- Do you ever experience gas, bloating, loose or oily stools, or constipation?
- Do you ever experience abdominal pain, nausea, abdominal distention, or flatulence?
- Do you ever experience joint or muscle pain that does not appear to be caused by activity or exercise?
- Do you ever experience an enlarged or inflamed tongue, gastric and duodenal ulcers or esophageal reflux?
- Women, have you experienced difficulty getting or miscarriages?
- Do you experience fatigue, mood changes, depression, or anxiety?
Have you ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as thyroid malfunctions, diabetes mellitus, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, childhood asthma, or polymyalgia rheumatic?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be suffering from gluten sensitivity.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in grains, grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale, kamut, and possible oat. It is a protein that is hard to digest and therefore can irritate not only your digestive tract but also your organs. You can experience symptoms that have been listed above but not always. You can have gluten sensitivity yet be asymptomatic. Research shows that as many as 90 million Americans may be negatively affected by gluten and as many as 10 million may have an illness due to the root cause of gluten sensitivity.
How Gluten Causes Disease
When ones digestive system is healthy undigested or partially digested proteins will be eliminated as fecal matter. However, if ones digestive system becomes weakened due to poor food choices, food intolerances, alcohol consumption, eating processed foods and sugars as well as from the normal day to day stresses of life the ability of the body to digest gluten proteins can become difficult. As a result any of the symptoms listed above will be seen because of the undigested proteins floating through the bloodstream thus causing an autoimmune reaction. In addition the protective mucus lining of the intestinal track gets attacked as well. Like the skin on your body, this protective mucus lining is a first line of defense in protecting the body from illness and disease. When this lining breaks down it leads to leaky gut syndrome (scroll down to read what is leaky gut syndrome and solutions for leaky gut) therefore, making one’s immune system vulnerable and weak.
How to Find out if You’re Gluten Intolerance
To find out if you have intolerance to gluten you can undergo a small intestinal biopsy, stool sample testing or blood testing. If you would like a less invasive test or a cheaper test for that matter you can take the gluten challenge. The gluten challenge is to eliminate gluten from your diet for two to four weeks. Then on the last day of your challenge eat nothing but gluten. For example Breakfast could consist of muffins, cereal or toast. Snack will be cookies or crackers. Lunch and dinner may be pasta and see how you feel immediately after and/ or the next day. Do you suffer from abdominal discomfort (cramping, bloating, and gas), achy muscles/joints, fatigue, irritability or difficulty concentrating? If so, you are gluten sensitive and should eliminate gluten as soon as possible from your diet!
Acronyms That Might Spell “Hidden” Gluten
Fu—dried wheat gluten
HPP—hydrolyzed plant protein
HVP—hydrolyzed vegetable protein
TPP—textured plant protein
TVP—textured vegetable protein
Begin to Read Labels!
For example many condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, and BBQ sauce, just to name a few contain wheat based ingredients. Instead, I encourage you to begin to either make your own sauces at home or cook with herbs and spices.
If you would like more information about gluten we recommend you purchase the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A.
In addition, if you would like specific lab testing for gluten intolerance you can purchase stool test kits through Replenishing Soul that can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Resources: Dangerous Grains, James Braly