Many Patients Experience Ongoing Symptoms Due To Other Foods They Are Eating
They may have symptoms due to other food intolerances that disappear when the particular food is eliminated from the diet.
Symptoms can range from fatigue, brain fog, joint pains, migraines, rashes, digestive symptoms to many others. Common problem foods are dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, nightshades, and corn, but any food can cause a particular persons symptoms.
It requires a bit of detective work on the part of the patient and practitioner to figure out what the actual culprit or culprits are, but the results can be quite rapid and dramatic once the instigating foods are found.
In addition to specific foods, there are several other types of common intolerances:
Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1% of the population and may lead to damage in the digestive system .
It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including skin problems, gastrointestinal issues, mood changes, and more.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of celiac disease.
The Link Between Gluten And Back Pain
For most people, back pain does not evoke any thought of gluten intolerance. Clearly, most back pain is not attributable to gluten; there are far more common reasons to experience it.* But the connection between back pain and gluten is worthy of discussion. Research has now emerged to show a link between gluten and some forms of back pain.
Many of my patients have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Often, they recount back pain so severe it required MRIs, medication, and therapy. Some had mysterious pain that no one could explain. In many cases, the back pain resolved with a gluten-free diet. I often wonder how many of them made trips to their practitioner for back pain and were given various treatments that did not address the root cause.
How Is Gluten Intolerance Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history. If they suspect you have a gluten intolerance, these are the next steps to confirm the diagnosis:
- Step 1: You eat a diet containing gluten for about six weeks. During this time, your healthcare provider performs blood tests and skin tests to rule out a wheat allergy or celiac disease. There isnt a gluten intolerance test.
- Step 2: If you dont have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, your healthcare provider will ask you to exclude gluten from your diet for at least six weeks. Keep a thorough record of your symptoms during this time, noting which symptoms improve.
- Step 3: If your symptoms do improve while youre on a gluten-free diet, you gradually reintroduce gluten back into your diet. If symptoms return, you likely have a gluten intolerance.
What Is Gluten Sensitivity
Back to non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Since research into this condition is relatively new, not all physicians have accepted it as a “real” condition. Consequently, not all will give you a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity.
Those practitioners who will diagnose the condition will conduct celiac disease testing to rule out celiac first.
Still, recent medical research on gluten sensitivity has strengthened the theory that it’s a separate condition from celiac disease. Celiac is caused by your body’s reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
It’s less clear what exactly causes gluten sensitivity. Because it may be a non-gluten component of wheat and the other gluten grains, “non-celiac wheat sensitivity” may be a better name for it. For now, though, most medical researchers refer to the condition as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity.”
To get a better picture of the most common symptoms found in gluten sensitivity, Verywell Health spoke with three physician researchers who have spent a great deal of time studying the condition:
- Dr. Alessio Fasano
- Dr. Kenneth Fine
- Dr. Rodney Ford
They discussed their own clinical experience involving patients with gluten sensitivity. It should be noted that in some cases, their opinions haven’t been confirmed in published research or accepted by the medical community at large.
Maybe It Isnt Glutens Fault
While there is no doubt that gluten is to blame for the debilitating symptoms of celiac disease, we might have been too quick to assume that this protein, found in wheat and some other grains, is also responsible for the symptoms associated with non-celiac gluten sensitivity , often colloquially called gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease affects just 1% of the population, and an estimated further 6% could have NCGS, yet as we mentioned in the Inside Tract®, issue 189, as many as 22% of Canadians are trying to cut gluten out of their diets. While many individuals believe that gluten is responsible for a vast array of symptoms and ailments, the chance of gluten being the cause is quite low. In addition, our understanding of how NCGS works is still in its infancy. There is much controversy surrounding this disorder, since there are no known physical markers, and studies conducted on the subject continue to show mixed results. Some new research shows that it is even possible that NCGS isnt really a sensitivity to gluten, but may be to another component of the plant.
So whats the real story behind wheat, gluten, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity?
Have A Gluten Allergy Reach Out To Digestive Health Centers
If you believe you may have a gluten sensitivity, it is important to see a doctor and undergo specific testing to receive the most accurate diagnosis. Its a top asked question at Digestive Health Centers of Dallas, and we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified, fellowship-trained gastroenterologists to receive the best digestive care.
There Are Many Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease
Most people wonder if they have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance because of gastrointestinal symptoms like gassiness, diarrhea, constipation or excessive bloating. But other symptoms might not be so obvious. And while gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different, many of the symptoms can be similar. Here are some celiac disease and gluten intolerance you might not be aware of.
- Digestive issues
- Tingling or numbness in hands and/or feet
- Bone and joint pain
How To Test For Gluten Intolerance
If you are experiencing digestive issues that are disrupting your ability to function normally, you should see a healthcare physician.
