Modern Wheat: A Terrorist’s Delight

Modern wheat is the perfect disrupter of bowel health, a creation that even Al Quaeda couldn’t top.

Let’s put aside issues like celiac or gluten-sensitivity triggered by the new gliadin proteins (such as the Glia-alpha9 sequence in most modern wheat), issues that affect 10% of the population. Let’s instead talk about the disruption of bowel health that occurs in EVERYBODY–without the immune activation of celiac or gluten-sensitivity.

In other words, nobody escapes the bowel effects described below. Eat modern wheat and experience the bowel disruption it wreaks, plain and simple.

First, wheat germ agglutinin–indigestible to humans–is a direct intestinal toxin. If 1 mg is fed to a laboratory animal, its intestinal tract undergoes extensive damage not unlike that seen in celiac disease. The average wheat-consuming human takes in 10-20 mg per day.

The direct intestinal destruction of wheat germ agglutinin is made worse by a process first described in 1990 by Dr. Alessio Fasano’s group at Johns Hopkins: The gliadin protein of wheat triggers expression of the zonulin protein in intestinal cells. Zonulin, in turn, disrupts the normal “tight junction” structures (via actin filament polymerization) that provide a normal barrier to foreign substances in the intestinal tract, ordinarily preventing their entry into the deeper tissue layers of the bowel as well as the bloodstream. With the normal tight junction disabled, foreign substances are able to pass between intestinal cells through the impaired tight junction–in short, stuff in your intestine that has no business getting into your bloodstream does. Among the foreign substances allowed access is wheat germ agglutinin.

Fasano et al 2005

There are three consequences to health as a result of this gliadin-wheat germ agglutinin two-punch effect:

1) Wheat germ agglutinin can enter the bloodstream and hitch a ride to other organs to places like your knees, hips, skin, thyroid gland, eyes, airways and sinuses, resulting in inflammation in those organs: arthritis, rashes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, uveitis, asthma and sinus congestion.

2) Gliadin likewise enters the bloodstream and triggers immune phenomena via its “molecular mimicry” effect, its capacity to closely mimic the structure of many human proteins, triggering autoimmune responses: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, polymyositis, neuropathies, etc.

3) Because the disrupted intestinal lining now acts as a two-way path, water can leak into the intestinal tract, resulting in diarrhea and bowel urgency. In fact, this effect of the gliadin protein has been likened to the effect of cholera toxin that results in intractable watery diarrhea.

Multi-organ inflammation, autoimmunity, and watery bowels: You can see why I often call modern wheat “a perfect chronic poison.” It is as if this thing was specifically designed for maximum damage, an intestinal jihad perpetrated on us by agribusiness mujahideen.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Terry Duncan

    Wish I could be that eloquent and intelligent about speaking out and having a reason why. Thank you for taking up the head of the battle. You have inspired so many — to a healthier life. Keep it up — I always look forward to your posts!!!! May not understand some of it (LOL), but understand enough to know wheat is BAD. Terry

  2. Willie Owens

    Yes sir its a war out there. Have you noticed the dramatic drop in price of bread and cereal products lately? They are fighting back by almost giving wheat products away. Any profit at any cost! To hell with health! Most terrorists know that they don’t have to attack American shores. We’ll eventually kill ourselves…

  3. Vivian

    Wheat…whole grain…never again! 23 lbs. gone…no arthritis in my knees, feeling wonderful since June 22nd. Thanks, Dr. Davis!

    • Amanda

      I also wish I could write like that.
      Does anybody know how to write a letter to my dear Dr.OZ? He had a show the other day where he presented 3 girls and he gave them suggestions about what to eat, according to body type. I could not believe he was pushing bread products to one of the girls, and she said “I don’t feel like eating bread or cereal, I quit 10 years ago”, or something like that. And that girl looked the best of them, she was not overweighed, she did not look “puffy” like people who eat a lot of bread look, I used to look puffy, I know she looked very healthy, so Dr. Oz was suggesting to carb up with bread “to improve her mood” I just can not believe that!
      My personality, mood, temper changed 100% when I quit bread…
      Please, he needs to read and research but he probably does not have anytime…OMG

      • Rong

        Dr. Oz is a TV personality. Period! You might as well take health advice from Dr. Phil, the View, etc. He doesn’t want to be confused by the facts, he has a show to do.

