A troll seeds a discord posting the inflammatory and extraneous comments on the Internet. The troll wants to upset, divide and destroy an online dialogue. But in the case of this hidden troll, the damage occurs in a reality - in your organism.
“Come over for lunch next Sunday afternoon, I will make sure the food is gluten free.” Not wanting to offend my friend Eliza, I accepted her warm invitation to her family’s annual gathering, despite knowing that the luncheon would not be suitable because I have coeliac disease. My gut instinct was validated, when I walked into her kitchen the following Sunday to see her placing the gluten free bread rolls, hot out of the oven on top of the “regular” bread rolls. This was despite my previous reiteration that she did not need to trouble herself with my meal, as I was genuinely happy to just enjoy the company.
Eliza had made an extra effort to accommodate my special dietary requirements and I felt guilty. So against my better judgement and not wanting to hurt my friend, I foolishly and very apprehensively ate a very small amount of what she had prepared.
Some of you may wonder “What is the Big deal? You were provided gluten free bread rolls”. As much as I genuinely appreciated my friend’s efforts, the gluten free bread rolls and other gluten free dishes on offer, became cross contaminated the moment they were in contact with other non-gluten free items. For an individual who is diagnosed with coeliac disease, eating even a tiny trace of gluten can cause detrimental effects to their health.
A European study published in 2014 revealed that in the last 25 years the incidence of coeliac disease has increased five-fold. Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disorder that originates from an adverse reaction to gluten, particularly the protein gliadin that can be found in wheat, rye and barley. This means common foods such as bread, pasta and anything made with wheat flour such as cakes or biscuits, even beer are not permissible. There is also hidden gluten in items that people are not aware of, such as vitamin supplements and medicines.
This disease is like a hidden troll who seeds a discord posting the inflammatory and extraneous comments on the Internet. The troll wants to upset, divide and destroy an online dialogue. But in the case of Coeliac, this destruction occurs in a reality - in your organism. This hidden troll blocks the nutrients causing malnutrition.
Essentially the gluten protein, gliadin attacks the individual’s immune system, in an attempt to eradicate the unwanted gluten out of the body. This in turn contributes to a cascade of ill effects internally, due to the small intestine been damaged. The small intestine can take up to three months to repair itself.
Gluten originates from the Latin word for glue, thus it “glues” and binds up the essential nutrients in that time period, so the individual is not able to absorb any nutrients. Consequently contributing to malnourishment, that in turn affects other body systems such as kidney function, brain health and reproduction.
Externally the short-term adverse effects can range from chronic headaches-migraines, chronic fatigue, flu-like symptoms, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloating, other digestive issues and eczema. The list of adverse effects is exhaustive and extensive.
Although it’s not exactly the same, the best analogy to explain the severity of coeliac disease, is to compare it with an individual who has a nut allergy. Someone who has a nut allergy must not ingest even a trace of nuts, otherwise they will experience dire consequences. Likewise, an individual with coeliac disease can not ingest a crumb that contains gluten, because they can potentially end up hospitalised with serious health problems such as kidney malfunction or chronic seizures. Hence, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as “You can eat just a little bit, it won’t cause any harm”
Several years ago, I recognised a health pattern developing with the majority of my female clients, who experienced fertility issues and were diagnosed with the comorbidity of endometriosis or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). These women reported that they experienced digestive issues or other symptoms post-consumption of gluten. The women varied in their ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds and age.
The common denominator amongst this demographic was the relatively high prevalence of women suffering from coeliac disease, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or other gastrointestinal disorders.
The topic of gluten sensitivity and fertility has risen in prominence in the health sector over the years, thus health professionals have more knowledge to bring awareness of this issue to their clients.
Consumption of gluten is an adversary to women's fertility and general health. Gliadin impinges the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients, these nutrients necessitate hormonal regulation. When an individual eats bread or pasta, it can temporarily elevate the blood sugar levels and affects the regulation of the essential hormone, insulin that is required for homeostasis. Accordingly, individuals will feel abdominal distension and lethargy after ingesting these types of food. Other scientific studies have established the correlation between gluten intolerance and miscarriage.
For most of this discourse, I have discussed the antagonistic repercussions of gluten intake for women and their fertility. Conversely, scientific studies have verified that men who consume gluten and declare gluten sensitivity, inadvertently vitiate their sperm production. Healthy, good quality sperm production is a requisite to proliferate conception. Otherwise, the probability of having poor male fertility is magnified.
Eliminating the ubiquitous element of gluten from the standard Western diet, is seemingly difficult. However, if a couple desires to conceive a baby, the first and most important step is to eliminate all the toxins from their bodies. Thus replenishing it with wholesome, fresh, fertility enhancing foods that is synergistic, to enhance overall holistic wellness.
I wish you good health of body, mind and spirit.