Thursday, November 1, 2012

Does Gluten Give You Cancer?

By Martina Berger

Gluten might taste good, but it doesn't do a lot of good things for your body. The news has been going on and on about links between gluten and a variety of health problems ranging from childhood obesity to Autism that it's hard to not wonder how much is real and how much is hype. When it comes to cancer, though, no one is just filling air time.

We're so lucky to live in a day and age where researchers are able to get some medical answers. They are finding out why we are getting certain illnesses and even ways we can help ourselves to prevent from getting those diseases. Celiac Disease is beginning to get some our attention with great results.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease. People who suffer from it cannot tolerate gluten. Untreated Celiac Diseases can lead to cancer in many cases, according to many scientific reports. The sad part is that many people don't even know that they suffer from Celiac Disease because the symptoms can be very common ones such as stomach problems, diarrhea, rash, etc. And let's face it, most doctor visits are not detailed enough to identify a Celiac Disease. Our American doctors, who are not specialists in this field, have only about a fifteen minute window to meet with a patient and diagnose them. Celiac Disease symptoms are less likely to be associated with a Celiac Disease, and are much more likely to be interpreted by a doctor as signs of depression or flu.

There is also another form of gluten intolerance. The so called "Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity" was until recently a medical myth. Not until a year ago or maybe even only 6 months ago people and medical doctors especially did not believe that this existed. Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity means you suffer from gluten intolerance and you are not addressing this stress on your health. (It's not surprising you are not taking care of it because from the medical field it is all only in your head.) During this time you will eat gluten that your body cannot completely digest. The gluten is found in many grains and products. Many people are not aware that gluten is nearly in every product they consume and therefore or not only unaware of the cause but also of the effect.

Let's imagine for just a moment that you eat gluten, but your body cannot tolerate it. Every time you eat, you will stress your whole system, meaning your whole body will do what it can to make you not happy about eating that thing it cannot tolerate. This can lead to a chronic immune reaction, inflammation and subsequently tissue damage. Finally the immune system will run amuck. Your body will waste all its energy addressing this tolerance issue that it will be vulnerable to other diseases such as cancer, neurological diseases and autoimmune diseases.

Gluten causes cancer indirectly. To see that, we need to understand that everyone produces cancer cells that have the potential to become full blown cancer. Healthy people do not have to worry so much because their healthy immune system can control those cancerous cells and keep them from mutating. As long as our immune system is doing its job, we will be safe. What gluten, the bad guy, does is overwork our immune system until it is too tired to function properly. At that point, it is too worn out to control those cancer cells and the cells mutate. Unknowing gluten intolerant people thus have a much higher risk of cancer and other such serious diseases.

If we compare ourselves with the other members of our taxon, like modern chimpanzees and apes, we would be better off health wise to eat mostly plant foods such as leaves, fruits, gums, and stalks with some additional eggs, and small animals. We are not originally born eating only bread with something in between. Sandwiches are neat, but not really what we should eat most of the time.

In history, it has also shown that the introduction of grain based foods is paralleled by an increase in the prevalence of cancer. Of course gluten is for sure not responsible for all cancers but many cancer patients have experienced dramatic improvements from a gluten free diet. But not only cancer patients can improve on a gluten free diet. Many people have reported that their overall health improved on a gluten free diet. It has to be said that here we always talk about people who have health concerns. As a relatively healthy person experiencing no discomfort, it's rather hard to decide to adopt a gluten free diet because it will be so much work.

The main question is "What is so toxic about gluten???"

Have you ever heard the saying, "if it ain't broke don't fix it?" Well scientists aren't always looking to fix something, more likely trying to make money for their company. They have modified the wheat in an attempt to make baked goods better. They changed the gliadin protein. There isn't a specific, scientific document pointing an accusing finger at the modified gliadin protein but I have read several reports stating that this wasn't such a hot idea as the gluten gets the main effects of this process. So, the toxic part of gluten is the Gliadin protein.

The gliadin part of gluten induces the unwanted immune responses found in celiac diseases, which is called an Interleukin-15 mediated response (IL-15). An IL-15 mediated immune response was detected in all individuals, meaning it was also found in people without Celiac Diseases or non celiac gluten sensitivity! So, we all produce an innate immune response to gliadin, meaning our body doesn't like it nor want it in us. If everybody is reacting this way, the gliadin might not have been the best answer for our fresh baked needs, eh?

As if that's not enough, several gluten exorphins were isolated from gluten. This is scary because exorphins are opioid mimicking peptides, meaning they are in the same group as morphine like polypeptides. And like morphine, it has an impact on the immune system and other functions such as nerve function, neuromuscular function, to just name a few. Exorphins can down regulate our immune system, making us susceptible to infections and a weakened immune system cannot save us from cancerous cells.

Being gluten free is maybe a good thing? Well, looking over this article again I start to believe that my son is the lucky one, being an identified gluten intolerant will give him no chance to be anything but healthier!

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