        • Linda

          If people would just quit watching this guy, ratings would fall and he would eventually be cancelled.
          I watched one show, the first one, and never went back.

          Judge Judy makes a lot more sense! LOL

  4. JoAnne

    And the agribusiness mujahideen are not letting up – today’s Baltimore Sun newspaper included an article titled “Chance for profit in drought.” “Monsanto, based in St. Louis, has received regulatory approval for Drought-Gard, a corn variety that contains the first genetically modified trait for drought resistance.” At stake: $12 billion U.S. seed market. Renee Lafitte, who studies drought for Pioneer (DuPont’s agribusiness arm) says seed-makers want genetically altered crops to blunt dry years. Lafitte said, “What we’re trying to provide is insurance against these types of weather changes.” Yes, it’s all about the profits.

    • Shirley

      On the radio two days ago a news bite described one man in Iowa struggling to feed his 450 diary cattle due to the shortage of corn. He was giving them anything and everything they would eat including Fruit-Loops.

  5. JoAnne

    Since going wheat-free I’ve begun to experience Charlie-horse cramps in my calves and lower legs. I know potassium and magnesium are good for muscle cramps, and I get both through the foods & supplements I take. These leg charlie-horse cramps wake me up in the morning and are quite painful. And they tend to happen more frequently when the weather is colder. Can anyone offer any other suggestions?

    • JIllOz

      @Joanne, I’ve also found wearing socks and warm pyjama/tracksuit pants to be helpful ie keeping very warm, though I still need to run out to the bathroom for more magnesium…

    • Laura

      I used to experience those leg cramps too. My cramps were caused by extreme hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid),. You might want to get your thyroid levels checked, if you have not already.

      • Elisa Stoneman

        I also experienced leg cramps at night and took magnesium and potassium, which lessened the problem. Then when I increased sodium in my diet, it finally solved the problem. If you’re eating low carb, you need extra sodium in your diet.

        • JIllOz

          Thank you ladies!!

          I do eat what i consider a lot of salt, but happy to add a touch more.

          Thanks for the thyroid tip, this is one issue on which I have never been satisfed and it’s amazing how difficult it is to get my doctor to test it properly!! Thanks to Dr D, I at least now know what tests to ask for.

          • JoAnne

            @JillOz, Nancy, Laura, and Elisa — Thank you All! Great suggestions. Now I know where to start. Would loe your input too, Dr D!

      • Geisha

        Yay Shirley, no salt for me since reading Max and Charlotte Gerson’ s nutritional healing work, they regard salt as poison, and they are two of the few people whose advice I believe (I also believe in the badness of wheat thanks to the efforts of Dr Davis).

  6. Ray Riddell

    This site has been a Godsend. I stopped eating wheat about two months ago. I am now down almost to my ideal weight. Everything feels better. My blood sugars are great (I’m diabetic). My gastric problems are now just a memory. Best of all, no cravings or food binges. Three meals per day, plus a small snack. I have more energy, and sleep better at night. Never Again Anything With Wheat Or Other Grains.

  7. JIllOz

    Beautiful use of the words jihad and mujahideen there, Dr Davis, especially as the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated all aspects of American govt.

    @JoAnne, I’ve had these types of cramps all my life, but especially so in the last couple of years.
    I take magnesium, but I guess eat more veges with mag and other vitamins in them.
    If Dr Davis could weigh in on this I for one would be grateful!!

    If i find anything more helpful will let you know!!

    • JoAnne

      @JIIIOz, I’ll do the same – if I find anything more helpful I’ll let you know as well! I’ve never had charlie-horse leg cramps until I went wheat free.

      @Dr Davis — Dr D, if you could share suggestions to stopping charlie-horse leg cramps, we’d both be grateful!

