Does Wheat Germ Contain Gluten?
Before I answer this question, let me explain what gluten actually is and what it does:
What is Gluten?
Gluten from the Latin name gluten or “glue” is made up of 2 proteins, glutenin and gliadin found primarily in the endosperm – the inside of the wheat kernel and other related grains such as rye and barley.
As the Latin translation indicates, it has a white, sticky, glue-like texture that provides foods such as dough its elasticity, helping it to rise and keep its shape. All breads, other than those specifically ‘gluten free’ contain gluten.
Its useful, binding properties mean gluten is found in a wide number of foods and recipes and is often used as a protein additive to foods low in protein.
Unfortunately a large proportion (knowingly or not) have a gluten intolerance in varying degrees, and consuming just a small amount can lead to a number of health related issues.
For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, the protein found in gluten, attacks the small intestine lining and causes damage to the tiny villi, which absorb nutrients. As a result the body is unable to absorb most of the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain healthy, leading to autoimmune disorders.
The Center for Celiac Disease Research at the University of Maryland states that as many as 1 in 150 people has a sensitivity to gluten and is one of the most common, life-long disorders in western countries.
If you have intestinal related problems that have been ongoing for a prolonged period of time, you should ask your doctor to test you for gluten intolerance.
People with celiac disease potentially suffer from a long list of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is now being recognized by some researchers as being caused by celiac disease.
Once diagnosed and gluten is totally eliminated from the diet, the intestines and villi will make a full recovery. A this present time, this is the only treatment for gluten intolerance and will need to be avoided for the rest of your life.
So Does Wheat Germ Contain Gluten?
The short answer is wheat germ is not gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten or any condition where gluten needs to be avoided, then you should avoid eating wheat germ.
Some people with a gluten intolerance can tolerate a small amount of gluten and wheat germ would probably be fine for most, as the amounts are particularly small. But the bottom line is, that it does contain gluten, so be warned.
Although wheat germ does contain gluten, it is insignificant to the point that you wouldn’t consider it for baking, i.e there’s not enough to use it as an ingredient for a recipe.
If you have any questions or comments regarding wheat germ and gluten, please drop them below.