A type of protein called amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) has been discovered in wheat, which can cause severe inflammation leading to chronic health conditions.Reuters

The humble cereal grain, wheat, is now accused of being harmful for our health. A type of protein -- amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) -- has been discovered in wheat, which is capable of triggering severe inflammation and can affect tissues in the gut to impact kidneys, spleen, lymph nodes and even the brain, a new study has revealed.

Though ATIs comprise only up to four percent of the total protein content in wheat, it is capable of causing adverse reactions in the gut which can spread to other tissues in our body and damage them.

"As well as contributing to the development of bowel-related inflammatory conditions, we believe that ATIs can promote inflammation of other immune-related chronic conditions outside of the bowel," researcher Detlef Schuppan was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

This protein family can make us prone to chronic ailments such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, lupus and even non-coeliac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance.

Apart from triggering these ailments, the ATIs are capable of worsening the condition by causing immune reactions.

"The type of gut inflammation seen in non-coeliac gluten sensitivity differs from that caused by coeliac disease, and we do not believe that this is triggered by gluten proteins," Schuppan said.

"Instead, we demonstrated that ATIs from wheat, that are also contaminating commercial gluten, activate specific types of immune cells in the gut and other tissues, thereby potentially worsening the symptoms of pre-existing inflammatory illnesses," Schuppan added.