I’ll hear this comment with some frequency:
“Go wheat-free for 4 weeks. If you feel no better, you can go back to it.”
While consumption of modern wheat can indeed yield health conditions with overt symptoms, such as joint pain, skin rashes, and pain and explosive diarrhea from irritable bowel syndrome, many of its effects are silent and do not result in any perceived symptoms.
The changes that underlie autoimmunity, for instance, that lead to multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis, pancreatic beta cell destruction leading to type 1 diabetes, and other conditions all develop silently, brewing beneath your perceptions, without your knowledge, until you develop the joint swelling, pain, and disfigurement of rheumatoid arthritis or the abdominal pain of pancreatitis.
Among the silent effects of modern wheat products are:
- Gliadin protein triggered intestinal permeability–the entry of foreign substances into the bloodstream that initiates the diseases of autoimmunity all begin silently.
- Changes in bowel flora–A shift away from healthy lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species, for instance, occur without your knowledge.
- High blood sugars–the amylopectin A of wheat and related grains is responsible for sky-high blood sugars that exceed the blood sugars, gram for gram, that result from table sugar. This, in turn, triggers all the silent phenomena of glycation, i.e., glucose-modification of proteins, that leads to cataracts, hypertension, coronary disease, peripheral vascular disease, skin aging, kidney damage, cancer, and dementia.
- Digestive disruption–Wheat germ agglutinin is a potent blocker of the intestinal signal hormone, cholecystokinin, or CCK, that signals the gallbladder to release bile and the pancreas to release pancreatic enzyme. This allows “bile stasis” that cultivates gallstones, incomplete digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that may not cause symptoms but results in undesirable changes in bowel flora and impaired nutrient absorption.
- Blocked absorption of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and magnesium–The phytates of wheat and related grains block up to 90% of the absorption of these cations (positively-charged ions), all without your awareness. Vitamin B12 absorption is blocked at several steps in its complex absorption, including disruption of parietal cells of the stomach and the intrinsic factor required for absorption–none of which you will know.
- Mood and emotions–Though not truly silent, many people fail to attribute their depression, paranoia, irritability, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, and impaired memory with wheat consumption.
There’s more, but you get the idea. Wheat is a silent killer and a silent disrupter of health, in addition to causing myriad overt symptoms of health disruption. Just as a silent cancer can kill you, so the silent and destructive effects of wheat and related grains can wreak all manner of destructive health effects. Silence in this instance is certainly not golden.