Fitness Facts: Gluten intolerance
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Last week we talked about celiac disease. Not all people who have these types of symptoms are diagnosed with celiac disease. Many of them could have non-celiac gluten intolerance, sensitivity or allergy.
If you have tested negative for celiac disease but believe that gluten still might be the problem, you may be right! Just because you do not have celiac disease does not mean you are not gluten intolerant.
Gluten intolerance is more widespread than Celiac disease. It is estimated that more than 15% of the United States population has some form of gluten intolerance.
Could this be you?
Symptoms of gluten intolerance may include:
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Constipation is seen particularly in children with gluten intolerance.
- “Chicken skin” or the medical term “keratosis pilaris” on the back of your arms. This can be a result of a vitamin deficiency because of damage to the gut from gluten.
- Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating gluten
- Frequently feeling dizzy or off balance
- Migraine headaches
- Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints.
- Chronic fatigue
While these are some symptoms that may occur, the problem can be complex. The symptoms also may be other food allergies or intolerances.
The best thing to do is see a health care provider to rule out other disease processes that may have similar symptoms. Once this is ruled out, a gluten-free diet can be tried.
The best way to start is to do a strict trial of two weeks before deciding as to whether it is helpful. The true test often comes when you start to add gluten back into your diet and the symptoms return.
How do I get started and what is a gluten free diet?
Here is a link from the Mayo Clinic that explains a gluten-free diet and the foods to avoid:
It will take some time to learn the hidden ways gluten can be found, but once you are familiar with its many names the process is easier. Also, always ask at restaurants to see the gluten-free menu. Your server can tell you what to avoid.