Do you suffer from symptoms of abdominal pain, stomach aches, difficulty losing weight or excessive weight loss, bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, bone or joint pain, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, migraines, difficulty concentrating or irritability?
You may have Celiac Disease (CD) or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) which leads to malabsorbtion of the nutrients you need to live a symptom free, vibrant life. To find out if a gluten free diet is for you, take our Gluten Intolerence Quiz.
Gluten sensitivity has also been associated with infertility, miscarriage, autoimmune thyroid disease, dermatitis, depression, immune system disorders, developmental brain problems in infants and children, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and autism. These conditions are often treated with medications, when a simple change in diet could really help.
Gluten is composed of two protein groups; gliadins which give dough its flow characteristics and glutenins, which provide elastic consistency. It is found in the grains of wheat, barley, rye and oats has been hybridized and cultivated to be disease resistant, refined with chemicals and exists in thousands of processed foods. Gluten is also found in every day products such as stamp and envelope adhesive, many different medicines and vitamins.
Even though the consumption of oats has recently proven to be safe you should try to purchase your oats from companies that only process the oat grain because often farmers grow their oats and wheat in the same field making the possible cross contamination of the two grains virtually impossible. For more information please read our solution article.
Because the gluten protein is a very large, complex food molecule it is very hard to digest. In a gluten sensitive person, it actually attacks the intestinal lining with a thick mucous, flattening the microvilli that help with absorption, creating inflammation and tearing microscopic holes in the small intestine causing Leaky Gut Syndrome. This allows bacteria and toxins to leak into your blood stream setting causing your immune system to overreact leading to the symptoms mentioned above.
It is speculated that 50% of the average Western diet includes wheat based bread, cereals, pastries and pasta, making millions of people with undiagnosed gluten sensitivity inexplicably ill.
While gluten antibodies can damage the bowels, they also cause problems in the nervous system. Dr. M Hadjivassiliou of the UK, a neurologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield tested patients who had "neurological dysfunction" with no obvious cause for gluten sensitivity. He found that more than half tested positive for Celiac Disease and 1/3 of those tested positive never had the typical gut symptoms. In those cases, gluten damaged the cerebellum and the peripheral nervous system.
Worldwide nearly 1 in 200 people have the most severe form of gluten sensitivity known as Celiac Disease (CD) though it is estimated that more than 90% are undiagnosed! If you have Celiac Disease it is permanent and can not be treated with medications. Diet is the only treatment and it has been reported that as little as 0.1 grams of ingested gluten can trigger irritating yet tolerable symptoms. People who have CD or NCGS also have a very high incidence of lactose intolerance.
Up to 1 in 7 people have lesser forms of gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and their symptoms can disappear or improve on a 30-90 day gluten free diet. Once the gut has healed from the effects of gluten and your total toxic load is eliminated by internal cleansing, you may slowly reintroduce gluten, using the food log provided in solutions.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease can be genetically inherited.
GLUTEN AND WEIGHT GAIN
Gluten is insulinogenic, meaning it stimulates insulin release, and thereby promotes weight gain and inflammation by abnormal blood sugar control. It has been found that diabetes and Celiac D`isease often go hand in hand and that hundreds of thousands of people with Insulin Resistance Syndrome also have gluten sensitivity.
FEEDING YOUR BRAIN? CRAVING BREAD AND BAKED GOODS?
Is this you? Do you crave bread or baked goods? Once you start eating them you can't stop? Gluten has an effect on the opioid receptors in your brain, which control pain and pleasure. Carbohydrate addiction can be a symptom of NCGS.
When gluten is broken down it produces opiate like compounds which bind to the opioid receptors in the brain. Initially they make you feel good and satisfied, but over time it can create havoc with your health. These compounds are so strong that when exposed to strong digestive enzymens in the lab, they did not break down! Sometimes when people remove gluten from their diets, they actually have withdrawal symptoms from the removal of the opioids. They have greater cravings, just like drug withdrawal and you will need encouragement to hold the course.
