The Gluten Piece of the Inflammation Puzzle

It is widely accepted that inflammation is a major cause or precondition of many diseases, including the multitude of autoimmune syndromes. So what role does gluten play in fanning the flames?

Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to anything it perceives as a danger to the body. For the one in 30 people who have gluten sensitivity, every time they eat it (or put it on skin through contaminated cosmetic products) the inflammatory response kicks in. And to make matters worse, the consumption of the widely present gluten protein releases the chemical zonulin, which signals the normally tight junctions of the intestinal wall to open up, creating intestinal permeability—better known as leaky gut syndrome. This permeability allows toxins, microbes and food particles to be released into the bloodstream. The immune system recognizes them as invaders and creates inflammation to destroy them.

With the ongoing consumption of gluten, this becomes a continuous process causing chronic inflammation, which is turn stresses the immune system, leaving it weakened and unable to deal with pathogens and serious invaders. The chronic inflammation may eventually lead to attacks on the body’s own tissues, which can result in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular sclerosis and Hashimoto’s disease.

Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? But take heart, we can stop the gluten-induced inflammatory response and help heal leaky gut by removing it entirely from our diet. “Entirely” is the key word because eating gluten can elevate our gluten antibodies, creating inflammation that lasts for up to three months.

For further information on these and other issues, visit For local help and delicious food, stop by Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery/Bistro. Connect at 520-408-9000, or See ad, page 17.

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