THE DANGERS OF CORN GLUTEN
Years ago I went with a friend of mine to see a highly successful nutritionist in Atlanta. He advised us to get off products that had gluten in them, including wheat, because it gummed up our intestines and impaired absorption of valuable nutrients. He emphasized the fact that we get the term glue from gluten. He added that the gluten was indigestible and just harmed our bodies because of the gumming up process. At this time corn gluten was not yet a popular ingredient in dog foods. As years passed we were carrying a major dog food highly recommended especially by dog show participants. This company’s dog food did not contain corn gluten, but their cat food did. I called them enough times and was finally able to reach their head nutritionist. I asked him why their cat food contained corn gluten, for which he gave an answer having to do with ash content and the resulting urinary difficulties in cats. I told him that my nutritionist said that I could not digest gluten, to which he readily agreed. I then posed the question, “If I can’t digest gluten, and I’m more herbivorous that a cat, how come a cat can?” His answer was, “Good question.” Then I asked him about the digestibility studies of the corn gluten in their cat food. With a shuffling of papers he embarrassingly said that he would have to get back to me on that. I currently do not recommend food for dogs, cats or humans that contains gluten.
I repeat, there is a general principle that allergies are cumulative. The straw that breaks the camel’s back routine. There is phenomenon that those of us that work with allergies recognize termed “the itch threshold.” An animal is able to tolerate several allergies without being noticeably adversely affected. This does not mean that there will not be bio chemical changes that will have been noticed or not, or detected or not with blood chemistry assays. When the range for a particular enzyme which is released upon cellular damage is from 10 to 110 this leaves a lot of leeway for less than optimum function or undetected pathology. There could be a lot of dysfunction, but not what is determined to be above the unacceptable. Just because it is within the normal range that does not mean it is optimal or desirable. So what does an inflammatory response trigger? It should say: “Get out of me now! Get this off of me! Itch, scratch me. Vomit, diarrhea.”
We have found because foods are somewhat limited and are constant in an animal’s environment, allergies to them are more easily detected and dealt with than pollens from crops, grasses, trees, molds, and household antigens. The goal is a compromise. Get the dog below the adversity threshold level. Get him to where he can tolerate life and not have diarrhea or itch incessantly. This should be able to be done without having to have monthly visits to the vet clinic for corticoid steroid injections. We also hope another result will be optimum health beyond expectations.
For many years veterinarians and allergists essentially left the cause of allergies blank because they did not know the answer. It appears now that a good working theory, even if not complete, is that animals, including people, develop allergies as a defense mechanism to make us uncomfortable so we will avoid a situation that has caused us trauma in the past. This can either be emotional or physical trauma. For a dog, this could be the introduction of a new four-legged canine family member. Dogs are pack animals with their own personalities and hierarchy. The new addition may decide he wants the old member’s pack position and then there might be a dominance struggle that could last for years with the resulting emotional and physical trauma. Another emotional event for man’s best friend is the addition of a human to the household or the loss of a family member. The true story of Hachiko (an Akita who mourned the death of his owner) is a good example that we have seen played out, although less dramatically, in many cases of loss either through death or divorce.
We have also seen cases of emotional trauma and depression from the loss of a close canine soul mate. As sensitive and caring guardians it would be wise for us to anticipate the long term effects of this trauma and give our friends emotional support such as more one on one & play time. Additional help would also come with the use of Bach flower therapy, essential oils or other natural treatments to minimize the trauma and avoid its consequences. Trauma could also be caused by a trip to a boarding facility, being spayed, neutered, a serious illness or accident. All of these trauma producing events are likely to produce an allergy.
Years ago, while being mentored in deliverance ministry, I was taught by a very knowledgeable lady that allergies were a sign of a demonic spirit of infirmity. I am not sure that developing an allergy as a consequence to an extremely traumatic event is not a natural occurrence. This would be a design in our makeup that has been found beneficial in the long haul or we would not have it. When the situation gets to be excessive or out of the ordinary, I believe we need to look at it from another perspective or at least consider other alternatives or my mentor’s advice.