There are millions of people that are sensitive or have intolerance to gluten and most of them suffer from stomach issues, brain fog, migraines or bloating after eating wheat-based products and they don’t even know what’s causing their issues. From wheat allergy to Celiac disease, gluten intolerance can come in many forms even if the symptoms don’t occur immediately after ingesting gluten. Usually this sensitivity to gluten can damage the villi found in the small intestine after 24-48 hours after consumption, resulting in more serious problems. This is why it is very important, especially if you suffer from the following symptoms to talk to your health care provider and get tested for gluten intolerance:
If your stomach is usually swollen and full of gas, especially after you ate, you might be intolerant to gluten. As a matter of fact, Rocio Salas-Whalen, a board-certified endocrinologist says most patients that are intolerant to gluten are complaining about feeling bloated.
- Digestion issues.
Gas, constipation, diarrhea are all triggered by gluten intolerance so if you experience regularly some of these digestive issues, especially after eating gluten-based products, you should talk to your doctor. It is very important to know how your body responds to specific foods, especially if you have symptoms like stomach upset or diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and fatigue.
- Stomach pain.
Another specific sign of gluten intolerance, abdominal discomfort is a negative reaction experienced by more than 80% of gluten intolerant individuals. Although there can lots of reasons for stomach pain, if you experience discomfort immediately after you eat a gluten-based product, it might be a negative reaction your body has to gluten.
- Headaches and brain fog.
Strong recurrent headaches and migraines are a common condition associated with gluten intolerance. Gluten usually affects the nervous system of those who suffer from Celiac disease, causing complications like migraines, brain fog and mental fatigue. So if you don’t know the cause of your chronic headaches or if you have difficulty thinking or feel cloudy most of the time, check if you’re sensitive to gluten.
- Skin issues.
Gluten intolerance is also linked with all kinds of skin manifestations from dry skin, to eczema and psoriasis. Those who suffer from Celiac disease also develop a blistering skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis. This autoimmune skin disease is characterized by pruritic eruption on the buttocks and arms and legs. Most of these skin conditions improve after the patient follows a gluten-free diet.
- Anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from digestive issues are more prone to developing both depression and anxiety, especially those who suffer from Celiac disease. It seems that when the gut is not balanced, the serotonin levels decrease while the gluten exorphins interfere with the nervous system. Together, these hormonal changes can lead to essential changes in mood and increase the risk for depression.
This is why it is very important to keep our gut healthy by detoxing our body on a regular basis and increasing the amount of good bacteria in the microbiome. Inner Harmony from ALLKME is a great natural cleansing formula with an unique blend of probiotics that can regulate digestion, support your gut health and aid detoxification.
- Inflammation and joint pain.
Although joint pain can have multiple causes, gluten exposure can increase inflammation and cause widespread pain to the muscles and joints. Studies have shown that those who suffer from Celiac Disease are prone to an oversensitive nervous system that activates the neurons that cause pain in joints and muscles.
Do you have some of these symptoms but no diagnose that explains their cause? Try a gluten-free diet and see if it relieves symptoms.
If you suspect you might have gluten intolerance or wheat allergy, talk to your doctor to perform further tests to rule out Celiac disease. Besides blood tests, the doctor might require a biopsy from the small bowel. It is very important to eat a lot of gluten-based products before your biopsy to make sure you’ll obtain accurate results.
The simplest way to check if you have gluten sensitivity is to keep a journal with your meals and note all the signs above after eating gluten-containing foods. If you feel bad, this information might be very helpful to your dietitian.
What if you have gluten intolerance?
Once you know for sure that you have gluten intolerance you need to eliminate all the foods that contain wheat or barley, rye, malts and other derivates from your menu.
Here’s a list of foods that contain gluten:
- Wheat (gluten, durum, bran, germ, malt, sprouts, starch), wheat bran hydrolysate, sprouted wheat, wheat germ oil, wheat protein isolate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Barley, Rye, Triticale, Kamut, Einkorn
- Farina, flour, spelt, semolina
- Bread, rice, cous -cous, pasta, breakfast cereals, cakes and cookies, cracker meal, crackers
- Snack foods and batter-fried foods: potato chips, rice cakes, and crackers
- Salad dressings, marinara sauce, ketchup, soy sauce
- Processed meats and crab meat imitation
- Ice cream and candy
- Vegetable gum
In addition to food and drinks, gluten can also be found in
- Lipstick, lip balm, lip gloss
- Nutritional supplements with herbs
- Drugs and over-the-counter medications
Start by reducing the gluten intake slowly and see how you feel with every transition. Make notes if you still have allergic reaction or any of the above symptoms and try to buy as much as you can gluten-free products when you’re doing your groceries. In time, you’ll start feeling better and get used to the new dietary restrictions.