21

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Gluten avoidance and epigenetics

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 08, 2011 at 10:14 PM

After reading Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shannahan, I've been thinking about the paleo diet in the context of epigenetics. I don't pretend to be have a lot of knowledge of epigentics, but it seems like our diet obviously does impact gene expression. One thing that bothers me is that by avoiding gluten, our bodies are less capable of processing it upon its reintroduction (as demonstrated by anecedotal evidence on PH). For those thinking of having children, I wonder if constant gluten avoidance will lead to our children being very gluten intolerant in the future due to epigenetic factors. As in, deadly intolerant. Would somebody more learned in DNA science be able to answer this question?

I'd think it'd be interesting to examine the diet of the parents of the current generation suffering celiacs disease.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e

(1237)

on December 06, 2012
at 10:58 PM

I don't see gluten sensitivity as a problem as long as you make the sensible dietary choice to avoid gluten altogether :) I should think that, if it were the case that generations of gluten avoidance equated to such dangerously high levels of sensitivity, then why weren't people deadly sensitive to it when it was first introduced to the human diet? Or maybe they were at first and built up tolerance? I'm no expert.

E76821f1019f5284761bc4c33f2bf044

(383)

on April 02, 2012
at 01:27 PM

The other comparison group would be rapidly "modernizing" cultures whose traditional diet did not include gluten. Did they exhibit a significant die-off that can be attributed to gluten intolerance rather than any of the other variables in that situation? What would that specific reaction look like?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 09, 2011
at 04:07 AM

Tell it to the French mike. They eat gluten by the ton and judging by their longevity and health it's a stretch to say that they're poisoning themselves.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 09, 2011
at 02:47 AM

I'm not so sure the current version of paleo is optimal......but we will find out in the next fifteen years. The current paleo generation is changing their epigenetics. But when. Someone who is SAD goes on it......we see variability. That is epigenetics at work. And too often many hackers are not cognizant of how epigenetics effects diet disease and normalcy. That is why see such a wide swatch in this paleo community about macro's in discussions. I don't want to get into a deep science discussion with some who thinks paleo 2.0 is the shit for everyone. It's not. The science will come

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 09, 2011
at 12:32 AM

Should have read kitivans. Hate iPad spell check

11dff0119e8ca2babb4acf40a5ef6ac4

(233)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:43 PM

Yeah, but that's part of the problem. Roughly 1% of the population has a genetic disease that makes gluten a literal poison in their bodies. One percent sounds like a tiny number until you multiply that by the population of a country like the US. And that's just those people with CD. Not the people with gluten intolerance that comes from a reaction in the innate immune system (~6%?). All in all, it's a lot of people. Gluten does not belong in our food. Period. I just don't can't see any way to compromise on that. But then, I have CD -- and so do all 4 of my children.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:31 PM

Not only is this a good question, but it is infinitely expandable. Replace "gluten avoidance" with "high dose fructose avoidance" or "vegetable oil avoidance" or even "pesticide avoidance".

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:22 PM

Awesome question

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Further, I look at Celiac disease as an acute hypersensitivity to gluten that must be placed on a sensitivity spectrum that includes all people. With a celiac you have a classification system that diagnoses a full-blown immune response but with everyone else, I suspect there are shades of gray, varied negative responses to gluten that manifest at lower intensities and require more time to appear as some chronic symptom at a later date. I suspect autoimmune responses occur on a scale so small that even though they might be hurting us, we have no protocol for diagnosis.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on July 08, 2011
at 10:41 PM

Yes, but what if one day your future son/daughter ate a dish at a restaurant that was unknowingly contaminated with gluten? Gluten = poison is not as widespread a concept as arsenic = poison. Gotta work in the system--and at least for the next two generations, I think gluten's going to stay.

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7 Answers

5
226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:00 PM

Would you rather have a child with a gluten intolerance, or one who suffers through a life shortened by the myriad of damages caused by blind uninhibited gluten consumption?

On the one hand as a celiac, he/she may experience an autoimmune response that is immediate and harsh but also isolated and temporary. It is much easier to manage this single event than it is to live life in a body where every major system is thrown off balance by regular gluten intake. That is a lifelong sentence even if no one single episode strikes the same level of fear into the parents and family.

