Is Gluten Making You Sick?
Gluten is a protein that is found in the grains wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and a few others. It is also found in many processed foods as a thickener, filler or sweetener; therefore, it is vitally important to check food labels carefully if trying to avoid gluten.
The most accurate way to determine if you are intolerant to gluten is to have your genotype (DNA) tested to see if you have the genes that predispose you to celiac disease. If you ask your doctor to test you for gluten intolerance, the doctor will usually ask the laboratory to test your blood for antibodies to gluten proteins, and this test isn’t always reliable, especially in children. That test can miss some cases of gluten intolerance. Conversely the genetic test is always accurate.
In people with the genetic susceptibility to gluten intolerance, eating gluten can cause some problems such as:
- Fluid retention
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Abdominal bloating
- Skin problems such as dermatitis, eczema or dermatitis herpetiformis (small itchy blisters)
- Mouth ulcers
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Joint pain
- Autoimmune disease
- Osteoporosis, particularly when diagnosed early in life
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, meaning that when gluten is ingested, there is an immune system reaction in the intestines that causes damage to the intestinal lining. The immune system in the gut believes that gluten is a harmful virus or bacteria that must be destroyed. The resultant immune system havoc creates inflammation and damage to the lining of the digestive tract.
People with one autoimmune disease are more susceptible to developing others. Therefore people with celiac disease are more likely to develop an underactive thyroid gland (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), an overactive thyroid gland (Graves' disease), type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, autoimmune alopecia (hair loss) and others. Anybody with one of the above conditions should be tested for celiac disease. Removing gluten from the diet can offer dramatic health improvements for people with these conditions. There is much more information about this topic in our book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation.
You may test negative to celiac disease but still feel unwell after eating gluten. This is called Non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In this case, eating gluten is still bad for your health, but it won’t cause the severe consequences of celiac disease.
How to heal your gut after eating gluten
- Try to eat in a relaxed atmosphere. Think pleasant, positive thoughts while eating and chew your food thoroughly. If you have digestive problems, this puts a strain on the liver and compromises its health. The liver usually does not produce enough bile and this can lead to indigestion, nausea, or bloating after meals. Taking an ox bile supplement should help.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid with your meals. This can dilute digestive enzymes and stomach acid, leading to bloating and indigestion.
- Sipping a little apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water five minutes before a meal can help improve digestion. Alternatively, use it as a salad dressing along with olive oil.
- Glutamine is a natural supplement that helps to heal and seal the gut lining, thus it is the number one remedy for leaky gut. It is used by the cells that line your intestines, allowing them to repair themselves. Glutamine is present in Ultimate Gut Health powder, along with other nutrients to soothe an irritated gut.
- You may need to see a healthcare practitioner to help you identify food sensitivities or FODMAP intolerance.
- It is important not to be constipated, as constipation promotes bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Bacterial overgrowth can lead to nutrient deficiencies, as the bugs steal the nutrients from your food and supplements before you get a chance to absorb them. Exercise and drinking plenty of water should help. If that is not enough, Colon Detox capsules may help.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.