      • Boundless

        More magnesium and salt are the usual suggestions for cramps.
        I’ve got my Mg right where I want it, and cramps are rare.
        Probably still not getting enough salt.

      • Dr. Davis

        Hi, JoAne–

        Yes. First: salt your food with, e.g, sea salt.

        Second: consider magnesium, e.g., magnesium malate, 1200 mg, twice per day.

        Third: hydrate well.

        That combination solves it for the majority.

  8. wrotek

    Ok before there was a wheabelly i ate two “packaged soups” with wheat pasta in it. Soon later , i was belching and ad having gas, terrible stomach ache and pain in intestines. Is it possible this was due to wheat alone ? I know that packaged soups have other “wonderful additions” in it, preservatives, and back then i was attributing this to them.

  9. Gary M

    I understand that this agglutinin (lectin) attaches to glucosamines, which are the shiny parts/coating of joints and cartilage (same stuff as the exoskeleton of shrimp that you peel), then your body “attacks” it. Apparently, those who take glucosamine supplements thereby put “decoys” in their body for the lectins to attach to, thus providing some relief. Long and short of it – I think this phenomenon is why some people experience such pain relief in joints so quickly, as this pain was caused by wheat germ invasion! I bet most people assumed it was arthritis…..

  10. steve

    My biggest question or probably not, but still i have to know. Even the ancient grains, and wheat included, all have glutin, and wheat has wheat grem aggiutinin. The human bowels system cannot handle this aggiutinin, know matter if it is modern or ancient, the problems will always be there. It looks like l answered my own question. But doc, could you comment, and clear the air.

  11. Uncle Roscoe

    An epiphany started my LADA cure. One day I realized that endorphin causes insulin release, and that I was ingesting foods which mimic endorphin. The pancreas monitors endorphin in order to keep us from destroying our muscles during fight-or-flight situations.

    Celiac disease associated antibodies in persons with latent autoimmune diabetes of adult and type 2 diabetes
    Results: No differences were found in the frequency of celiac disease associated antibodies between LADA and T2DM subjects. The presence of celiac disease related antibodies was more frequent in patients with a normal or low BMI.

    ß-Encorphin in the Human Pancreas
    Using a specific antiserum, ß-endorphin was quantitated in 8 human pancreas obtained at autopsy by radioimmunoassay and localized by immunocytochemistry. The mean (±SE) concentration of ß-endorphin in pancreatic extracts of 5 non-diabetic adults was 13.5 ± 9.8 ng/gm….. This finding suggests that ß-endorphin may participate in intraislet regulation of pancreatic hormone secretion.

    Rat Study: Gluten opioids cause the pancreas to release insulin
    The effect of exogenous opioid peptides, gluten exorphins A5 and B5….. were examined in rats. The oral administration of gluten exorphin A5….. potentiated the postprandial plasma insulin level and the effect was reversed by naloxone. The administration of gluten exorphin B5 showed a similar effect at a higher dose….. intravenous administration of gluten exorphin A5….. stimulated the postprandial insulin release. The fact that orally and intravenously administered gluten exorphin A5 stimulates insulin release suggests that it modulates pancreatic endocrine function by the action after the absorption rather than within the the gastrointestinal tract.

    Type 2 diabetes is caused, not by opioids, but by lectins which mimic insulin … wheat WGA and bean concavalin A. They plug into cell insulin receptors and prevent glucose absorption. The blood fills with glucose.

    Type 2 diabetics often have LADA as well, but the symptoms are hidden.

    In both cases the pancreas releases lots of insulin. Endorphin and glucose both cause insulin release. Autoimmune diabetes, like type 1 and LADA, are characterized, like *all* autoimmune diseases, by antigen attack and immune response. In the cases of T1D and LADA the attack and response are against pancreas beta cells.

    Over time the pancreas beta cells of type 2 diabetics die. Mainstream medicine blames this death on blood sugar. They are wrong. Type 2 diabetes, caused by lectins, gets accompanied by LADA, caused by exorphin opioids.

