Symptoms Of Gluten Sensitivity
When someone has a gluten sensitivity, they typically feel some sort of gastrointestinal symptoms triggered by the consumption of gluten. However, not all symptoms may be GI related in fact, there are hundreds of potential symptoms triggered by gluten sensitivity.
Common symptoms associated with a gluten intolerance include:
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
- Energy issues, such as anemia, chronic fatigue, low iron, weakness, low blood sugar, etc. A wonky thyroid can also be tied to energy issues.
- Skin conditions, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, keratosis pilaris, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
- Brain disorders such as depression, ADHD, migraines, anxiety and autism.
- Oral conditions, such as mouth sores, cavities, canker sores and geographic tongue.
- Fertility issues, such as infertility, irregular menstrual cycles and premature births.
- Joint pain, such as stiffness and arthritis.
- Delayed puberty, or failure to thrive and short stature in children.
While someone with gluten sensitivity doesnt experience an autoimmune reaction when he or she consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats, its certain that gluten is what is causing inflammation in their bodies, and inflammation fuels disease.
He says, Excessive inflammation pulls on your chain, and wherever the weak link in your health chain is, thats where the tissue damage will occur.
How To Avoid Getting Glutened
Now that you know how to recover, lets discuss how you can avoid the uncomfortable situation of being glutened in the first place.
Even if you eat a gluten-free diet full of fruits, vegetables, and organic sources of protein, you can still get glutened gluten is hiding everywhere! To ensure your body stays healthy and gluten-free, I recommend reading all of the nutrition labels for packaged foods and avoiding them altogether if you can.
Gluten hides behind many names in packaged and processed foods, including sauces and condiments such as soy sauce. You can easily find alternatives to mainstream processed snacks and sauces that are better for your body or you can make your own to avoid getting glutened!
In addition to hidden sources of gluten, your body may not even tolerate naturally gluten-free foods such as dairy, corn, and gluten-free grains because their proteins resemble gluten in your body. This is known as cross-reactivity. Your immune system confuses innocent sources as invaders and begins to destroy them.
This means you can still get glutened even if youre gluten-free. If you determine that there are foods that are cross-reactive for you, you will want to permanently remove these foods from your diet.
How Do I Know If My Child Has A Gluten Intolerance
To recognize gluten intolerance in your toddler, do the following:
- Recognize any risk factors such as relatives who have gluten intolerance.
- Investigate the reaction of your child after meals. A reaction to gluten intolerance could occur as they are feeding or within two hours or up to a day after eating gluten.
- Observe your toddler’s comfort after feeding. Signs of discomfort like fussiness, scratching on the skin, vomiting, and diarrhea could point to gluten intolerance.
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Most Breads Crackers And Wraps
Most breads, crackers, and wraps contain gluten. The only way to know for sure is to read the ingredient list and check to see which grains are used.
If you have a gluten intolerance, avoid the following:
- white bread
- malt vinegar
As an alternative, you can make your own condiments from gluten-free ingredients or purchase ones that are certified gluten-free.
How To Reduce Gluten Intake
While people with celiac disease must exclude gluten from their diet as soon as a doctor has diagnosed the condition, many people with gluten intolerance slowly reduce the consumption of gluten, rather than cutting it out straightaway.
It can help if a person starts by including one gluten-free meal per day before slowly adding more.
It may not be beneficial for everyone with gluten intolerance to cut gluten out of their diet entirely, as peoples symptoms will vary in their severity.
Some people may be able to consume small amounts of gluten without experiencing any symptoms.
The majority of people with gluten intolerance, however, may want to eliminate gluten from their diet gradually.
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You Dont Tolerate Wheat Products Despite Testing Negative For Celiac Disease
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that is known to cause digestive stress in certain people.
Those with celiac disease have a physiological response to gluten intake, which can be tested for.
But it is thought between 0.5 to 13% of people who dont have celiac disease still experience difficulties digesting gluten, a condition known as a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Intolerance. While the mechanism is different to celiac disease, the symptoms are thought to be very similar .
