With the popularity of gluten-free foods rising, it's easy to think that gluten avoidance is just another meaningless fad. This could not be farther from the truth, especially for a MTHFR! Modern gluten, a component of wheat, is actually connected to the development of autoimmune disease. And I'm not just talking about celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease directly related to the inability to consume gluten. Other autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Addison's disease, and Lupus can actually be triggered by its consumption. This is partly due to its inflammatory effect in the digestive tract, leading to "leaky gut syndrome," which often precedes developing an autoimmune disease. Someone with the MTHFR mutation, who is already susceptible to the development of autoimmune disease, should definitely cut out this problematic food ASAP!
If you have developed an autoimmune disease due to the consumption of gluten, there is good news....cutting it out can potentially put the disease into remission! I'm actually a living testament to that. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis in 2009, as just a freshman in college. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune thyroid condition that basically causes the body to damage its own organ. I was told that even if I went on thyroid medication, that I would always produce the thyroid antibodies that cause the autoimmune damage - that it was simply medically impossible to stop producing them once the disease is active. After being on medication for awhile and continuing to produce antibodies, I received food allergy testing and ended up cutting out gluten. Within 6 months, my body was producing zero antibodies! What was once considered impossible became possible. It seems that gluten triggered the autoimmune disease and its elimination led to reversal. This is not to say that eliminating gluten is a certain cure to all autoimmune disease, but there is definitely a strong connection.
Not to mention, my digestive woes took a total 180. I lived with chronic debilitating cramping and bloating, sometimes to the point of vomiting after meals. My symptoms progressively worsened until I absolutely needed intervention. There's no doubt that I developed the infamous "leaky gut syndrome" and that gluten was a major culprit. Of course, there were many lifestyle changes that I needed to make to get my health on track, but cutting out gluten was certainly at the top of the list! Many people end up discovering the same.
Why is gluten so evil, anyway? There are multiple factors to consider. It's important to note that the gluten we consume in modern wheat products, for instance, is not the same as what our grandparents consumed. The original wheat, also known as einkorn, was a diploid, meaning that it contains two sets of chromosomes. Through hybridization, it now contains six chromosomes. The structure of gluten has also been modified. Modern gluten and its altered structure is connected to the development of more health conditions than its predecessor. Modern wheat also contains far more gluten than the original einkorn once did. Finally, a highly toxic pesticide known as glyphosate is commonly sprayed on wheat plants. Its use is connected to a higher reactivity to gluten and even the development of Celiac disease. All of these factors add up to a gluten (and MTHFR) nightmare!
So the next time someone hackles you about how our grandparents ate gluten and didn't experience food sensitivities (suggesting it's in your head), be sure to explain that modern gluten is not anything like what our grandparents consumed. It really is a MTHFR and should be avoided as part of a healing and preventative protocol.
Are you currently gluten-free? How has your body felt since cutting it out? Have you ever developed an autoimmune disease as a result of its consumption? Did you experience a remission after its elimination? Tell us about it!