Zonulin is called a "gatekeeper" of the tight junctures in our intestine and blood brain barrier...when the levels of zonulin go up, it opens the junctures and keeps them open until the levels go down again. Tight junctures bind one cell to the next, and are also called Zonula Occludens (ZO).
When gluten is ingested, these junctures open and allow proteins to pass into the blood stream which wreaks havoc on our bodies, ie) gluten ataxia.
As of now avoiding gluten is the only way to keep zonulin levels at bay.
Joan Beal, one of the greatest advocates for CCSVI research in MS posted on her facebook page the following summary:
Gliadin, one of the proteins in gluten is described in this abstract as the cause for increased Zonulin in people with Celiac disease as well as people without Celiac.
We all have control over what we ingest. It’s not easy to change old habits but it’s not impossible. Since Devin’s diagnosis of MS, the whole family has been gluten free and not only are we enjoying the challenge but we are enjoying the GF foods and feeling of well being.
Here’s a yummy GF recipe:
Artichoke and Basil Pesto
* 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
* 3 large cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
* 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon gray salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 packages frozen artichokes
* 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a deep ovenproof pan, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Add the frozen artichokes and mix to coat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven, and cook until the artichokes are browned in spots and tender when pierced, about 35 minutes. Allow the artichokes to cool in the liquid.
Remove the bay leaf. Put the cooled artichokes with the liquid into a blender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and basil leaves and process until smooth.
Basil is a good source of vitamin A, which helps to prevent damage to the cells by free radicals. Vitamin A also prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream, preventing the cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels.
Magnesium is also present in basil. This essential mineral helps the heart and blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow.