Understanding The Basics Of Food Allergies
Food allergies affect an average of 3 to 4% of adults in the United States, and that rate doubles when looking at children populations. A typical reaction to food allergies includes some type of an immune system response that causes your body to try and protect itself. What happens is your body registers the food as foreign. Your body believes that it needs to protect you from some type of invader. So, it makes you sick as a way to flush out the invader. This is what causes you to feel down, off, sore, or lethargic.
This can happen as a reaction to any food or beverage that we drink. Your body is not trying to make you feel bad. Instead, it is trying to help you avoid feeling bad from the foreign substance. While many food allergies are able to be outgrown, some of them will be with you forever. The more severe the allergy, the longer you will likely have to face it. One of the most common food allergies that people face today is an allergy to gluten. This is commonly called Celiac disease. It takes any food with gluten in it and causes an immune reaction that leaves the person suffering with a gambit of symptoms. It is rare that people outgrow this allergy, as they are often exposed to gluten regularly.
Preventative Treatment For A Future Case Of Gluten Intolerance
The best way to prevent gluten intolerance from becoming a serious problem is to try and avoid it completely.
If youre not sure if you have a gluten intolerance, or even if you do but want to make sure that it doesnt become a problem later on, there are some simple ways to help keep your symptoms at bay at prevent flare-ups.
The most common symptom of gluten intolerance is stomach pain and bloating.
If you feel like this has been happening more often than usual, then it would be smart to talk with your doctor about preventive treatments for the future case of gluten intolerance.
Your doctor can prescribe something for you, which can work well for preventing symptoms of gluten-intolerance.
If you decide to go gluten-free, make sure that you follow the same rules as someone who has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity:
- You should only eat foods made with whole grains instead of processed products containing white flour
- You should stay away from soy sauce because it often contains wheat
- You should also stay away from products containing high-fructose corn syrup because they often contain maltodextrin in place of real sugar
How Do I Know If I Have Gluten Intolerance
If youve been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or other forms of gluten sensitivity, its easy to tell if you have gluten intolerance.
But for someone not used to eating gluten-free food, it can be hard to recognize the symptoms of gluten intolerance.
One way to know if you have a sensitivity is by testing your blood. If you have a history of digestive issues like celiac disease or are highly sensitive to wheat, its likely that your blood will have antibodies to the protein in wheat.
It can also be helpful if you test for a food sensitivity or an infection that could cause symptoms similar to those caused by gluten intolerance.
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Mental Or Emotional Issues
Certain proteins in wheat have been scientifically shown to negatively affect your mood and cognitive functioning. Gluten is one of the biggest culprits. Keep in mind that weve told you that if you have gluten intolerance then you have a wheat allergy . These negative effects include but are not limited to mood swings, depression, anxiety, and mental disorders.
As the study of wheat allergies itself, there are a lot of theories about why wheat proteins can put you in a bad mood. Some scientists believe that its an autoimmune response issue. Some say that its because exorphines bind with morphine receptors in the brain.
No matter which theory you come across, there is one common consensus wheat allergies, or rather the lack of control of wheat allergies, cause mental and emotional issues.
Can You Tell The Difference Between A Food Allergy And A Food Sensitivity
With a food allergy, even one molecule of the offending foods protein can trigger a response. Your body will react as soon as the food is eaten. Thats why people with food allergies need to completely avoid foods they are allergic to.
Food intolerances can depend on how much is eaten and how often. People with food intolerances may not have symptoms when they eat a small portion of the food, or dont eat the food frequently. For example, if you have a sensitivity to dairy, having one small bowl of ice cream may not cause you any problems. However, theres a good chance you would wake up with diarrhea and brain fog after spending a night binging on Ben & Jerrys.
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What Is Celiac Disease
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Itâs what makes dough elastic and gives bread its chewy texture.
When someone with celiac disease eats something with gluten, their body overreacts to the protein and damages their villi, small finger-like projections found along the wall of their small intestine.
