Gluten has been on the minds of our society for some time now as to how it can possibly affect our health and the health of our children. The following article will discuss what Gluten is, why it is used, the health ailments it is linked with, foods that contain Gluten, and whole food herbal health supplements that are Gluten free.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten, in its basic definition, is a kind of protein that exists in wheat, barley, and rye among other carbohydrates. It is also found in cereal and in different types of breads as well.
One very common misconception about Gluten is that it is a grain. While, it is typically found in wheat, it is not a grain, but simply a component of grains and cereals. At the same time, not all grains contain Gluten.
To define it further, Gluten is not soluble (will not dissolve) in water. Conversely, it can be separated from grain, which is unique to Gluten, by kneading the base dough sternly.
Bread is the food most commonly associated with Gluten and is the determining factor in many of bread’s traits. For example, Gluten gives bread the flexible, chewy composition that we are used to. Without Gluten, bread tends to be a puddy like mess. It is also in pizza dough and bagels to give them the tough and chewy make up. Gluten also retains gases during baking which is why the bread rises.
Finally, Gluten is able to soak up fluid. This is the reason why our pancakes soak up that lovely syrup. This “soaking” ability also allows Gluten to be used as an imitation meat, which is popular with many vegetarians.
WHY GLUTEN IS USED IN FOOD
Gluten provides elasticity when more is added to dough. Two main proteins in Gluten, Glutenin and Gliadin, improve both the strength and stickiness of dough. For this, Gluten is a favored ingredient in the food industry. Baked products use Gluten to help the dough rise and expand. Bakers often add extra amounts of vital wheat Gluten to recipes that require volume and expansion, such as bread loaves and dinner rolls. Gluten helps trap and hold air bubbles during the rising stage. During baking, the Gluten helps to harden the formation of the dough, causing it to retain its shape. Some bread doughs, especially heavy doughs that include whole grains, require additional Gluten to produce volume. Used in hot dog buns, this ingredient helps provide greater strength in its hinges. Other products such as pastries and crackers; use lesser amounts of Gluten, since these products do not need to expand as much as bread.
If you noticed, Gluten is mainly used for VOLUME. Bigger is better in the food industry and allows the food companies to decrease costs while increasing the size of a product. 50 years ago, a loaf of bread was the size it should have been, but when the food companies found out that, by adding Gluten to their product, they can get a much larger product to sell, well, they were sold. Therefore, over the last several years, these companies have been adding Gluten to get a better return on their products, at the expense of our health.
GLUTEN EFFECTS ON OUR HEALTH
The following are potential side effects of Gluten;
-Calcium Metabolism Disturbance
-Poor Appetite or Irritability
-Offensive Stools and Subtle Cramps
-Poor Muscle Tone (Hypotonia)
-Recurrent Oral Ulcers
-Severe Weight Loss
Gluten intolerance may also result in a disease known as Celiac Disease. This disease is considered to be a hereditary disorder of the immune system. Ingesting Gluten leads to irreversible damage of the lining of the small intestine. This basically results in weakening of the immune system since essential nutrients and vitamins are not absorbed. It can also result in weight loss, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal cramps.
Between 1% to 2% of the United States population suffers from Celiac disease. Because this disease is an abnormal immune responses to Gluten, people with it must maintain 100% Gluten free diets. When patients totally eliminate Gluten from their diets, the lining of the intestines has a chance to heal.
Please note that people that are Gluten intolerant or have a Gluten allergy do not necessarily have Celiac disease, therefore, make sure to consult a physician to find out if you are simply Gluten intolerant or have the full fledged disease. Unfortunately, nine out of ten people with Celiac disease do not know they even have it. A simple blood test can give the physician the an indication whether one has the disease or not.
Gluten sensitivity is not restricted to just those with Celiac disease, according to Dr. Rodney Ford, a food-allergy expert.
Per Dr. Ford, if you are normally tired, stressed, anxious, have eczema, or have headaches on a regular basis, you may be one that is considered to have ”Gluten Syndrome’, a phrase coined by Dr. Ford.
Dr. Ford states that up to 33% of all cases of chronic illness and fatigue could be caused by Gluten sensitivity and up to 10% of all people may be suffering from Gluten Syndrome.
He also states; “Gluten can cause tiredness, stress, and anxiety. Even the medical world accepts that Gluten can damage the gut, and studies have shown that it can also damage the brain, nerves, and skin. Up to this point, many of these ailments have been blamed on other things such as stress, depression, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”.
Also, our children are not immune to Gluten Syndrome, according to Dr. Ford. He has diagnosed more than 1,000 children with Gluten Syndrome, by identifying Gluten sensitivity through blood tests. Because the condition can be hereditary, he encourages the parents and siblings of those who test positive to also undergo the blood tests.
Patients who are diagnosed with Gluten Syndrome should exclude Gluten from their diet to see if symptoms fall. Dr. Ford’s patients, whom had these symptoms correlating with Gluten Syndrome and rid their diets of Gluten, have had amazing results. Per Dr. Ford, “People have had headaches that they have suffered for years suddenly cease. Eczema has cleared up, children’s behavioral patterns and sleep patterns have improved. I have seen lives changed when Gluten-sensitive people change their diet – they are genuinely shocked at how much better and happier they feel”.
ADHD, ADD, and ODD
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 3% to 5% of children in the United States have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or similar forms such as; Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Research indicates that many of these children may have these type symptoms due to undiagnosed Celiac disease or Gluten sensitivity. Dr. Ford and his studies have also identified similar symptoms in children with Gluten Syndrome.
