Over 50 diseases have known links to gluten, which is the protein found in rye, barley, and wheat. It’s been projected that 99% of those with either celiac disease or gluten intolerance/sensitivity are never diagnosed. The medical conditions which could provide an explanation are: wheat allergy, celiac disease, or non-celiac sensitivity to gluten (NCGS). In this article, I will be outlining gluten intolerance signs and symptoms in general.
For those with celiac disease, ingesting gluten causes the immune system to damage the villi. The villi are the small tentacle-like protrusions in the small intestine, which are responsible for nutrient absorption.
Celiac disease can lead to serious health conditions, like permanent damage to the intestine. Damage caused by disorders related to gluten, including NCGS and celiac disease, go further the intestines.
Research over recent decades suggests that symptoms of intolerance to gluten can appear in nearly all systems in the body:
- the skeletal and reproductive system
- central nervous system (including the brain)
- cardiovascular system
- endocrine system
- cardiovascular system (including the health of the heart and blood vessels).
As I said earlier, this article will list common gluten intolerance signs. These symptoms may occur straight after eating and last a short time.
That being said, some symptoms can remain for weeks or be ongoing, which could result in a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease as opposed to an intolerance to gluten.
Sometimes these symptoms appear right after meals and don’t last long.
It’s also predicted that up to 15% of US citizens are gluten intolerant. Do you have gluten intolerance/sensitivity signs? Look out for these symptoms –
Gluten Intolerance Signs and Symptoms
2. Keratosis Pilaris, (aka, ‘chicken skin’ on the backs of your arms). This is often due to vitamin A and fatty acid deficiency, which comes in second to malabsorption of fat caused by gluten harming the gut.
3. Fatigue or brain fog after eating a meal that contains gluten.
4. Being diagnosed with a disease of the immune system such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, Ulcerative colitis, Psoriasis, Multiple sclerosis or Scleroderma.
5. Neurologic symptoms such as feeling off balance or dizziness.
6. Mood issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or mood swings.
7. Swelling, inflammation or pain in your joints such as hips, knees or fingers.
8.Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, basically indicates that your conventional doctor cannot pinpoint the cause of your pain or fatigue.
9. Migraine headaches especially after eating foods containing gluten.
10.Hormone imbalances such as unexplained infertility, PCOS or PMS.
A good way to find out if you have gluten intolerance signs is to start a gluten elimination diet, whereby you take it out of your diet for 2 to 3 weeks and then gradually reintroduce it.
Please take note, that gluten is a large protein, therefore it can take months to clear it all from your system, so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet plan the better.
If, when you stop eating gluten, you feel much better, and feel worse when you start eating it again, then gluten is most likely a problem.
That being said, for accurate results from this method of testing, you must eliminate ALL gluten from your diet.
Treating Gluten Intolerance Signs
Eliminating gluten from your diet means entirely. Even just tiny traces of gluten from, for example, supplements, medications or cross contamination can be all it takes to cause your body to have an allergic reaction.
In 2001, an article was published stating that for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, eating gluten even just once per month raised the risk of death by a significant 600%.
Making a final decision
First up, make a list of all the symptoms that bother you, whether they be every now and then or chronic. Be careful not to assume, e.g, your back hurts so it must be the way you slept. Just write them down.
Then, for sixty days, go on a gluten-free diet. If you don’t think you can, that could mean you’re addicted to gluten. It’s common to have an addiction to things we have allergies to.
The foods that need to be avoided consist of:
wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, oats, and triticale, i.e. grains that contain gluten.
Buckwheat, sorghum grains, rice and quinoa are gluten-free.
When it comes to foods that are packaged, carefully read the labels. Here is a site for your reference (http://www.celiac.com/).
Once the 60 days is over, review your notes to see the remaining symptoms, if any. If most have disappeared, you may decide to stick with being gluten free.
If you’re not sure, return to your previous diet and see what symptoms return.
After six months of being on a gluten-free diet, you might be able to reincorporate some of your old foods gradually without any issues.
Still not sure?
Seek out a functional medicine physician or an integrative practitioner to guide you.
Celiac Disease Diet. [Online] Available URL