When your villi are injured, your small intestine canât properly absorb nutrients from food. Eventually, this can lead to malnourishment, as well as loss of bone density, miscarriage, infertility or even neurological diseases or certain cancers.
If your celiac disease isnât better after at least a year without gluten, itâs called refractory or nonresponsive celiac disease.
Most people with celiac disease never know that they have it. Researchers think that as few as 20% of people with the disease get the right diagnosis. The damage to your intestine is very slow, and symptoms are so varied that it can take years to get a diagnosis.
Celiac disease isnât the same thing as gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. People with gluten intolerance may have some of the same symptoms and may want to avoid gluten. But they donât show an immune response or damage to the small intestine.
Common Symptoms Of Gluten Sensitivity/gluten Intolerance
There is a wide variety of symptoms associated with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, ranging from issues affecting the digestive tract to neurological complications and possibly even skin problems. Here are a few of the most common ones:
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When To Take Gluten Allergy Test
If you’ve read over the signs of gluten intolerance and feel that you may have an aversion to gluten yourself, then it’s time you take a gluten allergy test. The first step in taking a test is to reach out to your primary care physicians and express your concerns. Your doctor will then administer a test that will check your levels of gluten sensitivity. If your examination reveals that you are sensitive to gluten in any form, then it’s time to switch your diet over to a gluten free one.
Causes Of Shortness Of Breath Or Wheezing After Eating
Shortness of breath or wheezing after eating may be due to a variety of heart and lung problems, or to heartburn. It may also be a symptom of a severe food allergy reaction called anaphylaxis.
Which one is it? If you have food allergies, you shouldnt just wait to find out, since anaphylaxis is potentially life-threatening.
Even if you dont have known food allergies, you should treat difficulty breathing after eating as a medical emergency, especially if its accompanied by some of the other symptoms of anaphylaxis, which are described below. Dont wait to seek emergency medical care.
Heres a rundown of the potential reasons you might feel short of breath or begin wheezing following a meal.
Ellen Lindner / Verywell
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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.
There Are Many Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease
Most people wonder if they have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance because of gastrointestinal symptoms like gassiness, diarrhea, constipation or excessive bloating. But other symptoms might not be so obvious. And while gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different, many of the symptoms can be similar. Here are some signs of celiac disease and gluten intolerance you might not be aware of.
- Digestive issues
- Tingling or numbness in hands and/or feet
- Bone and joint pain
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What Does A Gluten Intolerance Feel Like
Screenings suggest 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease in the UK, but only 24% of people with the condition are clinically diagnosed. This makes it much more common than previously thought. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease. Its often the most severe form of gluten intolerance. In extreme cases, it causes damage to the digestive system, malnutrition, and osteoporosis. But, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity causes symptoms often identical to those of coeliac disease. The difference between the two conditions is the process your body undergoes when reacting to gluten.
The reason why a lot of gluten intolerance goes undiagnosed is due to the wide-ranging symptoms which vary between individuals. The symptoms of gluten intolerance sometimes dont have anything to do with digestion. This means making the connection between what you are feeling and what you are eating is more difficult than you think. Below are some of the common symptoms that could signal you are experiencing gluten intolerance.
Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity / Gluten Intolerance
It is important to distinguish between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, also known as gluten intolerance, in order to ensure you get the right care. Your doctor can test for celiac disease with a simple blood test. If your test results for celiac disease are negative but you still have symptoms, you may then be diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Learn more about getting tested for celiac disease.
An important note on getting tested: you must continue to eat gluten. Going gluten-free before getting tested can affect your results. If youre already gluten-free but want to get tested, consider undergoing a gluten challenge.
Complete our celiac disease symptoms checklist and then share the results with your doctor to get the conversation about getting testing started.
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Common Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance
Over the last several years, gluten has received a lot of attention. Numerous gluten-free products have been introduced, and more and more people are embracing a gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten can cause problems in many people. Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or suffer from Celiac disease, gluten can cause a number of symptoms including gluten belly. Here we explore more about gluten and the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance.
Signs You’re Gluten Intolerant
More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?
