The inability to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, is epidemic and getting worse. According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease — an incurable immune reaction to gluten — is four times more common than it was in the 1950s. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Many doctors believe that for every one patient diagnosed with celiac, there are 30 people who go undiagnosed. Even more people are unable to digest this protein, but they don’t have celiac disease. They have gluten intolerance, not an immune disease. Both celiac disease and gluten intolerance are incurable, permanent conditions. The only way to avoid their damage is to avoid eating even tiny amounts of wheat, rye, or barley. Misinformation about gluten can make this nearly impossible. And some gluten myths are coming from so-called experts.
Awareness Brings Benefits – But Not an End to Risks
The growing numbers of men and women who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance have called attention to this health danger. In response, many new products are springing to the market to address the need for gluten-free foods.
Many restaurants are responding as well, offering gluten-free meals on their menus.
Unfortunately, gluten-free meals in restaurants are NOT always free of gluten.
Recently two friends and I ate dinner at a local upscale restaurant. The waiter and chef both knew what “no gluten” meant, and even left the bread off an appetizer plate we shared so that there would be no cross-contamination. There was no flour in anything I ate that I could see. Yet, shortly after dinner I began having digestive distress that lasted until I took an enzyme that digests gluten. Then my symptoms disappeared.
It’s almost impossible to avoid all traces of gluten when eating out. Whether you’re at a friend’s house, at a potluck, or in a restaurant, gluten can slip onto your plate and into your mouth before you realize it. And even a smidgen of flour on a cook’s hands or a splash of soy sauce in a sauce can set off digestive problems or silent inflammation in some people. Ask for gluten-free foods, but don’t trust even the most conscientious chef or waiter completely.
They could be wrong.
The next time you’re eating out, ask if there’s any gluten in the dishes you want to eat. Then, take one or two capsules of an enzyme that digests gluten as insurance. Yes. Such a product exists!
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They aren’t easy to find, but enzymes that digest gluten are now available. Taking them can make the difference between being successful on a gluten-free diet and failing.
Not all enzymes digest all foods. One enzyme, known as DPP-IV (dipeptidyl peptidase IV), can help break down the parts of gluten molecules that cause a harmful immune response and avoid a reaction if you eat only a small amount. But DPP-IV can’t do this job alone. It needs to be combined with other specific enzymes.
Not all enzymes containing DPP-IV activity are alike. Some are stronger than others. Some companies advertise their products as having high DPP-IV activity based on the amount of HUT it contains. But HUTs indicate general protein digesting potency, not DPP-IV activity. A supplement can have a lot of HUTs with low or no DPP-IV digestive activity. In other words, when it comes to digesting gluten, it can look strong but not be strong. The truth is there’s no generally accepted method for measuring DPP-IV activity.
A few months ago, I asked my supplement formulators to design a powerful anti-gluten enzyme that could outperform the products already on the market. They did. This product is called Gluten Sensitivity Formula.
Gluten Sensitivity Formula is not designed so you can freely eat foods with gluten in any amounts. But it can minimize or eliminate a reaction when you inadvertently eat small amounts, like fish dusted with flour or a salad dressing made with soy sauce. Gluten Sensitivity Formula makes it possible for you to be completely gluten-free.
Here’s a bonus. This formula will also digest casein (dairy protein). So if you suspect your digestive problems come from eating wheat or dairy, try taking this enzyme formula and see how you feel.
In the meantime, be aware that gluten-free does not always mean that you will avoid all traces of this protein.
[Ed. Note: Dr. Fuchs co-founded one of the first holistic health centers in the United States in 1976. She is the author of eight books, including The Nutrition Detective and Modified Citrus Pectin: A Super Nutraceutical. Dr. Fuchs has also appeared on more than 100 television and radio programs, where she advises listeners on nutrition, supplements and herbs, and other popular health topics. Dr. Fuchs also writes the monthly newsletter Women's Health Letter. For information about Women's Health Letter, visit the website at http://www.womenshealthletter.com]