UNDER ATTACK: Biological Journey Through A Coeliac’s Biome
Most people wonder what Coeliac Disease is, what is the issue with ingesting gluten in your body, and what actually happens when a Coeliac Eats Gluten?
This blog post will provide you with a strong technical understanding of how a coeliac’s body will react when gluten is injected. We have only relied on highly reputable scientific papers and have cross referenced these claims to verify their validity. This post should provide a significant insight into practical approaches to live free of negative effects of Coeilac Disease and/or minimise it’s effects on your body and life. This post is the first of many blogs that will help us practically apply these insights, from ingredient lists you should have at home, to recipes that allow you to whip up quick and delicious meals in minutes, and a practical working mentality to integrate these practices and philosophies into your daily life so it becomes a natural part of who you are.
Without further a do….Ladies and Gentlemen…. Let’s Dive In
What is Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack the small intestines in case gluten proteins are injected or detected there.
Wheat, barley and rye contains prolamines list below: Coeliac Disease sufferers do not have the right enzymes to process, break down, and handle these prolamines which causes the immune system to mistakenly recognise these protein particles as foreign invaders.
- Wheat produces prolamines called gliadin
- Barley produces prolamines called hordenin
- Rye produces prolamines called secalin
Coeliac Sufferer’s Small-Intestine Battles
Whenever Coeliac disease sufferers inject gluten in the form of the 3 prolamines listed above, the small intestinal walls interact with these proteins and immediately release inflammatory mediators activating an autoimmune response to deal with this “threat” of foreign objects in the gut. [Source]. In Lehmann terms, white blood cells start rushing to your intestinal cells to fight the invasion of this unfamiliar protein.
In combination with this autoimmune small intestinal gut attack, another phenomenon starts to further the damage gluten does to coeliacs and gluten-allergy sufferers. Out of the many millions of compounds found in the gut, a newly discovered compound called Zonulin manages and regulates gut permeability (i.e. how easy it is for things to stay in or leak out of your gut). High Zonulin numbers are usually found in guts of coeliacs and gluten-allergy sufferers. A high Zonulin count translates to wider gaps between intestinal cells.
To vividly illustrate this scenario in its magnitude, you essentially have a foreign particle being attacked by your white blood cells inside your stomach, and large gaps between your intestinal cells that enable this perceived threat to enter the small intestine cell structure (i.e. they are not in the foreign intestine per say, they are in the cellular structure of the intestinal walls caused by the higher values of Zonulin which increase the space between these cells).
When the gluten is inside the small intestines cells, the body knows that the enemy is inside the wall (i.e. inside the organ) and the term “paracellular translocation” is used to term there is an enemy within the organ’s tissue, or within the cell structure of that organ.
Our immune systems are not capable of dealing with threats here and the immune system detects a problem and is not able to deal with it. It starts producing an overwhelming number of white blood cells and inflammatory mediators that trigger and enable wider gaps in the cell structure further exacerbating the problem.
The real damage to health starts to manifest at this point, as the white blood cells and inflammatory mediators interacting with the wall being to release toxic chemicals that damage the gluten-particles that are detected as a foreign threat. The issue is that these toxins also destroy the cell structures (villi on top of enterocytes) that are used to absorb nutrients to a degree where they can no longer function properly.
Summary of Condition
In essence Coeliacs who ingest gluten will damage their intestinal tissue which significantly suppress their ability to absorb food nutrients in those areas.
These events are usually associated with :
- Long periods leaky gut syndrome.
3 Requirements for Coeliac Disease
MIT’s Alessio Fasano explains three major things are required for Coeliac Disease to be developed:
- Trigger (in form of ingested gluten)
- Genetic likelihoods of being Coeliac (people from geographical areas that are less close to the equator are more likely to be genetically unfit for gluten because traditional crops that had gluten reached these areas far after they were available to agricultural hubs around the equator- Norway, Finland, Iceland populations are less likely to have genetic enzymes to break gluten than people from Egypt or Greece)
- High Permeability of Intestines (high levels of Zonulin compound)
When Coeliacs refrain from eating gluten, the Zonulin levels normalise and the gut’s permeability is much more robust minimising the effects of leaky gut syndrome. However a healthy diet and healthy gut bacteria are the only viable way to overcome the negative effects of being a Coeliac sufferer (Check out the next blog post for an in-depth look at healthy gluten free diets here).
This post draws a vivid illustration of a Coeliac’s inner gut journey when it’s under attack, how the intestines behave when subjected to gluten, how your immune system will react to this perceived threat and the biological reaction within your guts that can exacerbate the condition and lead to leaky gut syndrome. If there’s anything else you’d like us to add please drop us a comment or email and we’ll check and add if it offers readers better clarity..
Happy Guts Happy Life. From Manna Dew with Love!