    The main reason why so many cases of LADA diabetes get diagnosed as type 2 diabetes is, the two diseases are virtually inseparable. The release of insulin in response to gluten endorphin-mimetic opioids appears appropriate when the blood is filled with glucose.

  12. I am one of those ‘athletes’ you describe in your book – runner of half/full marathons, weights, yoga and everything in between. I am not overweight, but have had a small ‘belly’ throughout. Small, but there. I have also had stomach issues for years, and general fatigue and all the rest.
    I am now 1 month gluten free, and 1/2 way through your wonderful book, and honestly, I am starting to feel better than I have in well…forever.
    After so much discomfort, I am grateful I have finally found the culprit.
    Your book is marvelous.

    • Dr. Davis

      The solution can be SO simple!

      Athletes should be the perfect picture of health. So what might be obstructing their path in this new day and age? Yup, good old “healthy whole grains”!

  13. Freddy

    Hello Dr. Davis,
    If a patient presents with one of the many conditions perpetuated by modern wheat, is your approach to have them eliminate wheat from their diet or eliminate all grain?
    Thanks for your work.

    • Dr. Davis

      First, eliminate all wheat and limit total carbohydrates, non-wheat grain and otherwise.

      The severity of limitation of non-wheat grains and carbohydrates depends on individual carbohydrate sensitivity. We discussed this at some length back around 6 months. Time to rekindle that discussion?

    • Dr. Davis

      To my knowledge, Wro, the gliadin-like proteins in other grains have not been examined.

      Great question! But no answer. Something to explore in future, likely solvable by sequencing the amino acids in the gliadin-like proteins in rye, barley, etc.

  14. Debra,Australia

    Plant lectins are there for a reason. It is evolutionarily advantageous for plants to make animals sick to deter them from eating the afore mentioned. Even ruminants become sick if fed copious amounts of grain. Pasture fed animals eat very little grass seed, they prefer the grass. Birds are the major animal group able to successfully eat seeds as they have the “machinery” to more completely digest them. I suppose it is because humans don’t feel instantly poisoned when we eat grains that we have continued to eat cereals. Perhaps we aren’t as in touch with ourselves as the ruminants! Science is able to enlighten us to the very many dangers from eating plants containing lectins as well as the dangers from other nasty compounds found in wheat. It is war, plants need their seeds to survive to grow new plants and not to be eaten by the whole animal population. This includes a human population that puts economic growth ahead of health and scientific endeavour.

    • Dr. Davis

      Ah, yes, Debra: The cows, in some ways, know more than we do!

      I fear that only the tip of the lectin iceberg has been explored. Lots more to know . . . and it won’t be good!

  15. Sabe

    This’d be a great article to share with my friends and family–I keep trying to convince folks that wheat’s bad for everyone, not just diagnosed celiac sufferers. But then I hit the random Islamophobia, and it becomes something I’d be ashamed to spread around. :

    • Uncle Roscoe

      When the majority of wheat eaters with arthritis take glucosamine their symptoms get alleviated. Cartilage and glucosamine are both natural receptors for wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). Studies show that WGA blocks cellular insulin receptors, and prevents them from receiving insulin and glucose. The phenomenon reroutes mRNA pathways, increasing creation of adipose fat. In test tube studies WGA is shown to “agglutinate” (bind) red blood cells together. When wheat eating endurance athletes stop ingesting wheat they tend to experience marked improvements in performance and endurance.

      One study has shown that sufficient heat breaks down WGA. Other research has shown that it does not. Which research should we believe?