The big problem here is that these children may be taking drugs designed to treat ADHD which may be masking neurological symptoms of a common and often misdiagnosed autoimmune disease such as Celiac or even a simple sensitivity to the compound. Until recently, Celiac disease was considered to be a very rare childhood disease. Because the symptoms can affect any part of the body and nervous system, people who have the disease are often diagnosed with psychiatric, digestive or other diseases for years before getting an accurate diagnosis of Celiac disease or Gluten Syndrome.
Therefore, it would be wise to have our children tested for a Gluten allergy before putting any medications into their little bodies. If your child is already on a medication, do NOT stop giving it to them until you discuss with your doctor and have the appropriate tests performed.
*Also note the ADHD article at The Balance You Need here.
Gluten Syndrome and Arthritis
Arthritis is chronic inflammation of the joint tissue which can lead to deformity and joint destruction. Arthritis generally comes from a previous trauma or injury to the joint or from overuse of a specific joint. During the disease, the immune system attacks the joint tissues, which is considered an autoimmune reaction. Studies are now showing that Gluten has been identified as a possible factor in the effects of autoimmune reaction.
Therefore, people whom have been diagnosed with Arthritis may be linked to the ingestion of Gluten. The research has been done on possible correlations between Gluten and arthritis and multiple studies have shown that Gluten may affect or even worsen arthritis. By avoiding Gluten, patients may see notable improvements.
From a child standpoint, it has been noted that Gluten intolerance may have a noteworthy impact on joint pain in children. There is evidence suggesting a correlation between Gluten intolerance and children with chronic arthritis pain.
These are very important findings as they may impact a person’s pain and potentially several other conditions related to Gluten intolerance, such as weakened bone density or thyroid disorders. We, as a society, need to look at this closely before putting potentially harmful drugs into our systems when we could simply change our diets.
Though dietary changes are often difficult for children, it may be worth the effort for those with chronic pain. The same goes for an adult with a history of other problems related to Celiac disease, such as osteoporosis, bowel issues or thyroid problems.
Again, ALWAYS consult your doctor, but have the courage to ask for a blood test to rule out a Gluten allergy.
GLUTEN FREE FOODS
Taking Gluten out of one’s diet may sound easy, but it actually is not. Because grains (and not all grains contain Gluten) are used in the preparation of many foods, it is relatively hard to tell by a food’s name what may be in it. Therefore, it is easy to eat Gluten without even knowing it. But, by doing the research and staying on a strict Gluten-free diet, you could dramatically improve your health condition.
The following are some guidelines if you would like to follow a Gluten Free Diet;
-Find supplements (mentioned below) that are Gluten free, but provide the body with all essential nutrients.
-Do not eat anything that contains the following grains: wheat, rye and/or barley.
-Malt vinegar DOES contain Gluten.
-Because oats were frequently processed in machines that also processed wheat, they were considered to have some Gluten. Fortunately, most manufacturers no longer do this, but, if you have rid yourself of all other Gluten and still have symptoms, removing oats could potentially be the missing link.
-DO eat the following; fruits, corn, potato, rice, pea, whey, tapioca, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa.
-Distilled white vinegar does NOT contain Gluten.
Gluten Food Labels
Grains are used in the processing of many ingredients. Note that while Gluten can be removed from wheat flour (wheat starch), not ALL of the Gluten in wheat flour, can be removed. According to The Food and Drug Administration, if a certain amount of the Gluten is removed, the food product can be labeled “Gluten-free”.
The following terms found in food labels may mean that there is Gluten in the product;
-Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour or soy flour.
-Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn.
-Malt or Malt Flavoring, unless derived from corn.
-Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch, unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize or maize is used.
-Vegetable Gum, unless made from carob bean, locust bean, cellulose, guar, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xantham or vegetable starch.
-Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids, unless you know they do not contain wheat
Any of the following words on food labels often mean that a grain containing Gluten has been used;
While “Gluten Free” food products can be expensive, you may want to consider the cost savings that may come about. For example, when children are eating a Gluten Free Diet, their entire eating habits actually improve. They are more likely to turn to fruit and vegetables and meat as opposed to feeding up on bread and pasta. When someone is eating more protein, they tend to feel full and, therefore, don’t eat as much and fruits and vegetables can be a very cost effective way to eat in general. Secondly, if one was to find that their “ailment” was solely due to a Gluten intolerance, they could be saving on; doctor’s visits, medication, etc.
Regardless of whether you have Celiac Disease/Gluten Syndrome or not, everyone should be supplementing their diets with the best Gluten free natural whole food herbal supplements available. Because we are all suffering from Malnutrition, we need to ensure our bodies are getting the proper amount of essential nutrients in order to be healthy.
Life Force International has several, whole food supplements, that contain NO Gluten whatsoever. For example, Body Balance, a liquid Aloe Vera and Ocean Botanical supplement, has been helping people for 25 years. Body Balance contains over 120 nutrients, all in their natural state, and is Gluten free. To learn more about Body Balance, visit our Body Balance Detailed Information page.
Life Force International also produces a powdered protein supplement that is Gluten free. AminoCharge’s formula includes three premium protein sources — whey, pea and rice. AminoCharge maximizes the utilization of amino acids to boost productivity in their vital function of building muscles, immunoglobulins, red blood cells and enzymes, thus increasing metabolic rate.
With the combination of our foods not containing the nutrients they once did and avoiding Gluten, we can find ourselves lacking some of the baseline nutrition that we need. Again, to ensure you get everything you need, please consider these two products or find something similar on the market that is comparable. Just make sure you are supplementing!
We at, The Balance You Need, hope this article was beneficial and that you can use some of the information to potentially make a difference in your household and the health ailments that you or your children may have. Although we cannot diagnose or cure anything that may be going on from a health standpoint, our goal is to give you options that you can try. If you do read through this article and adopt some of the principles and have success, we would love to hear your story in the comment box below!
The Choice is ALWAYS Yours!
Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.