Signs You Have A Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance can come in many forms, with the most serious resulting in a wheat allergy or Celiac disease. A wheat allergy is a type of immune response triggered by ingesting products containing wheat proteins such as gluten. Celiac disease, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that damages the villi in the small intestine.
That said, symptoms of gluten sensitivity may not present immediately after consumption, rather an onset of symptoms often occur within 24 to 48 hours of ingesting gluten, says Abby Vichill, M.S., RDN, L.D. So, when it comes to investigating gluten as a cause of health issues, give yourself time to see if these symptoms arise:
Celiac Vs Gluten Intolerance: Is There A Difference Between Celiac Disease And Gluten Intolerance
Celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy are all conditions that are all affected by gluten. While similar in their condition, there are distinct differences in each and how to treat them. Read on to learn more about their differences.
In recent years, the gluten free diet has gained a great deal of traction, but many people still dont have a true understanding of what it means to go gluten free or the exact why someone would need to.
Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains including wheat, barley, and rye it plays a role in binding grain-based ingredients together in recipes, and it gives bread its spongy texture. The truth is that the gluten free diet is not designed for weight loss, as many tend to believe. It is much more beneficial when used as a strict, long-term eating plan for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy.
In this article, well explore the difference between each of these specific conditions as well as their symptoms. Well also take a quick look at how these conditions compare and what it really takes to follow a gluten free diet.
How Do I Manage It
If you’re confident you are intolerant to a particular food, the only way to manage this is to stop eating the food for a while and then reintroduce small quantities while monitoring how much you can eat without causing symptoms.
Check food labels to see which sorts of foods to avoid.
If you think your child may have a food intolerance, check with a GP or dietitian before eliminating foods from their diet, as a restricted diet could affect their growth and development. Cows’ milk, for example, is an important source of calcium, vitamin D and protein.
Don’t Miss: Grain Free Substitute For Breadcrumbs
What Causes Gluten Intolerance And How Can You Recognize It
Mostly hereditary factors lead to gluten intolerance. However, intolerance can also be caused by a weakened immune system, infections or diet. There are many different forms of intolerance, which differ according to their severity. There is wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease. Although these terms are often used as synonyms, there are great differences between them, such as different symptoms and their intensity.
What are these symptoms now? They range from diarrhoea to headaches but they also include aching limbs or muscles. If you repeatedly feel flatulence or discomfort after eating gluten-containing foods, you may well be affected by an intolerance. But before you start to worry too much, we recommend that you consult a specialist. He or she can carry out tests, make a diagnosis and discuss treatment options and a possible change in diet with you.
The 14 Most Common Signs Of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance is a fairly common problem.
It is characterized by adverse reactions to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
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 .
However, 0.513% of people may also have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a milder form of gluten intolerance that can still cause problems .
Both forms of gluten intolerance can cause widespread symptoms, many of which have nothing to do with digestion.
Here are the 14 main signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance.
Depression affects about 6% of adults each year. The symptoms can be very disabling and involve feelings of hopelessness and sadness .
People with digestive issues seem to be more prone to both anxiety and depression, compared to healthy individuals .
This is especially common among people who have celiac disease .
There are a few theories about how gluten intolerance can drive depression. These include :
Take Home Message
Don’t Miss: Is Red Wine Gluten Free
Whats The Difference Between Gluten Intolerance And Wheat Allergy
Because wheat is one of the major sources of gluten, it can be easy to confuse symptoms of gluten intolerance with those of a wheat allergy. However, there are very distinct differences.
All allergic reactions, including wheat, involve the immune system. It responds to what it thinks is a foreign substance that must be removed from the body. Your immune system releases antibodies known as immunoglobulin E , which trigger a variety of symptoms, including the possibility of a life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis.
Having a gluten intolerance is less severe than a wheat allergy and does not involve the immune system. In addition, a trained allergist can diagnose a wheat allergy with a skin-prick or blood test, whereas a healthcare provider can only diagnose gluten intolerance based on your reported symptoms and ruling out other conditions.
However, because the two conditions can share many common symptoms, it is important to first rule out a wheat allergy before assuming gluten intolerance.
What Are The Symptoms Of Coeliac Disease
People with coeliac disease can have severe symptoms, or they may have no obvious symptoms at all. Common symptoms include:
- gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea or constipation, fatty stools , nausea, vomiting, flatulence , feeling pain or discomfort in the tummy
- itchy and blistery skin rash
- easy bruising
Many of these symptoms are very common and can occur in other conditions such as wheat intolerance, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity or irritable bowel syndrome. However, coeliac disease is widely recognised as being under-diagnosed so its important to consider it as a possible cause for a few or many of these symptoms.
Its important not to self-diagnose coeliac disease if you feel better when you remove gluten from your diet. Coeliac disease is an important cause of gluten intolerance, yet feeling better if you dont eat gluten doesnt mean you have the condition there could be other causes of your symptoms.
Even if you have no obvious symptoms, there may still be damage to your bowel.
Its important to be screened for coeliac disease if you have:
- an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes or an autoimmune thyroid condition
Also Check: Are Seltzers Gluten Free
How Is It Diagnosed
It is essential to ensure first that a more severe condition, such as celiac disease or a wheat allergy, is not present if gluten intolerance is suspected.
Taking a blood sample, which is then analyzed to detect the presence of antibodies that could indicate celiac disease or a wheat allergy, can often do this. In some cases, other tests may also be necessary.
