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Gluten often refers to storage proteins found in all grains. These storage proteins are beneficial in food production, adding flavor, texture or thickening. Gluten found in wheat, rye, barley and hybrids of these grains have a similar in amino acid structure known to cause problems for persons with gluten-related disorders.
Gluten can cause health problems for persons with gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis and other forms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten causes small intestinal damage for persons with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, leading to mal-absorption, malnutrition, and associated health conditions.
Autoimmune gluten disorders include celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. Autoimmune conditions must be triggered to become active. Once activated autoimmune conditions do not go away. Persons with these conditions will suffer tissue damage in the intestine or skin when eating gluten. They may suffer a number of symptoms and related health issues as a result. Gluten sensitivity (also known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity) is an innate immune response, similar in reaction to lactose intolerance. Although this type of reaction does not cause damage to the intestine or skin, it may cause inflammation and other health-related problems. Avoiding gluten is the only way for persons with gluten-related disorders to maintain good health.
The FDA ruled that for a product to be labeled as “gluten-free” it must either not involve any gluten-containing ingredients, or if it does have gluten-containing ingredients, the product must be processed to remove gluten and the final product must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
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