Gluten: What is it? Effect on Humans, Gluten-Free Diet and Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy

It refers to the proteins in cereals, such as wheat, barley and rye.

Gluten is found in the endosperm, a type of tissue produced in seeds that nourishes plant embryos during germination.

Gluten once ground and processed, affects the elasticity of the dough, acting like a glue to hold food together, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked goods.

This complex protein is found in wheat with nearly identical structures and the amino acid sequences of the protein are also found in rye and barley.

Gluten is a mixture of hundreds of different proteins within the same family, although it is mainly made up of two classes of proteins: gliadin and glutenin.

The larger polymeric glutenin molecule confers the elasticity or viscoelasticity of wheat dough and gliadin, a smaller protein, which gives bread the ability to rise up during baking.

Both glutenin and gliadin also share overlapping sequences, but it is gliadin that is the source of most of the health problems associated with wheat and therefore rye and barley.

Not all grains contain gluten.

Some examples of gluten-free grains are sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, corn (polenta), and eragrostis teff.

Oatmeal is also gluten-free, but it can become contaminated during processing.

Note that the gliadin protein from wheat also resembles the zein protein from corn and, to a lesser degree, the avenin protein from oats, which therefore share some of the same effects, including activation of the immune system.

While there is no gluten or gliadin in corn and oats, they do have related proteins that have similar effects.

Corn products, in particular, are not immunologically safe for people who follow a gluten-free lifestyle.

Effects of gliadin in humans

Intestinal “leakage” – Separating the tight junctions between intestinal cells is the first step in allowing foreign proteins and other fragments to enter the bloodstream. This is how autoimmune conditions start.

It allows gliadin itself, gliadin fragments, wheat germ agglutinin and other lectins, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and other bacterial components to enter the bloodstream. This is the reason why wheat, rye, barley, and corn are associated with type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Molecular mimicry: In a strange twist of nature, the gliadin protein overlaps in the amino acid structure with various human proteins, such as transglutaminase, synapsin, and endomysium.

In the event that gliadin triggers an immune response, the immune response of T and B lymphocytes, antibodies, and other inflammatory mediators will now be erroneously directed towards an organ of autoimmunity in the body.

Mental Effects: While intact gliadin molecules activate intestinal filtration and molecular mimicry, gliadin can also be partially digested into peptide fragments, many of them 4 or 5 amino acids in length.

The unique amino acid sequences of these peptides allow them to act as opiates in the human brain, more properly as ‘opioids’ that activate hunger, increase calorie intake, create a mental ‘fog’ and trigger a host of other effects that vary. with individual susceptibility:

Anxiety, anger, food obsessions, repetitive behavior, paranoia, mania, impaired attention span, and impulsive behavior.

Intestinal disruption: The unique amino acid structure of gliadin-derived peptides also converts them to direct intestinal toxins that make up the toxicity of another wheat, rye, barley, and rice protein called wheat germ agglutinin.

Allergies: Although the various forms of gliadin have always posed potential allergic risks to humans, recent changes in the amino acid structure of gliadin introduced by agribusiness and geneticists have increased the allergic potential, especially in omega-gliadin (a of the three classes of gliadin proteins).

Increased potential for celiac disease: There is a 33 amino acid long sequence within gliadin that is most powerfully associated with the triggering of celiac disease.

One gene, in particular, encoding this amino acid sequence, Glia-alpha9, was rare in 1950 wheat, but is common in modern semidwarf strains of wheat, which explains why there has been a 400% increase in the celiac disease in the last 50 years.

Glutenin is a less common cause of problems, but amino acid sequence changes introduced by geneticists are increasingly being found to exert their own range of health problems, especially allergy.

Gluten is just one protein among thousands in wheat and other grains.

Just because a protein is gluten-free doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own health implications.

Wheat germ agglutinin, for example, is a direct intestinal toxin and underlies gallbladder dysfunction, blocks pancreatic enzyme release, and contributes to changes in intestinal flora and dysbiosis.

Amylopectin A, not a protein, but the carbohydrate in grains, is responsible for elevated blood sugar levels, which explains why two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar to more than 6 teaspoons table sugar.

There is more to wheat and grains than gluten.

Gluten and the other constituents of wheat and related herbs exert a wide range of harmful effects on humans who consume them.

Gluten-sensitive enteropathy (celiac disease)

Gluten-sensitive enteropathy or, as it is commonly called, celiac disease, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease of the small intestine that is precipitated by ingestion of gluten, a component of wheat protein, in genetically susceptible people.

Exclusion of gluten from the diet results in healing of the mucosa, resolution of the malabsorptive state, and reversal of most, if not all, of the effects of celiac disease.

Recent studies suggest that the prevalence of celiac disease is approximately one case in every 250 people.

Gluten-sensitive enteropathy commonly manifests as “silent” celiac disease (ie, minimal or no symptoms).

Serologic tests for antibodies to endomysium, transglutaminase, and gliadin identify most patients with the disease.

Serological testing should be considered in patients who are at increased genetic risk for gluten-sensitive enteropathy, that is, a family history of celiac disease or a personal history of type I diabetes, and in patients who have chronic diarrhea, unexplained anemia, chronic fatigue, or a unexplained weight loss.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the serious consequences of malabsorption, such as osteoporosis and anemia.

