March is National Nutrition Month. It seems that everyone is getting on the gluten-free diet bandwagon. Gluten is now a very prominent part of the nutrition landscape. As many now know, it is gluten in wheat that is the trigger that causes celiac disease and intense inflammation and injury to the small intestine in those who have the genetic makeup for the disease. Most remarkable is the fact that it is so very common. In fact it is the most undiagnosed intestinal disease in the country. It is 4 times as common as it was just 50 years ago. Why is this? The research experts give us several possible reasons:
- We are eating much more wheat gluten than we did back then and so we may be stressing our gut more.
- Breast feeding seems to prevent babies from getting the disease. We have had a very long era of infant formula replacing natural breast feeding.
- The normal bacteria in the lower gut are simply terrible in gluten patients. They have a group of bad bacteria in the colon which is associated with many health problems, including autoimmune ones like celiac and perhaps the even more common simple gluten intolerance.
This last possibility moved me to search the nutrition and food literature where I found that wheat contained about 70-80% of the prebiotics a North American eats. A prebiotic is a plant fiber that feeds the good colon bacteria. It is not a probiotic which are live bacteria present in yogurt or capsules. Everyone needs a robust amount of prebiotics in their diet to keep the best bacteria growing. I wrote a letter to the British Journal of Nutrition (link below) which was published and clearly described this problem.
The bottom line is that if you are on a gluten free diet for any reason, you need to supplement your diet with prebiotics. Our Prebiotin has the most advanced and beneficial prebiotic formula anywhere. It belongs in every gluten-free diet.
With best wishes for a good nutritious month for you and your family
Frank Jackson MD
Jackson GI Medical