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Gut Microbes and Gluten
New research has discovered that certain strains of gut microbes are able to break down gluten in the gut. (1) So if you are otherwise healthy and are not a Celiac sufferer, researchers suggest you should be able to digest some gluten with the help of a bunch of friendly gluten-loving microbes.
A normal healthy gut is loaded with diverse hard-to-digest, protein-eating microbes, but as a result of stress, a toxic environment, processed foods, poor digestion and antibiotic use, lots of folks have rendered the gut inhospitable for such microbes.
Until now, researchers deemed gluten a hard-to-digest poison under the premise that the intestinal cells are not equipped to break down and assimilate it.
While the exact strains of gluten-eating microbes have not yet been identified, researchers do know that these strains are found in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium microbe families. (1) Within these microbial families, there are only a few strains (such as Bifidobacterium lactis HN019) that are actually documented to colonize in the gut, promoting the repopulation of new and diverse permanent residents of healthy gut microbes. (4)
Researchers have also deemed gluten a toxin due to the fact that the gluten protein seems to be resistant to most of the pancreatic and duodenal enzymes that are wired for protein digestion of a different kind. (2) To make matters worse, gluten releases a chemical called zonulin, which controls the bond between the cells of the intestinal tract. The more gluten that sits undigested in the gut, the more zonulin is produced, thus increasing the risk of leaky gut syndrome or excessive intestinal permeability. (3)
The key to enjoying gluten again is three-fold, one must:
- Improve the health of the gut and digestion to support gluten-eating microbes.
- Strengthen the stomach’s ability to produce HCl (hydrochloric acid) to initiate the process of breaking the gluten down before it leaves the stomach. Proper HCl production also triggers a cascade of duodenal and pancreatic enzymes along with bile from the liver to complete the digestive process.
- Like everything else, eat gluten in moderation. Remember, wheat and other gluten-rich grains were originally harvested in the fall for a brief period, with the purpose of being consumed in the winter. Eating gluten three times a day for years may be a major reason for any gluten sensitivity today.
Increasing intestinal and digestive health requires a team effort of health strategies. These include:
- a non-processed and chemical-free diet
- intelligent cleansing to boost digestive and detoxification function
- a regular stress management practice
- the repopulation of good, healthy and diverse gluten-eating microbes
- the resetting of optimal digestive strength and elimination
At LifeSpa, we employ practices based on Ayurvedic principles that are time-tested to support the optimal health of our microbiology and digestive strength.