Even Without Full-blown Celiac Disease, You’ll Thrive On a Gluten-free Diet.
Approximately one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, caused by sensitivity to gluten (a protein in wheat and other grains). But most don’t know it.
Experts estimate that many, many more of us are gluten intolerant. Trouble is the symptoms of this food sensitivity vary greatly and resemble signs of other diseases like colitis, IBS, or wheat allergy.
Clues that would make a gluten-free diet worth your while:
· Weight loss or gain
· Abdominal pain or problems (bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, gas)
· Anemia and other nutritional deficiencies
· Joint pain, muscle weakness
· Osteoporosis and bone fractures
· Headache, irritability, depression, changes in behavior
· Itchy rash (10 percent of people with celiac disease also have dermatitis herpetiformis)
· Infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, miscarriage
· Fatty (large, greasy, smelly, light-colored) stools that tend to float.
Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:
If you have abdominal pain and other symptoms, you should consider actually testing for gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Just don’t go gluten free beforehand—or you won’t get an accurate diagnosis.
Another important fact I’ve noticed in my practice: People with microscopic parasites (giardia) and roundworms or whipworms are always gluten intolerant. When they get rid of damaging critters, gluten intolerance goes away. Uni Key’s Expanded GI Panel tests for many types of parasites and worms—plus major allergens like gluten.
Gluten intolerance resembles a giant iceberg. At its visible tip above water are those with a correct diagnosis of celiac disease.
People with this devastating autoimmune disease are unable to absorb nutrients. They can lose large amounts of weight and suffer severe abdominal pain as well as implacable diarrhea and bloating.
Untreated celiac disease reduces bone density. But a gluten-free diet, along with vitamins D and K, magnesium, calcium, and other bone-building nutrients, strengthens the skeleton.
Women with celiac who still eat wheat are more likely to experience fertility problems. They have eight times more miscarriages than celiac sufferers who follow a gluten-free diet.
Perhaps the most frightening fact about celiac disease is that you can have it for years without feeling any symptoms, while your disease silently destroys your small intestine. But the part of your body most sensitive to gluten may not be your gut—it’s your brain!
People with celiac disease are prone to polyneuropathy, which damages the peripheral nerves leading to weakness, trouble with balance, and numbness. In a Mayo Clinic study, when celiac patients suffering cognitive decline went on a gluten-free diet, their mental capacities improved or at least stabilized.
Upward of 70 percent of us have inherited a genetic tendency for gluten sensitivity. In my own nutrition practice, I’ve seen how gluten intolerance can lead to nutrient malabsorption as well as leaky gut syndrome. Gluten causes the villi (tiny, fingerlike structures) in the intestinal lining to flatten. As the villi atrophy, the whole process of taking in nutrients goes haywire.
Larger molecules like protein fragments breach the damaged intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream, creating widespread allergic reactions. As these allergens circulate through the body, they cause inflammation and trigger destructive autoimmune diseases, ranging from joint pain, diabetes, and skin problems to neurological disorders like MS, depression, and autism.
The Bottom Line
Go gluten free (no wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, triticale). Instead, look for flours and other gluten-free products with amaranth, buckwheat (not related to wheat), millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, and wild rice. Eat more vegetables and fruits.
Even with all the gluten-free products available today, you may still be low on fiber. Super-GI Cleanse contains five sources of gentle but fast-acting, gluten-free fiber including psyllium. For anemia, make sure your daily multivitamin includes vitamin B12 as well as iron.
Every day, take a natural anti-inflammatory. I personally use fish oil to modulate allergic symptoms. Because antioxidants help you cope with the aftermath of allergic reactions, I highly recommend Oxi-Key. Based on clinical testing, this particularly powerful antioxidant supplement features high amounts of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and vitamin E.