Archives for: April 2005, 18
We often do things primarily because the good doctor recommends it, it's so nice to ask and get an understandable answer as to why we do it. What are the underlying reasons? Hopefully my answers will spur yours.
When a gluten (or a lectin) binds to a cell in the intestines, it triggers a cascade of inflammation. This cascade continues throughout the immune system in all parts of your body...liver, brain, connective tissue, etc. etc. etc. That immune activation (which Os are so prone to anyhow, hmmmm) can cause all sorts of damage to your cells and organs.
Then you consider that this very damage to the cells in the intestines can open them up, causing a leaky gut, which allows the lectin into the inside, and heightens the body's state of alert. Also leading to more of that insulin mimicry - thus, insulin resistance, which along with the inflammation, even increase cardiovascular risk...
No doubt a person listeneing to this information would need to go back to the beginning...the nature of a lectin. How do we know that lectins bind in this way to the cells in the intestines...
First consider that of all the environmental concerns many of us have, which are for good reason, the closest, most intimate relationship we have with the environment is our food. 50 tons of food pass through each of us in our lifetime, and the small intestine is not just built like a hose, it's built like a terrycloth towel, with a huge amount of absorptive surface area, not only are there little fingerlike projections covering the surface, but each of these villi are covered with yet smaller projections, microvilli, increasing the absorptive surface area to something quite astounding. The first order of business: to absorb everything that's anything. That's their marching orders, they don't know how to distinguish so well between good and bad until they've already latched onto it and started the process.
So, why is a lectin a bad guy, at this point? You've seen fighter pilot movies and the like where somebody is being shot at by another aircraft or a missile and they always shout out "I can't shake him!" before they blow up and die… Well your cells can't shake a lectin. Since a lectin is defined by its ability to attach to specific markers on cells (specific sugars in the case of blood type specific lectins), that is what a lectin does best. Gluten does it particularly well, on account of its innate and observable to the naked eye stickiness. And when anything attaches to a cell wall, it sends signals, it has the secret handshake so to speak. In the case of celiac disease the immune response is explosive, like swallowing microscopic sticks of dynamite. Think photos of a modern city before bombing or a natural disaster, then after, that's basically what happens to the villi. This makes a person extremely lectin sensitive, because it destroys the barriers to entry. What happens in a city at that point (though usually this happens long before the destruction!!)…it becomes a police state. That's the only way to defend itself. What happens in a police state? Innocent citizens inevitably do get hurt. That my friends, is autoimmunity, so very common in Os who eat wheat. It can damage all organs, including the brain.
Other soundbite reasons why wheat is bad.
1. The lectin in wheat mimics insulin, causing your body to go into energy storing mode, whether you have energy or not. This results in fatigue and weight gain.
2. You often hear studies trying to figure out why Asian countries are so much healthier than Americans. Green Tea, Soy? This or that in the diet. Maybe, just maybe it's something they don't eat…they eat rice rather than wheat. Wheat is not a part of their traditional culture.
3. Wheat is very allergenic
4. Wheat is no longer a 'natural' food. The protein content of wheat has been bred so high over thousands of years both to improve it's rising ability in breads and to provide protein to populations who are deficient in it. Problem is, the protein in the wheat is rich in lectins and allergens.
Hope that helps you, and those who ask you about it!