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How Does Gluten Affect The Body

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Why Many People Feel Better

Celiac Disease: Why Gluten Can Affect Many Areas of the Body

There are several reasons why most people feel better on a gluten-free diet.

First, avoiding gluten usually involves cutting back on processed foods, as its found in a wide array of highly processed foods, such as fast food, baked goods, and sugary cereals.

These foods not only contain gluten but are typically also high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.

Many people say that they lose weight, feel less fatigued, and have less joint pain on a gluten-free diet. Its likely that these benefits are attributed to the exclusion of unhealthy foods.

For example, diets high in refined carbs and sugars have been linked to weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, poor mood, and digestive issues all symptoms related to NCGS .

Whats more, people often replace gluten-containing foods with healthier options, such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins which can promote health and well-being.

Additionally, digestive symptoms may improve as a result of reducing intake of other common ingredients, such as FODMAPs .

Although improved symptoms on a gluten-free diet may be related to NCGS, these improvements could also be due to the reasons listed above or a combination of the two.


Cutting out gluten-containing foods may improve health for several reasons, some of which may be unrelated to gluten.

Who Should Avoid Gluten

There is at least some truth to the idea that gluten can be harmful. As mentioned, people with celiac disease avoid sickness and maintain much better health if they follow a gluten-free diet. For them, a gluten-free diet is nothing short of essential.

And then there are people described as “gluten-sensitive.” Their tests for celiac disease are negative and yet they get symptoms whenever they eat foods that contain gluten. One cause is wheat allergy, a disorder that can be diagnosed by skin testing. But for many, the diagnosis remains uncertain. Some have begun calling this “non-celiac gluten hypersensitivity,” a poorly defined condition about which we have much to learn.

Avoiding gluten makes sense for people with celiac disease, wheat allergy or those who feel unwell when they consume gluten.

What About Everyone Else?

There is no compelling evidence that a gluten-free diet will improve health or prevent disease if you don’t have celiac disease and can eat gluten without trouble. Of course, future research could change this. We may someday learn that at least some people without celiac disease or symptoms of intestinal disease are better off avoiding gluten.

You Could Gain Key Nutrients

To say the science is confusing is an understatement. Just as some studies say that you will lose key nutrients if you go gluten-free, others found that patients with celiac disease following a gluten-free diet actually consumed more calcium, magnesium, phosphate, zinc, folate, and vitamin C, while the other vitamins and minerals as well as fiber were equivalent. Yet another study evaluated the nutrient intake of children with celiac disease and that of non-gluten-sensitive children. They found that the children with celiac disease consumed more calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and substantially more zinc.

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People Who Avoid Gluten

Some athletes have advocated for a GFD to enhance performance and stamina. In a 2015 questionnaire-based study of 910 athletes without celiac disease, 41% reported following a GFD more than 50% of the time . Of that group, only 13% did so for the treatment of reported medical conditions, and 57% reported self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity. This group was made up of predominantly endurance sport athletes who reported gastrointestinal symptoms and fatigue that they believed were associated with gluten ingestion. Eighty-four percent of the patients following a GFD more than 50% of the time reported symptomatic improvement on the diet. Respondents indicated that their leading sources of information and guidance for a GFD were online , their trainer or coach , and other athletes . A follow-up study of 13 cyclists without celiac disease was performed by the same investigators and consisted of a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial in which participants received either a GFD or GCD for 1 week, then crossed over after a 10-day washout period. No significant differences were found between the diets when both gastrointestinal symptoms and athletic performance on timed trials were analyzed, suggesting that a nocebo effect played at least some role in results observed in the initial, larger trial.

Lets Put It All Together

Celiac disease: MedlinePlus Genetics

This has been a lengthy and somewhat in-depth look into what gluten does in our bodies, so Id like to sum it all up for you here.

For individuals who are sensitive to gluten, the following chain reaction can literally be set off every time they eat gluten:

  • The problems begin when gluten activates zonulin and contribute to the formation of a leaky gut.
  • A leaky gut then allows toxins and undigested particles to enter into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
  • These toxic substances then trigger our immune system to create inflammation in order to destroy these foreign invaders.
  • Continuing to eat gluten on a regular basis leads to a state of chronic inflammation as our body tries to continually fight off these foreign invaders.
  • And, finally, our body may begin to attack its own tissues that just happen to be similar in structure to gluten, such as our thyroid.

