What Should I Do If Im Exposed To Gluten
Gluten is in countless foods, drinks and other products. Even if you stick to a gluten-free diet, you might accidentally eat gluten at some point. If you experience side effects from accidental gluten exposure, you can:
- Drink plenty of water to flush out your system.
- Eat small meals that arent spicy or fatty.
- Try ginger or peppermint tea to soothe an upset stomach.
You Could Clear Your Head
Psh. Not likely if we keep getting conflicting advice on this subject, right?
There isn’t a whole lot of scientific evidence to support it, but the anecdotal evidence is all over the internet: many people report clearer thinking after they give up gluten. The reason being? While they were ingesting gluten, they were experiencing “brain fog.” Although there is no official medical definition, people describe it as feeling tired, lethargic, fuzzy-headed. And often, they didn’t realize how bad they felt, until they gave up gluten, and started thinking much clearer.
One study published in the Journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found an increase in depression symptoms with a diet containing gluten. While another found that when they gave participants a pill containing gluten or placebo, there symptoms were more severe when they swallowed the gluten-containing capsule.
What Causes Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
In coeliac disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them.
This damages the surface of the small bowel , disrupting the body’s ability to take in nutrients from food.
It’s not entirely clear what causes the immune system to act this way, but a combination of genetics and the environment appear to play a part.
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Treatment For Celiac Disease
Patients with celiac disease should adhere to a gluten-free diet for the duration of their lifetime. This requires strict avoidance of products containing proteins from wheat, barley and rye. Patients with celiac disease will also be referred to a knowledgeable dietitian, to help review what food products contain gluten and develop a healthy eating plan.
A gastroenterologistshould continue to care for patients with celiac disease. It is important to monitor for:
- resolution of signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease
- blood testing for vitamin and nutrient levels
- blood testing to ensure adherence to a gluten-free diet and no accidental exposures
- a pneumonia vaccination
- a bone scan, which may also be recommended by your doctor
No matter the diagnosis, the sensitivity or allergy to gluten is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Celiac disease is a chronic condition and it pays to be knowledgeable about its signs and symptoms, as well as its treatment.
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How To Follow A Gluten
If you are newly diagnosed with coeliac disease you may find it challenging to discover tasty substitutes for all the foods you can no longer eat. The list of forbidden foods may seem very long, but be reassured you can still enjoy a nutritious, balanced, delicious diet with a wide range of foods. You can do this by:
- eating naturally gluten-free foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh, unprocessed meat and fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, most dairy foods, fats, oils and alternative grains
- choosing products that are labelled as gluten free
- choosing products that have the Coeliac Australia Endorsement Logo these have been produced under strict conditions and have been tested for detectable gluten and found to have none
- selecting products that contain no gluten ingredients to do this safely you need to be very familiar with which ingredients are gluten free and which are not.
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How Does Gluten Impact Digestion
As mentioned in Part 1, gluten is a protein found in certain grains. Normally during digestion, the body breaks down food into its building blocks including monosaccharides, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. So, one would think that our bodies would separate the gluten from the carbohydrates and then break the gluten into amino acids either individual ones, or groups of two or three that can be easily absorbed and utilized. Unfortunately, it doesnt work this way.
Humans appear not to make the enzymes necessary to completely break apart the gluten protein. We have the ability to break gluten into several sections , but these peptides do not get broken down further.
The first break separates the two main proteins: glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin seems to be digested completely, as we expect proteins to be. However, gliadin is only broken down into peptides of 5 or more amino acids, some of which are called gluten exorphins.
To summarize:humans are incapable of completely digesting gluten into amino acids, di- and tri-peptides. As such, some medium-length peptides remain at the end of gluten digestion.
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.
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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.
Treating Joint Pain With A Gluten
People experiencing painful joint inflammation may consider eliminating gluten and other pro-inflammatory foods, such as sugary sodas. They may try it on a temporary basisfor example, eat gluten-free for 30 daysto see if joint pain is relieved or not.
Below are several tips for people who want to try a gluten-free diet to reduce joint pain.
Diagnostic screening for celiac disease measures the bodys reaction to gluten proteins therefore, people who want to be screened for celiac disease are advised to be screened before starting a gluten-free diet.
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Three Reasons Not To Go Gluten Free
You Could Have A More Upset Stomach
Typically, gluten-free foods especially processed gluten-free foods, do not contain as much fiber as grain-based foods. And according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, more than 90 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended daily amount of fiber.
Fiber keeps things running smoothly. It’s the roughage that your body can’t digest that helps bulk up your poop. If you don’t get enough of it, you’ll have a harder time making bowel movements, i.e. constipation. Thankfully, fruits, vegetables, potato skins and legumes are all great alternative sources of fiber.
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Who Should Be Concerned About Gluten
According to Dr. Thomas OBryan, anyone who is sick. If you have a headache, youre sick. If you have joint pain, youre sick. If you are depressed, youre sick. If you have irritable bowel, youre sick. If you have poor memory, youre sick, says OBryan. You get the point. If you dont feel well, then gluten may be the culprit.
The current generation of children 10 years and younger have a fore-casted lifespan to be less than their parents. This is the first time in history that the youngest generation is going to live shorter than their parents. We need to change the momentum. We need to change what we are eating and the choices we make, says Dr. Thomas OBryan.