As for epigenetics, I would argue that DNA damage caused by gluten has been concentrating down family lines for 10,000 years since it was first introduced into the food supply. What we see now in chronic diseases, illness, is a hint that we as a species are failing to adapt to gluten. By consuming more gluten, we are making it even MORE difficult for our descendants to adapt to it because we are contributing to the DNA damage.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Further, I look at Celiac disease as an acute hypersensitivity to gluten that must be placed on a sensitivity spectrum that includes all people. With a celiac you have a classification system that diagnoses a full-blown immune response but with everyone else, I suspect there are shades of gray, varied negative responses to gluten that manifest at lower intensities and require more time to appear as some chronic symptom at a later date. I suspect autoimmune responses occur on a scale so small that even though they might be hurting us, we have no protocol for diagnosis.

3
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Epigenetics is where diet hits gene transcription right in the mouth. It's a huge factor and it's reversible. Anything that acetylates histones and chaperone is a problem regardless of what many seem to argue. Acetylation come from dietary Ach levels. Worst offenders are fructose, carbs, PUFA's and then wheat. Many want to point out the Kota in story. You don't live like them and neither did your previous two generations. If you understand epigenetics your transcriptional fate is determined by acetylation and methylation patterns of your last few generations. Comparing yourself to a group you have zero in comparison to is an apples to oranges argument. This is one of the best questions I have seen on PH ever.

It is the next level to a paleo diet in the context of what the previous fifty to hundred years has done to our histones and chaperones. What happens to our DNA is a consequence of epigenetics and total darwian genetic determinism. What Watson and crick theorized for thirty years after 1953 has been absolutely totally blown up.

What we know now means we can alter everything about us. It's not about our genes it's about what we do to the genes.

Plus one!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 09, 2011
at 12:32 AM

Should have read kitivans. Hate iPad spell check

3
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on July 08, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Well, we avoid arsenic because we're deadly intolerant to arsenic. Really, people just need to quit thinking of foods containing gluten as food. They're not foods, they're poison and just shouldn't be eaten.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on July 08, 2011
at 10:41 PM

Yes, but what if one day your future son/daughter ate a dish at a restaurant that was unknowingly contaminated with gluten? Gluten = poison is not as widespread a concept as arsenic = poison. Gotta work in the system--and at least for the next two generations, I think gluten's going to stay.

11dff0119e8ca2babb4acf40a5ef6ac4

(233)

on July 08, 2011
at 11:43 PM

Yeah, but that's part of the problem. Roughly 1% of the population has a genetic disease that makes gluten a literal poison in their bodies. One percent sounds like a tiny number until you multiply that by the population of a country like the US. And that's just those people with CD. Not the people with gluten intolerance that comes from a reaction in the innate immune system (~6%?). All in all, it's a lot of people. Gluten does not belong in our food. Period. I just don't can't see any way to compromise on that. But then, I have CD -- and so do all 4 of my children.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 09, 2011
at 04:07 AM

Tell it to the French mike. They eat gluten by the ton and judging by their longevity and health it's a stretch to say that they're poisoning themselves.

1
Medium avatar

on May 05, 2013
at 01:10 AM

This is interesting. I wonder if it would be a good idea for a parent to feed their child gluten very irregularly-like, 1x a month just to expose their system to it.

1
Af1d7f42f287e40f102e856bc6fca093

on May 04, 2013
at 06:20 PM

the number glutein assotiated problems has increased in the last decades. glutein was not such a huge problem a century ago. id like to know, if the glutein was different and what else was different.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 09, 2011
at 01:43 AM

I know we all have learned so much science in our lives, and it's fun and interesting, but haven't you learned to trust your instincts by now? If you eat paleo, you will be healthier, and have a better chance of a healthier kid and will be able to fight sickness. If you eat SAD, it will be born with less chance of fighting illness. Is there one person who has gotten worse health from going SAD to Paleo?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on July 09, 2011
at 02:47 AM

I'm not so sure the current version of paleo is optimal......but we will find out in the next fifteen years. The current paleo generation is changing their epigenetics. But when. Someone who is SAD goes on it......we see variability. That is epigenetics at work. And too often many hackers are not cognizant of how epigenetics effects diet disease and normalcy. That is why see such a wide swatch in this paleo community about macro's in discussions. I don't want to get into a deep science discussion with some who thinks paleo 2.0 is the shit for everyone. It's not. The science will come

0
96f9bdd3022f6b21c376f737c317f3f9

on December 06, 2012
at 10:28 PM

There is LOT we do not know about gluten intolerance including its association with epigenetics. It looks like there might be some gluten-induced acetylation changes in histon components of our DNA but that is about all we can speculate at this point. Nobody knows for example if gluten intolerance is getting worse or better since 10,000 years ago). There are so many variables in life style of present generations that need to be taken into consideration as well as many great suggestions in this discussion for future research. To me it seems that gluten sensitivity itself or in combination with epigenetics is something that needs to be studied much more.

KS

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