Gluten sensitivity is the next epidemic. An enormous number of people are walking around with gluten sensitivity and they have absolutely no idea. It is estimated that approximately 18 million people in the United States have some form of gluten intolerance. Could you be one of them?
An estimated 99% of people who have either gluten intolerance, referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), or celiac disease are actually never diagnosed. As a functional medicine office, we aim to find the best care for all of our patients and that now includes testing for gluten sensitivity.
Gluten testing is very important because most people with gluten sensitivity have no digestive symptoms at all. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine was able to link more than 55 chronic diseases to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
You may be asking yourself, if gluten can cause so many health issues, why don’t more physicians know about this or test for gluten sensitivity? The truth is that when something new is discovered in the medical field it can take an average of more than 15 years for this new information to make its way into medical schools and clinical practice. Much of the research surrounding gluten sensitivity very new and in fact we just now began understanding gluten’s role in many diseases.
Gluten causes your body to attack itself, sometimes on multiple fronts. If you’re sensitive to gluten, your immune system sends antibodies to attack the inflammatory gluten particles. Gliadin, the protein in gluten, resembles on a molecular level some of the body’s own tissues. The gliadin antibodies often mistakenly attack other organs and systems, from the skin to the thyroid to the brain.
People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity do not have damage to their intestinal lining. However, they can experience symptoms such as headaches, bloating, gas, fatigue, itchy skin rash, or diarrhea after eating gluten-containing foods. NCGS is more common than celiac disease and perhaps more common than we know, affecting possibly as many as 1 in 10 people. While around 1 in 133 people in the US have celiac disease – a more serious form of gluten intolerance.
If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation.
- Fatigue, brain fog, or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
- Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
- Migraine headaches.
- Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
- Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
- Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
How to test for gluten intolerance?
One of the easiest ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take out gluten from your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.
If you need support and guidance for following an elimination diet, we have a great detox diet meal plan to help you. For more information call our office at 818-842-1410.
The best way to know if you really have wheat or gluten associated disease or intolerance is to get tested. Getting the right test is the most important way to learn if your symptoms come from wheat. Our office uses the best laboratories to test for non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), call our office and find out how you can get tested.