A type of protein, gluten is composed of glutenin and gliadin molecules that form an elastic bond when mixed with water. Gluten is highly noted for its adhesive abilities that can maintain a compact structure for holding bread and cakes together, and providing a spongier texture. This ability isn’t surprising, considering that the word “gluten” is derived from the Latin word for “glue.”

While it does wonders for these foods, the same cannot be said for your body. Research has shown that gluten can be quite harmful for you because of the vast range of complications it might cause.

A major caveat linked to gluten is its tendency to impede proper nutrient breakdown and absorption from foods, regardless if they have gluten or not. This may prevent proper digestion because excess gluten leads to the formation of a glued-together constipating lump in the gut. Afterward, the undigested gluten prompts the immune system to attack the villi, or the fingerlike projections lining your small intestine.1 This may lead to side effects such as  diarrhea or constipation, nausea and abdominal pain.

Excessive gluten consumption and further small intestine damage and inflammation may predispose a person to nutrient malabsorption, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, osteoporosis, other neurological or psychological diseases, and complications linked to the skin, liver, joints, nervous system and more.

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