Gluten allergies, gluten intolerance or celiac disease is an often undiagnosed problem faced by thousands.
There are no set symptoms that lead the doctors to a quick diagnosis, just a list of symptoms that may or may not be present.
There is a difference between celiac disease, gluten intolerance and allergies.
The Different Types of “Gluten” Problems
Celiac disease is just one form of gluten allergy.
Gluten allergies are easier to diagnose than gluten intolerance. No medical tests exist to adequately diagnose intolerance to a food.
The link is that regardless of the medical description, gluten makes these people sick, whether it is intolerance or allergies.
Gluten comes from wheat, rye and barley.
Gluten is the protein from the grain that puts the spring in bread and makes it light and fluffy.
Up until recently, the protein from oats, avenin was also on the list of products that created the same reaction as gluten. The reason that oats were on the list is that they elicited the same reaction as wheat. Recently they found that mills, grain elevators and processing plants cross contaminate oats with wheat, barley and rye since they handle them all.
The result is that many people that reacted to oats were really reacting to the gluten from other grains.
Gluten Trouble Symptoms
Overwhelming fatigue may be one. The chronic fatigue syndrome that seems such a mystery might have a solution with the removal of gluten from the diet.
Some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance are not what you’d expect.
Before the perfection of tests for aids for AIDS, many gluten intolerant people received the misdiagnosis of AIDS because of the effect that it had on the immune system.
Sara’s diet, a controversial diet that cured a child of autism, eliminated gluten and dairy products. Many people say autism is incurable, and they are correct.
In this case, the child went from not speaking and mentally challenged to being a bright talkative social butterfly that received high marks in school, all within weeks of starting the diet.
It isn’t a cure, because if she falls off the diet she reverts back quickly. The term cured refers to the effects of the autism; instead, it is more accurate to say it is controlled.
Normally, primarily because of the association with celiac disease, people equate gluten intolerance with a dysfunctional digestive tract. That is also correct. There are symptoms of diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Additionally many believe that Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis may come from gluten intolerance.
Allergies to gluten may also cause weight loss or excessive gain.
Other problems associated with the skin occur. Large sores appear on some people with gluten intolerance. Mouth ulcers are another symptom of the reaction to gluten.
Gluten & Mental Problems
Mental changes come with gluten. Depression is one. Attention problems and behavior problems are other mental symptoms. Irritability and PMS are other potential problems from gluten. Anemia and osteoporosis have links to gluten intolerance.
When children have allergies toward gluten products, their bones react also. Small children with a reaction to gluten remain small and grow less than they should.
It seems simple that if you just eliminate everything that has flour from those offending grains, you’d solve your problem.
However, it isn’t that simple. There is hidden gluten everywhere.
Malt vinegar is one of the sneakiest of offenders and there is a debate whether distilled vinegar sets off a gluten reaction.
Gluten-Free products & diet
Today many companies now offer gluten free products so those that suffer from intolerance have easy access to nutritional and delicious foods.
There are drawbacks to the gluten free diet.
Gluten creates a dependency, much like that of alcohol, and stimulates brain cells located in the same area of the brain. Initially some people find that when they eliminate gluten from their diet they go through a withdrawal that is similar to that of the alcoholic.
Normally, most people give up gluten with only a little remorse because there is no bun on their hamburger. However, for those that have a reaction to the diet, it causes stomach problems, irritability and general lack of well-being.
The amount of time it takes to clear the system varies, as does the reaction to the change in diet. Just like the alcoholic, once the system clears of the initial reaction passes and health returns.
If you have symptoms that remain undiagnosed, it might help to mention gluten and a potential intolerance to your doctor.
Experiment with Your diet
Try removing gluten from your diet and see if it makes a difference in your health. Oftentimes when we experiment with our diet we can find food that works best for us.
You may also want to read this post about making your own Healthy Diet plan.