Based on current evidence, those who do experience a bad reaction to gluten-containing foods should also consider FODMAPs as a trigger for symptoms .
Symptoms And Causes Of Celiac Disease
People who have celiac disease commonly experience weight loss, as well as digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Some people notice mental and emotional symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate, commonly described as brain fog, or depression.
Not everyone with celiac disease experiences the same symptoms. Some people have no digestive complaints whatsoever, yet routine blood tests reveal low levels of vital nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D. NYU Langone doctors take all of these signs and symptoms into account when making a diagnosis.
The exact cause of celiac disease remains largely unknown. However, more than 99 percent of people with celiac disease test positive for two genetic variations known as HLADQ2 and HLADQ8. Not everyone who carries these variations develops celiac disease in fact, most people dont.
Some theories suggest environmental factors trigger celiac disease in people with these genetic variations, but more research is needed. Researchers have found that a family history of the disease increases a persons risk.
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Celiac Disease Vs Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten triggers the bodys immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not an autoimmune disease however, gluten triggers a chronic state of inflammation in the small intestine instead, and its symptoms are similar even identical those with celiac disease.
People with a gluten sensitivity tap into their innate immune system. Innate immunity is your bodys first defense against foreign invaders that want to attack your cells, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. Your innate immunity occurs naturally, as its innate. In order for a pathogen to attack your cells, its going to have to get past your innate immune response first.
On the other hand, people with celiac disease experience an adaptive or acquired immune system response to gluten over time. Adaptive immunity is your bodys second line of defense against invaders and is much more complex. Once an invader is introduced in the body, the adaptive immune system creates an army of immune cells designed to attack that specific antigen. The immune system remembers those antigens so it can initiate future attacks more efficiently.
I discuss, in detail, the differences between Gluten Intolerance vs. Celiac Disease in this article.
Do I Have Celiac Disease Or Gluten Sensitivity
Gastroenterology in Melrose and Wakefield, MA
Patients often ask, Whats the deal about celiac disease? How is it different from gluten sensitivity? What is gluten, anyway?
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have several similarities, but there also is a big difference.
While both conditions can have unpleasant symptoms, celiac disease can cause diarrhea, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiency if left untreated.
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When To See A Doctor
You should see your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above when you eat foods containing gluten. This can be a sign of gluten intolerance or another serious problem like celiac disease or wheat allergy.
If you work with a doctor or registered dietician nutritionist to remove gluten from your diet but you still have symptoms or your symptoms get worse, you might have a condition other than gluten intolerance. If this happens, you should talk to your doctor or RDN, because you might need to change your diet or have additional testing done.
What Is The Most Common Food Intolerance
The most common food intolerance is to dairy, with 65% of the world’s population intolerant to digesting lactose. The second most common food sensitivity is to gluten. People with coeliac disease cannot eat gluten due to the immune system attacking itself when gluten is ingested and someone suffering from this condition can become seriously ill if they do consume a food containing gluten.
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What Is Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance, which is sometimes also referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity , is a set of uncomfortable symptoms that you experience after consuming gluten.
The most severe form of gluten intolerance is an autoimmune condition called Celiac disease. It makes it difficult for your gut to absorb nutrients and is estimated to affect close to 1% of the population and about 1 in 141 Americans, though many cases are undiagnosed.
Unlike Celiac disease, gluten intolerance does not cause long-term damage to your gut lining. It is estimated to be much more common than Celiac disease, affecting an estimated 18 million Americans.
Common symptoms of gluten intolerance may include:
Constipation or diarrhea
Lack of ability to think clearly
Research Into Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity
Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is a condition that is being recognised as a problem in many countries across the world. This is a new area and we need more research to understand the condition and who is at risk. There are no specific diagnostic tests for non coeliac gluten sensitivity.
Some researchers define non coeliac gluten sensitivity as an improvement in symptoms when following a gluten free diet. However, it is difficult to rule out the possibility of a placebo effect.
There is also some debate around whether gluten is the cause of the sensitivity or if other components are to blame. These components are also removed from the diet when gluten containing ingredients are removed, for example Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono-saccharides and Polyols and other non gluten proteins found in wheat.
