Anatomy of a poison

There is a substantial amount of science devoted to characterizing the gliadin protein in wheat. There are thousands of versions of this molecule, varying in amino acid sequence. But there are sequences shared by most forms of gliadin proteins. (These sequences can also be found in the gluten and glutenin proteins of wheat, as well.) Gliadin has been the recipient of many of the changes in modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat.

What is fascinating is that many of the adverse effects of gliadin consumption in humans have been drilled down to their structural basis:

Image Fasano 2013

Note the following on the gliadin “map”:

Red = direct cytotoxic segment (intestinal cell-destroying)
Light green = immune-stimulating segment (responsible for celiac disease)
Blue = bowel permeability segment (via zonulin activation)
Dark green = inflammatory interleukin release

Also scattered about (not shown in diagram) are the 4- and 5-amino acid sequences that, when released, bind to the opiate receptors of the brain, exerting their myriad effects that differ depending on individual susceptibility (appetite-stimulation, food obsessions, anxiety, mental “fog,” paranoia, auditory hallucinations, social disengagement, behavioral outbursts, reduced concentration, sleep disruption, depression, mania).

Intestinal cell destruction, immune stimulation, intestinal permeability, inflammation, opiates . . . and that’s just one protein in modern wheat!

The full text of Dr. Fasano’s summary can be viewed here.

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68 Responses to Anatomy of a poison

  1. James says:

    Hey Dr Davis,

    Read this … and CRY!!!! :(

    • Boundless says:

      That’s a story from last year, but the news is still flowing.

      The test crop was recently destroyed by activists (wearing hazmat suits).

      What might be the first GMO wheat is horrifying, not just because it’s GMO,
      and not just because human food safety tests have not been done,
      and not just because of the specific gene functions inserted,
      but because it’s Australian government sponsored.

      The gene inserted causes pest insects to starve to death.
      The skeptics are wondering if it will cause your kids to die at age 5.
      Tinfoil-hatters are wondering if this might be some form of human population control,
      and it just might be, even if unintentional.

      This is supposed to be a low glycemic index wheat , too.
      The clueless are breeding the catastrophic.

      Imagine, then, that it cross-contaminates other wheat strains.

      “Don’t worry mates. We’ll only sell it to the Norks.”

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, I fear that it will get WORSE for many people before it gets better.

  2. Linda Hazen says:

    Dear Dr. Davis,
    Thank you for your work. I just finished watching a your video presentation on Youtube and was not aware of gliadin. I have been unable to go grain free because I do not seem to digest protein – not even fermented goat whey. Yes, I know the gut needs to heal, but I’ve tried protein and veggies only- for 30 days (with digestive enzymes and ox bile) and grew so weak I was almost hospitalized. This is just the opposite of what happens for most folks who start feeling better after a week or so. That being said, my doctors have not been able to discover why I don’t digest protein (I do have chronic Lyme). So, I am wondering what other grains do NOT contain gliadin? I realize the blood sugar issue with rice, but there are other low glycemic grains and they can be undercooked to help slow digestion. Are some of the more ancient grains safer if one must eat grain? I look forward to reading your book! Thank you, Linda

  3. Susannah says:

    thanks so much for all your work Dr. Davis. I spread the word as much as I can to those that will listen.
    for many years especially while in a relationship with a foodie, I suffered from bowel problems, general bloating , belching and itch, gerd, irritability etc.. I went to a gastro doc many times and did a myriad of tests without conclusion. just that my stomach was slow in churning or something. a friend told me about Paleo diets and that segued into dropping wheat as well as other processed carbs. geuss what ?? all my health issues pretty much resolved. all that time wasted with tests and the doctor.. yeah, I didn’t get diagnosed with celiacs.. but I do believe now that wheat is bad for most everyone. thanks again

  4. Charles says:

    I’ve read that supplementing with N-Acetylglucosamine can lessen the damage caused by ingesting gliadin. The theory is that the contents of the supplement bind with gliadin, reducing the amount that can cause problems such as those listed in the original post above. Do you have any opinion on whether or not these supplements are effective?