There is a lot of confusion surrounding gluten and the potential health hazards it poses to people who have a sensitivity to it. In this section you will learn more about gluten, the role it plays in many common foods, and how to avoid it when intolerances exist.
Degrees of Gluten Sensitivity
A small percentage of people have a very real and extreme sensitivity to gluten known as Celiac disease. In these individuals, gluten triggers an allergic-like
reaction once it reaches the digestive tract. The cells of the immune system mistake it for a foreign invader and launch an attack against not only gluten
proteins, but the intestinal walls as well. This response can lead to digestive discomfort that may be extreme and over time cause degeneration of the
intestines. Celiac may also lead to other serious health concerns if not addressed.
Other individuals may suffer from a condition known as gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. These people often experience similar symptoms of Celiac
disease, with the key difference being no actual damage is being done to their intestinal wall.
Who Should Go Gluten Free?
Obviously, people with Celiac disease must avoid gluten at all costs to avoid health problems and improve quality of life. It may be important for people with
only sensitivity to avoid it to lessen or eliminate the symptoms they experience. People with Celiac disease and those who may be sensitive may benefit from gluten-free supplements such as spirulina and astaxanthin to get much needed nutrition that potentially lacks in a gluten free diet.
For people with no sensitivity to gluten, transitioning to a gluten-free diet comes down to a personal choice. Gluten itself is not a toxin to the body and avoiding it may or may not provide health benefits. For non-sensitive individuals considering a gluten free diet, it is recommended to experiment to see if any real benefits are experienced before permanently removing gluten from diet.