Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gluten: Friend or foe?

Gluten: Friend or Foe?

I get asked this question a lot; “Are we more intolerant to gluten now or have diseases like celiac’s and gluten sensitivity finally just made it mainstream and so we are more aware of gluten?”
I think the answer is twofold, but a lot of the intolerances to gluten have been fairly recent due to the way grains like wheat are grown and farmed now. 

Dr. Monroe says, “The wheat we have now is different than what it used to be.  It’s a hybridized version. Wheat was about 4.5 feet tall and would fall down in bad weather so a lot of the crops were wasted.  In the hybridization process, they now have dwarfed wheat that is much higher in gluten and they have found a bunch of new proteins that weren’t in the original wheat.  The human body is having trouble dealing with those new proteins and higher gluten content.  I truly believe that’s what happening now.  The autism rate is skyrocketing as well (from this and immunizations).”

In addition, it’s almost impossible to avoid.  I’ve just discovered I’m gluten intolerant (non-celiac) and was already sensitive to wheat and corn.  It isn’t a huge adjustment because of that, but I have to be more careful now when eating out, buying packaged foods, or at social gatherings.  It really limits what you can consume…not to mention beer!

My general rule: stick with food you cooked yourself, healthy staples like vegetables, meats, fruit, and food in its original form. If you need a bakery fix: Rice flour works amazingly as a flour substitute.  When I bake, people can’t tell the difference.  Unfortunately for me, gluten-free baked goods sold in stores still contain ingredients that bother my stomach- tapioca starch, corn, maltodextrin, xanthan gum, and corn starch are all commonly used, so watch out if you think this may be a problem for you.  If it's not, there are several stores and bakeries in the area offering options for you.

Dr. Monroe offers allergy testing in her office- no needles, pricks, or blood tests involved.  Contact her if you think you might be suffering from a gluten sensitivity, IBS, celiac disease, or just have questions. 916-448-9927 or  She is located in Sacramento, CA.

·    Contact us if you have any questions!! We're no strangers to gluten sensitivity and would be happy to help.

 -                  -Briana & Dr. Mom 

Some history about the changes in wheat:
In 1943, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (IMWIC) began to help Mexico achieve agricultural self-sufficiency.  This grew into a worldwide effort to increase the yield of corn, soy, and wheat.  Hybridization took over soon, and many different strains of wheat were being planted and harvested. 
By 1980, thousands of new strains of wheat had been produced.  These new varieties were geared towards making the plant resistant to environmental conditions, developing a greater resistance to pathogens (such as fungus), and an increased yield per acre (tenfold greater than farms of a century ago).
The increased yield meant top heavy plants.  Grain losses occurred as plants could not withstand the weight.  Due to this, manipulation occurred to produce a smaller “dwarf” variety of wheat.
There are numerous farms which grow and harvest wheat, however these are not available on the commercial market. 
Despite these increases in crop yield, no animal or human safety testing had been conducted on these new strains of wheat.  Geneticists were confident that hybridization yielded safe products for human consumption.  Products were released into the market, unquestioned.  The assumption was that altered protein structures, enzyme qualities, and gluten content would have no human consequence. 
It was later discovered that wheat gluten had the most significant changes with hybridization. 
Upon comparison of two parent strains of wheat, 95% of the proteins expressed in the offspring are same, 5% are unique, found in neither parent.  When compared to century-old strains of wheat, gluten proteins associated with celiac disease were found in higher quantities.   

New, never-before-seen gluten proteins are now being discovered which are foreign to the body.  Some estimates suggest that the hybridization and genetic engineering of wheat has resulted in an up to 500 fold increase in wheat gluten produced today.  This may be one of the primary reasons behind the massive rise in incidence of wheat gluten intolerance and celiac disease in recent decades.       

  •         More than 99% of wheat crops are now “dwarfed,” growing to only 18” tall.
Non-hybridized wheat grows naturally to 4.5 feet tall.
  •        New proteins are forming which the body is unfamiliar with.

(*Information courtesy of DiagnosTechs Gastrointestinal Health Panel, 2012)

Additional resources:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Is allergy season already upon us…?

So many of us suffer from allergies, especially in the Sacramento valley.  It's winter, but for most of us, it's not too early to start thinking about the upcoming allergy season.  Read on...

Dr. Monroe says:
“I’d like to remind people that this is the beginning of allergy season and the pollen count is already up for the season.  As an example from last week, the pollen count was 4.8 based on a 1-12 scale. The predominant pollen was alder.  The following day, pollens dropped down to 2.8.  Tree pollens are already beginning for the season!

Now is the time I would recommend to my patients to come in to the office and pick up some Zone 9 so that we can prepare for a possibly rough allergy season like last year.  When we don't have enough cold weather, the pollen is even worse than it was the previous season. 

Just want to prepare people and to help facilitate taking care of yourselves!

*Zone 9 is a homeopathic allergy treatment that is equivalent to taking shots in that it slowly allows your body to tolerate grasses, trees, and weeds.  Zone 9 is a specific product for this area that has somewhere around 150 of the major grasses, trees and weeds of the Sacramento Valley and it's one that will help desensitize you so that you can tolerate the pollens when they increase in your surroundings.”

Dr. Monroe’s office is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  She is located in East Sacramento at 5025 J Street, Suite 205, or you can call her office for more information: 916-448-9927.

Pollen & Mold Levels from the National Allergy Bureau, a service of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Station:  Roseville, CA
Allergy Medical Group of the North Area
Date of Pollen and Mold Count: 01/16/2013

Pollen & Mold Summary
Trees: Moderate Concentration
Weeds: Absent
Grass: Absent
Mold:  Low Concentration

My husband and I both have animal allergies and can attest to a similar desensitizing treatment for animal dander.  We have both noticed far less sneezing, itching, and rashes associated with the animals we have and are very thankful to have gotten the treatment from my (Dr.) mom.
Be healthy and take advantage of the resources that having a Naturopathic Doctor close by can provide to you!
-Briana & Dr. Mom