Wheat Free Diet? New study links wheat protein to increased inflammation in chronic health conditions

Wheat Free Diet? New study links wheat protein to increased inflammation in chronic health conditions

If you live with chronic illness, you’ve probably considered going on a gluten-free diet.  Integrative health care providers and ePatient bloggers frequently share anecdotal evidence that avoiding gluten can improve symptoms. Some go further and attribute their recovery to going grain-free by following a paleo diet. New research suggests these benefits may be from going wheat-free rather than glutenfree.  A protein found in wheat called amylase trypsin inhibitor (ATI) has been found to trigger a powerful immune reaction in individuals living with chronic health conditions, which in turn caused inflammation – found not only in the gut, but in a number of other organs, including the lymph nodes, kidney, spleen, and brain.  This inflammatory response was seen in patients with immune-related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. I was also found to exacerbate non-celiac gluten sensitivity – which may in fact be misnamed.  If you have this food tolerance, it may be more accurate to say you have ATI intolerance!  But further research is needed to confirm this finding.

What if you have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia?  The research didn’t specifically address these illnesses in their findings.  However, a significant amount of research has connected CFS/FM to immune dysfunction and inflammation.  In fibromyalgia, this inflammation has been linked to glial cells in the central nervous system and fascia (the connective tissue that encases muscles).  My conclusion from this study is that trialing a wheat-free diet could be an important step to better managing symptoms for CFS/FM, as well as the chronic health conditions that were included in the study.

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