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5 Signs You May Be Gluten Intolerant
Gluten intolerance resulting in celiac disease, first became known as a medical condition in the 1940’s. Since then, it has become such a growing concern that our local food, bakery and even convenience stores are offering gluten-free products like never before. People who do not have an actual problem with gluten are removing or reducing it from their diets hoping to lose weight and to enhance their health. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, and barley and is considered the culprit in causing damage to the small intestine with celiac disease.
Gluten intolerance is a broad term that is used for all types of allergies or sensitivity to gluten. Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland published a report identifying gluten sensitivity as a valid health concern and part of a spectrum of disease that includes celiac. There is a great variation in sensitivity to gluten and we now know that a person can have a “non-celiac” allergy to gluten that causes a number of health concerns.
The national institute of health indicates that 1 in 133 people in North America have celiac but only 1 in 4700 are diagnosed. It is thought that potentially fifteen times that number have a “non-celiac” intolerance to gluten. This would indicate that both gluten intolerance and celiac are underdiagnosed and a lot of people are unaware that eating gluten is the cause of their health problems.
Recent research by Joseph Murray, M.D., professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic found that that celiac disease is four times more common today than a half-century ago. The question I ask is why? Murray noted. “It more likely involves the wheat itself, which has undergone extensive hybridization as a crop and undergoes dramatic changes during processing that involves oxidizers, new methods of yeasting, and other chemical processes. We have no idea what effect these changes may have on the immune system.”
An IgG or E mediated gluten allergy can be determined with a blood test, whereas a definitive diagnosis of celiac disease requires a biopsy. The end result in either case is a reduction of the body’s ability to absorb protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health.
The Five Most Common Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity Include:
• Abdominal pain similar to irritable bowel syndrome
• Muscle or joint pain
• Foggy mind
If you have a gluten sensitivity these symptoms improve or disappear after removing gluten from your diet. So, an easy way to determine if you are intolerant to gluten, is to remove all gluten-containing foods for at least two weeks. When you add gluten back, use something simple like a whole wheat pasta and see if your symptoms return over the next 48 hours. Celiac disease and intolerance to gluten have no known cure, but can be effectively treated and controlled by dietary elimination of wheat, rye, barley, triticale, and processed foods that contain gluten.
Susan Janssens is naturopathic doctor who has been practicing for over 10 years. She provides a safe, effective, integrative and natural approach to health. For more information please go to www.IHConline.ca or phone 403-288-4880.