In today’s world, there are many dietary and environmental triggers that can cause inflammation in the body, resulting in noticeable effects in the gut and the brain.


When inflammation is present chronically, it begins to cause havoc within body tissues, triggering many problems with a person’s overall health. Some dietary proteins, such as dairy proteins (eg, casein) and gluten, can be especially problematic because of the immune reactivity and inflammation they cause in sensitive individuals.(1) Being physically active, getting adequate sleep, and reducing stress and exposure to toxins are all helpful ways to reduce inflammation.(2 3 4 5) However, without eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet, the body can never truly heal despite other efforts due to chronic irritation of the immune system.(1 5)

There is growing awareness that suboptimal gut health may lead to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier and substances like gluten and casein then “leak” through the gut wall and trigger an immune reaction. This is commonly known as “leaky gut” – a recognized contributor to gluten and dairy intolerance.(5)

This leaky gut process and the subsequent immune reactivity result in inflammation locally, in the intestines, as well as at other sites throughout the body.(6) When inflammation is present, the potential for health conditions to develop or worsen is much greater. For instance, inflammation in the gut may lead to inflammation in the brain! As you can imagine, this can be extremely detrimental to your cognitive function and your overall health.(7 8)

In addition to refraining from gluten- and casien-containing foods, there are two critical steps you can take to intervene in this immune-inflammation process when exposures do occur:

  • improve digestion of gluten and casein
  • reduce the inflammation that such proteins trigger

To effectively address this cascade of events, digestion and inflammation are equally important considerations.


Dietary Supplementation


Enzymes for Gluten and Dairy Digestion

Enzymes act as catalysts in the body, allowing specific reactions to occur. One important reaction includes the breakdown of food proteins. Commonly, those with compromised digestion, gastrointestinal function, or immune function have difficulty making and utilizing enzymes to break down food.(9) Particularly troublesome proteins to break down for these individuals are gluten and those found in dairy. In individuals with gluten or dairy sensitivities or those with celiac disease, specific enzymes, known as DPP IV and brush border enzymes, tend to be less active.(6 9) This classification of enzymes is especially important because they are responsible for the final digestion of proteins. Supplementation with these enzymes may help to break down the proteins gluten and casein allowing for less reactivity by the body’s immune and less inflammation as a result.(9)


Flavonoids for Inflammation

Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds derived from plants that help to reduce inflammation.(4 10) These compounds are especially useful at reducing the effects of excessive immune activation, resulting in reduced inflammation throughout the entire body.(6)

For instance, the antioxidant compounds lycopene and quercetin may reduce the effects of inflammation caused by gluten exposure in gluten-sensitive individuals.(11) Luteolin may reduce inflammatory signaling in areas of the gut and even affect how specific genes linked to cancer are expressed.(12) Apigenin is an anti[1] Inflammatory flavonoid found in chamomile and present in other common fruits and vegetables.(13) It is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is the main active in the spice turmeric. It is a powerful systemic anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that is thought to be particularly beneficial to brain tissue.(14)


Final Remarks

Dairy proteins and gluten can trigger inflammation in the body through immune signaling and chronic gut irritation leaving you at higher risk for many health conditions. Even despite vigilant efforts to eliminate these from your diet accidental exposures can often Thankfully specific compounds including digestive enzymes and flavonoids can help reduce protein exposures and support the immune system respectively. These help your immune system to work for you rather than against you.



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