Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease Are Different
There are two different types of gluten intolerance: Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. People with celiac disease are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance, and even ingesting a very small amount can lead to severe damage of the small intestine.
The disease can develop at any age and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems.Most concerning? Many people who have celiac disease dont realize it. In fact, the Celiac Disease Foundation reports that an estimated 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed, and therefore at risk for major long-term health complications.
But you dont have to have celiac disease to have a gluten intolerance. Non-celiac gluten intolerance can be tough to diagnose because its not an autoimmune disease or a food allergy . Non-celiac gluten intolerance means that your bodys digestive system cant tolerate any form of the protein gluten. If consumed, your body fights against it with inflammation, causing digestive issues like fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea and gassiness. Its estimated that 15 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of non-celiac gluten intolerance.
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.
Signs Of Gluten Sensitivity Depression And Anxiety
Depression is a serious health concern for many people. Symptoms of depression can include feelings of hopelessness, lack of interest, low energy, appetite changes, sleep changes, anger, and more.
Some patients do require medication to correct persistent imbalances with depression. However, often underlying causes of depression are not investigated.
Research now confirms that Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are linked to depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Once gluten is removed from the diet in the gluten sensitive, depression and anxiety can actually be resolved.
Symptoms of anxiety often go hand in hand with depression which makes it very hard to relax and think clearly. Some may experience sensations of panic, loss of control, heart racing, chest pains, trouble breathing or feelings of passing out.
Anxiety attacks can even mimic heart attacks so its important to be aware of the distinction.
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Getting Diagnosed With Gluten Intolerance
As with any disease or illness, a diagnosis alone can bring significant relief. The symptoms of gluten intolerance are more than simple digestion issues. As research shows, the body is impacted in a variety of ways when it is unable to break down or tolerate gluten-based foods.
The challenge with gluten intolerance is that some individuals may experience many of the more common symptoms. While some might experience very few symptoms or only a few of the rare symptoms associated with this condition. These symptoms can be damaging to a person, but when left undiagnosed, the long term damage can be extensive and permanent. For these reasons, an accurate and early diagnosis is important.
In addition, the less severe cases like gluten sensitivity donât have any test to diagnose. However, the most severe condition, celiac disease, can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. A negative blood test for celiac disease doesnât automatically eliminate all gluten intolerances as part of a potential diagnosis.
Itâs always important to consult with your primary care physician regarding any medical health concerns you might be experiencing. Conducting research and being informed are always beneficial in helping find a diagnosis, but symptoms alone can make diagnosis difficult.
What Health Issues Does Gluten Cause
There are two types of health issues that gluten may cause for people who are affected with the sensitivity to the protein. These are gluten intolerance and a less severe gluten sensitivity.
Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune digestive genetic disease, also referred to as celiac disease.
With celiac disease, gluten causes ones body to have an autoimmune response that inflames and damages the small intestines lining, which can cause pain and make it difficult for your body to absorb necessary vitamins and nutrients from food. People who suffer from celiac disease need to always avoid gluten.
This disease is becoming increasingly common. A study in the Gastroenterology Journal reports that in the past 50 years, celiac disease has gone from affecting 0.15% of people to 0.83% of people in 2009, and now that number has risen to 1% of the population.
Celiac disease is a serious disorder that can cause other health problems such as malnutrition, infertility, and bowel cancer. Here are 13 early signs of gluten intolerance in adults.
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What Causes Gluten Intolerance
The exact causes of gluten intolerance arent well understood. Some research shows that people may not be sensitive to gluten, but to a certain carbohydrate found in many foods. Their bodies dont absorb the carbohydrate as they should. It stays in their guts and ferments, causing sickness.
Other research suggests that wheat might affect the lining of some peoples digestive tracts. This lining usually keeps bacteria from leaking out of your intestines. But in people with a gluten intolerance, the lining may not work as it should, allowing bacteria into their blood or liver and causing inflammation.
Signs Of Gluten Sensitivity Brain Fog
Being unable to think clearly is just as stifling as it sounds. When you feel disconnected or just plain out of it, it might not be all in your head.
Gluten can have the effect known as foggy brain in sensitive individuals.
While it can be difficult to quantify gluten-induced brain fog, researchers in a 2002 study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found that there may be significant cross-reactivity of IgG antibodies to gluten and other different antibodies that could result in mental fogginess.
These antibodies can also cause inflammation which can further exacerbate the condition making it difficult to recall names, make quick deductions or decisions, or struggle to remember recent events. All are signs of gluten sensitivity that are overlooked and ignored.
Another interesting experience similar to brain fog is the sense of feeling intoxicated or drunk after consuming gluten. You didnt have any alcohol at all, but youre feeling as if youd drank too much.
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Have Some Signs Heres How To Test
If the list of symptoms has you scratching your head and wondering if gluten could be to blame for your physical symptoms, it might be time to dig further and find out if ditching gluten could help you feel better.
