Discover 10 most common symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten-free seems to be the buzz word of late, but it’s with good reason. Gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and oats is generally foreign to the gut lining, creating an inflammatory process by chipping away at the walls of the gut, which includes the throat, esophagus, stomach, and small & large intestines. This leads to an influx of food particles, parasites, toxins, and chemicals to enter the blood stream directly versus being processed in the liver first. This apparent wave of “foreign” particulate creates a direct autoimmune reaction, as the body strives to protect itself from these perceived “invaders”. What was a sandwich made on rye bread now becomes a toxin to the body’s immune system.
Gluten has been linked to over 55 illnesses and neurological diseases because of the way it interferes with the body’s natural immunity and creates widespread inflammatory reactions. (Hyman, 2012) Some of the most commonly associated diseases include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, and migraines, among many others.
So could you have gluten intolerance? The only way to really know is to eliminate gluten entirely from the diet for a period of 3-4 weeks. Even trace amounts of gluten can create a cascade of inflammatory processes that can exacerbate symptoms. Blood work to test for antibodies to gluten and elevated immunoglobulin’s A, G, and E; food allergy testing through blood work; and, the most invasive procedure, endoscopic scopes of the upper and lower digestive tracts can also determine gluten intolerance.
Ask your doctor, naturopath, or nutritionist about gluten-sensitivity testing if you have any of the following diagnoses or symptoms:
- Frequent digestive troubles, including gas, bloat, diarrhea & constipation
- Thick, bumpy skin on the backs of the arms. A dermatologist may have diagnosed it as Keratosis Pilaris.
- Feeling foggy-brained and fatigued, especially after eating gluten-filled foods.
- Any diagnosis of autoimmune disease, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Feeling dizzy and off-balance, as if you have “sea legs”.
- Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS, and infertility.
- Migraine headaches.
- A diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia. These are actually the result of multiple underlying disorders.
- Hip, knee, hand, and finger pain caused by inflammation.
- Frequent mood swings, ADD, anxiety and depression.(Myers, 2013)
If you believe you qualify for potential gluten intolerance, start by removing gluten from your diet. Read food labels, as there are oftentimes hidden sources of gluten in many food sources. Try eating fresh foods as much as possible and cook your own meals instead of consuming processed or fast foods, which tend to have an exorbitant amount of gluten-containing ingredients. If, after 3-4 weeks, you start feeling better, chances are you, like many others, are sensitive to gluten. Contact your local nutritionist to learn even more about gluten and food sensitivities and how to effectively remove them from your diet.
Contributed by Terri Caunt R.N., B.S.N.
Hyman, D. M. (2012, December 13). Dr. Mark Hyman. Retrieved May 14, 2015, from drhyman.com: drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/12/how-do-I-know-if-im-gluten-intolerant/
Myers, D. A. (2013, January 22). 10 signs you’re gluten intolerant. Retrieved May 19, 2015, from mindbodygreen.com: www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7482/10-signs-youre-gluten-intolerant.html