There’s a significant link between Candida and gluten. Let’s start by talking about a protein called HWP1, or hyphal wall protein 1. Candida creates this protein so that it can hook up to the intestinal wall. The immune system doesn’t recognize HWP1 as foreign when the Candida is alive. Interestingly, the amino acid configuration of HWP1 is very similar to the amino acid configuration of two proteins found in gluten called gliadin proteins.
There are about seven different proteins found in gluten, but alpha and gamma gliadin look very much like HWP1.
The immune system does not mount a response to HWPI when the protein is intact. However, HWP1 is not a very stable protein because Candida has a limited life span. It lives and dies repeatedly. Candida replicates by sending out spores and hyphae. The amount of Candida replication that occurs will depend on the bacterial balance in your gut.
Eventually, as a Candida cell dies, it leaves the shell of the HWP1 behind. HWP1 starts to denature, and now the immune system does recognize it as a foreign substance. The immune system then mounts an attack on the protein. This attack can spread to gluten proteins due to the similarity between HWP and alpha and gamma gliadin. The end result can be the beginning of an autoimmune process.
It’s a very interesting concept. I’ve seen in many people that once we eradicate Candida, they can eat gluten again.
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In other words, going gluten-free doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
Just because your healthcare professional tells you to avoid gluten does not mean you have to avoid gluten for the rest of your life.
There are some conditions autoimmune conditions, like psoriasis, for example, that I see a lot in my clinical practice. Our clinic has found that up to 65% of people with psoriasis have Candida. I can tell you now from my experience that when you eradicate Candida in these patients, they can tolerate gluten again. It’s absolutely true. I’ve seen this in the clinic numerous times.
There are reasons why people become gluten intolerant, but sometimes the reasons get missed. Rather than adopting a gluten-free diet and leaving it there, I believe it’s essential to investigate why people become intolerant to a particular food or substance. Is it because they are drinking too much alcohol? Is it because they’re not sleeping enough? Have they got a high-stress lifestyle? What is undermining their system to decrease the tolerability of gluten? Have they got HWP1 protein? What is going on in their digestive system?
With a bit of investigation and insight into the state of the GI tract, these problems can often be solved.