Go Gluten-Free to Relieve Abdominal Pain and Osteoporosis

October 5, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Even Without Full-blown Celiac Disease, You’ll Thrive On a Gluten-free Diet.

wheat_gluten_freeApproximately 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.

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.

Gluten Intolerance
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.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Shari Risken

    Please add me to your mailing list! Thank you!

  2. Karin

    Can gluten intolerance cause or worsen respatory alergy symptoms?

  3. Anne Peterson

    Thank you. Can you comment on why one would have nausea, almost like being pregnant, over a long period of time but intermittently?

  4. Fatima

    There is an article that mentions that Vitamin D deficiency has something to do with Gluten sensitivity (auto immune diseases). Does that mean improving level of vitamin D can help overcome gluten sensitivity?!

    Also, does gluten sensitivity means one is born with it. Or it just can happen later in life? even if one didn’t have it before.
    Appreciate your comments. Thank you.

  5. Fatima

    In order to do the UniKey Gluten Saliva Test, does one need to reintroduce gluten to their diet if already gluten free for over a year? Thank you.

  6. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Gluten intolerance can create a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms – including nausea and vitamin D defiencies…. Fatima, in your case, I would simply add to the diet the least offensive gluten-containing grain – maybe barley- and take the test. There are other markers that will show if gluten is a real problem.

  7. Ronda

    Check your B12 labels. I just discovered that the sublingual B12 I have contains fructose, a form of sugar I am trying to avoid.

    I decided to try eleminating gluten and am feeling better after 3 days.

  8. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Friends:
    I would love to answer each and every single one of your queries, as I have done to the best of my ability, in the past. The popularity of this Blog has grown to the extent that I can no longer provide that service but I am in the planning stages of an Internet – TV show where you can call in and get those questions answered by me in person! Please stay tuned for this exciting development. I first must complete a new manuscript and then will make some exciting announcements. In the interim, may I suggest that if you have questions about products, call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353. The folks there are helpful and will direct you accordingly. If you are concerned about a particular health condition, then by all means check out the Testing Kits on my site which will help you to determine underlying causes. Please don’t let this dissuade you from posting. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest!

  9. Gluten Free Foods

    Going gluten free is not just about eating gluten free foods, it is more than a lifestyles change especially for gluten sensitive people.

  10. Alexia Stickland

    Hi! Your write-up rocks and is really a very excellent recognize


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