Exposure of these opiod proteins from food, has shown to be a neurotoxin and destroys brain cells especially in infants and young children. Ongoing research suggests that these proteins also lead to autism, developmental brain and behavior problems. Preliminary data states that the dazed, unfocused look of the autistic child may be due to the opioid effect of gluten and can resemble a look similar to a person who is high on drugs. These opioid proteins can be tested for in urine and are called polypeptides. *PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE PUTTING YOUR CHILD ON A GLUTEN FREE DIET.
The Digestive Diseases and Science Journal NOTED that people with CD and NCGS have a high rate of autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Type I diabetes, liver disease, Sjogren's syndrome and thyroid problems.
A study from Italy showed that the longer gluten sensitive people eat gluten, the more likely they are to develop autoimmune diseases. Various antibodies (i.e. thyroid antibodies) that indicate autoimmune disease can actually disappear after 3-6 months of a gluten-free diet. That is a small price to pay for health.
Caused by allergic reactions to gluten, Dermatitis Herpetiformia was first described in 1884 by dermatologist, Louis Duhring, at the University of Pennsylvania. This type of dermatitis is extremely painful and I have heard people describe the pain as thousands of red ants stinging while sand is being rubbed into the skin at the same time. The typical features are small grouped incredibly itchy blisters, often on red plaques, on the back of the elbows, forearms, buttocks and front of the knees. Other less common sites may be the face, scalp and trunk.
A long known fact is that Celiac Disease and Hodgkin's Lymphoma are connected. In the 1960's a study reported 100-fold increase of this cancer in people who have issues with gluten.
From 1982-2005 1,968 people with CD were followed by a team of researchers. This study found that increased risk of developing cancer (such as small bowel adenocarcinoma) directly corresponds with the age of diagnosis of CD. In this group, the longer a person ate gluten the greater the risk of developing cancer. With 90% of people with CD or gluten sensitivity undiagnosed, the uncovering of this sensitivity can have an impact on the rising rate of lymphatic cancer.
A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine investigated the link between CD and osteoporosis. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine recruited 840 subjects, 260 of the subjects had been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Blood tests and other diagnostic tools revealed that CD was much more common among subjects with osteoporosis and those with the most severe cases of CD tended to have the most severe cases of osteoporosis.
Lead researcher, Dr. William Stenson, stated that he and his colleagues believe that the gluten in the diet caused malabsorption and the inability to absorb normal amounts of calcium and vitamin D leading to osteoporosis. When these women were put on a gluten free diet it lead to intestinal healing, better absorption of calcium and vitamin D and a reversal of bone loss!
MISCARRIAGE AND INFERTILITY
Reported in the British journal The Lancet, Dr. Antonio Gasbarrini of Gemelli Hospital, Catholic University, in Rome, studied 44 patients who had a history of spontaneous abortion, 39 patients who had fetuses with intrauterine growth retardation and 50 normal controls. For each group the researchers measured markers for gluten sensitivity and CD.
According to Dr. Antonio Gasbarrini, the patients with recurrent spontaneous abortion and those with intrauterine fetal growth retardation had a significantly higher frequency of markers of CD and NVGS than the controls.
A UK study from the Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition, Section of Reproductive Medicine at University of Sheffield found that CD can be a cause of unexplained infertility in women. Studies suggest that dietary treatment of these women with a gluten free diet may result in successful conception.
Short stature or being significantly under the average height is often a repercussion of childhood celiac disease which prevents nutrient absorption during the years when nutrition is critical to a child's normal growth and development. Children who are diagnosed and treated before their growth stops may have a catch-up period.
In summary, you do not have to be gluten sensitive or have Celiac Disease to go on a gluten free diet. I personally have seen hundreds of patients benefit from trying this diet for one month or more.
If you suspect that you may have Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, complete the Gluten Intolerence Quiz for your risk index.