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Why Do So Many Patients Exhibit Sensitivities to Wheat? August 23, 2009

Filed under: allergies,food sensitivities,stress — Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa @ 2:37 pm
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What is it with wheat?  Why are so many of our patients now testing sensitive to wheat and wheat products?  Wheat is by far the most common food sensitivity we encounter when testing patients.  (Other very common food sensitivities are milk/dairy products, soy products, peanuts, and eggs.)  By simply removing wheat products from the diet, we often see great clinical results, particularly with children.

Wheat probably couldn’t always have been so allergy inducing.  Is it the way wheat is grown and processed in this country?   I’ve had patients who were highly sensitive to wheat here, but who were able to go to Europe and eat the European bread while there with no problems.  Was it just because they were less stressed when on vacation and therefore their digestion performed better?  Or is there a difference in the wheat itself?  When I went to India recently, the wheat there tasted much better than anything I remember having here.  Their wheat was grown locally and probably freshly ground (they were harvesting while I was there); their method of preparation used hot steel and fire and this also probably helped counteract the “damp” producing effects of wheat.  (Damp is a Chinese medical term roughly equivalent to congestion.)

I have read that the type of wheat we are mostly eating today is much higher in gluten than what was historically grown—in other words, the wheat has been bred to be much sticker and starchier than what we historically ate.  The highly refined nature of the wheat and the possible presence of genetically modified wheat are not helpful either.

In addition to the way our USA wheat is grown, stored, and processed, there are probably other environmental stressors that we experience here.  Our country has experienced a vast increase in asthma over the past twenty years.  The same cofactors are probably creating the increase in wheat sensitivities that we see today.  Our overall air quality is much better than in many parts of the world, and yet we are seeing an increase in allergies and asthma.  Why is this?

More on this later….

 

2 Responses to “Why Do So Many Patients Exhibit Sensitivities to Wheat?”

  1. Robin Says:

    I would love to hear your opinion on the role of unhealthy gut bacteria and parasites in creating “allergies”. have you read Gut and Psychology Syndrome?

  2. Robin— Thanks for your question. I have not read the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” but it looks like a good one and the basic thought is very much in alignment with centuries of Traditional Chinese Medicine teachings: There is a very strong connection between digestive dysfunction and mental dysfunction. Lately there also has been some Western academic research showing a link between digestive dysfunction and depression; also many autism spectrum disorder children dramatically improve with changes in diet.

    In our practice we often see major improvements in mood and also major improvements in auto immune disorders once the digestion has improved. Restoring the proper balance of gut bacteria is an essential part of improving digestion. Many allergies do resolve once the digestion has improved.

    Parasites are a seperate question; however, as the digestion improves, the bodies own immune system seems much more able to deal with parasites.

    So, basically I see unhealthy gut bacteria, parasites, most allergies, many mental disorders, and many auto immune conditions all linked by the common thread of poor digestion. Improvements in digestion will generally lead to improvements in all of these conditions.


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