  16. Dr. Davis – thank you for writing such an excellent book. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in 2004 and since then had to up my dose several times and am now at 137. I am also an endurance athlete. When I trained for my first Ironman I eliminated almost all gluten/wheat but not knowing my stuff ate gluten free bread. Nevertheless I felt great. Now I have been completely gluten/wheat free for the last two weeks. And while I have noticed pleasant changes such as better blood flow (I have rosy cheeks again), more energy, and run free runs I have also noticed hormonal changes and my muscles ache! Mostly my leg muscles. I eat a balanced diet with lots of veggies (thanks for those awesome recipes!), 2-3 fruit a day, nuts, yoghurt, cheese. I don’t drink milk. No sugar but I enjoy 2-3 glasses of wine a week. I am vegetarian but I eat fish twice a week. I also eat potatoes, yam and/or quinoa regularly. I also suffer from chronic anemia but will discontinue my supplements once I finish the last pill. So my question is why do my muscles ache so much? On the internet I could not find answer as most people suffer from muscle ache WHILE they eat wheat/gluten. Before going wheat free my muscles only ached from training. I am now in the off season and do not train as vigorously. I look forward to hearing from you. Sylvie

    • Dr. Davis

      Boy, Sylvie: I’m not sure I can provide an answer without knowing more.

      For instance, you are not on a statin drug, are you? That would be an incredibly common reason.

      Unless there is some medication or recent physical challenge to account for it, there may be some real health reasons for this. It may be necessary to speak to your doctor about your symptoms.

  17. Kimberly

    Dr. Davis,

    Do you find that most of your patients have all three consequences of the gliadin wheat germ aggluntinin? I’m 44 years old and have occasional joint pain that seems like inflammation. I do have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I am taking Armour Thyroid. I rarely ever have diarrhea. I am usually the opposite. Most days I’m pretty tired also. I have never been diagnosed (or tested) with having any sensitivity to gluten. I do feel I am sensitive to certain foods. Sometimes I wake up and feel like I have a hangover from whatever I ate the day before. I am very sensitive to salt also. I wake up often with swollen eyes. I never salt anything and try to stay away from highly salty foods. Do these seem like problems related to this article? Thanks for your time!

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, there are clusters of symptoms commonly attributable to wheat.

      This is a very common “triad” of wheat-related phenomena.

    • Lynda (Fl)

      Sorry everyone, that comment was supposed to indicate that I would like to review the carb element in diet, with Dr. D helping us out. I think that may be what I need to correct to bring my own health under more control. Recovering the basics is always good!

  18. Palm242

    Dr. Davis,
    Re: consequence #3
    After eliminating wheat about how quickly does the intestinal tract repair itself? Is there anything that can be done/taken to speed up the process? Thank you!

  19. K O

    A perfect depopulation device.
    In the days where family is a fading experience, and all of are dying before 70ish, and new borns are on a decline world wide, is it any wonder of what is going on.
    Sure… A perfect Storm.
    So if it is not the food, nor the water, or the air that gets us. Then they have also made sure that the Verbal and Written lies told daily over and over again will surly have the population making their so called informed decisions and opinions based on lies. A scrambled brain even more scrambled…
    A world of puppets, brained washed for a mere few who feel that they are God, and want the planet for them selves.
    Plans by a few who will who will in the end Slave a few million of us. So these few can go on. They will be fused between Silicone and Flesh, the rest of the population will be chipped and controlled by some 16 year old pro gammers.
    As these few play on the earth to their delight, they will also travel back n forth in the distant space.
    So then Like I have visioned over the years, as I have continually picked my self off of Deaths door it’s coming to a town near you soon… it is what I cal the BOT MAN.
    Who are the real terrorists?
    Put 1 and 1 together…. It is no longer difficult to SEE…

  20. Annette

    Dr. Davis I just read that a FB FR has an inflamed colon could wheat be at the root of this? He is obese and eats the typical sad diet and southern diet. Thanks.