These people are sensitive or intolerant to gluten, which means that their bodies produce an abnormal immune response by breaking down gluten during digestion.

Gluten-free diet

A gluten-free diet involves much more than simply avoiding regular bread and wheat-based pasta. Although he is very involved, there are many foods that can substitute for them. For example, many gluten-free processed food groups.

The gluten-free diet allows fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes and lentils, most dairy products, oils, and margarines.

Foods to include in a gluten-free diet

The following foods can be included in a gluten-free or celiac diet:


Rice flour, pure corn flour, soy flour, potato flour, arrowroot, buckwheat, sago, sorghum, millet, tapioca, chickpea flour or besan, urid flour, lentil flour, amaranth, lupine and cereal of rice for babies.


Rice cakes, corn cakes, rice cakes, gluten-free bread, cookies, rolls, cakes, biscuit mixes, cakes and desserts from the permitted flours, gluten-free bread, and polenta flour.


Rice and corn breakfast cereals (check for malt and malt extract) homemade muesli with allowed ingredients.


Gluten-free pasta, rice noodles.


Fresh, frozen, canned, canned, dried, and fruit juices.


Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, canned without sauces and vegetable juices.


Red meat, fish, poultry, fresh, smoked, canned, frozen, canned meat or fish without sauces or gluten-free cereal and sausages

Dairy products

Fresh or processed cheese, cream or cottage cheese, powdered, evaporated or condensed milk, buttermilk, yogurt, dairy desserts, ice cream.

Legumes and nuts

Canned, dried or fresh beans, nuts and seeds, peanut butter.


Steamed rice, grilled fish, grilled or fried chicken (not breaded or stuffed), steak, steamed vegetables, baked potato, some chips.


Additive Free Chocolate, Popcorn, Jello, Meringue, Crisps, Fat Free Corn Chips, Rice Crackers.


Water, tea, coffee, cocoa, milk, cocktails, soft drinks, soda water, mineral water, fruit and vegetable juices, wine (including sparkling and fortified wines), most spirits and cider.


Tomato sauce, most vinegars, honey, jelly, peanut butter, non-thickened salad dressings, gelatin, gluten-free baking powder, gluten-free soy sauce, sugar, golden syrup, some bouillon cubes, sauces, and condiments.

Foods to be avoided on a celiac diet


Wheat flour, corn flour with wheat, spelled flour, rye flour, oatmeal, barley flour.


All bread including commercial rye and soy bread, cookies, muffins, cakes, muffins, scones, croissants and breadcrumbs.


Breakfast cereals containing wheat, oats, semolina, barley, rye, malt, malt extract, wheat germ.


Spaghetti, noodles, pasta, instant pasta meals (unless labeled gluten-free), couscous, and gnocchi.


Fruit cake filling with commercial thickeners.


Canned or frozen vegetables with sauce, commercially prepared vegetable and potato salads, commercial chips.


Red meat, fish, poultry prepared or thickened with flour, sausages, processed meat and fish (milanesas), meat pies, frozen dinners, corned beef.

Dairy products

Milkshakes, ice cream with a cone or crumbs.

Legumes and nuts

Textured vegetable protein products, some cooked beans.


Burgers, pizza, sausages, stuffed roast chickens.


Salty snacks, filled candies and chocolates, licorice, lots of frozen desserts, some chips made with corn or potatoes.


Coffee substitutes made with cereals, cocoa drinks made with cereals, soy milks, barley waters, milk-based foods, beer, non-alcoholic alcoholic beverages containing malt extract.


Malt vinegar, soy sauce containing wheat, baking powders containing wheat flour, mixed seasonings, beef, vegetable and yeast extracts, sauces with thickeners, pickles, condiments, hot sauce, salad dressing, cubes of broth.

Effects of a gluten-free diet

In cases of gluten intolerance, doctors generally recommend a gluten-free diet.

Patients must avoid eating foods and ingredients that contain more than 20 ppm of gluten to be labeled gluten-free.

In recent years, many people without gluten intolerance have adopted gluten-free diets.

However, experts are concerned that following these diets without explicit need to do so could be detrimental to a person’s health, as gluten-free foods are often lacking in nutrients.

A gluten-free diet can affect the body in many ways:


It can affect weight loss.

The dietary restrictions associated with a gluten-free lifestyle can help some lose weight, especially when starches are replaced by healthier options, such as quinoa, which is gluten-free.

Nutritional deficiencies

Second, a gluten-free diet can cause nutrient deficiencies.

Many grains and cereals are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B and D, iron, and fiber.

Cognitive function

Some research suggests that a gluten-free diet can also affect cognitive function.

Because gluten and carbohydrates go hand in hand, a gluten-free diet can also mean cutting out carbohydrates.

One study, which has generated much discussion, suggests that elevated blood sugar levels can negatively affect brain structure and has been linked to cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.


Fourth, a gluten-free diet can improve digestion, reduce bloating and diarrhea, among other symptoms, which are often associated with sensitivity.

The improved digestion associated with a gluten-free lifestyle can also alleviate symptoms associated with other intestinal disorders such as lactose intolerance.