A reader asks: “Do sprouted or germinated grains contain gluten? I am gluten sensitive and want to know if they can affect my health.”
I’m very glad this question was asked. I address it one on one with patients frequently and there definitely seems to be some false information out on the internet that is likely propagating the confusion.
So here you go; the definitive answer:
Sprouted glutinous grains (wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats) still have the protein gluten present. I believe the confusion comes from the fact that the act of sprouting begins some enzymatic breakdown of the protein and for those who are not gluten intolerant but merely have difficulty digesting certain grains, sprouting can make that process of digestion easier. These people notice that they don’t have the same symptoms from eating sprouted bread as they do from eating non-sprouted regular bread.
But in NO WAY does sprouting eliminate gluten from the grain and these sprouted grains are NOT SAFE for anyone with gluten intolerance – celiac nor gluten sensitivity.
Do realize that one of the major problems associated with gluten intolerance is the “silent”, insidious nature of it. While many people notice immediate symptoms when eating gluten, about 75% notice no digestive symptoms, and some notice very little symptoms at all. Unfortunately that doesn’t lessen your chances of developing autoimmune diseases, nervous system damage and intestinal cancer, to name a few. Some of these serious conditions do develop silently and your first knowledge of the damage comes with the diagnosis of a disease.
I’m not trying to scare you but the theme of early diagnosis rings out in much of the scientific research being performed during the last decade. We know the association with gluten and autoimmune disease. What’s the recommendation? Diagnose the problem with gluten early in life so as to prevent its development.
We know the association between gluten and depression in children and adults. What’s the recommendation? Diagnose the problem with gluten early in life so as to prevent the needless suffering and use of dangerous anti-depressants.
To you see the theme? It goes on and on. From osteoporosis to infertility, from psoriasis to obesity - the list of symptoms is very long and the recommendations are always the same.
So please do not fall into the trap of eating gluten (even in a slightly predigested fashion) and thinking it’s okay because it doesn’t initiate certain symptoms. If you’ve already determined that you are gluten intolerant then don’t play Russian roulette with your health.
And lastly, not to confuse the matter, but the grass of the grain is gluten-free for approximately the first 10-14 days of growth. Beyond that point “jointing” occurs which is the development process whereby the grain forms and gluten becomes present. This means that if you drank wheat juice made from the grass only (and it was less than 10 days old – pre-jointing phase) it would be a gluten-free product. But I must emphasize that would be consuming the grass only, NOT the grass PLUS the rest of the grain such as what is used in sprouted breads.
I would recommend that if you do choose to ingest a greens drink that you ensure that the company tests their products thoroughly to ensure that they are gluten-free.
I hope that helps. I am bound and determined to clear up this misinformation!
Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Yours in health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”