Headaches? Joint Pain? You May Have a Gluten Intolerance That Should Not Be Ignored
Headaches? Joint Pain? You May Have a Gluten
Intolerance That Should Not Be Ignored
Written by: Cindy Santa Ana
Everyone from my neighbor to my daughter’s teacher is in a tizzy about gluten these days, myself included. For years, I ignored the signs and symptoms that my body was sending me, only because I was told that it was IBS or a symptom of my thyroid disease.
However, now that I have done a bit more digging and really started to listen to my body, I know for a fact that I have a true gluten intolerance and can now take the appropriate steps to avoid it. Since I’ve started taking those steps and avoiding gluten, I’ve become symptom-free!
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein found in grains, including wheat, barley and rye. It can also be added to certain foods like salad dressings, alcohol, sauces, soups, cosmetics and soy sauce.
How Is Gluten Intolerance Different Than Celiac Disease?
For years, doctors believed that if you were having severe gastrointestinal symptoms and tested negative for Celiac, you had no reason to avoid gluten. Celiac Disease is rare and affects less than 1% of adults.
But, we now know that gluten intolerance symptoms fall along a spectrum and having a sensitivity to gluten isn’t necessarily all-or-nothing. This condition is known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). This means that people who avoid gluten feel noticeably better when avoiding it.
What’s The Best Way To Find Out If You’re Intolerant?
You can have a blood test done at the doctor’s office for Celiac (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8) and for Gluten Sensitivity. These tests are called IgG food allergy tests. I actually tested negative when I did this, but still experienced a laundry list of symptoms when consuming gluten – gluten really is a sneaky little bugger.
The most efficient way to determine your intolerance is to do an elimination diet for at least 30 days (up to 3 months is optimal). If symptoms improve during the elimination period and then reappear once gluten is eaten again, that’s a clear sign that gluten was contributing to your symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance?
1. Digestive and IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
2. “Brain fog,” difficulty concentrating and trouble remembering information.
3. Frequent headaches.
4. Mood-related changes, including anxiety and increased depression symptoms.
5. Ongoing low energy levels and chronic fatigue syndrome.
6. Muscle and joint pains, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs.
7. Reproductive problems and infertility.
8. Skin issues, including dermatitis, eczema, rosacea and skin rashes.
9. Nutrient deficiencies, including anemia (iron deficiency).
10. Higher risk for learning disabilities, including autism and ADHD.
11. Possibly a higher risk for neurological and psychiatric diseases, including Alzheimer’s, dementia and schizophrenia.
12. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.
Don’t be alarmed if you have a lot of the symptoms listed above. Just know that if you do, you should consider going on an elimination diet and see how you feel after you remove 100% of gluten from your diet. From there, you will then know how to proceed with your own diet and help your body become healthier and happier.
Image source: Mom Junction
Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in weight loss, clean eating transformations and thyroid disease. She works with clients to help them reach their ideal weight, increase their energy, and live a healthy balanced lifestyle, while juggling their career and personal life.
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