WGA – The Other Gut Buster in Wheat

The gliadin proteins in wheat open and penetrate the gastrointestinal lining because of their unique ability to activate zonulin.  Not only increasing the permeability of our gut, but forcing our body to launch an immune response. Which presents itself as inflammation, or a more serious degenerative condition, depending on our genetic susceptibility.


Unfortunately, gliadin isn’t the only leaky gut promoter in wheat and other grains. As lectins have been implicated for causing intestinal damage and promoting inflammation, because of their shared ability to bind to tissue molecules and cause long-term damage.

One of the major differences with lectins, is that they’re present in a variety of other foods (legumes, nuts, seeds). Serving as a defense mechanism for plants, who can’t exactly ‘fight back,’ but need to reproduce and protect future generations.

As previously discussed, these anti-nutrients are one of the reasons individuals relying heavily on grains and legumes end up malnourished. And the same reason we don’t want to be relying on nuts and seeds as a dietary staple.


Of all the lectins, wheat-germ agglutinin (WGA) found in grains appears to be the most disruptive. Mainly because of it’s ability to bind to organs and tissues in humans;  specifically those lining the gut. Giving it the opportunity to squeeze into the cells, disturb the immune system, and provoke an inflammatory response (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Similar to what we saw with gliadin, WGA also appears to be able to cross the intestinal barrier (1, 2, 3, 4). And although individuals with celiac disease seem to exhibit more WGA antibodies, they’re also present in ‘healthy’ individuals.  Meaning, regardless or whether you’re sensitive, allergic, or non-of-the-above, WGA can trigger an immune response and bust up your gut.


Throw in a little permeation and penetration from the gliadin proteins, and you can see why going ‘Wheat-Free‘ is highly recommended.

Along with a regular dose of glucosamine-rich bone broth to heal and seal the gut, and inhibit any future damage.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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