. Tom refers to the research and the connection to diseases, disorders and a wide range of symptoms including the impact on child development.
Like many individuals in the health profession Tom became interested in food sensitivity when he was impacted personally. He and his ex-wife were struggling to conceive and through his research he developed a programme that led to conception in 6 weeks. He started his practice as a fertility expert that morphed into a whole range of conditions and he recognised that everyone has sensitivity to a particular food that they often never know about. This is partly due to symptoms presenting long after foods are eaten or even after many years of eating the food. He realised that the most common food that people are sensitive to is wheat.
Tom’s basic foundation for health is that we need to understand that every forkful of what we put into our mouths is either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. The only neutral substance is healthy water. If you have a health concern or simply want to improve your well being then eating anti-inflammatory foods has to be your priority.
Understanding that gluten is a family of proteins, which aren’t all bad is important. You find gluten in rice, millet, rye, quinoa, barley and oats but it’s the family of gluten proteins in wheat, rye and barley that are considered ‘harmful’ to humans. A 2015 Harvard study stated that every human gets intestinal permeability when exposed to gliadin in wheat. Intestinal permeability is when the digestive system becomes compromised because our body can’t break a substance down and the larger molecules of that substance cause inflammation in the intestines leading to tears in the intestinal lining, which then enables larger molecules to enter the blood stream. When this happens the body responds by triggering the immune system to attack, which begins to affect peoples health, present as symptoms and can lead to a number of food sensitivities. If you focus on healing the intestines within 6 months you can start to reintroduce foods you were sensitive to. However wheat is the one exception to the rule, so if you test positive to wheat sensitivity you should not reintroduce.
Non-celiac wheat sensitivity manifestations can present in a vast array of symptoms including brain fog or abnormal brain function, reproductive system dysfunction, joint pain and/or attention deficit. The body can be thought of as a chain and if you pull it apart the chain will break at the weakest link and everyone’s weakest link is unique. Inflammation will manifest where the weakest link is, e.g. in the brain, the thyroid, the gall bladder etc. We have to move away from one symptom one problem and focus on a more global thought process, considering the impact of what we eat across all the systems of our body.
If your genetics contains a family of specific genes you are more susceptible to developing celiac disease at the point you loose oral tolerance to wheat (when your chain breaks). Autoimmune conditions take decades to develop and it’s important to focus on anti-inflammatory foods and test to find the weak link in your chain. By understanding this we can begin to eat the right foods for our body and improve our long-term health.
Children’s development begins in-utero and early childhood conditions such as colic and eczema are closely linked to mum’s diet especially if mums breastfeeding. Research indicates that by taking out gluten, dairy and sugar the child’s symptoms can improve. Its also important to note that with any symptoms such as skin, pain or brain conditions we need to consider a child’s diet to help address potential inflammation. It’s critical to work out which foods work for your child and which foods cause a problem. Most children with ADHD, Asperger’s, and Autism do much better when they go wheat free as shown in a 2006 study. Every child in the study had improvements in every test symptom when they had been gluten-free for 6 months, which raises the question should every child with learning difficulties be tested for a wheat sensitivity?
There is a great deal of research out there available to the public and medical professionals. If you need more help you can access information from Dr. Tom O’Bryan through www.theDr.com. He is the visionary behind the paradigm shifting ‘The Gluten Summit – A Grain of Truth’, bringing together 29 of the world’s experts on the Gluten connection to diseases, disorders, a wide-range of symptoms and ages which you can access from www.theglutensummit.com. As a special gift via The Food Teacher you can access an article (“The Hidden Sources of Gluten Guide” The Conundrum of Gluten Sensitivity – Why the tests are often wrong) and help talking to your GP about tests from thedr.com/gifts/
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