It sounds bleak but this is an exciting time. Gluten-free may sound like a fad, but people are talking about it. The gluten-free movement has happened because so many people have felt better without eating wheat, says OBryan. Celebrities are doing it, people are trying it out, and the result is an increase in availability and request for these gluten-free products. This is good, maybe they will eventually be comparable in price.
But wait Just switching to gluten free products does not necessarily mean healthy. Most of these highly processed foods are not enriched, which means that they dont contain a lot of nutritional value. Many rice flour substitutes actually have a higher glycemic index and less nutrition than white flour. Once in a while, these treats are a wonderful alternative to gluten.
How Is Coeliac Disease Diagnosed
As the symptoms of other conditions can closely mimic coeliac disease, it is important the diagnosis be confirmed to ensure appropriate treatment.
Your doctor will do special blood tests that measure certain antibodies 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.
Coeliac disease can be diagnosed without biopsy in some children if strict criteria are met. Importantly, a diagnosis of coeliac disease should only be made by a gastroenterologist.
Do not try to self-diagnose coeliac disease. If the blood tests and gastroscopy 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.
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Common Indicators Of Gluten Sensitivity
The term gluten sensitivity is often called non-celiac gluten sensitivity in various research studies, since people diagnosed with celiac disease are also sensitive to gluten.13 The difference between a gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is that the former may be triggered not just by wheat, but by other grains like rye and barley too. These grains are known to have the glutenin and gliadin proteins, or protein fragments, that are in wheat.
Typical symptoms of a gluten sensitivity include nausea, skin irritation, bloating and gas, brain fog and fatigue. However, these indicators can widely vary and may also overlap with gynecologic conditions, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome.14
Because there is no specific laboratory test for gluten sensitivity, your physician will have to make a clear connection between your symptoms and gluten consumption patterns to fully diagnose NCGS. One way to do this is by starting a food and symptom journal thatll help determine that gluten is indeed causing your health problems.15
If the cause is established and the tests come back normal for a wheat allergy and celiac disease, your doctor may give you the go signal to begin a gluten-free diet.
Who Should Eat Gluten
Gluten is a protein choice for people who don’t want to eat meat because they have high cholesterol or other health problems. It’s also suitable for people who are allergic to soy or dairy and cannot get their protein from those sources. Gluten contains carbohydrates, so it will provide you with some energy. However, the number of carbohydrates in wheat gluten flour is so small — at 6 grams per 1/4 cup serving, just 2 percent of the recommended daily intake — that those on a low-carb diet can still eat it.
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You Could Have A Calmer Happier Stomach
Better digestion. Gluten-free diets are synonymous with this benefit. Many people who go gluten-free report having less abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. Whether you believe in gluten-free diets or not, it is scientifically proven that of all the carbohydrates, whole grains are the hardest to digest. Some cite the presence of phytic acid , enzyme inhibitors , disaccharides , and the fact that grains were not meant to be ingested.
Which Health Issues Can A Gluten
Medically speaking, not all gluten-related issues are created equal. There can be confusion around two common gluten-related conditions in particular: celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
Lets take a look at the differences between the two, and how the gluten-free diet may benefit both, along with some other medical conditions.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Common symptoms of celiac disease are diarrhea, decreased appetite, stomachache and bloating, poor growth, and weight loss. Many kids are diagnosed with it when they’re between 6 months and 2 years old, which is when most kids get their first taste of gluten in foods.
For some people, the problems start slowly and the symptoms may be terrible one week and not as bad the next. Because of this, some people aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease until they’re older. The problem is chronic, which means that although symptoms may come and go, people who have celiac disease will always have it.
Someone with celiac disease may feel tired and could be irritable. Some also have skin rashes and mouth sores. The problem is sometimes mistaken for other digestiveproblems called inflammatory bowel disease or lactose intolerance. And in some cases, a kid won’t have any symptoms and then will all of a sudden start having problems during a time of stress, such as after an injury.
Can Gluten Intolerance Lead To Health Problems And Weight Gain
With all the news about gluten and gluten-free diets, you may be wondering can gluten intolerance lead to weight gain? In fact, if your body cant process gluten you can have many problems including weight gain. However, weight gain isnt as common as weight loss.
With gluten intolerance, your body has trouble absorbing the protein gluten thats found in wheat, barley, and rye. As you continue to eat these foods you may have a wide array of digestive problems weight gain being one of them.
Gluten intolerance can cause gas, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. The symptoms you experience will be individual. One of the best ways to discover whether or not youre tolerant to gluten is to eliminate gluten from your diet and see if symptoms subside.
Many people find that a gluten-free diet can promote weight loss and better digestive health. A lot of that is because foods that are high in gluten also tend to be high in refined sugars, fats, and artificial ingredients.
But if you continue to eat gluten and you have an intolerance, you could actually end up having problems with too much weight loss. This isnt the kind that helps you shape up for summer its the kind that sends you to the hospital and makes you very ill.
Gluten intolerance can exacerbate problems such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and other auto-immune disorders because it causes inflammation in your body. It can even cause a severe allergic reaction called celiac disease.
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