Yikes! This chain of events is definitely not something any of us want going on in our bodies because it truly can have a dramatic impact on our health.

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How Is Coeliac Disease Diagnosed

As the symptoms of other conditions can closely mimic coeliac disease, correct diagnosis can only be made by showing that the lining of the person’s bowel is damaged.

Your doctor will do special blood tests for your initial screening. If the results are positive, your doctor will refer you to a gastroenterologist. This specialist will confirm the diagnosis by performing a gastroscopy a procedure that allows tiny samples to be taken from your small intestine. This procedure occurs while you are under sedation and involves a slender instrument being passed through your mouth into your small intestine.

Do not try to self-diagnose coeliac disease. If the blood tests and endoscopy are to be accurate, its important that you do not put yourself on a gluten-free diet beforehand. These tests are dependent on a normal gluten intake.

Is This Really A Myth

To call something a myth, it’s important to define the term. My non-scientific definition of a health myth requires most of the following:

  • Many people believe it.
  • There is no compelling scientific evidence to support it.
  • There is at least some scientific evidence against it.
  • There is a pseudo-scientific explanation that may have intuitive appeal .
  • The idea defies standard understanding of biology or has no reasonable biologic explanation. An example is a diet that is said to help you lose weight despite increasing your caloric intake and reducing exercise.

Three other features of many popular health myths include:

  • The possibility that it can actually harm you
  • A profit motive
  • Celebrity endorsement

From this definition, the notion that a gluten-free diet will improve health is a certifiable health myth for most people.

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What Is Gluten And How Does It Affect The Body

There are some natural substances our body is sensitive too. Gluten is one of them. If your body is sensitive to gluten intake, you are suffering from the celiac disease. An increasing number of people are complaining of gluten problems that cause Celiac and hamper a healthy lifestyle. While the prevalence rate of celiac diseases in around 1% of the population, the number is growing with increased use of processed food. You need to know more about the compound gluten, where it is present and how it affects you if you have been noticing adverse reactions to its intake. Our step by step guide has all the information you need so that you can fully fight the enemy with all the right weapons.

Understanding The Effects Of Gluten On The Body

How gluten affects your immune system

Eating a gluten-free diet has soared in popularity in recent years, particularly among people with digestive issues as they recognize the effects of gluten on their bodies. Others believe that cutting out gluten helps manage medical concerns and contributes to a healthier diet. If youre trying to decide whether to go gluten-free, check out the positive and negative effects of gluten.

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Should You Choose Gluten Free

Gluten-free diets have become popular in the U.S., thanks to celebrities and athletes touting the benefits of giving up wheat. However, there is a distinct lack of evidence that gluten-free diets have a measurable effect on people who do not need to avoid gluten for medical reasons.

Gluten-free diets are perceived to promote wellness, weight loss and improved athletic performance. However, the results of studies on the effects of gluten on performance suggests there was no difference between a gluten-free diet and a diet that allowed gluten.

To Gluten Or Not To Gluten

So what’s a gluten-fearing girl to do? At the current war-torn state of the food industry, you’re not going to get a clear answer. But if there’s one thing that you can always rely on, it’s yourself. Blindly eating whatever is within reach without paying attention to its nutrition label or how it’s making you feel is setting you up for heartache and heartburn.

Does your Wednesday night spaghetti frequently end in tummy aches? Do you feel a lot better after eating a bowl of steel cut oatmeal than a bowl of cinnamon-swirled cereal? Then follow your stomach. It’s trying to tell you what to do.

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Celiac Disease: Gluten Intolerance

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that presents in approximately one percent of the population.Antibodies in the gut respond to the presence of gluten, causing the cells to attack the lining of the intestine. The damaged intestines may not properly absorb many nutrients such as iron and calcium, which can lead to long-term complications like osteoporosis and anemia.

When people with celiac disease consume gluten, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Weight loss

People with celiac disease may test positive for antibodies if they have gluten in their system. If they have been eating a gluten-free diet, they will need a biopsy to positively diagnose their condition. There is no cure for celiac disease, but it can be managed by following a strictly gluten-free diet.

