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Understanding Gluten

Understanding Gluten

Vivioptal Vitamins / Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

There seems to be a lot of confusion about gluten, so let’s explore exactly what gluten is, and what its role is in human nutrition. It seems to be fashionable right now to shun gluten as harmful and something to be avoided at all costs, but such a black and white evaluation may not tell the whole story. Websites all over the net tout products that contain zero gluten, Vivioptal multivitamins included. However, it’s not always clear why gluten is singled out for systematic removal.

It’s high time to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and talk about gluten!  What is it?  Where does it come from? And why is it important that Vivioptal Vitamins don’t contain any of it? At Vivioptal, we want our customers to be educated about why our high quality multivitamin supplements are gluten free.

  • What is gluten, and where does it come from?

Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat and other grains. Its name comes from the Latin word for “glue”, and it serves to gives structure to the inner portion of the grain seed. Like all proteins, most people digest gluten normally and use gluten’s component amino acids as building blocks to build muscle.

  • How is gluten useful in the human diet?

Gluten has a central role in human nutrition. In addition to being useful in its own right as a source of amino acids, it is the protein that allows bread to rise! Glutenis quite “sticky” and when yeast in dough produces carbon dioxide during fermentation, gluten traps the small bubbles, causing the dough to inflate, or “rise.”

  • Is gluten unhealthy?

Not for most people!  In fact, gluten is a natural, normally occurring component of many types of cereal grains that people have been cultivating and eating for thousands of years. Gluten is present naturally in many types of breads, pastas, and cereals that contain healthy vitamins and minerals in addition to their gluten content.

  • Why can’t some people eat gluten?

Some people suffer adverse reactions to gluten that cause abdominal and gastrointestinal distress, bloating, diarrhea, and/or inflammation of intestinal lining. These people may suffer from any number of wheat allergies, gluten sensitivity or intolerance, or Celiacs disease.

  • I’ve heard a lot about gluten-free diets. What are the benefits and drawbacks?

For individuals with gluten sensitivity, removing gluten from their diet is the only sure way to avoid symptoms. However, because gluten is found in grains that are extremely nutritious like bread and pastas, people who eliminate those foods run the risk of missing out on grains’ healthy vitamins and minerals. People who avoid gluten risk vitamin and mineral deficiency, and are advised to supplement their diets with multivitamin and mineral supplements.

With more information, you can choose for yourself whether gluten fits well into your diet. The fact is, only about 6% of the population suffers from gluten sensitivity, so chances are pretty slim that you need to remove gluten from your diet. But, if gluten does cause you problems, Vivioptal multivitamins are a great choice because they contain no gluten.

 

References

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/my01140

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3292448/

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