Most people do not know what gluten is, leave alone figuring out that they might be intolerant to gluten. In-fact, about 1 in 100 Americans are gluten intolerant and have a lot of health issues that could be directly linked to it. It is, however, hard to diagnose and some might go all their lives never knowing what bugs them.
Gluten is a mixture of two proteins that is found in grain cereals like wheat and rye. It is what makes dough get that elastic texture.
Are you gluten intolerant? If you’ve ever wondered, or has a sneaking suspicion, here are 10 signs to help you tell:
Bloating and gas are two of the signs that you are could be gluten sensitive. If you feel bloated after eating a meal that has either wheat or rye in it, then you might be gluten sensitive.
The bloating occurs when the digestive process produces excessive gas in its effort to remove the gluten which it considers harmful to the body. According to Medicine Net any cramping, nausea or foul smelling stool after eating a meal with gluten in it an indication of intolerance.
You could be suffering from fatigue, and it could all be because of what you are eating. If you feel tired after eating a meal that contains gluten, this is a sign that you might be intolerant. This is because the body devotes extra resources in trying to get rid of the gluten proteins in the body, which can leave you feeling tired and without energy.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) most people who suffer from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia could be managed if they changed their diets.
3. Chicken Skin
The scientific name for this is Keratosis pilaris. This is a skin condition where small bumps that look like goosebumps appear on your skin. Except these don’t go away.
If you experience these after eating a diet that includes things that contain gluten, you might be intolerant. Like most allergy-related skin problems, this is your body’s way of warning you that there is a harmful substance in your diet, in this case, gluten.
4. Diagnosis Autoimmune diseases
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and are also experiencing some of the signs on this list, your problem might be gluten related. Autoimmune diseases include Lupus, Ulcerative colitis, and Rheumatoid arthritis just to name a few.
5. Joint pain
Joint pains and inflammation of the knees, fingers, and hip areas can be signs of gluten intolerance. This is especially worse for people with arthritis or celiac disease.
6. Mood swings
Anxiety, anger management problems, mood swings and depression can be signs of gluten intolerance. Most people who suffer milder versions of this might just need to change their diets. This is because gluten can cause mood fluctuations especially to people already susceptible to mood changes.
According to the Gluten Free Society, most people that suffer from migraines are because of food related intolerances including chocolate and gluten. Turns out all might need to do to end the migraines is cut out gluten from your diet. This is one of the body’s responses to harmful substances in the body.
8. Depression and Peripheral neuropathy
Depression and other neurological issues such as the tingling of the extremities called peripheral neuropathy can be a sign that you are gluten intolerant. According to Verywell.com, experiencing these while on a gluten diet is a sure sign that you are indeed gluten intolerant and you need to change your diet.
9. Grogginess and Concentration problems
If you feel groggy, have problems concentrating or your brain is foggy after eating a meal that contains gluten, this could be another warning sign.
This happens because your body diverts resources to remove gluten from the system, leaving you bereft of your normal functionality.
10. Mouth Ulcers
Mouth ulcers are an indication of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. This is because your body is unable to properly absorb certain nutrients due to its sensitivity to gluten, for example, calcium and vitamin C, and this results to dental problems such as mouth ulcers.
These mouth ulcers are called Aphthous ulcers. A study by the Canadian Dental Association shows the connection.
11. Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained weight loss is also an indication of gluten sensitivity. This is because gluten sensitivity causes the malabsorption of certain nutrients in the digestive tract, meaning the body is not getting the right amount of nutrition.
Gluten sensitivity also causes gut permeability and loss of villi in your small intestines causing absorption problems. This can cause you to lose weight drastically even if your calorie intake is regular. This is a symptom of celiac disease.
How to know for sure?
The very best way to know for sure if gluten is the source of your problems above is by eliminating it from your diet altogether for a period of time and then reintroduce it. Usually 2-3 weeks is the ideal time length, but the longer you can go without it the better.
If you notice any positive changes when you’ve taken out gluten from your diet, and or feel worse when you reintroduce it, this is probably a good indicator that you’re sensitive to it.
If you are gluten intolerant, be sure to take active steps to eliminate it from your diet 100%. While it may be difficult at first, you’ll soon get used to what products at the market to buy and which foods to avoid. Lots of restaurants now provide many tasty gluten free options. Who knows, maybe your friends and family will start taking a page from your book and adopt a gluten free diet too!
Photo by Stacy, CC