“When it starts interrupting your daily activity and life, I would say it’s time to see someone to talk about treatment options,” says Windham.
Gluten intolerance is diagnosed when the doctor is able to rule out celiac disease or wheat allergy. Because gluten intolerances can’t be diagnosed through bloodwork like celiac disease, it is often diagnosed through a process of elimination.
Important: “If both the celiac disease and allergy test are negative, then eliminating gluten from the diet for at least a month is recommended,” says Vardaman. “If symptoms improve after eliminating gluten for a month, then it’s likely a gluten intolerance,” she says.
It’s crucial to consult a doctor if you think you have a gluten intolerance, instead of just eliminating gluten from your diet before receiving tests.
“Most people don’t realize some of the nutritional deficiencies they may get from going gluten-free,” says Windham, adding people who avoid foods with gluten typically lack nutrients like , vitamin B, and .
What Health Issues Does Gluten Cause
There are two types of health issues that gluten may cause for people who are affected with the sensitivity to the protein. These are gluten intolerance and a less severe gluten sensitivity.
Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune digestive genetic disease, also referred to as celiac disease.
With celiac disease, gluten causes ones body to have an autoimmune response that inflames and damages the small intestines lining, which can cause pain and make it difficult for your body to absorb necessary vitamins and nutrients from food. People who suffer from celiac disease need to always avoid gluten.
This disease is becoming increasingly common. A study in the Gastroenterology Journal reports that in the past 50 years, celiac disease has gone from affecting 0.15% of people to 0.83% of people in 2009, and now that number has risen to 1% of the population.
Celiac disease is a serious disorder that can cause other health problems such as malnutrition, infertility, and bowel cancer. Here are 13 early signs of gluten intolerance in adults.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gluten Sensitivity
Over the last 10 or 15 years, the word gluten has found its way into the vocabulary of our society. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Through extensive media coverage, it is now common knowledge that some people suffer from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the digestive tracts of people who eat gluten. These people must completely cut gluten out of their diet, or else face permanent intestinal damage.
Celiac disease only affects about 1% of the population, and its estimated that people with a wheat allergy account for another 1%. What some people dont know is that even if you dont suffer from these two very specific diseases, its still possible to experience negative side effects from consuming gluten. If youve tested negative for both celiac disease and a wheat allergy, you may be suffering from a non-celiac gluten sensitivity , which is estimated to be present in anywhere between 0.5% and 13% of the population.
A List Of High Gluten Foods
- Bread made with wheat
- Most coated and battered products
- Wheat based snacks
While grains like oats and corn start out as gliadin-free, its important for people with wheat sensitivity or allergy to check the packaging on products like instant oats or polenta for added wheat or potential cross-contamination.
Why Do Kids Get Celiac Disease
No one is sure why celiac disease happens, but it appears to run in families. You have a 5% to 10% chance of getting celiac disease if someone in your family has it. It’s common in people from the northern European countries and the United States. How common? About 1 in every 133 people in the United States has celiac disease.
Many people who have celiac disease do not know it. If all these people were diagnosed, celiac disease would be more common than type 1 diabetes. Fortunately, awareness is growing about the problem, and there are better ways of testing people for it.
What You Can Eat
Although all of these gastrointestinal issues have been associated with the protein components of wheat and other grains, it is still not crystal clear whether any of the non-celiac conditions are actually caused by gluten or lectin, or by other substances found in grains. Researchers are still trying to figure that out.
Meanwhile, if youre plagued with chronic stomach and intestinal issues, youre probably less concerned with which part of the grain is causing your problem and more concerned with knowing what you can and cannot eat. To best answer that question, it helps to know exactly whats wrong with your health. If you dont, its best to avoid any potential offenders until you get a clear diagnosis.
The following alternative grains and pseudo-grains, which are actually seeds that are used like grains, can be substituted in different ways for many of the more common grains that are known to cause digestive problems. All of these can be found in health foods stores and many large supermarkets, in the form of whole-grains and flours, and they also used in commercial gluten-free products. Overall, they provide most of the same nutrients found in the more common grains.
For more information, tips, ideas, and recipes for using alternative and common grains, check out Oldways Whole Grain Council.
You Are Getting Gluten In The Diet Intentionally Or Not
Gluten sneaking into the diet, either by or intentional ingestion, is by far the leading cause of ongoing symptoms in patients starting a gluten-free diet. Some people mistakenly assume a little wont hurt as the diet can be challenging. These small amounts may be to blame for continued symptoms. Small amounts are more likely to affect someone with celiac disease than someone who has gluten sensitivity. But, some people with gluten sensitivity are sensitive to small amounts of gluten as well.
Getting gluten accidentally occurs for various reasons, such as cross-contamination from toasters, cookware, or cutting boards. It may happen due to well-meaning gluten eating family members who arent familiar with avoiding cross-contamination. Symptoms may be from hidden gluten in products, cross-contamination, or misreading or misunderstanding labels. Cross-contamination when dining out is common-decrease this risk by using my free worldwide 100% gluten-free restaurant guide. It is searchable by location.
There are several other reasons for accidental gluten ingestion, and it often requires being a bit of a detective. This is best be accomplished with the help of a dietitian or health care professional trained in gluten-free diets if the answer is not easily uncovered on your own.
Gluten And Celiac Disease
Ana Goldseker, Director of Nutrition at Nava, knows gluten clearly makes celiac worse, but she says: What most do not realize is that it could also bring inflammation if other grains are refined.
In other words, pain, bloating, and inflammation can occur at any time even if you have a gluten-free diet and eat gluten-free products. When the diagnosis reads celiac, an elimination diet might be able to take away some of the confusion, alleviate symptoms of glutening, and in time, allow intestinal damage to heal.
So, avoiding all gluten-free and gluten-containing products for a time will help bring things into balance. And then, starting with non-gluten grains and unprocessed foods might be the way to go.
If your symptoms are very intense, then getting off-grain altogether might be the answer, even if only for a few months.
Gluten has no essential nutrients, so if its given you a glutened stomach, follow our tips above and ease your discomfort.
How Is It Treated
Celiac disease is treated by not eating gluten. This can be difficult because gluten is in many foods, but a dietitian can help adjust someone’s diet to cut out gluten. It is important not to start a gluten-free diet unless you are truly diagnosed with celiac disease.
Following a gluten-free diet allows the small intestine to heal. But that doesn’t mean the person can start eating gluten again. For someone with celiac disease, gluten will always irritate the intestines and, if this happens, the diarrhea, belly pain, and other problems will return.
If you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, it can be a challenge to learn which foods contain gluten. You may not be able to remember them all, but you can keep a list with you and ask about menu items at restaurants before digging in. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro at knowing which foods are safe and which are not.
Here’s a quick quiz: Which of these foods contain gluten?
- fried chicken
If you said all three, you’re right! Pizza was the easiest choice because you know the crust is bread. But did you know that battered foods like fried chicken and even some French fries contain gluten? Pasta also contains gluten because it is made from wheat. Luckily, you can make or buy gluten-free pizza crust, make fried chicken with a gluten-free batter, and find gluten-free pasta. In fact, nearly all of the foods we eat can be made gluten free.
- packaged rice mixes
- instant cocoa
- canned soups
What Does A Gluten
Gluten is used in certain types of foods, such as wheat and barley, as well as in other food products. You might also find it in certain medications. When you need to switch to a gluten-free diet, you should read labels carefully and avoid foods with gluten in them. Many foods are gluten-free, including quinoa and other whole grains, citrus fruits, carrots, and some other vegetables, and some proteins.
Signs You May Be Intolerant To Gluten
Gluten has become a much more discussed subject over the past few years. Some considered gluten free diets to be a fad for a time, but this is far from the case. In fact, there are observable gluten intolerance symptoms that can be uncomfortable and unhealthy for those dealing with it. These symptoms can be even worse or dangerous in cases of extreme gluten intolerance, like those with celiac disease. If you are thinking you might be gluten intolerant, then look for the five common signs below.Â
Is There A Cure For Gluten Sensitivity
No. The best way to treat a gluten sensitivity is to remove gluten from your diet. If doing so relieves your symptoms, then youll most likely be better off without gluten permanently. People with gluten sensitivity generally have a bit more latitude to experiment with what is acceptable in their diet, since its not known exactly what causes the adverse reaction. You may be able to enjoy things that have a low gluten concentration, such as soy sauce, or eat a bite of cake without developing troublesome symptoms.
Brain Fog Or Headaches
Other reported common symptoms of gluten intolerance are headaches and brain fog. Brain fog is when you are experiencing cognitive issues such as difficulty concentrating or focusing, or a lack of mental clarity. This by itself is not a sure sign of gluten intolerance, but if you experience it along with other symptoms, then that may be the cause.Â
How To Ease A Glutened Stomach
So the worst has happened you have a glutened stomach. Youve had an unfortunate, unintentional exposure to gluten thats also known as glutening or being glutened. And now you need to sort it out.
Its hard to guard against. About 1/64 of a teaspoon of gluten less than a visible crumb can cause severe discomfort to someone with gluten sensitivity, and severe intestinal damage to a celiac.
Perhaps it took place on Sunday when you and your friends had brunch at a restaurant that did not ensure their menu was gluten-free. Or maybe you ate those delicious flour-free cookies your grandma insisted you have. You might even be completely unsure how it really happened and have been accidentally glutened.
Many of those who are sensitive to gluten or have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease celiac and follow a strict diet have been there and been glutened.
Cutting Back On Wheat For Better Health
All in all, there are many good reasons to minimize grain foods, and particularly processed wheat products, that provide your body with a flood of empty calories, yet next to no nutritional value.
Not only will you avoid digestion problems with gluten and fructans, youll also greatly reduce your of obesity and other serious conditions associated with high carbohydrate consumption.
The following list of high gluten foods may be hard to read for some. If your sensitivity is mild, then you may see improvement just by reducing some of the highest sources, like supermarket breads and pasta.
However, if you have wheat allergy symptoms, or are fully intolerant, then its vital to your long-term wellness to make the switch to foods on the gluten-free list ahead.
Fortunately, most gliadin-free alternatives to wheat, barley and rye are also low in fructans, so avoiding one will also generally avoid the other.
The only exception to this is gluten-free products still made from wheat, barley or rye. These are usually still high sources of indigestible fructans that can cause bloating and gas on their own.
If I Dont Have Any Symptoms After Eating Gluten Is It Safe
As a celiac, you should never cheat. Even if you have minimal symptoms, consistently eating gluten can cause long-term damage. While you may think that youâre free from symptoms, some celiacs are affected days, weeks, and even months later. Whatever the timeline, itâs encouraged to keep an eye out for ongoing patterns to give you clues that you may have consumed something questionable.
Gluten Intolerance And Celiac Disease Are Different
There are two different types of gluten intolerance: Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. People with celiac disease are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance, and even ingesting a very small amount can lead to severe damage of the small intestine.
The disease can develop at any age and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems.Most concerning? Many people who have celiac disease dont realize it. In fact, the Celiac Disease Foundation reports that an estimated 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed, and therefore at risk for major long-term health complications.
But you dont have to have celiac disease to have a gluten intolerance. Non-celiac gluten intolerance can be tough to diagnose because its not an autoimmune disease or a food allergy . Non-celiac gluten intolerance means that your bodys digestive system cant tolerate any form of the protein gluten. If consumed, your body fights against it with inflammation, causing digestive issues like fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea and gassiness. Its estimated that 15 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of non-celiac gluten intolerance.
When Should You See A Doctor
Is stomach pain after eating a regular occurrence for you?
It may be time to visit a medical professional, naturopathic doctor, or holistic nutritionist. A stomachache after eating should go away after a few hours, but if your pain has lasted for more than a week or if a stomachache occurs after every meal, speak with your doctor.
How To Reduce Gluten Intake
While people with celiac disease must exclude gluten from their diet as soon as a doctor has diagnosed the condition, many people with gluten intolerance slowly reduce the consumption of gluten, rather than cutting it out straightaway.
It can help if a person starts by including one gluten-free meal per day before slowly adding more.
It may not be beneficial for everyone with gluten intolerance to cut gluten out of their diet entirely, as peoples symptoms will vary in their severity.
Some people may be able to consume small amounts of gluten without experiencing any symptoms.
The majority of people with gluten intolerance, however, may want to eliminate gluten from their diet gradually.
Most Doctors Fail To Do Vitamin Blood Tests
Often, at the time of diagnosis people have been ill for a very long time. Due to this delay in diagnosis, many patients have a lengthy period of malabsorption of vitamins and minerals. The intestines have not been working properly under the constant barrage of gluten ingestion.
Many practitioners fail to test for common nutrient deficiencies associated with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
The vitamins and minerals most commonly deficient are below, along with some common symptoms seen with these deficiencies. This list is by no means comprehensive or exclusive.
Iron- Fatigue, cold intolerance , poor appetite, pale skin, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath
Vitamin D- These symptoms can be nonspecific and vague: bone pain, weakness, depression, fatigue, poor concentration, and joint pain.
Folate- Fatigue, headache, anemia, palpitations, depression, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, sore tongue, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
Vitamin B12- Anemia, weakness, fatigue, pale skin, sore tongue, balance problems, tingling in fingers or toes, mood changes, depression
Magnesium- Fatigue, constipation, insomnia, muscle spasms or twitches, anxiety, hyperactivity, headaches
Key Points About Celiac Disease
- Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
- In both gluten intolerance and celiac disease, the body mounts an immune response against gluten, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, bloating and gas, and constipation.
- Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
- In people with celiac disease, repeated exposure to gluten damages the small intestine lining, which compromises its ability to absorb certain nutrients.
- The intestinal damage in celiac disease caused by repeated exposure to gluten can lead to long-term problems beyond immediate digestive symptoms, such as malnutrition, decreased bone density, infertility, nervous system damage, and skin rashes.
- Adhering to a gluten-free diet should mitigate symptoms of gluten intolerance and prevent further intestinal damage for those with celiac disease.