Sometimes, gluten intolerance due to celiac disease can cause an itchy, blistering rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. The rash can be painful and may appear on the face, elbows, knees or shoulders. However, gluten can cause this rash in some people who do not have any of the other symptoms of celiac disease.

Whats About Gluten Free Goods And Whats The Best Type Of Wheat To Eat

How Does Gluten Affect Your Body

For those who dont have a genetic disposition to gluten intolerance, the best type of wheat to eat is non GMO wheat. European wheat is non GMO.

The best American wheat is often called heritage wheat and made by artisinal bakers. Its expensive but worth it. And sour dough starters make wheat more digestible. But this is only for people who have already healed completely. Not for those still in the healing process.

As far as gluten free replacements for favorite foods like toast, cereal and pasta, I dont find them particularly healthy. These are highly processed products and should not be part of a healing diet or protocol. Ok as a rare treat, but I prefer grain-free Paleo baked goods as they are much healthier.

Going completely grain free in the beginning stages of healing is important. The only exception is white rice, which seems to work for some people.

If you are dying for cereal heres my favorite Paleo replacement made only with coconut. I have it with homemade cashew milk.

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What Is Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder that damages the small intestine. The disease is triggered by eating foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye, and is common in foods such as bread, pasta, cookies, and cakes. Many products contain gluten, such as prepackaged foods, lip balms and lipsticks, toothpastes, vitamin and nutrient supplements, and, rarely, medicines.

Celiac disease can be serious. The disease can cause long-lasting digestive problems and keep your body from getting all the nutrients it needs. Celiac disease can also affect the body outside the small intestine.

Celiac disease is different from gluten sensitivity or wheat intolerance. If you have gluten sensitivity, you may have symptoms like those of celiac disease, such as abdominal pain and tiredness. Unlike celiac disease, gluten sensitivity does not damage the small intestine.

Celiac disease is also different from a wheat allergy, a type of food allergy. In both cases, your bodys immune system reacts to wheat. However, some symptoms of wheat allergies, such as having itchy eyes or a hard time breathing, are different from celiac disease. Wheat allergies also do not cause long-term damage to the small intestine.

What Does Leaky Gut Have To Do With Gluten

Ok, I know I started out talking about gluten, and it may seem like I have gotten side-tracked with this discussion of our guts. So, lets tie it all together now. What does gluten have to do with our gut health?

Several factors in our modern world can damage the lining of our gut wall, thereby leading to leaky gut. Im guessing that you wont be surprised to learn that one common contributing factor to leaky gut is eating gluten. Heres why

Zonulin is a protein in our bodies that when improperly activated can break apart the tight junctions in the lining of your gut, leading to leaky gut.

Chris Kresser explains that when people who are sensitive to gluten eat gluten, the gluten causes zonulin to be released, which can then contribute to making your gut leaky so that toxins and large, undigested proteins can now enter into your bloodstream .

As I mentioned earlier, I dont want to paint the picture that gluten is the only cause of leaky gut because that is simply not the case. Many other factors can play a role, such as stress, medications and antibiotic exposure, alcohol in excess, a diet high in sugar, and environmental toxins. However, research shows us that gluten does play an active role in this process.

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Related: Could Putting This Food On Your Face Be The Key To Glowing Skin

Surprisingly, Im Not a Wine FaceWhile I was somewhat disappointed to hear I had not one, nor two, but three identifiable signs of aging, I was a bit surprised to hear I didnt show any signs of wine face. Talib says wine can cause feathery lines under the eyes. Since wine is like fermented sugar, it causes an overgrowth of bacteria that can mess with your gut’s bacteria balance. This, in turn, can show up on your face.

Luckily, Talib gave me a full treatment plan to address my many skin issues:

She also shared three valuable tips for anyone who thinks any of these foods are hurting their complexions:

Eat More VeggiesCruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are hormone rejuvenators. And when you keep your hormones in check, you prematurely age less, says Talib.

Take a Probiotic your gut bacteria in check to keep the inflammation down in your body, as inflammation causes premature aging, she says.

Sleep on SilkSleep creases are real, so swap out your regular ol’ cotton pillowcase for a silk one. That, along with the use of a serum with hyaluronic acid, will help preserve your skins collagen and elasticity, says Talib.

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