Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wheat is a Threat to Your Health, Even if You’re Not a Celiac

Why Everyone May Want to Avoid Wheat

To say there’s been a lot of talk about wheat and gluten would be an understatement. It continues to be the largest growing facet of the food industry for the past several years. But with 1% of the population suffering from celiac disease and an unknown percentage (personally I think it’s about 30%) suffering from gluten sensitivity, the cynics contend that many people choose gluten-free items because they like being part of a fad or they’re simply enjoying a placebo effect’.

If you are one of us who DO spend a great deal of time, effort and money to avoid gluten, I think you’ll agree that it’s more about how you feel than any fad. But how do we explain the numbers of people who choose a gluten-free lifestyle despite a negative lab test?


Wheat contains "WGA" which has toxic effects on the body. Avoid it!

Dr. David Perlmutter wrote a brilliant article on the topic, citing the research of Sayer Ji, that I think will help to explain a lot.

Gluten is the protein that is mostly present in wheat, about 85% of all the protein present. However, there are, unbelievably, 23,000 different proteins present in modern wheat that can create inflammatory, negative reactions in the human body, according to Dr. Perlmutter. 

I will admit that this is a number far beyond any I have heard, but I do trust the source.

Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA)—Not Your Friend

One such protein is called wheat germ agglutinin, or WGA. WGA is a lectin. Lectins are interesting proteins in that they are produced by organisms to protect themselves from predators.

However, and we have discussed this many times before, WE—meaning humans—may also be a ‘predator’ when it comes to wheat. And as a predator the wheat we eat is attacking us. How?

The WGA protein has a liking for a protein in the human body called N-Acetylglucosamine and binds to it. Don’t worry about the long name. What’s important is where the protein is found: namely tendons, joint surfaces, cartilage, the lining of the entire digestive tract and the lining of the miles and miles of blood vessels within all of us.

When WGA ‘binds’ to this protein it can leave the cells of the particular structure, e.g. the cells lining the digestive tract, vulnerable. Whether it’s damaging the lining of the gut that could potentially result in leaky gut or damaging the lining of blood vessels putting them at risk to inflammation, it is thought that WGA has truly direct toxic effects on the heart, brain, immune and endocrine systems.

WGA Affects Everyone!

The real stunner in this research is that it INCLUDES everyone—not just those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The ability of WGA to damage human tissue requires no genetic susceptibility to gluten, but rather simply that you are human and you are consuming wheat! 

In my book, “The Gluten Effect”, I mention that historically, populations who consume wheat are at higher risk to certain degenerative and inflammatory disease. These diseases were not present prior to the introduction of wheat and are less present in those societies that do not consume it, even today.

Does this explain the vast numbers of people who can’t seem to tolerate wheat, despite negative lab tests? It certainly might. And it harkens us back to a truth that we’ve spoken of often: Man CANNOT digest wheat. 

It is an exceedingly complex molelcule with a high amino acid content of glutamine and proline, making it indigestible to man.

Between its indigestibility and its lectin content that destroys our tissues, perhaps wheat is best left in the fields for the animals that do have the ability to digest it—those with 4 stomachs!

And if wheat’s natural WGA content wasn’t bad enough, there is a move in the genetic modification community to increase the content of WGA in wheat—thanks, but no thanks, to that and GMOs in general.

There’s Already a Lab Test for WGA

I often mention that I use Cyrex Labs for my gluten testing. They have the most comprehensive testing in that they evaluate for many proteins present in glutinous grains. And I’m happy to let you know that WGA is one of those proteins tested. 

Here at HealthNOW in our clinical nutrition department, we have been evaluating our patients for a reaction to this protein for several years.

I hope you found this informative. If your health is not at the level you desire and you need some assistance, consider calling us for a Free Consultation: 408-733-0400. We are a destination clinic and treat patients from across the country and internationally.

To your good health,

Dr.  Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN

Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center

Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”


See Doctor bio here.

1 comment:

Fintan Dunne said...

Great to see your focus on WGA: a very significant contributor to our general morbidity.

In addition to the issues raise about WGA, it also seems to have the ability to block cellular use of vitamin D.

I've written about a fascinating interchange on this very issue:

Are You White? Wheat Is Why.
http://fintandunne.blogspot.ie/2013/11/AreYouWhite-WheatIsWhy.html