Twenty years ago, most people didn’t know anything about gluten. People didn’t even know how to spell gluten. Now gluten-free diets have become all the rage. But are celiacs the only people who should be on a gluten-free diet?
My guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy is here to say no. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet. What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full-blown celiac disease.
In my own practice, I’ve noticed that gluten is the most common food sensitivity. Even if a doctor tells you your tests for gluten antibodies or celiac are normal, you can still have a severe reaction. And it isn’t just your bowels that can become affected; so can your mood, your energy levels, and a host of other problems. But gluten is just one piece of the puzzle. I’ve noticed a trend of people going gluten-free and hoping that this will solve all of their gut woes. This week, Dr. Alessio Fasano and I talk about how going gluten-free might just be one part of deeper gut healing.
Dr. Alessio Fasano is an expert on gastrointestinal health. This week he discusses not only the effects of gluten but the numerous other culprits that lead to a leaky gut.
Our gut lining can break down from stress; too many antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or Advil; steroids; intestinal infections; a low-fiber, high-sugar diet; alcohol and even C-sections (which we have seen a dramatic increase in recent years).
These and other things trigger and activate an immune response, sparking food allergies and aggravating your second brain (the enteric nervous system), creating havoc that leads to leaky gut. Simply put, certain foods can irritate your bowels and digestive system. We call these food sensitivities, and they are very common. They aren’t true allergies like a peanut allergy or shellfish allergy, but rather a more mild food sensitivity that can cause terrible symptoms.
Simply put, when your gut microbial ecosystem is healthy, you are healthy. When you have too many pathogenic bacteria and not enough healthy bacteria, you become sick, inflamed, and more susceptible to problems like leaky gut.
However, healing your gut means more than eliminating one food (for example gluten). It involves weeding and seeding—removing the bad stuff and adding in the good stuff. Tune in to learn more.
I hope you enjoy this fascinating conversation about the gut as much as I did.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD