Signs of Gluten Intolerance
Signs of Gluten Intolerance – The Symptoms
In order to understand the signs of gluten intolerance, it is important to understand what gluten is. “Gluten is essentially the major protein component of wheat, rye, and barley. As it is metabolized or broken down, it can give some people tremendous problems. In short, the body’s immune system can see it as a toxin and therefore launch an attack against it. Varied and multiple symptoms are created depending on what tissues of the body are attacked.”1
The Gluten Effect lists these items are common signs of gluten intolerance.
- Digestive – Bloating and/or gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, nausea, weight trouble, iron-deficiency
- Hormonal – Fatigue, sleep problems, depression/anxiety/mood swings, menstrual problems, infertility, thyroid problems, osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Neurological – headaches or migraines, memory problems, joint pain/aches, fibromyalgia, brain fog
- Immune System – get infections easily, arthritis, cancer history, autoimmune disease, celiac disease
Signs Gluten Intolerance – Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease and is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. When gluten enters the small intestine, it is recognized as unsafe. The immune cells in the intestine make antibodies against gluten and the result is inflammation. The lining (villi) of the intestine become irritated, inflamed, and become “leaky.” Avoiding gluten will eliminate the trigger and help heal the “leaky gut” that causes so many Celiac patients to suffer. Another component is vitamin absorption. When the villi is damaged or destroyed, the body finds it difficult to absorb minerals and vitamins.
Signs of Gluten Intolerance – How to Start the Lifestyle Change
Whether you have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease, the diet is the same. The Celiac Diva has this to say about how to begin a gluten free lifestyle:
“Welcome to the team! It’s a great place to be and healing is right around the corner. For some of you, it is a relief to finally know what is wrong and have a plan of action. Others of you may feel upset, not wanting to make this change. Either way, take time to mourn if you need to. Set your start date, but don’t wait too long. Healing is on its way and you don’t want to prolong your pain. Here are some easy tips to get you started:
Commit to the lifestyle. This isn’t a diet plan; it is a change of lifestyle. Think of going gluten free as your solution, not your problem!
Gain knowledge. The basic forms of gluten are found in wheat, rye, and barley. There is a lot of great information online on our site and others. If you’d like to purchase a book or two, we recommend: The Gluten Effect (by Drs. Vikki and Richard Petersen) and Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide by Cecelia's Marketplace. As you begin to understand what gluten is doing to your body, it may be easier for you to say “Yes, I choose to live gluten free.”
Rid your home of gluten temptations. If possible, remove these items from your home or put them out of sight. If you are sharing a kitchen with those who aren’t gluten free, create some separation between their food and yours.
Write down your normal eating patterns and menus. Circle items that will need to be replaced with a gluten free product or removed from your diet. Replace gluten items with naturally gluten free foods—meat, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, rice, and of course chocolate!
Purchase quality gluten free vitamins to help your body with any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Find support. Look for online communities and local gluten intolerant or Celiac support groups. They will be able to provide encouragement and support to help you on your new journey. It is also important to find quality healthcare professionals or a nutritionist to walk with you.
1 The Gluten Effect by Drs. Vikki and Richard Petersen
Helpful Tips can also be found on www.theceliacdiva.com and on their corresponding Facebook page.
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