Wheat has several harmful proteins that are anti-nutrients, i.e. resists digestion and or can attack the lining of the gut, which in turn causes Leaky Gut and inflammation.
Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) is a a very powerful and toxic lectin. Lectins have an affinity for sugar and can attack any cell membrane with a sugar coating. Our gut has a sugar coating called glycocalyx. WGA can directly damage this tissue. This is bad enough, but a damaged gut lining causes Leaky Gut, which allows food particles and bacteria to escape into the blood stream, setting up an immune response.
Wheat gluten can directly cause Intestinal Permeability, or Leaky Gut. Gluten contains a protein called Gliadin that upregulates the hormone Zonulin, which opens up the spaces between our epitheleal cells of our small intestine. A Leaky Gut means that these intercellular spaces are either too wide or are open for too long, or perhaps both. This allows macro molecules (large food particles as well as bacteria) to escape into the blood stream, where they don’t belong.
All grains have their own form of gluten. The danger of Leaky Gut is that there are sequences of amino acids – or patterns – that resemble those of pathogenic bacteria. Our innate immune system is primed to mount an attack on these proteins (called Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns, or PAMPs). In time, this can lead to an autoimmune condition.
SAPONINS: detergent-like chemicals that can attack the lining of the gut, thereby causing Leaky Gut. Legumes and white potato are high in saponins.
FODMAPS are fermentable foods that contain complex sugars that resist digestion. Bacteria fermenting these foods produce Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) that are generally beneficial in the colon. However, if you have SIBO, these SCFAs can be very inflammatory in the small intestine, where there aren’t supposed to be many bacteria. SCFAs can cause cell death and are implicated in Crohn’s Disease. Fructose, a FODMAP, is believed to cause damage to the small intestine in susceptible people.
Western lifestyle and susceptibility to Crohn’s disease. The FODMAP hypothesis
Meat & animal protein
Animal proteins contain sulphur. Sulphur is metabolised by bacteria, which then produce hydrogen sulphide gas, that can be toxic to the gut in large quantities. Hydrogen Sulphide gas is believed to be a factor in ulcerative colitis. We need sulphur in our diet, however should keep meat and fish to a moderate serving.
Starch & starch persorption
This isn’t a very well-known condition at all and I can only find a few older studies on this so can’t vouch for its authenticity.
Starch is supposed to be broken down by enzymes and the sugars are absorbed through the villi of the small intestine. Only fully digested food particles belong in the blood stream – amino acids, sugars and lipids. Larger macro molecules in the blood stream can elicit an immune response, (particularly grain proteins). The theory of persorption believes that starch granules are absorbed into the blood stream via paracellular penetration – I.e. between the spaces of the small intestinal epithelial cells. This is a phenomena of Leaky Gut – or intestinal permeability to give its correct name.
Starch as food for pathogens & as a cause of autoimmunity
Sugar and starch are believed to be the favoured food of pathogens, while fibre is the preferred food for healthy bacteria. I don’t know if this has been proved outright.
Klebsiella Pneumoniae is a common bacterial pathogen found in Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that attacks the spine. Klebsiella also appears in about 25% of Crohn’s Disease.
There is a strong link between Klebsiella, Crohn’s Disease, Inflammatory bowel disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Klebsiella is believed to be the cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Klebsiella is an opportunistic bacteria that feeds on dietary starch. This bacteria produces a carbohydrate degrading enzyme that breaks down starch. This enzyme mimics an antigen called HLA-B27. The body’s immune system not only sees the Klebsiella as a foreign invader but also the body’s own proteins such as collagen, which closely resemble this enzyme. In the case of Ankylosing Spondylitis the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing arthritis.
The cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn’s Disease and Inflammatory bowel disease is believed to involve a low starch diet.
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), or endotoxins, are large molecules made up of a lipid (fat) and a polysaccharide (sugars) found in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria (pathogens). These elicit a strong immune response if found in the blood stream, where they don’t belong. A leaky gut can cause this.
Lipopolysaccharides (endotoxins) in food:
Foods can contain endotoxins. Typically these foods are minced meat (but not steak), yoghurt, cheese and pre-cut salads. It would seem that processing and other interventions increases the risk of bacterial spoiling.
Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)
Any excess sugar (fructose is the worst) can bind to protein, causing Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). AGEs can be formed from certain fats as well – Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). AGEs are common for people with diabetes. AGEs cause free radicals and oxidative stress. Fruits and vegetables are low in AGEs.
AGEs are generated from the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that causes the delicious caramelisation on cooked meat. Highly cooked meat and fats are high in AGEs.
AGE has a receptor on innate immune cells, RAGE, and its binding to ligands including the S100A12 proteins are a cause of inflammation common to both IBS and IBD, Ulcerative Coloitis, Crohn’s Disease etc. The S100A12 proteins are much lower in IBS, but they are there, which is why IBS is believed to be a low level inflammatory disease, especially for IBS-Diarrhea.
Free Radicals and antioxidants:
What are free radicals
Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health
Free radicals are atoms with an unpaired electron in an orbital. This makes them highly unstable and reactive. Sometimes, atoms lose an electron through oxidisation, where oxygen joins to a compound, resulting in an overall loss of electrons.
This leads to a chain reaction. The atom with a missing electron “steals” one from a neighbouring molecule. This in turn leads to that molecule becoming a free radical, and so the process continues. This can affect an entire cell, or region of the body.
This can be dangerous if the cells involved are part of our DNA, or if cell membranes are affected.
Free radicals are believed to cause several diseases such as: inflammation in the joints, premature aging and cancer.
Sources of free radicals:
Sugar & fructose
Too much animal protein
Antioxidants inhibit oxidation by donating an extra electron. Most antioxidants are in fruits and vegetables.
They can donate one of their electrons, stopping the domino effect.
Some sources of antioxidants are: the onion family, oranges, broccoli & cruciferous vegetables, pumpkin, tomatoes, leafy greens.
Oxidative stress (OS) is when you lack enough antioxidants to neutralise free radicals.
In our bodies, there is a balance between the number of antioxidants and free radicals. This is called the redox state.
Sugar, and in particular fructose, can create AGEs. AGEs bind to RAGEs. Hyperglycemia causes activation of inflammation regulator NFkB.
Acute effects of feeding fructose, glucose and sucrose on blood lipid levels and systemic inflammation