By now, most people are familiar with gluten-intolerance or know someone living a gluten-free lifestyle. While true gluten allergies or intolerance are fairly rare, affecting only 1% of the American population, many people have found intestinal relief by changing their diets to gluten-free fare and scientists have now found the reason.
According to research, a new protein has been found in wheat that can trigger several chronic health conditions and lead to non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Amylase-trypsin inhibitors, or ATIs, make up less than 4% of the proteins in wheat, yet can cause a lot of problems. They can lead to inflammation of the lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen, and even the brain. ATIs can also exacerbate existing issues such as asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Amylase-trypsin inhibitors can cause non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is now an accepted medical diagnosis for those experiencing not only inflammation of the intestines and irregularity commonly associated with celiac, but also headaches, joint pain, and eczema, yet have no diagnosis of celiac disease. While these symptoms tend to appear after ingestion of wheat products, a gluten-free diet helps keep those suffering with NCGS, symptom free, as ATIs are found in conjunction with gluten as a natural by-product of wheat.
The research suggests that Amylase-trypsin inhibitors may cause a negative immune response in the intestines due to its foreign nature in the human body. This result was found in those with celiac and without, showing signs of being the root cause of inflammatory conditions within the digestive system.
As more studies are done with regards to gluten and amylase-trypsin inhibitors, I believe we will find that gluten is not the only culprit to ill digestive health, and an ATI-free diet will help many people live a healthier lifestyle with more knowledge about their condition. Until scientists are able to distinguish fully the items that would lead to a beneficial ATI-free meal plan, gluten-free may be the only way for those suffering to find any kind of relief.
Scientists are hopeful that with additional research, they will not only identify if an ATI free diet can prove beneficial to those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but also redefine NCGS to a more appropriate term as gluten does not seem to be the sole perpetrator of these inflammatory and potentially serious issues.