Dr. David Clark, DC - Dallas, TX - explains the danger of eating yeast if you're gluten sensitive.
Let’s talk about the danger of eating yeast if you're gluten sensitive.
Here’s the dangerous thing...cross-reaction. This is the problem with gluten and yeast.
Gluten sensitivity means that you have an immune system reaction to the gluten---or some part of wheat---and Gluten inflames you. You start making antibodies to gluten.
Antibodies are like little flashing adhesive strobe lights that are designed to attach onto a specific invader....so that your immune system--your army--can find the invader and kill it. In gluten sensitivity, gluten is the invader.
When you have gluten sensitivity you can make these strobe lights that attach to various parts of wheat:
- wheat germ agglutinin
- whole wheat itself
When you go on a gluten-free diet, you’re not eating gluten at all anymore, or (fingers crossed) being exposed to gluten in anyway.
Over time, what's supposed to happen is that your antibodies will slowly kind of disappear. They’ll just kind of expire.
If you’re not eating gluten --- but you ARE eating something that can cross-react with gluten-- you can have a big problem.
Yeast is a cross-reactor with gluten.
Here's what that means...
Antibodies to gluten normally attach only to gluten. But, gluten antibodies CAN attach to things that "look" like gluten.
Yeast is not gluten, but looks similar enough to gluten, so that when you eat yeast...your immune system thinks you're eating gluten.
You have the same type of immune system reaction to yeast as to gluten...even though what you’re eating isn’t gluten.
What kind of yeast cross reacts?
Brewer's yeast and baker's yeast...saccharomyces cerevisiae.
That means if you’re on a gluten-free diet, and you’re eating yeast, you probably should stop and see how you feel.
There are tests you can do to see if you have elevated antibodies to these cross-reactors. But f you want to save your money...if you know you’re gluten sensitive you probably should not be eating yeast. That’s a good idea anyway...until you can do some testing and confirm it.
That means no gluten-free beer.
No gluten-free breads with yeast.
If you have been on a gluten-free diet for awhile...and you’re feeling okay but maybe it wasn’t the huge turnaround you thought...don't be surpised if you eliminate yeast and you feel better.
Important point about cross-reactors...
They do not, for sure, always cross react.
We know this can happen and does happen frequently, but cross-reaction is not guaranteed to happen. This is why Cyrex developed a test to determine if you've got elevated antibodies to dairy products, coffee or yeast.
And the line of thought goes... if you've got elevated antibodies to these things AND you’re on a gluten-free diet, chances are you’re probably cross-reacting.
Practically speaking, you just shouldn’t eat these things--especially if you have an autoimmune disease.
Know this for sure:
Cross-reaction is a real thing.
I know because I get hundreds of e-mails every month from people who say,
"I was already gluten-free. But when I eliminated milk (or coffee, or yeast) and I felt a huge difference. I didn’t know."
The light at the end of the tunnel?
Theoretically, if you avoided those things and weren’t eating gluten, and weren’t exposed for nine months or 12 months...you might--might-- be able to eat yeast without cross-reaction.
However, it is also equally possible that by eating the yeast you could stimulate more gluten antibodies and thus you start the problem all over again.
Yeast, coffee and milk are cross-reactors. To be safe you want to avoid those.
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Dr. David Clark, DC
Functional Neurologist (FACFN)
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist (ACNB)
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