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What are the 10 most common symptoms of gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a fairly common condition in our country. In fact, some studies show that it affects approximately 15% of the US population. It is characterized by an inability to handle foods that contain gluten.

So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a compound of the two proteins gliadin and glutenin. The word gluten is derived from the Latin word for “glue.” Gluten is a mixture of starch, gliadin, and glutenin and is found in related grass grains like wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats. Most breads, pastas, crackers, and cookies contain gluten, as they are typically made from wheat flour.

Gluten intolerance is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system attacks your own body tissues. When a person with gluten sensitivity eats, say, a plate of spaghetti, cells in the small intestine misinterpret the grain’s molecules as a foreign invader. Then there is an interaction that results in programmed cell death and an immune response, which results in the typical symptoms of gluten intolerance. It’s important to identify a gluten intolerance and act accordingly because over time, when someone with a gluten intolerance continues to eat gluten, damage to the small intestine occurs. In its most severe form, gluten sensitivity can manifest as celiac disease, which can be not only uncomfortable for a person, but also dangerous.

A dietary sensitivity to gluten can carry with it a variety of symptoms that are unfortunately often misdiagnosed as the symptoms are common to other diseases and disorders as well. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is not usually the first suspect and people often go years and years without a proper diagnosis. Unsurprisingly, the initial symptoms of gluten intolerance are mainly gastrointestinal symptoms, although other external symptoms do occur as well. The good news is that this can be easily treated by simply eliminating gluten from the diet.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance:

1. Digestive symptoms: Digestive symptoms are the most common. This includes abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, constipation or diarrhea, constipation and diarrhea (alternating), weight loss or gain.

2. Inflammation: Inflammation is an immune response to gluten.

3. Lactose Intolerance, Dairy Sensitivity, or Other Food Sensitivity – This is a secondary condition that results from damage to the small intestine (leaky gut) due to the primary issue of gluten sensitivity.

4. Malnutrition and/or anemia: Since the small intestine can be damaged in cases of gluten intolerance, and since food can be rapidly excreted as waste, the body often has difficulty absorbing nutrients, leading to the development of this symptom. Specifically, a low iron level is common.

5. Chronic Fatigue, Exhaustion and Dizziness.

6. Body and joint pains.

7. Frequent infections: The small intestine makes up 70% of the immune system and since gluten sensitivity causes damage to the small intestine, infection is a common symptom of gluten sensitivity.

8. Steatorrhea- This is the presence of excess fat in the stool. This can lead to more embarrassing and painful complications, such as anal leakage or incontinence. Fat is present in the feces due to poor digestion.

9. Headaches.

10. Depression, irritability and mood swings.

As stated above, treatment for gluten intolerance is easy. Just eliminate foods that contain gluten. This means gluten-containing grains, such as those found in bread, cereal, and pasta, as well as beverages such as beer, should be completely eliminated, as these involve the fermentation of gluten-containing grains.

If you are experiencing any or all of the above symptoms, you may want to get tested for gluten intolerance. The answer could be life changing.

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