Are You Gluten Intolerant?
AND IF YOU ARE DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?
Learning that gluten was affecting my ability to focus and concentrate was a real wake-up call for me. Discovering that my daughter had Hashimoto's Disease in which eating gluten can cause destruction of the thyroid gland was another. So, even though jumping on the bandwagon of gluten-free living was the last thing on my mind, clearly more serious health issues are at stake here than a little indigestion.
THE GLUTEN AND GALLBLADDER CONNECTION
The interesting thing I've found talking to so many people with gallbladder problems is that many of them already know they are gluten intolerant or have had symptoms of gluten sensitivity all of their lives. Colic in infancy, tummy aches in childhood, learning difficulties, and now memory problems, foggy brain and joint pain even as early as in their 30's.
What you may not know, is that one can have reactions to gluten in their brain or on their skin and not have any digestive symptoms at all. So who would test for celiac or gluten intolerance in that case? No one. These symptoms are frequently gluten related.
And if you have gallbladder disease of one type or another, know that the digestive symptoms of a gluten intolerant person can mimic those of gallbladder with bloating, gas, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and even severe pain. Gluten has been shown to contribute to gallbladder attacks and discomfort so at least until you are free of gallbladder symptoms, you don't want to take that chance. Eating any foods you have a sensitivity to can make matters worse.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GLUTEN INTOLERANT?
A person who is intolerant to gluten reacts in some way to a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley etc. One can have an allergy or just gluten sensitivity, but the reactions can be devastating to one's health with or without a true allergy.
WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE BECOMING GLUTEN INTOLERANT?
Wheat today is a new hybridized version of the original wheat. It has been developed to be insect resistant, draught resistant, cold resistant, heat resistant and anything else that makes it more lucrative. It is now a completely different protein and a non-food. It causes immune reactions in the body - i.e. the body views it as a foreign substance and creates antibodies to attack it. Add to that the processing that it goes through to be water soluble and impervious to normal decay and you realize that it is no wonder we are reacting to it - it would be more appropriate to ask why are some people not reacting? Or is it that they are not aware they are, or that they are not reacting yet?
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is what gives the chewiness or elasticity to dough and what helps it to rise. Gluten is a complex or composite protein found in most grains and is composed of the simple proteins glutenin and gliadin. Glutenin and gliadin are most commonly referred to collectively as gluten but people can be intolerant to one or the other, or to both proteins and to any of 12 or more peptides present within them. Current lab testing today tests for only gliadin antibodies and not both. Cyrex Labs, however, does test for both. There is one peptide that is formed as part of digestion of the gliadin molecule of the gluten protein that some people are allergic to called gluteomorphin. It is addictive in nature and gives withdrawal symptoms to those affected when they remove gluten from the diet. These people tend to feel worse and even get new and different symptoms when they go off gluten. This may last from some days to several weeks. Just be aware of this as you embark on a gluten-free diet. Going off gluten does not make anyone worse except in the withdrawal stage and only some will have that reaction.
SYMPTOMS OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE AND SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC
abdominal distention or bloating
gas/flatulence - can be foul smelling
foul smelling stools, possibly fatty and floating
concurrent lactose intolerance
borborygamus (rumbling noises in the stomach/intestines)
failure to thrive in infancy and stunted growth in children
NON GUT-RELATED SYMPTOMS
headches (especially migranes)
foggy brain - difficulty focusing, concentrating and remembering
swelling and inflammation
pain - joint, head, bone, muscle
lack of motivation
nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy - tingling/numbness in hands and feet)
clumsiness, lack of balance, difficulty walking (ataxia, also a nerve disorder)
skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne and rashes (see dermatitis herpetiformis) and hives
blood sugar issues such as hypoglycemia, insulin resistance and diabetes
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
unexplained weight gain or weight loss
tooth and gum problems
neuromytonia or Isaac's Syndrome - hyperexcitability of the nerves affecting the muscles
myopathy or weak muscles
OTHER AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH GLUTEN
It seems that one of the common grounds for autoimmune diseases in general is gluten intolerance.
Diabetes type 1
Dental enamel defects
HOW DO I TEST FOR GLUTEN SENSITIVITY?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CELIAC AND GLUTEN INTOLERANCE?
Even though Celiac Disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease and gluten intolerance has not advanced that far and may never do so, the symptoms are identical. In fact, the only way one can tell if it is celiac is by a test that shows major degradation of the villi of the intestinal wall. This is an advanced form of gut permeability or leaky gut. A compromised intestinal lining leads to food allergies, loss of self-tolerance and autoimmune reactions and eventually autoimmune disease. Most people who have chronic intestinal symptoms have some form of gut permeability. With celiac, the destruction has compromised the absorptive ability of the intestine which results in malnutrition and other problems. You may be on your way there, or almost there already, but if the test does not show a specific amount of destruction, you will not be given the label of celiac. So you can have antibodies attacking your intestinal tissue (and skin and brain for that matter) but if that degree of atrophy or destruction has not yet occurred, you will be told you do not have celiac. But you do have symptoms. "So, fine. What's causing these symptoms then?" Good question. Answer: "Gluten intolerance that is not celiac disease or not full-blown celiac yet." Maybe you'd like to remove the gluten from your diet before it becomes so advanced?
