The Trouble with Wheat Part IV, or “CSI Gastrointestinal Tract”

October 08, 2010

The Trouble with Wheat Part IV, or “CSI Gastrointestinal Tract” 

 Reference: Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making You Fat, Rudy Rivera 2002 Date:  Oct 12th, 2010 

 Being fat may not be simply eating too much.  It may be more complicated.  To review our prior message: the premise is out there that inflammation caused by allergies in our gut makes for an insulin response, and then we force ourselves to make new fat cells as a means of soaking up excess arachadonic acid.  Those fat cells become little factories putting out more and more inflammation.  That becomes physiological stress on your body.  And eventually, you can’t maintain the burning of candles at both ends, no matter how “young” you claim to be.  

When you become ill at age 62, you look back and say, “Where did I go wrong?” Here is the logic.  This is the best I understand the scientific data that our research labs are pulling together.  One of our key physiological processes is digestion.  To make it work right, our bodies pack 70% of our immune system into our GI tract to help decide what’s friend and what’s foe.  Many of us have allergies and antibodies to some foods.  Not the Ig-E antibodies that make for immediate hives and mouth swelling.  Not that at all.  They are in the Ig-G family. They may not make any symptoms that you can identify as being from the food because they take days to develop after you eat.  

The symptoms might be things like headaches, GERD, sleeplessness, rashes, joint aches and pains.  Or, they might just be a slightly elevated blood sugar  (that’s me).  You go to see your doctor who checks a traditional simple blood test and says, “You look pretty good.” and prescribes you a drug for acid reduction in your stomach. Those antibodies persist for years.   Some 40% of American women carry an antibody to some part of their system.  Autoimmune disease takes years to develop.  

We have such magnificent physiology and reserve, we can go for many years, getting away with the low levels of stress and inflammation.  The typical autoimmune disease takes 15 years of inflammation before it makes symptoms.  Your first symptom might be fatigue from your thyroid giving out.  You might go through a huge stress in your life, like a divorce or a family illness that puts added stress on your system.  But now your body is diverting a huge percentage of its energy and capacity to calming your inflamed gut, and can no longer juggle your multiple stressors.  

The extra stress event tips you over the edge and your thyroid gland starts to be unable to keep up and develops Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Or your asthma comes back, after being gone for years.  Your ankle starts to hurt.  Your hip aches. You get an infection, and take some antibiotics.  The antibiotics clear up your infection, but also further damage your gut by killing off all the normal healthy bacteria in your gut. The key problem was your gut.  The “core imbalance” was a food allergy.  Then, 15 years of low level inflammation ground away at you.  The obvious criminal wasn’t the real perpetrator.  It wasn’t your hip, your thyroid, your bronchial tubes.  It was the bread you ate at the restaurant with olive oil and spicy vinegar, again and again and again.   CSI Intestinal Tract uncovers the real criminal.  The bread! 

 WWW.  What will work for me.  The growing science of food sensitivities is getting more sophisticated.  I just did my food sensitivity testing from a company called ALCAT.  I, like 40% of us, have wheat antibodies.  Oh dear.  I’ve been trying to eat no wheat and rather failing as I discover all the places I get wheat without even thinking.  But, even with those poor efforts, my morning glucose dropped from 101 to 86-93.  I can’t easily measure my inflammation, but sugar sensitivity is a second hand way of discovering inflammation.   Next week.  The GI Closer finishes off the season with “How to eat to avoid inflammation”.

Column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI 53045