The day after speaking at the YPSI Dr. O'Bryan flew to Boston to speak at the Harvard Medical School to speak for the first time on "The Dangers of a Gluten-free Diet". Which is a tremendous milestone in the global consciousness of the effects on gluten and his work. dr O'Bryan started teaching 10 years ago and I met him for the first time 9 years ago when he was the "new doctor on the block" that was all about gluten and its effects - good and bad.
This year I invited him to speak at the YPSI on gluten sensitivity and autoimmunity, two topics that go far beyond: "Gluten is bad, just don't eat it" and "an autoimmune response, thats something someone has when they are really sick “.
Despite me having done a lot of research on both topics and having heard Dr. O'Bryan twice before, there were about two dozens of pearls of knowledge that were completely new to me during the 2 day seminar. Three of those pearls I have learned are:
1. 78% of all prebiotics consumed come from wheat
A prebiotic is a compound in food that induces the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria. The most common example is in the gastrointestinal tract, where prebiotics can alter the composition of organisms in the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are typically non-digestible fiber compounds that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria that colonize the large bowel by acting as substrate for them. There are many different prebiotics and interestingly the most consumed prebiotic in north america is found in wheat. Which means taking wheat away such as on a gluten free diet does have some severe downsides next to many benefits. Downsides that need to be taken care of as the goal is not to put out a fire on one side of the forest while another fire starts on the other side.
2. Going gluten free can increase inflammation by up to 47%
Gluten is known to be an inflammatory food. Yet, just taking gluten away and substituting it with gluten free foods does actually lead to an increase in inflammation in many. Again, the goal is not to put out a fire on one side of the forest while another fire starts on the other side. Therefore a gluten free diet is part of a comprehensive approach to improving health and wellbeing. Yet, just going gluten free without a holistic approach will often not provide the results wanted and research has shown that going gluten free by itself can increase inflammation by up to 47%. Which is the exact opposite of the original goal why one goes gluten free. Therefore a gluten free diet is not the solution, yet its definitely part of the solution for many.
3. Blood circulation in the upper back is highly dependent on liver function
The liver is the body oil filter. All foods and nutrients digested by the intestines and taken up by the blood will pass the liver before they are distributed throughout the body. With humans having about 4.5 to 7 liters of blood depending on gender and size the liver processes a total of about 2300 liters of blood every single day. Acting as an oil filter the liver basically flushes blood from the the bottom front to the rear top making sure that the engines of the body have maximum output of power. Yet if the livers ability to process nutrients is comprised, which can be shown in elevated liver enzymes and antibodies, this blood flow is diminished. Like in a filter that is clogged. This decreased blood flow through the liver does actually decrease blood flow to the upper back. And the upper back has a multitude of highly important muscles for upper body strength, shoulder health and optimal posture. Those muscles metabolism is dependent on blood flow primarily to transport nutrients to and waste products from the cell. Therefore optimal liver function is a backbone of a strong and healthy upper back.
dr O'Bryan did a great job presenting over 300 scientific papers transformed into bits and pieces that can be applied in real life and can be passed on the clients and everyone to great greater awareness of the facets of gluten sensitivity and autoimmunity. And provide practical solutions such as a homemade high-pectin apple sauce that has been proven to heal a leaky gut with minimal preparation, effort and investment.
All the Best to all the Trainers and Doctors who attended and themselves and their clients/patients with the successful application for more wellbeing, energy and performance!
Pictures: dr O'Bryan speaking at the YPSI.