More than 55 diseases are linked to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is estimated that 99% of people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.
It is also estimated that 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Can you be one of them?
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a gluten intolerance.
- Digestive problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I have children with constipation especially after eating gluten.
- Pilaris keratosis (called “chicken skin” on the back of the hand). This is due to fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency caused by malabsorption of fat caused by gluten, which damages the gut.
- Fatigue, brain fog, or fatigue after eating gluten-containing foods.
- Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.
- Neurological symptoms such as dizziness and loss of balance.
- Hormonal imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
- Migraine headache.
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses indicate that a typical doctor cannot determine the cause of your fatigue or pain.
- Inflammation, swelling and pain in joints such as fingers, knees and hips.
- Mood problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, ADD.
How to test for gluten intolerance?
I have found the best way to determine if there is a problem with gluten is to go on an elimination diet and remove it from your diet for at least 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Note that gluten is a very large protein and can take months or years to clear from your system, so the longer it is removed from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.
The best advice I share with my patients is that if they’re doing much better than they were on gluten, or if they’re bad at re-introduction, then gluten may be a problem for them. To get accurate results from this test method, you must eliminate 100% gluten from your diet.
How to treat gluten intolerance?
100% elimination of gluten from the diet means 100%. Too much gluten, cross-contamination, medications, or supplements can be enough to trigger an immune response in your body.
The 80/20 rule, or “we don’t eat it at home, we only eat it when we eat out,” is completely wrong. A 2001 article found that eating gluten once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600% in people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.