Gluten intolerance, also called gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease- when it's in its most severe form- can have symptoms that range from no symptoms to life threatening or debilitating chronic health problems and anywhere in between. Often, these symptoms are not consistent from person to person and this is part of what makes gluten testing or Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity so difficult for medical professionals.
According to Dr. Amy Myers the following are 10 signs of gluten intolerance:
1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.
2. Keratosis pilaris, also known as "chicken skin" on the back of your arms. This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
3. Fatigue, brain fog, or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.
5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance
6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS, or unexplained infertility.
7. Migraine headaches.
8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pinpoint the cause of your fatigue or pain.
9. Inflammation, swelling, or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees, or hips.
10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and ADD.
According to The Examiner.com below are five not-so-obvious signs of gluten intolerance that you could be missing:
1. "You're a full-grown adult but you still have breakouts like a teenager: Your skin is the body's biggest organ and provides a window into your internal health. That may be why Dr. Alessio Fasano, at the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research argues that persistent acne is a sign of inflammation from gluten that can affect other organs.
2. You wake up feeling sluggish, you're fatigued all day, and never feel rested: If you aren't burning the midnight oil every night and you are still hitting the snooze button repeatedly ever morning, your diet may actually be to blame. A gluten-filled diet can not only induce fatigue in someone with gluten intolerance, it can actually disrupt your sleep patterns and create a feeling of general malaise, according to studies.
3. You suffer from mood issues, anxiety, depression, or ADD. A gluten intolerance or allergy might not create anxiety or depression out of thin air, but they can certainly make symptoms worse. A 2010 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cited "significant concerns about increased rates of psychological symptoms and mental disorders in celiacs" patients.
4. You mysteriously suffer from join pain in your hands, knees, or hips: Join pain can be signs of several different autoimmune diseases. If you're not hitting the heavy weights, logging serious miles running, or suffering from arthritis, the inflammatory response from a gluten intolerance may be one reason your system is triggering a reaction in your joints.
5. You are plagued by frequent headaches and migraines: The causes of migraines are various and mysterious, but some studies have made a connection between an increased rate of headaches and migraines in Celiac patients, compared to the general population. In a 2001 study, Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in the UK documented patients actually lessening their migraine symptom by following gluten-free diets".
And it gets worse, gluten has been linked to over 55 diseases! Yes, I said 55 diseases.
Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases
A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 "diseases" that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, "we used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different "diseases." To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause--which is often gluten sensitivity--not just the symptoms.
Of course, that doesn't mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone--but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.
By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet."
So, what's a person to do? Well, first get tested by your doctor have him/her do the run down to make sure that there is nothing else going on then try a gluten elimination diet.
(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders--a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.
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