HOW TO TREAT GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
There are measures that can be taken to repair some of the damage done by gluten or other offending things such as drugs, viruses, bacteria and environmental toxins. The success of your program depends on amount of damage, compliance and state of your immune system. Some people only need a few months; most need many months or even up to 3 years. And in some instances, with, for example celiac or autoimmunity towards the lining of the intestine, the best you can hope for is to arrest the progression of the disease. The most important measure for all stages of damage is to remove gluten in all forms and from all sources from your diet. This is a learning process. You need to read, ask, keep a diary of your symptoms, even if you think they're unrelated, and read some more.
However, removing all possible allergens and finding you still have problems such as inflammation is frustrating. What's important to know here, is that once the cascade of inflammation has been set in motion, it can perpetuate itself. In other words, you may need to break that cycle first or at least concurrent with removing the gluten and other offending foods or supplements.
STEP ONE- REMOVE ALL GLUTEN FROM YOUR DIET
This is the most important part for success. Many people think they are gluten-free because they stop eating bread and pasta, etc. It involves much more than that. Studying this closely and reading labels and asking what foods are made with is essential. I have ordered roasted chicken from three different places and read the ingredients on all of them. Then I ordered some from a 4th place and did not read them, assuming it would be gluten-free. Wheat was added to the herbs sprinkled on the top! NEVER ASSUME. For just such a mistake we have a product called Glutenflam that helps with the digestion of gluten and casein. It won't do the job if you're eating it regularly, but for small amounts hidden in foods like this and on the rare occasion, it is an invaluable tool every gluten-intolerant person needs in their kit (or purse).
STEP TWO - REPAIR THE GUT LINING so that it does not allow leakage of large proteins though the intestinal wall. This is done by following an inflammation-free diet which includes removing all allergens and known inflammatory foods such as sugars and nightshades. Included in the nightshade family are bell peppers, eggplant, potatos and tomatos. Repairvite is a powdered formula that encourages the repair of the lining of the intestines and is invaluable to add to your program. Just know that taking Repairvite without removing the inflammatory triggers will not be nearly as effective.
STEP THREE - REMOVE AS MUCH STRESS AS POSSIBLE
We tend to think of stress as external sources such as job and finances, relationships, etc. These are definitely stressors; however, gut inflammation, an ulcer, a gut bacteria - these cause stress on your whole system, and especially your ability to think and focus. If you have chronic stomach pain or chronic burning symptoms, use Gastro-ULC and H-PLR for a month. This is one inflammatory trigger that needs to be corrected quickly.
Assaulting your body with sugar causing hormonal fluctuations, eating foods that cause your body inflammation, lack of sleep and pain are all part of the cycle of stress, inflammation and feeling badly. If you have inflammation which includes any pain and any brain fog, order The Inflammation Support Kit and read about brain support, blood sugar support and insomnia as well. They are all part of a viscious cycle you'll need to understand in order to unravel.
FOODS THAT CONTAIN GLUTEN
FOODS THAT CONTAIN HIDDEN GLUTEN
WHAT'S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN GLUTEN AND FATIGUE?
If you are gluten intolerant, eating gluten can set off inflammation anywhere or everywhere in the body - gut, brain, joints, neck, gallbladder, etc. When there is inflammation present, even undetectable, the body's adrenal glands secrete cortisol in an attempt to reduce the inflammation. This extra work puts a strain on the body resulting in low energy.
GLUTEN-FREE DIETS REDUCE PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
Reactions to allergies or intolerances can set off a cascade of inflammation. Sometimes people don't notice the difference right away from a gluten-free diet. But if they try it long enough (along with other major allergens as well) they are quite surprised to notice the degree of pain they experience when they add it back in again. Over the years I've had working with people, this is the most dramatic, revealing and life-changing piece of information they can receive. Learning that a dietary change can make such a big difference in pain, puts you back in the driver's seat of your own health. It gives you hope; it gives you control; it can give you your life back.
Sometimes support is needed putting this all together. Consultations are available.
What people are saying...
I just wanted to let you know that although having been diagnosed with gallstones, I decided to alter my diet as opposed to surgery. I felt better, but was still “feeling” my gallbladder every now and then. Wasn’t able to eat eggs for two years as it made me sick every time I ate them. Only after I stopped gluten I started to feel better, sleep better, not get tired during the day and now I can have up to 2 eggs per day and I don’t feel sick nor do they bother my gallbladder. Gluten is a slow poison in today’s modern world. Yes it needs some adjusting, but once you feel the benefits, every effort is so worth it! T.