Could wheat allergies be a pesticide problem?

Could wheat allergies be a pesticide problem?

Wheat allergies and celiac disease seem to become more prevalent every year. Have we suddenly become intolerant to gluten, or is something else going on?

For some folks, going gluten free is about losing weight or eating clean, but for people coping with allergies or celiac disease, avoiding wheat is not a lifestyle choice. It’s a necessity. For years, we’ve blamed a wheat allergy on gluten intolerance, but new research is pointing to another possible culprit: Monsanto’s Roundup.

Related: In Defense of Gluten

Conventional wheat is not genetically modified, but there’s an alarming practice on the rise in the world of wheat. More and more conventional farmers are using glyphosate – aka Roundup – to dry out their wheat crops before harvest, reports The Healthy Home Economist. They call the practice dessication.

It turns out that drenching wheat crops in Roundup makes it easier to harvest, so farmers can harvest more wheat earlier and more quickly. In fact, glyphosate has been pushed as a dessicant since the 1980s. The practice really started taking hold in the 90s. Today, 99 percent of durum wheat – the most common type of wheat – is treated with herbicides.

When farmers use this practice, they tend to use more Roundup than even Monsanto advises. That means we are most likely seeing glyphosate residue in the wheat we eat.

When you track the prevalence of glyphosate dessication and of wheat allergies since the 1990s, you can see that they correlate strongly.

Could wheat allergies be a pesticide problem?

I know: correlation is not causation. But in this case, it seems like reason to rethink this method of farming until more research is done.

Speaking of more research! There is research suggesting that Roundup throws our gut bacteria out of whack and can even lead to wheat intolerance. And Roundup’s impacts can build up in the body over time, so the more trace amounts we eat, the more damage it can do.

Related: Gut Health: Maintaining Balance During the Changing Seasons

So, if conventional wheat is likely contaminated with glyphosate, how can we protect ourselves? The Healthy Home Economist says that choosing organic wheat is the key, since Roundup and other pesticides containing glyphosate are not allowed in organic agriculture. She recommends organic Einkorn wheat, and any organic wheat berries, organic flour, or organic bread is a healthy alternative to conventional wheat products.

Do you struggle with wheat allergies or celiac disease? Do you find that sometimes wheat does you wrong and other times you can eat wheat without so many issues? Share your experiences in the comments!

Wheat photo via Shutterstock

Written by Becky Striepe

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