  21. Joe

    Dr. Davis,

    I saw a video on CBS news a few weeks ago, providing an overview of your book and diet reccommendations. During that interview, one of the questions that was asked by the hosts were if there was the “old” type of wheat available, prior to the modifications made in the 60-70’s, I believe. Your response was that, I believe that you can get the farmers to grow it because, the newer “wheat” yields about 10 times the amount per acre. While I am considering your views on wheat, I would also like to even see if there is any availability of wheat that hasn’t been modified to cause these problems. While I recognize in your view that such wheat may still cause problems, I would just like to see if you can and are willing to point me towards, varieties of wheat, that are “pre-modification” varieties, even if there are very limited suppliers, etc. Part of the reason I ask is because as a family we have stored our own wheat berries, made foods from whole wheat grains, such as cracked wheat breakfast, or homemade breads, etc – not just eating wheat that comes in store-bought packages. We have also grown our own wheatgrass in the past. I am wondering if you are willing to point me to any suppliers of the older, unmodified strains of the wheat berries. themselves -or at least to the names of any varieties of wheat that have not been modified. If we decided going off of wheat entirely, is the right thing to do, we would do that, but I would just be interested to know if there is a way to get older varieties/ strains of wheat, to start off with.

    Any help in this would be great.



    • Dr. Davis

      Good or bad, there are a growing number of sources for older forms of wheat, some “heirloom,” others ancient.

      Eli Rogosa, who I talked about in the book, supplies mostly ancient wheats:

      Google “heirloom wheat” for sources of such. But note that grains do not belong in the diet of any human. Please see the post I just made, Fat and Getting Fatter.

  22. Bea

    Hi Dr. Davis;
    Thank you SO much for your book!!! I have eliminated wheat from my diet since 2010 and I have seen a tremendous improvement in my skin and intestines, but your book really helped me understand why wheat was causing this and why only in the last 10 or so years. My symptoms are mainly bloating and painful intestines along with skin rashes around by hair line and neck. Although my intestinal problems have resolved by eliminating wheat, I am still battling with the rashes around my hair line (not sure if it is psoriasis or just a rash but they are very red and itchy and get worse when I exercise). I do notice that if I eat just one cookie or flour tortilla the rashes get worse, but even when it has been weeks on a 100% wheat-free diet I still can’t get rid of them completely. I wonder if there is something I am missing? I do eat rice and oats… any ideas and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

    • Alice C.

      Hi there,
      The rash on the back of my neck disappeared after going wheat free, low carb and almost sugar free. Beside wheat free, are you sugar free and low carb as well?

  23. Tim

    Aren’t lictins mostly deactivated by heat? Since the wheat products that come to mind are baked goods like bread, wouldn’t that reduce/eliminate damage caused WGA?

  24. Since lectins are disabled/reduced by heat, and since wheat is normally used in baked goods, wouldn’t the heat of baking reduce/eliminate the problems with WGA?

  25. I have read that lectins are damaged/destroyed by heat. Since wheat is normally used in products that are baked, wouldn’t the heat of baking eliminate/seriously reduce damage caused by WGA?

  26. Re; “Lectins”

    I am Not an expert in Botany, so I {can} assume that there may be a Lectin that might survive the
    Heat during the Baking Process.
    But I did study them in Health Sciences In College,
    and when I mentored {as the Mentee} with Dr. Paavo Airola in 1982 & 1983.
    And I know that Most Lectins do survive Baking, Boiling and all other forms of cooking
    {except direct Fire, orchestra
    They are VERY tough, Natural persistent chemicals! They have to be– Their purpose
    in Plant life, is to protect the ‘skin’ of Plants {which includes Food that Humans eat}.

    Everyone needs to accept the Fact that what Dr. Davis discovered IS FACT: The Wheat
    of our Grand Parents’ days, has been Genetically Modified out of existence!
    Resulting in a Grain that is Toxic to the Human Body, in a Hundred different ways!!

  27. Man, oh man… I have been off wheat for 5 months. Boy did I make a mistake last night. In celebration of Mum’s b’day we had pizza… I had a couple of nibbles off the crust, all the while thinking, “I shouldn’t be doing this”… Bang ! 2 hours later excrutiating abdominal cramps, which could only be alleviated by lying down !! I will not be doing that again !!

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, live and learn, Lizzie!

      And don’t forget that you can recreate a delicious and beautiful pizza without wheat.

      • Tom & Nancy Keefe

        You’re Dr. Davis I make a Paleo Pizza with almond flour and egg and some baking soda you can add any spices that you want to the dough and it is great crust and basis for your pizza