July 20, 2015
Gluten sensitivity is on the rise, for unknown reasons. About one in 100 people currently suffer from a condition where their intestinal tract reacts so severely to gluten that it becomes inflamed and damaged. Another portion of the population experience digestive symptoms when they eat foods containing gluten, but they don’t seem to develop the same damage to the intestines, these people are said to have gluten sensitivity.
Unfortunately, children and adults suffering from severe gluten sensitivities must avoid taking in even tiny amounts of gluten to prevent damage to their intestinal tract, while many others should avoid foods containing gluten as often as possible because of the digestive issues they experience when they consume them.
Gluten And The Food It Is Found In
Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat and some grains, including rye and barley. Completely avoidinggluten isn’t an easy task since most packaged and processed foods contain gluten, including ones you wouldn’t think of such as sauce mixes, salad dressings, and even some natural flavorings. It takes a great deal of detective work and label reading to maintain a gluten-free diet and stay healthy when you have these issues. Some gluten-free packaged foods also lack important dietary components such as fiber and fall short in terms of vitamins and minerals.
Gluten-Sensitivity and Intestinal Imbalance
Inside the long loops of your intestinal tract are a diverse group of bacteria that make up your gut microbiota. These organisms support digestive health, promote absorption of vitamins and minerals, help keep “bad guy” bacteria from gaining a foothold, and support your immune system. By playing such an active role in digestive and immune health, it’s natural to wonder whether these tiny organisms might impact gluten sensitivity and whether they could play a role in alleviating the symptoms.
Research shows the composition of gut bacteria does in fact differ in people with gluten issues when compared to people without this sensitivity. One such study showed children that had problems with gluten tolerance had fewer Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in their gut, both of these bacterial species have been linked with digestive and immune health. No doubt this difference in intestinal flora can disrupt the body and it seems quite possible that symptoms may improve once balance is restored.
Several studies have been performed to explore the link between the small intestine disruptions triggered by gluten sensitivity and probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. In one study, researchers gave adults with gluten sensitivities a supplement containing Bifidobacterium infantis, NLS strain for 3 weeks, and the participants noted improvement in their digestive symptoms. Some studies suggest that intestinal bacteria may play an important role in the breakdown and metabolism of gluten. Further, maintaining a healthy diversity of gut bacteria might optimize gluten breakdown so that it is less damaging to the small intestines.
Although people with less serious gluten sensitivity do not experience intestinal damage, they too can suffer with unpleasant effects of an unbalanced gut microbiota. In fact, anyone, without being aware of it, can have a dysfunctional gut microbiota. Everyday our gut microbiota is exposed to the various toxins found in the food we eat, water we drink and for some people, the medications they take. The take-home message? Whether you’re sensitive to gluten or not, gut health is essential for overall health and well being, and it begins with having the right bacteria living in your intestinal tract.
Life Start 2
Natren’s LIFE START® line of products contain Bifidobacterium infantis, the most beneficial bacteria predominant in healthy infants, and one of the bacteria shown to help with gluten sensitivity. Each serving of LIFE START provides a minimum of 1 billion Bifidobacterium infantis, NLS super strain and its available in three formulas to meet your specific dietary needs. Life Start is grown on a traditional cow milk base, LIFE START® 2 is grown on a goat milk base and our newest probioticLIFE START® VEGAN is grown on an organic brown rice base, ensuring an option for all dietary lifestyles.
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