If you suspect you are gluten intolerant, Salas-Whalen says its important to rule out more serious conditions such as Celiac disease or a wheat allergy. Celiac can be diagnosed with a blood test, but the gold standard for testing involves taking a biopsy of the villi from the small bowel, she says. The only caveat is that you have to eat a whole lot of gluten prior to the biopsy to get accurate test results, otherwise you run the risk of getting a false negative.
If the case results for Celiac come back negative, she recommends consulting with your doctor about temporarily removing gluten from your diet to see if it relieves symptoms .
Since it can be difficult to confirm whether gluten intolerance is the underlying issue , focusing on an elimination diet that relies on trial and error to identify specific allergies and intolerances is your best bet, adds Salas-Whalen.
Food sensitivity testing is another option to explore, says Vichill. While this type of testing should not be used exclusively without clinical symptoms, she does say that it might shed light on potential antigenic or “intolerant” foods that a person may be reacting to.
Food Labelling And Gluten
All packaged foods have an ingredient list printed on the label.
Under mandatory labelling standards, all ingredients and food additives derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats must be declared in the ingredient list of foods sold in Australia. The use of an allergen summary statement is also now mandatory gluten must be declared as Contains gluten, if present.
There is an Australian Food Standard for foods labelled ‘gluten free’. When these foods are tested, there must be ‘no detectable gluten’.
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What Are The Common Signs Of Gluten Intolerance
Are you one of the 20 million people who deal with brain fog, abdominal pain, and headaches after eating food that contain gluten? As you can see, you are not alone. Many individuals experience some sort of digestive and health issues that get triggered by consuming wheat or gluten.
Gluten is a protein in the rye, barley, and wheat family and is found in many of the foods we consume each day. Wheat is a grain that is commonly found in cereals, pasta, and bread. However, wheat can also get found in salad dressings and soups, among other foods. Likewise, barley is commonly used in beers or foods that have malt in them.
A few different conditions can manifest themselves via gluten intolerance such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. Today, we will take a look at some of the signs of gluten intolerance and analyze whether cutting gluten out of your diet is the right choice for you.
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.
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Could My Symptoms Be Something Else
If you regularly have diarrhoea, bloating, tummy pain or skin rashes but you’re not certain of the cause, see a GP.
A GP may be able to diagnose the cause from your symptoms and medical history. If necessary, they’ll order tests, such as blood tests.
You can also do some research yourself. It may help to find out about other conditions that cause similar symptoms. For example, find out about:
The bowel is a sensitive organ and it’s common to have bowel symptoms when you have been ill or feel run down or stressed.
Joint And Muscle Pain
There are numerous reasons why people experience joint and muscle pain.
There is a theory that those with celiac disease have a genetically determined over-sensitive or over-excitable nervous system.
Therefore, they may have a lower threshold to activate sensory neurons that cause pain in muscles and joints .
Moreover, gluten exposure may cause inflammation in gluten-sensitive individuals. The inflammation may result in widespread pain, including in joints and muscles .
Bottom Line: Gluten-intolerant individuals commonly report joint and muscle pain. This is possibly due to an over-sensitive nervous system.
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- Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten.
- For people with coeliac disease, even small amounts of gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine , which prevents the proper absorption of food nutrients. Inflammation also occurs elsewhere in the body.
- If you have coeliac disease, inflammation and damage can occur even if you have no symptoms.
- Correct diagnosis of coeliac disease in adults can only be made by gastroscopy.
- There is no cure, but coeliac disease can be managed by a lifelong gluten-free diet.
- A person with coeliac disease can still have a nutritious, balanced and varied diet.
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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Signs Of Gluten Sensitivity Unexplained Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
Cant keep your weight in check? A sudden or even gradual change in weight while eating habits remain more or less unchanged can be an indicator of a bigger health problem.
For some with malabsorption and gut permeability due to gluten intolerance or sensitivity, unwanted weight loss despite regular calorie intake can have dangerous effects.
On the other hand, gluten can trigger systemic inflammation in the body that mimics stubborn weight gain. So it looks like youve been increasing your bodys fat stores, but no matter how much you diet or exercise, the weight doesnt budge.
Instead, realize that gluten triggers inflammatory weight gain which is only reversible by removing gluten for good and healing your gut.
Another point to consider is that the type of gut bacteria living in your digestive system can play a direct role in your bodys ability to stay at a healthy weight. Brendas Watson, CNC shares that even just a 7-day round of antibiotics can negatively alter gut bacteria for up to two years. Keep in mind that even chronic candida infections can also play a role in weight gain and loss.
Also, because theres such a strong link to gluten impairing the function of your thyroid, you should always consider how optimal is your thyroid. Many people with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, for example, have found that they feel a marked improvement from the strict removal of gluten from the diet.