Gluten Glues Up My Guts – Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Gluten Glues Up My Guts

September 6, 2010

Is that a graphic enough title for you? The gastroenterology clinician during my hospital training would sit across from us interns eating chips, drinking a soda and smoking a cigarette saying that diet had nothing to do with bowel disease. As a tribute to that level of absurdity, this post is along the lines of “You are what you eat.”

I’ve avoided wheat for years. I do eat a piece of Essene sprouted bread once and a while. Sprouted grains don’t seem to bother me. Then the other day in a grocery store I sampled a strawberry shortcake. The amount of cake was about a teaspoon…well maybe two teaspoons, because I had two. In truth, I didn’t really chew it, more like inhaled it. And within the hour my intestines were in a clench. It’s like the superhighway of my intestines had ground to a halt. Nothing was moving…except gas. It gave me the mistaken impression that I should visit the restroom but my trip was in vain!

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you may have a wheat allergy. More specifically it could be gluten enteropathy or celiac sprue, which are names for celiac disease. Gluten is the elastic, rubbery protein that allows bread to rise. It’s found in wheat, rye and barley. They say it’s also in oats…but it’s not really. Oats can be contaminated with gluten because they are usually stored in the same facilities as the real gluten culprits.

In celiac disease, a particular gene makes the body’s immune system think gluten is evil and attacks it in the intestines. A damaged intestinal lining causes reduced absorption of important nutrients creating a long list of celiac symptoms from arthritis and anemia to osteoporosis.

It used to be that an intestinal biopsy was required for celiac disease but now you can get specific blood testing for this condition. However, as one client recently told me, if he has a drop of wheat, his bowels react immediately. So, an at-home test is to avoid all wheat, rye and barley for a week and see how you feel. Then do a test meal and see how that feels. Your own reactions are the best way to know if what you’re eating is bothering you. And believe me, “You are what you eat.”

You can read about bowel disease in my book IBS for Dummies and find out more about the proper blood testing for celiac disease at the Celiac Sprue Association.

Carolyn Dean MD ND

The Doctor of the Future®

RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to:


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