What is Gluten anyway?
When flour is mixed with water, gluten forms a sticky cross-linked network of proteins, giving elastic properties to dough and allowing bread to rise when baked. The name gluten is actually derived from these glue-like properties. What does that tell you?
When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is acting as a bacteria. Certain peoples immune systems mount to attack the gluten. In celiac disease (the most severe form of gluten sensitivity), the immune system attacks the gluten proteins, but it also attacks an enzyme in the cells of the digestive tract called tissue transglutaminase.
The immune reaction can cause degeneration of the intestinal wall, which leads to nutrient deficiencies, various digestive issues, anemia, fatigue, failure to thrive as well as an increased risk of many serious diseases. These symptoms are what is known as Celiac Disease. Keep in mind that a large percentage of celiacs don’t even have abdominal symptoms, making diagnosis on clinical grounds very difficult.