What is The Gluten Summit?

Dr Tom O’Bryan from theDr.com has generously gathered a group of medical professionals at the forefront of research into gluten related health issues, nutrition and healthy living to bring us a series of interviews on the topic of 'gluten'. The goal of the summit is to bring recognition of gluten-related disorders forward by five years. The summit is taking place online from 11-17 November 2013.

The wrap up from day 3 of The Gluten Summit

The fact that The Gluten Summit is trying to improve the medical community's knowledge of gluten related disease and illness is an amazing thing. There have been a great many eye opening points made and we feel our own knowledge and understanding of gluten and it's affect on our health is growing and changing because of it. Today's interviews were a great mix of the science behind the medicine and how is has been used to develop diets to encourage gut health and improve mind, body and spirit!

The interviewees and their topics

  • Dr. Aristo Vojdani: Properly testing for gluten sensitivity
  • Erica Kasuli, Registered Dietitian: Designing a brain-optimising gluten free diet the whole family will enjoy
  • Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride: The cricital nature of gut health and its impact on children’s brains
  • Dr. Mark Hyman: A ‘function approach’ to lifestyle can transform your body

The most interesting points to take away

  1. The purpose of our immune system is to protect us from the environment and in particular foreign invasions (bacteria, viruses, parasites, dietary proteins and peptides and toxic chemicals).
  2. Additives can make foods and specifically proteins more antigenic, therefore some individuals might not react to an individual ingredient when being tested for food sensitivities but in the outside environment when foods are mixed they might cause an allergy.
  3. Food sensitivity testing via the skin prick test is not the most accurate way to test, in actual fact neither is a blood test, necessarily. Because antibodies are produced in the saliva and in the first instance, as a response to ingesting something your body doesn't like, it may be that the testing of oral fluid is the best way to detect sensitivities.
  4. Salvia testing was used in a 2011 study on Italian children and it was found to be almost 100% accurate.
  5. The immune system has two responses, it makes IgA or IgM antibodies in the first instance, these antibodies can be detected for up to 3 months after the last bit of gluten was ingested but memory cells remember the exposure, so the second exposure will trigger memory lymphocytes immediately.
  6. There are different types of brain function that can be studied in relation to eating habits, they are impulsive and compulsive. Impulsive people will eat something just because it is there (to finish off the last slice, not because they need it, for example) and compulsive people tend to need a glass of wine at the end of the day to relax, or a wedge of cheese. You can be both, and they may become bulimic or be binge eaters. People can be compulsive in life but impulsive with food, they don’t think about the consequences.
  7. 'Hara hachi bu' is an Asian expression, it means eat only until you are 80% full.
  8. For optimal gut health a meal should be 75% vegetables and 25% protein.
  9. Children with learning disabilities have abnormal gut flora and the toxicity caused by it reaches their brains. Time is being wasted in diagnosing learning difficulties through observation etc. when we should be focusing on healing their gut.
  10. Antibodies are developed against the proteins that aren’t digested properly and because food proteins resemble our own bodies proteins, the antibodies mistakenly attack the wrong ones. This leads to the development of an autoimmune disease.
  11. There are over 200 autoimmune diseases in the world at the moment.
  12. The immune system’s first response is inflammation. Take for example arthritis, toxins that leak out of the digestive system attach themselves to collagen in joints and the immune system no longer recognises the structure of your collagen and attacks it, causing pain.
  13. The cellular regeneration process means that every three months you have a new liver in your body. This process also allows the human body to heal and repair itself.
  14. You brain might be very far away from your digestive tract but if your gut is unhealthy you brain won’t be either, think of it as a tree sitting in bad soil and the fact the leaves will never be able to thrive.
  15. ‘Whole grain’ is the new ‘low-fat’ but whole grains can still have a high glycemic index.
  16. Not all fats are bad, we just need to make sure we are eating the right ones e.g. avocado, nuts, olive oil.
  17. Social networks play a huge part in eating habits and behaviour, a person is more likely to be obese if they have a friend who is obese than if both their parents are.
  18. Some gluten free flours (rice and potato flours) have a higher glycemic index than many gluten containing flours.
  19. It is better to eat something sweet than eat something that is artificially sweetened. Artificial sweeteners contain no calories but increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes, is highly addictive and over consumption leads to fat storage, increased appetite and slow metabolism.

Some interesting quotes from the interviews

  • “We have to detect the triggers which are responsible for the induction of autoimmune reactivity and not wait until the patient has full-blown autoimmune disease.” - Dr. Vojdani
  • “The fact that your doctor doesn’t know that something is curable doesn’t mean that the knowledge don’t exist elsewhere” - Dr. McBride comments on the fast she believes mainstream media doesn't have a monopoly on knowledge.
  • "It is not about calories in, calories out. Its about lowering gut inflammation. And, gluten and dairy and sugar increase inflammation in your body." - Erica Kasuli
  • “Fat makes you thin, And sugar makes you fat” - Dr. Hyman
  • “Health doesn’t happen in the doctor’s office. Health happens where we live, in out kitchens, where we cook, where we eat. It happens where we work, where we play, where we pray. That's where health happens.” - Dr Hyman.
  • “Gluten is not an essential nutrient. There’s no reason that you have to eat bread. In fact, our ancestors didn't even start eating bread until 10,00 years ago. And, we've been around for quite a lot longer than that.” - Dr Hyman.

Check out our re-caps from the other days of The Gluten Summit