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Modern Wheat Breeding Increases Celiac Disease Occurrence?

New research claims that the toxicity of wheat gluten potentially worsened by cross breeding different strains…
suggests that modern wheat breeding practices may have led to an increased exposure to CD epitopes


Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Jul 28.

This interview discusses the history of grain manipulation…

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

Recent research from across the globe shows a prevalence toward the increase in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. We know the problem is growing. The big question on every one’s mind is – WHY? The following is a list of some of the potential possibilities. Feel free to chime in below…
  1. Genetic manipulation of grains – no long term research has been done on safety, yet we assume these foods are OK contrary to common sense. Many studies show these foods to be dangerous. As a matter of fact, more versions are being created for mass use.
  2. Modern farming practices implement hormone based pesticides and fungicides that cause additional health issues.
  3. The pervasive use of grains in the food supply. Almost all packaged foods contains grain either as a main ingredient or an agent to alter food texture, viscosity, etc. More grain exposure = more people reacting to grain.
  4. The use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, etc. Much like genetically modified foods, these chemicals are used under the assumption that they are safe.
  5. Over use of antibiotics. Although life saving if one has a bacterial infection, the over utilization of these drugs contributes to a change in the normal healthy gut flora thus weakening the immune system. Additionally, we feed them to chickens, pigs, cows, and fish that are being raised for human food consumption.
  6. Anti-acid medications. Nexium, Tums, Prilosec, Rolaids, and more, these drugs suppress acid in the stomach. Acid suppression weakens the immune system and leads to wide spread malabsorption of nutrients.
  7. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). These medications contribute to the destruction of the gastric and intestinal lining thus weakening immunity and predisposing one to intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome)
  8. Medications in general. Many OTC and prescription medications contain grain based adhesives. Sick from gluten? Take this pill (with gluten in it) and you will get better?!?
  9. Grain is cheap food. The government subsidizes grain making it much less expensive to use as a staple food.
  10. Commercialization. Everywhere you look, there is a billboard, TV commercial, nutritionist, Food Guide Pyramid, etc telling us how healthy whole grains are.
  11. Degradation of the eduction system. Public schools focus on teaching students how to pass standardized tests. Nutrition and physical education are given minimal time in the classroom. Many of those teaching nutrition do not lead by example thus devaluing the lesson. The nutrition basics taught focus on a Food Guide Pyramid based in grain.

Got any more reasons? Add them to the list below…

4 Responses

  1. Processing of flours; Bleaching, additives and so forth leach vital nutrients out of flour along with portions of the grain that allow for healthy digestion.

    Fermentation of breads and the process of making breads and flours has changed drastically since the 1950’s. Preliminary studies show that when breads are properly made, (long fermentation) the gluten and other natural aspects of the grains actually change and provide us with probiotics making it not only, not harmful to the digestive system but an asset.

  2. Adding to a long silent post, but I read it, so others may.

    Reducing digestive acidity may cause problems of its own, but anti-acids like the proton pump inhibitors are often used to limit damage to the esophagus which can progress into esophageal cancer. If you know of any better alternatives, please list them. I’d be happy to take advantage of them.

    I would, also, like to read some of the “preliminary studies” that Kimberly referred to so somebody please post those as well if you’re familiar with them. I was aware of the potential probiotic effects of fermented foods, but I wonder how many survive the process of baking.

    I’m always looking for better ways of living, but it would be helpful if links to reliable, researchable and independent studies (not just other articles) could be provided. This is especially true when in reference to topics attempting to influence vital aspects of our lives.

  3. When grain was traditionally milled it was allowed to mature for up to six months before it was used. This process allowed the raw flour to react with the atmosphere and oxidization occured so the qualities of the flour were changed. This is in addition to the long slow proving of a the dough allowing the yeast to interact with the proteins in the grain further breaking them down before the bread was baked. The flour that is milled now is not allowed to mature and a loaf of bread can be made in a few hours. The problem is that all these things are developing much faster than our bodies can adapt to deal with them.

  4. To me the big question is why there is an explosion of Celiac and gluten issues today. Masterjohn wrote a blog on the book Wheat Belly and it had some really interesting info in it:

    Here’s my bottomline:
    today’s industry wheat is a problem, but so is all the other junk food w/ toxins, chemicals, GMOs… there is an explosion of autoimmune disease and diet-related diseases today. for example, today Celiac is estimated to be 4 times what it was 60 years ago!
    Masterjohn’s article looks at wheat. today’s wheat has much lower nutrient and mineral content than heritage wheat, and today’s wheat doesn’t have less phytate content, which is problematic for absorption of minerals and may cause intestinal permability. it has higher levels of proteins that can be inflammatory, and *most importantly it is chemically altered by food industry often using tissue transglutaminase* to do so! I think the S.A.D. full of chemicals and junk “food” plus the massive overuse of antibiotics leading to an epidemic of antibiotic-induced intestinal dysbiosis causes intestinal inflammation which then leads to the immune response to gluten.

    Masterjohn says:
    “In our day, we still refine the flour, but bleach it with chlorine, chlorine dioxide, or potassium bromate instead. Rather than trying to reconstruct the nutritional composition of the original flour, we add a small handful of nutrients based on “current science,” including synthetic “folic acid,” which is otherwise not found in the food supply. We often chemically or enzymatically deamidate it, mimicking the inflammatory process within the intestines of a celiac patient. We then combine it into foods that have been engineered to maximize their addictive qualities so food companies can maximize their profits. Is it any wonder that “wheat products” would cause disease?”

    Here’s a quick abstract on how tTg interacts, which is why it is a shock to me that the food processing industry uses tTg as a deamidating agent: tTg: “enhance the immunostimulatory effect of gluten, and as a target autoantigen in the immune response”.

    So, if tTg is immunostimulatory and causes an immune response, why would it be used in processing wheat/gluten? Maybe this is one of the keys to why there are so many gluten sensitive ppl today, and Celiac is hugely on the rise.

    The function of tissue transglutaminase in celiac disease.

    Di Sabatino A, Vanoli A, Giuffrida P, Luinetti O, Solcia E, Corazza GR.


    First Department of Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


    Celiac disease is a chronic small bowel disorder caused by an abnormal immune response to an array of epitopes of wheat gluten and related proteins of rye and barley in genetically susceptible individuals who express the HLA-DQ2/-DQ8 haplotype. Gluten peptides are efficiently presented by celiac disease-specific HLA-DQ2- and HLA-DQ8-positive antigen presenting cells to CD4(+) T-cells that, once activated, drive a T helper cell type 1 response leading to the development of the typical celiac lesion-villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia and intraepithelial and lamina propria infiltration of inflammatory cells. Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is a calcium dependent ubiquitous enzyme which catalyses posttranslational modification of proteins and is released from cells during inflammation. tTG is suggested to exert at least two crucial roles in celiac disease: as a deamidating enzyme, that can enhance the immunostimulatory effect of gluten, and as a target autoantigen in the immune response. Since glutamine-rich gliadin peptides are excellent substrates for tTG, and the resulting deamidated and thus negatively charged peptides have much higher affinity for the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 molecules, the action of tTG is believed to be a key step in the pathogenesis of celiac disease. This review is focused on the function of tTG in celiac disease, although it also deals with novel advances in tTG-based therapies.

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