Could you be suffering from a gluten intolerance? Over 55 diseases have been linked to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and in lower levels in spelt, kamut and oats), and around 99% of individuals suffering from gluten intolerances or celiac disease are never diagnosed. These individuals, unfortunately, fail to ascribe their ill health or symptoms to gluten sensitivity and instead try treating symptoms (with drugs) that otherwise never go away.
Gluten is a staple of the American diet. It is in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and pretty much all processed foods. It also causes serious health complications, with up to a 72% increased risk of death in those with gut inflammation related to gluten.
In fact, one study compared the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today and found that celiac disease rose by up to 400% during that time period. This is great news for the American healthcare system who claims millions of dollars off the drugs used to treat gluten-intolerance symptoms many individuals suffer from today.
The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage).
If you have any of the above diseases, or any of the symptoms listed below, you may have a gluten intolerance:
– Digestive Issues: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
– Nutritional Deficiencies: due to malabsorption (e.g., suffering from anemia (iron malabsorption) or “chicken skin” on back of arms (result of fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut)
– Weight loss or weight gain: gluten protein disrupts metabolism functioning
– Fat in stools: gluten prevents fat absorption
– Aching joints: gluten triggers inflammation in the body, causing swelling and pain in your joints
– Depression: intestinal damage caused by wheat leads to malabsorption, and prevents our guts from absorbing zinc and B vitamins which are crucial for regulating our moods
– Eczema: related to the inflammation that gluten triggers in the body
– Headaches: inflammation from gluten puts a lot of pressure on our blood vessels, which can cause pounding headaches
– Exhaustion: gluten is incredibly hard to process by the body, and slows our digestion, thus making us tired
– Irritability & Behavioural changes: same as depression, our bodies cannot absorb minerals and vitamins when our gut is destroyed by the gluten we eat. These vitamins and minerals help regulate our mood
– Irregular menstruation, infertility, miscarriages: gluten intolerance creates imbalances to our hormones and can lead to a myriad of female fertility and menstruation issues
– Cramps, tingling, & numbness: triggered by inflammatory response the body has to gluten protein
– Slow infant and child growth: due to nutrient malabsorption
– Decline in dental health: gluten sticks to our teeth and this causes bacteria to thrive
Test yourself for gluten intolerance:
Eliminating gluten from your diet for a few weeks to a month is a great way to tell if your body has an issue with gluten. Gluten is a very large protein, so it is important to recognize that is may take months or years to clear from your system, so extending this gluten-free fast longer than a couple months before introducing it (if you so choose) is best.
If you feel much better off gluten than you do on gluten, then gluten is likely a problem for you. Eating a whole foods diet, high in raw fruit and vegetables will ensure the levels of gluten in your diet are significantly cut back.