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Celiac Disease Vs Gluten Sensitivity Vs Wheat Allergy
To help pinpoint what might be ailing you, it helps to understand the basics of three common gluten and wheat-related health conditions, as well as the differences between them.
Celiac disease is a chronic immune-mediated disorder. If you have CD, ingesting gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, making it difficult to absorb necessary nutrients. The condition is genetic, and experts believe it affects around one in every 150 people, although it may be underdiagnosed, since many people with CD may not even be aware that they have it.
Some people with a mild form of the disease may not experience any symptoms. Most however, will develop common signs like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and sometimes nausea or vomiting. Some people with celiac disease may not have digestive issues but develop other symptoms, such as bone or joint pain, depression or anxiety, headaches, mouth problems, like canker sores or dry mouth, a smooth, shiny tongue and tingling or numbness in their hands and feet. Reactions typically arent immediate and symptoms may appear several hours after eating gluten. Left untreated, CD can lead to malnutrition, dermatitis herpetiformis , infertility, anemia, osteoporosis and a higher risk of some cancers, among other health problems.
Wheat allergy is like other food allergies, in which your bodys immune system overreacts to a substance most people find harmless in this case, wheat.
What Causes A Food Intolerance
It is often unclear why a person is sensitive to certain foods.
If your symptoms happen after eating dairy products, it’s possible you may have lactose intolerance. This means your body cannot digest lactose, a natural sugar found in milk, yoghurt and soft cheeses. A GP can usually diagnose lactose intolerance by looking at your symptoms and medical history.
Some people have trouble digesting wheat and experience bloating, wind, diarrhoea, being sick and stomach pain after eating bread. Read more about wheat intolerance .
Otherwise, the culprit may be a food additive, chemical or contaminant, such as:
- monosodium glutamate
- toxins, viruses, bacteria or parasites that have contaminated food
- artificial food colours, preservatives or flavour enhancers
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What Is Celiac Disease
According to the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago, celiac disease affects roughly 1 in 133 people in the United States. An inherited autoimmune disorder, this condition affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has this disease consumes food that contains gluten, the immune system launches an attack against the gluten, mistakenly damaging healthy cells lining the small intestine in the process.
Over time, celiac disease-related autoimmune activity inhibits the small intestines ability to absorb nutrients from food which can lead to a wide variety of symptoms including chronic fatigue, brain fog, bone or joint pain, tingling in the hands or feet, and even depression or anxiety. As long as a person with celiac disease continues to consume gluten, damage can and will be done to the digestive system a lifelong gluten free diet is the only known effective treatment for this condition.
Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population and may lead to damage in the digestive system .
It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, and more.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of celiac disease.
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Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
An increase in the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety were linked to eating gluten-containing foods, according to a 2014 study published in Alimentary & Pharmacology & Therapeutics. As we know, the gut-brain connection is very much realan unhappy gut can lead to substantial changes in mood.
How Are Gluten Sensitivities/allergies Tested
A person can be allergic to gluten . The testing involves a traditional allergy skin test and/or lab tests. The best test will be determined by your board-certified allergy/immunology specialist.
The symptoms of gluten sensitivity or allergy can vary and sometimes mimic symptoms of other disorders. Identifying sensitivity or allergy to gluten starts with a good history and physical exam. Then, the most accurate way to determine the existence of sensitivity versus allergy is to get evaluated and tested by a medical professional. If tests reveal an allergy or gluten-sensitivity, the condition is usually managed by changes in diet. Being sensitive to gluten doesnt necessarily mean a drastic change in lifestyle or the necessity of taking any medications. Proper testing can reveal or rule out Celiac disease, the most severe form of intolerance. An allergy to gluten products generally necessitates total elimination of the food from the diet due to concerns of severe, life threatening reactions.
Testing is important to rule out other factors as well. For example, some people dont have a gluten allergy, per se they might simply have an adverse reaction to an additive in a food, such as MSG. Other people lack an enzyme such as lactase, which causes lactose intolerance, and some of its symptoms mimic the symptoms of gluten intolerance.
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