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Ways To Reduce Gluten In Your Diet
If you do decide to try a gluten-free dietdont skimp on whole grainsbut do avoid eating foods containing gluten. Rely on gluten-free whole grains like millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and teff.
Also, avoid the overly processed gluten-free snack foods and desserts as theyre often packed with added sugars, preservatives, and other inflammatory ingredients. Check out this blog post to learn more about thepros and cons of a gluten-free diet, and tips for doing it the healthy way.
Keep in mind that this is about finding a diet that works for you, not anyone else! As always, I encourage you to be your own health detective. Do your research, and work with integrative docs and practitioners who take a holistic approach to your well-being. If some light bulbs went off while reading this blog, I hope youll dig deeper and seek out guidance and testing, if needed. Your exploration will bring you greater well-being.
Your turn: Have you overcome health challenges with gluten or do you have questions I could cover in another blog? Share your experiences, questions, and resources in the comments so that we can swap tips and insights!
Peace & exploration,
Grain Free Paleo Cinnamon Rolls
Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? Especially when they’re fresh out of the oven. While going gluten free may mean you have to adjust your diet, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. These Grain Free Paleo Cinnamon Rolls show just how easy it is to turn a traditional breakfast into a delicious gluten free one. By using our Grain Free Flatbread Mix, a delicious cinnamon roll batter is created and ready to satisfy all of your breakfast cravings.
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What Is The Treatment For Celiac Disease
If you have celiac disease, you must stop eating gluten. Eating gluten will do more damage to your small intestine. Eliminating gluten is the only treatment for this disease. You must not eat gluten for the rest of your life. In most cases, taking gluten out of your diet will stop your symptoms. And, any damage to your intestine will heal. It will also stop any more damage from happening.Removing gluten from your diet can be difficult. This is because gluten can contaminate many foods. It can be found in condiments, salad dressings, and other unexpected places. For this reason, your healthcare provider may refer you to a dietitian who specializes in celiac disease. After you stop eating foods with gluten, your symptoms will likely get better in a few days. Your small intestine should heal completely in 3 to 6 months. Your villi will be back and working again. If you are older, it may take up to 2 years for your body to heal.
Your Dentists Role In Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity
This might surprise you, but dentists examine more than just your teeth.
For instance, did you know that dentists can screen for sleep disorders?
They also look for any signs of poor health and disease in your mouth signs that could point to gluten intolerance. If you have any of these gluten intolerance mouth symptoms mentioned above and suspect a gluten sensitivity, talk to your dentist.
Besides treating many of these symptoms, your dentist can refer you to a physician who can test you for gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
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Are Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease The Same Thing
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different. People with celiac disease have an autoimmune response to gluten. This means their bodies try to fight against gluten as if it were a virus. This reaction causes inflammation and damage to their digestive tracts. Celiac disease is the result of an abnormal gene. People with celiac disease also have high levels of certain antibodies in their blood, which are substances that fight gluten.
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease cause a lot of the same symptoms. But people with gluten sensitivity dont have an abnormal gene or antibodies in their blood.
How Is Gluten Intolerance Treated
Theres no cure for gluten intolerance. But most people find relief from symptoms by following a gluten-free diet. You should work with your healthcare provider and a dietitian to plan your diet.
You can also ask your healthcare provider about adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics help increase the good bacteria in your gut. They may reduce symptoms of bloating, gas or constipation.
Some research suggests that taking certain enzymes may help you digest gluten. But experts are still investigating this treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any enzymes.
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Major Glutening Vs Minor Glutening
During a major glutening, you’re likely to get lots of symptoms, whereas, if it’s only a minor glutening, you may only get one or a few symptoms. However, the symptoms that do appear generally come in the usual order.
Still, all in all, a glutening major or minor is an extremely unpleasant experience. When people ask me to describe my reaction to gluten, I characterize it as a “full-body flu” that lasts for days.
But the good news is that these symptoms are only temporary, and with dietary adjustments, it’s possible to avoid gluten and still enjoy a varied diet full of delicious and nutritious foods.