Classes will Explore Issues with Gluten, Allergies

Did you know that gluten is one of the most difficult substances for humans to digest? Gluten is the protein in wheat, rye and barley. From these grains, wheat is the predominate grain in our diet.

Wheat also is the grain that has been hybridized over the last 50 years. This hybridization caused the gluten content in wheat to increase. This is believed to be the main reason that many people are reacting to gluten today.

Reactions can be quite varied from digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation to headaches, arthritis, thyroid problems and even infertility. These can all be symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Behavioral issues also can be attributed to gluten sensitivity. ADHD, autism and bipolar disorder can be exacerbated by gluten. Many people find their symptoms of these issues are significantly reduced by eliminating gluten from their diet.

Celiac disease is the most serious form of gluten intolerance and is considered an autoimmune disease. The body sees gluten as a foreign substance and begins to makes antibodies against it. Celiac disease is considered a gateway autoimmune disease. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease all can be triggered by celiac disease.

The good news is that there are many ways to manage gluten intolerance. From learning about hidden sources of gluten to gluten-free alternatives, it is easier to live gluten free today than ever before. There is also evidence that suggests that a specific type of diet could even heal gluten issues.

These are the types of things that I will discuss in a four-week class about gluten beginning Wednesday at Monroe County Community College. Helpful resources and information will be supplied.

A second class on Wednesday will focus on allergies, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The three conditions are on the rise. Doesn’t it make you wonder why these problems that were virtually unheard of a generation ago are so prevalent today?

Food allergies have become so prevalent among children that it is not uncommon for each classroom to have several children with food sensitivities. Many children have multiple food sensitivities. This is usually a result of a compromised digestive system, which can be healed.

Seasonal allergies are no longer something that adults experience just in spring and fall. Many people, including babies, are experiencing “seasonal” allergies most of the year. Often this is also a result of a compromised digestive system and/or chemical sensitivities.

Years ago, autism affected 1 in 10,000 children; today it is estimated that 1 in 50 children are affected. There are many theories as to why autism is on the rise. The one obvious connection is that something is causing autism; it is no longer simply genetics. There are many different theories about possible causes and ways to lower the risk of autism. There are also several therapies, diets and doctors that can treat and even cure autism.

ADHD is a term that we didn’t even know 25 years ago. It started as ADD (attention-deficit disorder) but then the hyperactivity component was recognized. We then had ADD and ADHD. Now medical literature uses the term ADD with or without hyperactivity.

There are two schools of thought with ADHD. Many people are encouraged to put their child on Ritalin and some see improvements. Unfortunately, there haven’t been long-term studies of these types of medications.

There are alternatives to treating ADHD. Many functional medicine doctors are finding that deficiencies can play a role in behavioral and learning problems. We also know that many of these children can be sensitive to chemicals in our environment and our food. Some children also have a genetic component that can be managed effectively.

 

Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

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