What is gluten?
Gluten is an amorphous ergastic protein found combined with starch in the endosperm of most cereals. It constitutes about 80% of the proteins contained in wheat and is composed of the proteins gliadine and glutenine. Gluten is responsible for the elasticity of kneaded dough which allows it to be leavened, as well as the "chewiness" of baked products like bagels.
Gluten can be extracted from the flour of wheat and other grains by washing the starch out. To do this, a simple dough of flour and water is rinsed with plain water and kneaded until the rinsing water remains clear and free from starch and bran. For chemical, non-food purposes, a saline solution provides better results. The remaining lump of gluten should have a stringy, sticky texture reminiscent of chewing gum.
Cooked gluten becomes firm to the bite and soaks up a certain amount of the surrounding broth and its taste. It is therefore commonly used in Chinese Buddhist and vegetarian cuisine, where it is also called seitan. Some consider it a convincing imitation meat, when the broth is flavored accordingly. In the process of baking, gluten is responsible for keeping the fermentation gases in the dough, allowing it to rise. After baking, the coagulated gluten ensures that the final product keeps its shape.
Some people have an allergy to gluten and must go on a gluten-free diet. In their case, the gluten damages the mucosa of the small intestine in a way that a normal digestion becomes impossible. After avoiding gluten completely, the intestine will return to functioning normally.
People with celiac disease have a hereditary, genetic predisposition to autoimmune reaction to gluten in their digestive system and must avoid it entirely. People with autism and autistic spectrum disorders, like Asperger's syndrome, may be sensitive to gluten and casein (a protein in milk). See more at gluten-free, casein-free diet. Another condition which may cause one to follow a gluten-free diet is dermatitis herpetiformis.
Gluten is found in most cereals (e.g., wheat, rye and barley) and their end products. No gluten is contained in rice, soybean (soya), maize (corn), buckwheat, and sunflower seeds, for example. Oats and Teffs do not contain gluten, but are usually milled on the same equipment as other grains that do, and so are commonly contaminated.
More information on malabsorption (celiac disease, lactose intolerance, Whipple's disease)
What is malabsorption? - Malabsorption is the inability to absorb nutrients through the gut lining into the bloodstream. Malabsorption is the failure of the GI tract to absorb one or more substances from the diet.
What causes malabsorption? - The causes of malabsorption include cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, Whipple disease, acrodermatitis enteropathica, biliary atresia, pernicious anemia.
What are the symptoms of malabsorption? - The signs and symptoms of malabsorption may include failure to thrive, diarrhea, cramping, frequent bulky stools, bloating, flatulence, and abdominal distention.
How is malabsorption diagnosed? - The diagnosis of malabsorption syndrome and identification of the underlying cause can require extensive diagnostic testing.
What's the treatment for malabsorption? - Treatment of malabsorption is the treatment of the causing disease. Fluid and nutrient monitoring and replacement is essential for individual with malabsorption syndrome.
What is celiac disease? - Celiac disease is a sensitivity to gluten, a wheat protein. Individuals with this disease must avoid gluten-containing grains, which include all forms of wheat, oats, barley, and rye.
What is gluten? - Gluten is a protein in grains such as wheat, oats, rye, and barley. Gluten is responsible for the elasticity of kneaded dough which allows it to be leavened.
What causes celiac disease? - The exact cause of celiac disease is not known. The principal cause of the disorder is an immunologic reaction to components of certain dietary glutens.
What are the symptoms of celiac disease? - The symptoms of celiac disease (CD) vary so widely among patients that there is no such thing as a typical celiac. Symptoms may or may not occur in the digestive system.
How is celiac disease diagnosed? - Celiac disease may be diagnosed by observing the symptoms after an infant begins eating cereals. The diagnosis is suspected when a person has the above-mentioned symptoms.
What are the treatments for celiac disease? - Many of the effects of celiac disease can be treated and minimized with a special diet. People with celiac disease learn to avoid the proteins in cereal.
Celiac disease and gluten-free diet - A gluten-free diet is a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten containing cereals, wheat, oats, barley and rye.
What is lactose intolerance? - Lactose intolerance is a set of symptoms resulting from the body's inability to digest the milk sugar called lactose. Lactose is sugar occuring naturally in milk and is also called milk sugar.
What causes lactose intolerance? - Primary lactase deficiency is a genetically inherited. Secondary lactase deficiency is a transient state of lactase deficiency due to damage to the lining of the intestine.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance? - People with lactose intolerance usually cannot tolerate milk and other dairy products. The symptoms of lactose intolerance are dose-dependent.
How is lactose intolerance diagnosed? - Lactose intolerance is widely regarded as a medical condition. The most common test for lactose intolerance is the hydrogen breath test.
What's the treatment for lactose intolerance? - Lactose intolerance can be controlled and treated through diet by avoiding foods containing lactose, primarily dairy products.
Manage lactose intolerance with lactose-free diet - People who are very sensitive to lactose should be aware that lactose is widely used as an ingredient in many ready-made meals and other food products.
What is Whipple's disease? - Whipple's disease is a malabsorption disease. It interferes with the body's ability to absorb certain nutrients.
What causes Whipple's disease? - Whipple's disease is caused by the organism Tropheryma whippelii. The disease causes lesions on the wall of the small intestine and thickening of the tissue.
What are the symptoms of Whipple's disease? - Whipple's disease causes weight loss, irregular breakdown of carbohydrates and fats, resistance to insulin, and malfunctions of the immune system.
How is Whipple's disease diagnosed? - Whipple's disease is diagnosed through a tissue sample (biopsy) of the small intestine, or of an enlarged lymph node.
What is the treatment for Whipple's disease? - Whipple's disease is treated with antibiotics to destroy the bacteria that cause the disease, treatment may also include fluid and electrolyte replacement.