Humans have been eating wheat for thousands of years, but wheat is actually potentially irritating to the intestinal tract. Excessive consumption of wheat products disrupts the intestinal lining, generates inflammation, and leads to sensitivity to wheat gluten.

What leads to wheat sensitivity?

Wheat also contains special storage proteins in the endosperm of the seed kernel. Storage proteins supply amino acids for the developing plant embryo, but these proteins are very foreign to animals and potentially very allergenic. The most reactive of all seed storage proteins is gluten. Gluten is not a single protein, but instead a family of proteins. Types of gluten vary for different gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye), but gliadin, which is only present in wheat, is the most reactive.

Eating wheat (and other grains) is possible because the intestinal lining is protected by a mucous layer. But when consumption of processed wheat and corn products is excessive or chronic stress slows intestinal motility, the protective layer is stripped away and chronic damage to the intestinal lining occurs.

Wheat also contains starches, that when consumed in excessive amounts, stimulate overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the intestines. Bacterial overgrowth also damages the intestinal lining.

Once the intestinal lining is disrupted, foreign wheat proteins (and other foreign proteins) “leak” across the intestinal barrier and flood into the bloodstream. This causes an intense immune reaction and the immune system becomes sensitized to those proteins.

If sensitivity is severe, it can result in an autoimmune illness called celiac disease, in which an immune reaction to the gluten protein (found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats for certain individuals), cross-reacts with small bowel tissue, causing severe inflammation. Reaction occurs most intensely to gliadin. Genetic tendencies for celiac disease do exist. While it can occur in infancy, but more commonly presents during adulthood.

Testing is available for absolute diagnosis with 99% accuracy. Celiac disease occurs in approximately 2-3% of the US population. Patients can live symptom-free lives by following a strict, gluten-free diet.

Healthy Tips from Dr. Rawls

The solution for Celiac disease is avoiding all gluten… forever. Period.

By the time most people find out they have celiac disease, the gut is in pretty bad shape. Vital Plan can help you get it back in shape. See the full protocol on our Digestive Health page .

Ginger tea should be your regular beverage. Ginger offers potent anti-inflammatory effects and enhances gut healing.

*Statements on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For medical concerns, please consult a qualified healthcare provider.