Are you struggling with a gluten intolerance?

It is quite common for people to experience digestive and health problems from eating wheat or gluten. Gluten intolerance can result in several symptoms found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye.

Wheat is a type of grain that you will often find in bread, cereals, and pasta. Less-common sources include condiments, such as salad dressings and soups. Barley is another abundant variety of grain, used often in brewing and stock feed products. Rye is the last type of grain that contains gluten. You might find rye in cereals, beer and bread. Consuming these types of foods and beverages is often how one discovers their intolerance to gluten.

Celiac disease is a serious type of gluten intolerance. Classified as an autoimmune disorder, celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine. When those with the disease consume gluten, it initiates an abnormal immune response directly attacking the intestines. Eventually, damage caused to the intestines significantly lessens the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. If not properly treated, celiac disease can result in long-term health complications. It is estimated that 1 in 100 people suffer from the disease.

Individuals who are sensitive to gluten often find that their symptoms reside after the product is eliminated from their diet. With that said, certain symptoms exist that may show an individual is intolerant to gluten.

Here are 8 signs of gluten intolerance:

gluten intolerance

1. Brain Fog

One of the more surprising symptoms of gluten intolerance, brain fog, can also be subtle. Brain fog can be one of the more enigmatic symptoms simply because several things can cause it. However, it is a commonly cited symptom of people suffering from gluten intolerance and/or Celiac Disease.

In an article titled Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, researchers discovered abnormal reactivity to gluten in a class of antibodies known as immunoglobulin (IgG). In fact, some believe that this reaction contributes to diminished cognitive performance.

2. Unexpected Weight Gain

The sudden, unexplainable weight gain is perplexing to many gluten-intolerant people. Generally, weight gain from gluten intolerance results from two things:

  • Malabsorption and gut permeability – two side-effects of gluten intolerance and
  • Systemic inflammation, which is triggered by gluten.

Gluten-intolerant individuals who eliminate gluten from their diet can often revert back to a healthy weight level.


3. Abnormal Immune Function

IgA antibodies, when one is sensitive or intolerant to gluten, have a counteracting effect on the immune system. Found primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and saliva, IgA antibodies are the body’s primary defense against colds, flu, and other illnesses. Obviously, when these antibodies counteract our immune system, we’re much more likely to contract such illnesses.

4. Dental Problems

A 2009 study published in BMS Gastroenterology discovered a link between gluten sensitivity and “aphthous stomatitis” – a condition often associated with recurrent mouth ulcers and canker sores. Furthermore, due to malabsorption, gluten-sensitive individuals frequently have shallow calcium levels. Of course, that mineral is essential for oral health.

5. Headaches and/or Migraines

Migraines are often excruciatingly painful headaches that can even be debilitating. Strangely, migraines are far more common in gluten-intolerant people than in the general population. In one study of a gluten-sensitive group, 56 percent had chronic headaches or migraines. By comparison, just 14 percent of the control group reported chronic headaches or migraines.

6. Skin Problems

The malabsorption properties of gluten intolerance affect several different areas of the body, including our largest organ. Gluten may lead to acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). Skin symptoms deriving from gluten intolerance often include burning, redness, rashes, itchiness, and blistering. DH is a particularly damaging condition, defined by the Gluten Intolerance Group as: “a chronic disease of the skin marked by groups of watery, itchy blisters that may resemble pimples or blisters.

7. Joint and Muscle Aches

The inflammatory effects spurred on by gluten intolerance are the underlying reason for joint and muscle pain.

So it turns out that research does show links between the two diseases. The Arthritis Foundation has also published findings that link arthritis and joint pain with gluten sensitivity.

8. Fatigue and Exhaustion

This sign is similar to brain fog in that the exact mechanisms are a mystery. However, little scientific research examined the purported correlation between fatigue/exhaustion and gluten intolerance. However, medical professionals believe that gluten intolerance parallels fatigue through inflammation and the de-allocation of the body’s energy reserves.

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