Are You Gluten Intolerant?
If you're eating bulk of junk foods, copious amounts of sugars and drinking soda all the time, you likely know you are killing yourself. Right?
But could eating a slice of nice whole wheat bread be bad for you ?
Well, it can be!
Hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods is gluten.
But what you may not know about Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, oats, and barley, it can put you at risk of having a full blown Celiac's Disease or can even result in serious health complications for many.(i)
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, gluten sensitivity is “an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more”.
Gluten Intolerance at a moderate level is called Gluten Sensitivity but extreme levels of Gluten Intolerance indicates Celiac's Disease.
Gluten Intolerance have symptoms ranging from nothing at all to life-threatening conditions, like severe anemia.
However, these signs can vary from person to person, which is why diagnosing gluten intolerance can be difficult.
So if you have a hunch that you might be sensitive to gluten then check this list of potential signs of gluten intolerance and consult with a medical professional as needed.
Something you’re eating may be killing you, and you probably don’t even know it! Gluten Intolerance can be diagnosed easily.
1. GASTROINTESTINAL EFFECTS
There are many digestive issues associated with gluten intolerance. These include gas, abdominal pain or cramping, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation in children.
Also pay attention for foul-smelling stool and nausea after eating foods with gluten as that’s likely to be your body trying to tell you something.
2. MAL-ABSORPTION OF VITAMINS
If you feel like your brain is foggy or fatigued after eating a meal with gluten, this may be a sign of gluten intolerance.
You may feel faint or weak, as you fail to digest gluten and the vitamins in them.
3. SKIN RASH AND ACNE BREAKOUTS
This is due to a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency resulting in fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
Keratosis Pilaris, otherwise known as chicken skin, is a skin condition that appears as raised, hard bumps on the skin.
They look like goosebumps, but they don’t go away like goosebumps would. This skin condition along with Dermatitis Herpetiformis, a similar skin condition, has been linked to gluten intolerance.
The causes of migraines are various and mysterious, but some studies have made a connection between an increased rate of headaches and migraines in Celiac patients, compared to the general population.
Migraines are commonly caused by food intolerance like chocolate or gluten. If you get chronic migraine headaches right after eating food, it may be a gluten intolerance.
5. JOINT PAIN
Joint pain can be signs of several different autoimmune diseases. Joint pain, inflammation and swelling are common signs of gluten intolerance.
If you’re not hitting the heavyweights, logging serious miles running, or suffering from arthritis, the inflammatory response from a gluten intolerance may be one reason your system is triggering a reaction in your joints.
6. DIAGNOSIS OF AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and are experiencing some of the other symptoms we’ve mentioned, the culprit for all could be a gluten intolerance.
Many people with gluten intolerance will develop the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, especially if they also have celiac disease.
7. CHRONIC FATIGUE
A gluten-filled diet cannot only induce fatigue in someone with gluten intolerance, it can actually disrupt your sleep patterns and create a feeling of general malaise.
According to one study, a gluten intolerance may be the source of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
Many people who are diagnosed with these conditions never understand why they have them when really it’s as simple as what they’re putting in their stomachs.
When a person who is gluten intolerant eats gluten, they put their body in an inflamed state, which can make it more difficult for them to contribute to reproduction – whether male or female.
Once gluten-intolerant patients adopt a gluten-free diet, their reproductive system goes back to normal.
9. NEUROLOGICAL SYMPTOMS
Neurological issues like peripheral neuropathy (tingling in the extremities), epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and ADHD are all associated with gluten intolerance.
Interestingly enough, although gluten-intolerant individuals bear the brunt of its depression-causing properties, even those without gluten intolerance have been found to experience depression when eating it consistently.
10. HORMONE IMBALANCES
You may experience menses when you’re not expecting it, or not experience it at all when you should be.
Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS are also noticed.
You can even add mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
Gluten Intolerance: More Details
It's estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed. It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant.
A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases.
Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia , dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.
If you have gluten intolerance, you will need to correct these diseases, not by treating their symptoms, but by targeting your gluten sensitivity.
Of course, this is not to say that gluten may be the cause of all these diseases.
However, if you have chronic illnesses that do not seem to be getting better no matter what, or if they seem to be improving when you are on a gluten-free diet, it may be worthwhile to get tested for gluten intolerance, just in case it turns out to be the root cause of your chronic diseases.
There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat.
While testing can help identify gluten senstivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel.
FOODS TO AVOID
• Gluten (barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale—see www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)
• Hidden sources (soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)
For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet—no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.
Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.
Healthy Gluten Free Snacks
Research and Studies References:
(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V.
Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iii) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(iv) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(v) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vi) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders—a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord.2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(viii) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(ix) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(x) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.