#Gluten Not The Only Food To Cause Villous Atropy

I am always on the look-out for foods that can cause barrier hyper-permeability and inflammation. I know that the lectins in cereals and legumes can cause all manner of problems for us which is why they are outlawed in the Barrier Plan if we want to heal rather than inflame ourselves.

Here’s an example: an interesting study showing how soya can cause the same villous atropy signs as wheat…

A morphometric and immunohistochemical restudy was made of jejunal biopsy specimens from 5 patients with soy allergy and the results obtained were compared to those from specimens taken before soy feeding and to those at a later time. All the patients had had previous cow’s milk allergy with malabsorption. Gastrointestinal symptoms presented within two weeks of starting the soy based formula but in two patients the symptoms were mild and these patients were able to continue soy feeding. Jejunal biopsy specimens taken within 3 days from the reaction to soy showed villous atrophy associated with crypt hyperplasia and an increased cell renewal rate. Also, these specimens showed an inflammatory reaction in the lamina propria and in the epithelium, and the numbers of IgA- and IgM-containing cells were increased. Later, when the soy proteins were eliminated, the morphology of the jejunum improved and the cell numbers were reduced to normal. The intestinal damage and the local immune reaction caused by soy proteins are similar to those seen in cow’s milk allergy with malabsorption. The immunological mechanisms operating in these diseases are thought to be the cause of these changes.

SourceEur J Pediatr. 1981 Sep;137(1):63-9.

Note there too the link with dairy intolerance. OK, it was only on 5 patients but, heck, the whole gliadin thing came about because of a test on just 10 children in the 1950s!


Er, don’t think so…

Maize has also been found to be able to bind to the DQ2 and 8 coeliac genes in the same way, and possibly even better than wheat does.

An in silico analysis indicated that other zeins contain similar sequences, or sequences that may bind even better to the HLA-DQ2/DQ8 molecules compared to the already identified ones. Results concur to indicate that relative abundance of these zeins, along with factors affecting their resistance to proteolysis, may be of paramount clinical relevance, and the use of maize in the formulation and preparation of gluten-free foods must be reevaluated in some cases of celiac disease.

Source: Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Mar;67(1):24, 30.

We have a really long way to go with this area of research obviously, but I’m sure most, if not all, of the cereal and legume lectins will be found eventually to have some sort of effect on the genetically-sensitive among us.

Rather makes a mockery of only giving a gliadin free diet for coeliacs, doesn’t it? This is precisely why there are 3 approaches to gluten on this site: gliadin free, truly gluten free (all grains and dairy) and the barrier healing plan (grain, dairy, legume, lectin free).

I suppose eventually, we would need to test all the known foods and exclude them on the basis of which people show up problems to. And that’s assuming we can get a reliable testing method. For me, as soon as I find out about one or there is enough to suspect it could turn out to be a problem even if the research is not entirely robust yet, I remove it and I tell you about it. I want to heal, don’t you?


5 thoughts on “#Gluten Not The Only Food To Cause Villous Atropy

  1. Hi Micki
    I’ve been trying to go gluten free and although I’ve not had the gluten, wheat, dairy free breads I have tried to find a decent crispbread or cracker – but when I look at the contents of what goes in them it worries me that there is a whole load of stuff that I’m not happy with i.e. sugar for starters, then rice starch, maize, etc. etc. I’ve tried a high fibre one and I’ve looked at a one that is “corn” but I’m not happy about either to be honest and especially as corn doesn’t get a good press.
    What are your views? Make my own gluten free bread? Or just do without?

  2. You’ve nailed it there Micki, it IS a habit (addiction?) that we eat sandwiches, bread with meals, cereals etc. I honestly didn’t believe I could break it but I am now more than happy with my salad lunches, seedy nut breakfast and meat & veg in the evening. I make the bread to have as a snack rather than part of a meal now the habit is broken…

    • I think I went about 5 years without any form of bread-type meal. I have got back into it a bit recently having tried all our lovely nut and seed varieties but I definitely don’t think in terms of bread meals now – and I NEVER thought I would say that either 🙂 Our culture is so based around bread it seems so different to everyone else but I love my salads, soups and, have to confess, muffins (is that too bread-like?!)

  3. […] Gluten not the Only Food To cause Villous Atropy […]

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