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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the terms gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity and celiac disease tossed around a few dozen times in the past few years. If you spend a lot of time on MindBodyGreen, you already know that consuming gluten can negatively impact your health. What you might be a little hazy on are the specifics; why exactly is gluten harmful and what’s happening inside your body when you eat that bagel?

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First things first: What is gluten?

Gluten is a two-part “sticky” protein found in grains, most notably wheat, as well as rye, barley, and others. It’s considered sticky because it holds together the nutrient stores of the plant it’s in. This stickiness is why it’s so commonly used in processed foods as a binder and filler. It’s a two-part protein because it’s made up of the peptides gliadin and glutenin.

Why is gluten such a problem now?

We’re no longer eating the wheat that our parents ate. In order to have the drought-resistant, bug-resistant, and faster-growing wheat that we have today, we’ve hybridized the grain. It’s estimated that 5% of the proteins found in hybridized wheat are new proteins that were not found in either of the original wheat plants. These “new proteins” are part of the problem that has lead to increased system inflammation and intolerance of gluten.

Today’s wheat has also been deamidated, which allows it to be water soluble and capable of being mixed into virtually every kind of packaged food. This deamidation has been shown to produce a large immune response in many people. Lastly, in our modern fast-paced world with fast food at our fingertips, we’re eating much more wheat than our ancestors ever did.

So, what happens when we eat gluten?

Whenever the whole-wheat pasta or a 12-grain sandwich you innocently eat for lunch reaches your intestines, something called tissue transglutaminase (tTG), which is an enzyme produced in your intestinal wall, breaks down the gluten into its building blocks, gliadin and glutenin.

To see how gluten continues to affect your immune system, please click here.

This article was republished with permission from Mind Body Green you can find the original article here.

Image Source: http://blog.23andme.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Autoimmune1.jpg

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