What are gluten and casein?

They are the peptides (proteins) found in wheat and milk respectively. Why do they matter? For some people with certain genetic predispositions they can cause an excessive amount of inflammation and contribute to the root cause of many illnesses. 

Let’s talk about gluten first. Gluten is one of the peptides in wheat that can activate a cascade of events that triggers a molecule called zonulin. Zonulin is also known as the “gate keeper”. Each cell that lines the inner lumen of the intestinal tract is weaved together with the next one. These “tight junctions” are what keep undigested food particles, yeast, bacteria, and other things within the lumen of the intestinal tract where they are supposed to be.

However, when you eat gluten, zonulin lets the flood gates open and intestinal permeability or “leaky gut” ensues. This allows an inundation of stimuli to have access to where 70-80% of our immune system resides. It’s called the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue or the GALT system (see photo). This over simulation leads to chronic inflammatory processes like allergies, eczema, asthma, psoriasis, and autoimmune diseases as your immune system now can’t readily distinguish between friend or foe anymore. This process happens in everyone, however, this permeability lasts longer if you have genetic sensitivities and/or some sort of damage to your intestinal wall.

Some people ask “well, why wasn’t this an issue before? People have been eating wheat for centuries without a problem!” This is true. However, in the past wheat was processed or fermented over a 4 day period so that all of the dangerous peptides were degraded before we consumed them. In this day and age everything is ‘faster, better’ and that comes at a cost.


Now! The second part of the problem is that on a molecular level gluten, casein, and soy look just like morphine. So now you have morphine slipping straight in to your blood stream via this intestinal permeability. Newsflash! If your guts leaky, then your brain is leaky. The cells that line the gut match cells that line your brain and they communicate. They are part of the endocannabinoid system and is where cannabidiol oil has some of its effect. Now you have morphine attaching to the morphine receptors in the brain. That creates a “high” and quite frankly an addiction. 


No wonder it’s hard for some of our kids to focus!


Studies show that when you eat foods that contain these peptides, the same parts of your brain that ‘light up’ when you take cocaine, ‘light up’ when you eats these foods. The struggle is real!


We haven’t even begun to discuss the toxic herbicides and pesticides that come in these foods – yes! Even organic grains can be treated with these chemicals, too. Oftentimes herbicides are sprayed on crops right before it’s time to harvest. This causes the grains to desiccate. Making it easier for the machinery to harvest it. There are also other peptides in these foods that can directly cause inflammation and neuroinflammation specifically.  A recent 12 month clinical trial demonstrated improvement in children on the Autism spectrum with dietary changes including removing casein and gluten. 


The science is there! Give it a try! If you need help making these changes for your family in a healthy way, give us a call to set up an appointment and let us walk you through the process. It can feel overwhelming at first, but you don’t have to do it alone. Avoid the pitfalls and join our families doing it successfully!