Once a doctor has ruled out a more serious condition, it can still be difficult for them to confirm whether gluten intolerance is present, as there are no tests for this.
The most common method people use to determine if gluten intolerance is present is to reduce or remove gluten from a diet and monitor changes in symptoms.
It can help for a person to keep a food diary to record what foods they are consuming and what symptoms they are having.
What Is Gluten Actually
Gluten is a natural protein that occurs mainly in wheat and other cereals. That is why gluten is found in many foods that contain some form of cereal and there are many of them. Cereals containing gluten include wheat, rye, spelt and barley.
Gluten is found so frequently in a wide variety of foods because it offers many beneficial physiological and technological properties. For example, gluten is responsible for flour and water combining to form a sticky dough. This is why gluten is also called gluten protein.
Recommended Reading: Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Crust
Celiac Disease Vs Gluten Intolerance Vs Fructan Intolerance
First, its important to understand the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten.
Even tiny amounts of gluten will severely damage the small intestine of an individual with celiac disease.
On the other hand, gluten intolerance is thought to be a subtle sensitivity to gluten diagnosed after exclusion of celiac disease. Its said to affect between 0.5-13% of people .
In fact, newer research indicates that we may be incorrectly diagnosing a FODMAP intolerance as a gluten intolerance. Specifically, it really looks like what weve thought was gluten intolerance is actually a fructan intolerance .
A gluten intolerant individual can typically eat small amounts of gluten safely, but experiences health issues when their threshold is exceeded.
The following are common signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance, after celiac disease has been ruled out.
Summary: Gluten can physically damage the small intestine in those with celiac disease. A gluten intolerance, or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, is a more subtle sensitivity diagnosed after exclusion of celiac disease.
Diagnosing Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity In Adults
NYU Langone gastroenterologistsdoctors that specialize in diseases of the digestive systemare experts in diagnosing celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the digestive tract after a person consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other foods and beverages. Some vitamins, medications, and personal care products such as lip balm contain gluten.
During digestion, food passes through the intestines, where nutrients are absorbed into the body. Most of this absorption occurs in the small intestine, where tiny finger-like projections along the small intestinal lining, called villi, sweep the nutrients from food into the bloodstream.
People with celiac disease, however, have a genetic susceptibility to recognize gluten differently. When someone with celiac disease eats food that contains gluten, it triggers the immune system to attack the small intestine. The body forms antibodies, or proteins, that attempt to remove gluten from the body as if it were a foreign invader. The antibodies also attack the lining of the small intestine, causing inflammation.
Over time, recurrent inflammation damages the villi in the small intestine, and the body doesnt absorb nutrients very well. This can lead to malnutrition and unwanted weight loss. The chronic inflammation also can cause abdominal discomfort.
Recommended Reading: Is Einkorn Flour Gluten Free
How Do You Know What You Have
If you experience negative symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods, it is a pretty safe bet that you have some kind of disease, allergy, or sensitivity to gluten. Unfortunately, identifying the exact condition you have may not be quite so simple. The first step in diagnosing your problem is to have your doctor run a blood test which may be followed by other diagnostic tests. While running these tests, you need to continue consuming gluten-containing foods it is only after you have a diagnosis that you should switch to a gluten free diet.
A blood test cannot confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, but it can reveal the presence of immunoglobulin E antibodies which would suggest some kind of autoimmune or allergic reaction to gluten. If your blood test comes back positive for IgE antibodies, your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to check the small intestine for damage damage to the lining of the small intestine would confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease while a lack of damage would suggest wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. To confirm a wheat allergy, your doctor may want to perform a RAST or skin prick test.
So Youre Gluten Intolerant What Now
Once you confirm a sensitivity to gluten, the first step is to eliminate all gluten-containing products from your diet. You can find gluten in foods that contain wheat , rye, barley, triticale, malt, and brewers yeast.
Heres a list of popular foods that contain gluten:
- Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, and muffins
- Wheat , wheat bran hydrolysate, wheat germ oil, wheat protein isolate
- Batter-fried foods
- Snack foods such as potato chips, rice cakes, and crackers
- Salad dressings, soups, ketchup, soy sauce, and marinara sauce
- Processed meats and imitation crab meat
- Ice cream and candy
In addition to food and beverages, gluten can also be found in the following products:
- Lipstick, lip gloss, and lip balm
- Nutritional supplements such as vitamins and herbs
- Drugs and over-the-counter medications
If possible, you can ease into removing gluten entirely by slowly reducing your consumption to get a better sense of how it makes your body feel. Keeping a food journal is helpful during this transition, so you can make note of the foods that trigger the most serious reactions.
Heres some good news: Because of the response by grocers, restaurants, and food companies, there is now a wide variety of products and menu items to choose from that are gluten-free. And while it may take some trial and error to find what works for you, its worth putting in the time, so you can start feeling better as soon as possible.
Don’t Miss: Sanissimo Crackers Costco
How To Treat Gluten Intolerance
Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross-contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body. The 80/20 rule or we dont eat it in our house, just when we eat out is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.
What Is The Difference Between The Conditions
Coeliac disease is a well defined, serious illness where the bodys immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food.
Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease.
Wheat allergy is a reaction to proteins found in wheat, triggered by the immune system and usually occurs within seconds or minutes of eating.
Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is when symptoms similar to coeliac disease are experienced, but it is not clear how the immune system might be involved because no antibodies are produced, and there does not appear to be damage to the gut lining.
You May Like: Is Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing Gluten Free