What is a Gluten Free Diet?
As with any other compound that is found in the foods we eat, humans can easily be intolerant of certain things without their even knowing it. Gluten is a naturally occurring compound that enters the system when wheat and other grains are broken down by the body. For most people, gluten is utilized by the body and the byproducts of the food that we ate that contained gluten are passed through the system without incident. For others, gluten can cause major issues and can even make them ill.
Though scientists say that it is impossible to be allergic to gluten, you can certainly be intolerant. An intolerance means that it causes discomfort and other adverse effects when eaten. For those that are diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, or even the more serious intolerance, celiac disease, there is hope. A gluten free diet is generally all you need to get your gluten intolerance under control and start feeling like yourself again.
So what is a gluten free diet? A gluten free diet is a diet that is either free of or has greatly reduced amounts of gluten. This could mean replacing regular bread with gluten free bread or cutting grain all together. It could also mean finding gluten free foods or simply cutting those that are high in gluten. A gluten free diet is not going to fix the issues day one, as the gluten works its way out of your system however you can start to feel the changes and will start to feel better than ever before.
Gluten is most commonly found in grain and products that contain grain so this is what you are going to be cutting the most of if you go for a gluten free diet. Before you start altering your diet, you may want to check out some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance to see if the diagnosis fits.
Symptoms Of Gluten Intolerance
Gluten intolerance at best is an irritating problem that causes discomfort and pain in your daily life. For those that believe they may have a gluten intolerance, there are some signs that you can look for to see if gluten is what is causing your issues. A doctor is always going to be best when definitively deciding if gluten is the major issue but these symptoms might be a good indicator about your issues.
If you are getting sick very often, you may have a gluten intolerance. Increased gluten intake has been linked to low immunity which means that you are going to be getting sick far more often. One way that doctors can test for this is to perform an IgA test to see just where your immune system stands. If you are getting sick very often, are not feeling well, or are just in a funk where you are not feeling like yourself, you may be able to talk with your doctor about testing to see just what is causing your low immunity.
Another symptom of gluten intolerance is dental trouble. This can mean things like fragile and broken teeth, sore gums, canker sores, ulcers of the mouth, decay, plaque and so much more. Your teeth are linked to a great number of hidden health issues and if you are experiencing dental issues that are out of the ordinary, gluten may be to blame. The reason for dental issues in those that have gluten intolerance is malabsorption of calcium. You can talk with your doctor about checking calcium levels in your body to see if this is a potential cause of your dental troubles.
Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
Any dramatic change in your weight is cause for alarm. One of the first signs of any really huge health issue is going to be changes in your weight. One big issue is to consider any changes that have been made to your diet or your exercise routine. If you have made no changes but still notice changes in your weight, you may have a hidden issue. The reason for weight changes with gluten intolerance is that the body is not able to absorb nutrients properly and the gluten may be altering the bacteria in your gut that processes the food we eat.
Another symptom you may be ignoring is migraine headaches. These are incredibly painful, debilitating, and can cause serious damage to the vessels in your brain over time. It has been found that those individuals that have gluten intolerance are far more likely to have migraine headaches and chronic headaches over time. If you are experiencing a headache a week or more often, you may want to cut your gluten intake to see if you have an intolerance and if a reduced or gluten free diet may help.
Gluten has been linked to behavioral changes as well like depression and anxiety. Most people eat a great deal of gluten in the form of bread and cakes which means that a great number of people have a hard time getting rid of gluten from their diet. Large amounts of gluten in the diet have been positively linked to depression and anxiety and cutting gluten or greatly reducing it might help. The reason that it can cause depression is that it does cause increased hormones as the body works to break it down and hormones are directly related to many brain functions.
Another issue that might be caused by a gluten intolerance is skin issues. Things like very dry skin, eczema, rashes, itchiness and more can all be signs that you have a gluten intolerance. These issues often flare up or get worse when you eat a large amount of gluten to if you are eating bread, pay attention to how your skin acts after you eat it. These changes might be subtle and take time to develop or they may be immediate depending on how sensitive you are to gluten in your diet.
Joint and Muscle Ache
You may also be experiencing muscle and joint ache that is associated with inflammation that is caused by too much gluten. Gluten can cause joint pain and inflammation that make it hard to get up and go every day and that can be present for one day or last for weeks. If you are experiencing this type of pain with no real reason behind it, you may be experiencing gluten linked inflammation.
Your hormones are what keeps your body going and what keeps you functioning each and every day. Gluten has been linked to increased hormones and severely decreased hormones as well which means that you may very well experience a hormonal imbalance complete with spikes and dips if you do have a gluten intolerance. You should pay close attention to the way that your body responds when you eat more gluten and when you eat less gluten to see just how it is affecting your hormone levels.
This is yet another sign that your body may be fighting a battle you know nothing about. If you are experiencing extreme, unexplained fatigue, you may be struggling with a gluten intolerance. As the body struggles to utilize the gluten unsuccessfully, your body is going to become worn down and may even be tired. Your body is also likely not going to be able to absorb the nutrients that it needs to continue to function properly.
Since gluten has been linked to hormones, you may be experiencing mood swings associated with how much gluten you are eating. If you are having mood swings that you cannot explain and you want to know what might be causing them, try reducing your gluten intake and see if your mood improves. If you do indeed have a gluten intolerance, your moods should even out with a reduced or gluten free diet that is free of harmful gluten.
These are all just some of the signs that you may have an intolerance. If you do not want to visit your doctor, you can reduce gluten intake on your own and see if you feel better. As always however, it is best to go to your doctor for a definitive answer to see if gluten is the root of your problem or if there is something more serious that might be at work.