Original Question: Is there in your opinion, any natural treatments that
can help gluten intolerance apart from the avoidance of all gluten containing
The following is my up-take of this problem, others may well disagree.
‘Gluten intolerance’ is a broad term which includes all kinds of sensitivities to gluten, a highly complex protein occurring in wheat.
‘Gluten’ actually consists of a combination of two proteins gliadin and glutenin which when combined with water become sticky and elastic, hence its use in bread making.
Gluten intolerance is usually associated with gut discomfort most likely caused by enzyme deficiency and/or undigested food.
It does not involve the immune system.
‘Wheat allergy’ occurs when there is an allergic reaction to wheat proteins, usually the proteins albumin or globulin although gliadin and glutenin may also cause
Symptoms can involve the skin (urticaria, atopic dermatitis), the gastrointestinal tract (cramping, nausea) or the respiratory tract (asthma, allergic rhinitis).
Wheat allergy is mediated by IgE
‘Coeliac’ disease is a term used when there is an immune reaction to the protein
gluten which can cause damage to the gut mucosa and possible intestinal permeability.
It is more severe and can lead to serious long term complications as it will result in the malabsorption of nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and sometimes water and bile salts.
It may be a hereditary disorder.
Coeliac is mediated by IgA and IgG antibodies.
It is important to differentiate between Coeliac disease and wheat allergy.
Blood tests would be needed to make this differentiation.
Food allergies and intolerances have long been associated with poor digestion and the benefit of supplementing with plant enzymes has been documented in numerous research studies and is becoming increasingly more specific.
Increasing the level of enzymes in the diet has great effect in reducing conditions caused by poor digestion, malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency, lactose intolerance etc and given that an allergic reaction is the body’s response to an abnormal protein in the blood it follows that reducing this possibility will also reduce the possibility of an allergic
or intolerant reaction.
I have for many years noticed that some people presenting as ‘gluten intolerant’ have had their symptoms improve when I have supplied them with capsulated plant enzymes that that although they have not been specific for gluten digestion, they have been very high in proteases.
See ‘Enzymes – what they do’
More recent research has lead to the development of enzyme capsules that contain specific enzymes that may further help in the digestion of gluten. The enzymes need to be taken just prior to or with each meal for best results and continued for some time.
See page on Enzymes – facts.
Reducing the amount of wheat products and other cereal grains (such as oats, rye, barley and spelt, which contain similar prolamin proteins), consumed is always advantageous as l feel that many people rely probably too heavily on these products (in particular bread) in their diet to the detriment of other food groups.
Also, if you do use oats (for example as in my ‘high Protein Museli’ recipe) use the whole oats NOT the refined kind or use rice flakes instead.
Similarly, try increasing the amount of raw fruit and vegetables in your diet and ideally soak and sprout all grains and legumes.
You will find that your digestion greatly improves and you will not need to ‘fill up’ on
bread and grain products at all!