If you live with chronic illness, you’ve probably considered going on a gluten free diet. Integrative health care providers and ePatient bloggers frequently a share anecdotal evidence that avoiding gluten can improve symptoms. Some go further, and attribute their recovery to going grain-free by following a paleo diet. New research suggests these benefits may be from going wheat-free rather than gluten-free. A protein found in wheat called amylase trypsin inhibitor (ATI) has been found to trigger a powerful immune reaction in individuals living with chronic health conditions, which in turn caused inflammation – found not only in the gut, but in a number of other organs, including the lymph nodes, kidney, spleen and brain. This inflammatory response was seen in patients with immune-related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. ATIs were also found to exacerbate non-celiac gluten sensitivity – which may in fact be misnamed. If you have this food tolerance, it may be more accurate to say you have ATI intolerance! But further research is needed to confirm this finding.
What if you have a chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia? The research didn’t specifically address these illnesses in their findings. However, a significant amount of research has connected CFS/FM to immune dysfunction and inflammation. In fibromyalgia this inflammation has been linked to a glial cells in the central nervous system and fascia (connective tissue that encases muscles). My conclusion from this study is that trialing a wheat-free diet could be an important step to better managing symptoms for CFS/FM, as well as the chronic health conditions that were included in the study.
- Meghan Telpner’s approach to plant-based, gluten-free nutrition, the UnDiet, is accessible and uplifiting http://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/category/recipe/
- For gluten-free eaters, the Gluten-Free Goddess is a fabulous blog: https://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.ca/p/meet-karina.html
- Against All Grain is a popular paleo blog by Danielle Walker http://againstallgrain.com/blog/
- For Paleo eaters, this book details Dr. Wahl’s protocol for using diet to reverse chronic autoimmune conditions http://terrywahls.com/about-the-wahls-protocol/