When Your Body Treats Food Like a Bad Bug: The Gluten Attack!

Diet plays a significant role in supporting a healthy and well-nourished body. But what if certain staple foods caused your body to treat them like an invading pathogen and activate your immune system? This is actually the reality for people living with celiac disease or those who are gluten-sensitive. The impacts of the body responding to gluten in this way can be as severe as, if not worse than, being infected by a virus or bacterium.

When Gluten Becomes an Invader

In individuals with celiac disease, the immune system reacts to the presence of gluten when it encounters T-cells, the immune cells tasked with protecting the body against pathogens. In response, the body creates antibodies to attack one of its enzymes, transglutaminase. However, this causes problems when gluten – a natural component of wheat, rye, or barley – results in inflammation of the digestive tract lining. As a consequence, the immune cells that are meant to protect against diseases actually start attacking the body’s own structures.

The repercussions of this process include the destruction of the intestinal mucosal layers, and nerve and other internal damage. Diagnosis can be challenging as symptoms are often varied and hard to pin down, meaning that many sufferers experience many years of misdiagnoses and deteriorating health. Despite this, celiac disease is the only autoimmune condition with a known cause, as the roots of other conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis remain unknown.

Dietary Changes and Better Health

I suspect that as research into the body’s reactions to different food types progresses, more links between diet and autoimmune diseases will emerge. For me, simply adopting a gluten-free lifestyle led to considerable improvements in the functioning of my nervous system and the gradual recovery of my brain function.

If you are struggling with a persistent health issue that your doctor cannot identify, trying different dietary approaches might be a helpful first step in finding answers. Eliminating certain foods from your routine in order to feel better is a sacrifice well worth making. In the end, the benefits of improved health far outweigh the loss of taste associated with not consuming the foods you might have to give up.