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Gluten, Your Body and Your Brain


What is Gluten: 


Gluten is a general name given to proteins found in certain grain products, like wheat and it’s derivatives like wheat berries, semolina, durum, spelt, farina, faro, emmer, graham, einkorn wheat, rye, barley, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), wheat starch, malt, brewer’s yeast. Over time the industry has genetically modified (hybridized) the wheat seed to produce a higher gluten content for a better texture and bread to rise more.


Gluten is a type of glue that holds the dough together and gives it a chewy texture. When gluten enters the digestion, it breaks down into peptides which are made up of amino acids. The most well-known are gliadin and glutelin.  These peptide chains are the source of gluten sensitivity in many people who then experience many different symptoms which can lead to a more serious disease called CD or “Celiac Disease”. Celiac Disease is a genetic disorder and results in a high inflammatory state affecting many systems in the body.


Patients have been known to have an intolerance to gluten, although they do not test positive for the gluten gene.  This is called: Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). Here are the disorders that have been linked to gluten intolerance or sensitivity:


  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

  2. Fibromyalgia

  3. Thyroid Disease (like Hashimoto’s)

  4. Lupus (autoimmune)

  5. Cancer (Lymphoma)

  6. Bone Loss, Osteoporosis

  7. Neurological Damage

  8. Psychological Disorders (Depression. Anxiety, Brain Fog)

  9. Bone or Joint Pain

  10.  Arthritis

  11.  Skin Rashes

  12.  Iron Deficiency Anemia (unexplained)

  13.  Fatigue

  14.  Seizures or Migraines

  15. Peripheral Neuropathy (tingling and/or numbness in hands and feet)

  16. Myopathies (muscle disease)

  17. Ataxia (loss of balance, tendency to fall)

  18. Weight gain


The most common symptoms in children are:


  1. Focus, ADD, ADHD

  2. Abdominal pain, bloating

  3. Headaches

  4. Diarrhea or Constipation

  5. Irritability and Behavior Issues

  6. Brain Fog

  7. Failure to thrive, delayed growth, and puberty

Gluten Free

Gluten Sensitivity and the Brain:


There is accumulating evidence showing a strong connection between gluten sensitivity and Psychiatric disorders:  Autism, Depression, Mood and Anxiety disorders, ADHD, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar disorder.


Numerous studies have shown that the intestinal microbiota is a key communicator between the gut and brain. A dysbiosis of the gut (bacterial or fungal overgrowth) will produce nervous system inflammation. Gluten causes an inflammatory reaction of the gut.


One study showed that when human fecal samples were cultured with gluten, 144 strains of gut bacteria were isolated. Among those, 94 strains showed the ability to metabolize gluten and 61 strains showed activity against gluten, such as Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus Clostridium, and Bifidobacterium.


In other words, the good probiotic bacteria were very beneficial in reducing inflammation in the bowels.  Antibiotic Therapy is a known contributor to disturbed microbiota and studies have shown that the use of antibiotics was associated with later development of Celiac Disease.


An interesting point to make here is also that sourdough fermentation was able to hydrolyze gluten with varying levels. This explains why for some patients, sourdough bread is better tolerated. This does not mean a person with CD or NCGS should indulge in sourdough bread, as reactions can occur systemically with very small dosages of gluten.


What is Gluten-Free?


A study designed to determine the concentration of gluten in foods labeled “gluten-free” found that 16 of the 78 products sampled contained gluten levels ranging from 20.3 to 60.3 mg/kg. The limit was set by Codex Alimentarius (WHO) to be 20mg/kg. The FDA introduced a law in 2014 that a product may only be labeled gluten-free if it has been tested and found to contain 20 ppm or the equivalent of 6 mg of gluten. That seems to be a safe limit of daily gluten consumption.


To give you another perspective, a slice of bread with wheat contains over 2,500 mg of gluten!


If you would like a complete listing of gluten foods and gluten-free foods,

please visit our clinic!


What about Oats? 


Oats are gluten-free, but most commercially processed oats have been contaminated during the growing, harvesting, and processing stages.  Buy only certified gluten-free oats.


A point to remember: In addition to gluten being a highly inflammatory food, because of today’s commercial production and genetic modification, it is also sprayed over 90 times more with pesticides (including Round-Up) than in previous years.


MY ADVICE TO YOU: if you experience any of the symptoms or conditions above, eliminate gluten from your diet for one month and see how you feel. If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, you will most likely save your life if you eliminate gluten completely.



Mojka Renaud A.P., L.N.


Holistic Options

635 Primera Blvd.

Lake Mary, FL 32746


Mon / Thu / Fri 9am to 5pm

Tue & Wed 9am to 6 pm


Call (407) 333-1059 or EMAIL:


Acupuncture Physician/Licensed Nutritionist

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