Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease and The Gluten Free Diet
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease
I Didn't Realize How Bad I Felt Until I Went Gluten-Free
are growing health problems. The only solution is to remove all sources of gluten from your diet. Being on a gluten-free diet is different from a weight loss diet. Many people say they didnít realize how bad they felt until they went gluten-free. If you are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, healing starts as soon as you start the diet. And feeling good again is a wonderful payoff.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a mixture of the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley
. For people who are sensitive to gluten, a gluten-free diet avoids these grains. It is recommended that oats also be avoided. If you eat bagels, beer, bread, cookies, cakes and bakery items, crackers, pasta, pizza and pretzels, youíve eaten a lot of gluten. Gluten is also hiding in foods like licorice, cereals, popsicles, some malt, soy sauce, natural flavorings and many convenience foods.
Gluten is the glue that holds things together
, as in baked goods and pasta. In fact, gluten comes from the same Latin word as glue. Think of gluten as the glue of wheat, rye, and barley.
Why Is Gluten Sensitivity a Problem?
Humans donít tolerate wheat well
. When you eat wheat, your stomach produces extra amounts of a protein called zonulin, a protein that regulates how nutrients are absorbed through the walls of the intestine and enter the bloodstream. When some people eat wheat, they produce too much zonulin. Excess zonulin allows too much undigested foodstuff and toxins into the bloodstream. This is called leaky gut syndrome.
Gluten can cause many health problems
for people who donít tolerate it. In these cases, the gluten-free diet is truly a lifesaver.
Is it Wheat Allergy or Gluten Sensitivity?
Many people have allergies or sensitivity and intolerance to wheat
, and might be unaware of the cause. Wheat is one of the most common allergens, affecting millions of people. The symptoms of wheat allergy are difficulty breathing, coughing, nasal congestion, sneezing, tightness of the throat and even asthma. But gluten sensitivity is different from a wheat allergy and can be the hidden cause of many other symptoms.
Celiac Disease Is Related to Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease is a genetic intolerance to gluten
. It is an autoimmune response to gluten when the immune system attacks the cells of the body along with the gluten molecule. It can develop at any age. The result is damage to the small intestine and a variety of health problems. When celiac disease gets out of control, serious illnesses result.
Thereís no cure for celiac disease. Over time the intestines become damaged and other diseases take over. The solution is to avoid all foods that contain gluten. Celiac disease is one of the most common genetic diseases known and its prevalence is growing. If a relative has celiac disease, the likelihood is high that others in the family have it.
There are triggers for celiac disease
, when the symptoms appear like a bolt out of the blue. Common triggers are pregnancy, surgery, car accident or other physical injury, divorce, job loss, death or emotional trauma, and illness.
What Are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease affects the small intestine
, but the symptoms appear all through the body. Symptoms are fatigue, weakness, gas, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, acid reflux, vomiting, headaches, inability to concentrate, weight gain or weight loss, infertility, joint, bone or muscle pain, depression, respiratory problems, canker sores, lactose intolerance, eczema and psoriasis, rosacea, acne, lupus, osteoporosis, hair loss, bruising, low blood sugar, muscle cramping, nosebleeds, swelling and inflammation, night blindness, and a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis. Quite a roster of pain and suffering!
Anyone with these problems
will often benefit from a gluten-free diet. A gluten-free diet can also improve autism, schizophrenia and other mood disorders, and attention-deficit disorder (ADD/AHDH).
Celiac disease disguises itself
with so many symptoms that it is often misdiagnosed.
It can be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, anemia, migraines, psychological problems, Crohnís disease, cancer, viral infections, parasites, gallbladder disease, thyroid disease, cystic fibrosis, acid reflux, diverticulosis, diabetes, eczema and psoriasis of the skin. A long list of autoimmune diseases are also related to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Someone you know may have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
. Routine blood tests donít specifically test for it. But an attentive physician may recognize anemia, low potassium, low protein levels and high liver enzymes as indicators of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. There are blood tests for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. An intestinal biopsy done through the mouth while the patient is under local anesthetic will also confirm the diagnosis.
Going on a Gluten-Free Diet
The gluten-free diet rules out wheat, rye and barley and triticale
. It is necessary to avoid the foods listed above that contain wheat or gluten. But all other foods are permitted on the diet.
The gluten-free diet allows you to have any food that doesnít contain gluten
. You can enjoy the entire universe of fruits and vegetables, beans, dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes, meat, nuts, poultry and seafood.Fortunately, there are lots of gluten-free substitutes in the stores today to take the place of bread and cookies. There is even a gluten-free beer.
There are many amazing gluten-free foods
that can replace wheat in the diet. Rice, beans, amaranth, arrowroot, chickpeas, corn, garfava, jobís tears, mesquite, millet, Indian ricegrass, potato, ragi, sorghum, soy, tapioca, taro root and teff are all gluten free.
Quinoa, pronounced ďkeen-wa,Ē is gluten-free and the most perfect source of protein from the vegetable kingdom
. It was the sacred food of the Incas five thousand years ago, and is getting a lot of attention now from nutritionists. Although you cook it like oatmeal, it is actually a fruit.
Teff is a tiny, gluten-free grain that packs a big nutritional punch
. It is 12 percent protein, and has been a staple in Ethiopia for five thousand years.
Helpful websites for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are www.glutenfreeliving.com
Many people find that itís easy to lose extra weight on a gluten-free diet
. On the flip side of the coin, people who are underweight because nutrients are poorly absorbed in the intestines can use this diet to reach their ideal weight. If you have been feeling punk or under the weather, if you have been dealing with some of these symptoms, give the gluten-free diet a chance. Feeling good again is a wonderful payoff.
I hope life brings you much success. I wish you a very happy day.
----- Surfer Sam