Kamut Wheat: Pharaoh, Irritable Bowels and Hardened Hearts

June 30, 2014

Kamut Wheat:  God’s Wheat for IBS, Heart Disease, and Whatever Else Ails You! 

 Reference:  Sofi Br J Nutrition 2014, Suligoj, Sofi Eur J Clin Nutr 

 Wheat likely evolved somewhere around the Black Sea.  Ballard, the guy who found the Titanic, explored the Black sea and found evidence of a sudden vast deluge as the Mediterranean overran the isthmus of land that is now Istanbul, and suddenly raised the Black Sea by some 500 feet in one year some 5000 years ago.  Those early flooded people took their wheat with them, as well as both cows, pigs, and goats they had as domesticated animals and escaped the flooding waters rising about one foot a day. 

 Now the story goes of a US airman in Cairo in 1949 who found ancient wheat in an old stone box in an antiquities store.  He sent it back to Montana where his uncle tried raising it but couldn’t find a buyer for the huge, very tough grain.  He kept a jar or two for decades until a grandson decided to patent it and call it Kamut (the Biblical name for wheat).  The Egyptians went nuts that someone might be patenting a grain that was from their heritage, so they had it genetically sequenced.  Goodness, it was the wheat of the Pharaoh and the Bible!  Or at least, that’s how the story goes.  

Kamut wheat is a very ancient grain, from Iran, Syria, Egypt, and the Pharaoh. Kamut, kamoot, or Khorasan wheat that hasn’t been genetically modified.  Dr. Sofi decided to try and see what happens in a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial of Kamut versus modern wheat with folks suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.   They took 20 people with moderate symptoms of IBS (13 women and 7 men) and had them eat bread, pasta, etc. from either modern Durum wheat for 6 weeks.    After 6 weeks, they had a washout 6 week interval then switched to the other.  Results?   The folks on Durum wheat had statistically significantly more symptoms of bloating, fatigue, stool consistency, abdominal pain.  Symptoms remained or returned to baseline when switching back to Kamut wheat. 

 That’s not all they did.  They measured markers of internal inflammation like IL-6 and IL-17, interferon-Υ, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor. Just this study alone would be nifty but Dr. Sofi was on a roll.  This was his second major study.  His first was in the Eur Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which he studied the same inflammatory markers in folks with cardiovascular disease.   In that study, over 8 weeks they showed reductions in cholesterol and all the same markers as above.  This is the underpinnings for why Bill Davis’s book, Wheat Belly, is right!  Wheat causes inflammation, in all diseases. 

 Is Kamut wheat safe for someone with heart disease or IBS?   Well, we just don’t know for sure, but Suligoj at King’s College in London published a lab study showing that in petri dishes you can elicit very strong T-cell activation with Kamut and any other wheat you want when you use the T-cells from folks with celiac disease.   Their advice for folks with celiac – don’t!   No wheat of any kind.  The Bible said Pharaoh had a hardened heartEgyptian mummies had heart disease too! 

 WWW.  What Will Work for Me.  We are accumulating the molecular evidence that Bill Davis was right.  Wheat, unique among human foods, causes intense inflammatory responses.  Our most vulnerable get a terrible disease, celiac.  But just about all of us (or very many) still get some inflammation.  Wheat is 9% of our calories.   Do you want to get rid of inflammation?  Maybe it’s time to switch. 

 Pop Quiz

  1. If I have IBS, I will likely make my symptoms better is I switch off modern wheat to flour made from Kamut wheat.   T or F                     Answer:   True
  1. If I have cardiovascular disease, I can lower my cholesterol and inflammatory cytokines if I switch to Kamut?   T or F                         Answer:  True
  1. If I have cardiovascular disease, I’m probably safe with Kamut?  T or F                    Answer:  False
  1. Pharaoh, as told in the Bible had a hardened heart.  Too bad he couldn’t get an angioplasty.  Instead of letting the Israelites go, he should have switched to quinoa.  T or F.                   Answer:   True
  1. Bill Davis, in his book Wheat Belly, suggests that wheat can cause a lot of grief for many people.  He must be some sort of fringe crackpot.  T or F                         Answer: Categorically false!  He might be one of our century’s geniuses!