Whether it is shopping malls or small food markets, we see a lot of foods marked as gluten free. And a lot of people are going for it too. But what is gluten itself? And what does it mean by gluten sensitivity?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is estimated that about 15% of the American population is gluten sensitive and only few of them are diagnosed for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Gluten sensitivity can be due to celiac disease or it can be non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In non-celiac gluten sensitivity people don’t develop small intestine damage like celiac disease. But the symptoms of both can be similar.
Unlike other proteins, gluten are not digested by pepsin and chymotrypsin because they contain high glutamine and proline content. So they remain in the intestine, which triggers immune responses leading to the inflammation of the small intestine leading to various symptoms. Sometimes our body can develop allergic response to gluten itself. Some of the symptoms which might help you know if you are gluten sensitive or not are:
- Digestive problems after eating gluten containing food. You might suffer from bloating, constipation, diarrhea, recurrent stomach pain, nausea and vomiting after eating any gluten containing food.
- You might be having skin diseases like dry skin. Its because gluten sensitivity leads to mal-absorption of the vitamins and vitamins are required for healthy skin.
Due to mal-absorption of iron , folic acid(also a vitamin) you may become anemic. Anemia is condition when there is reduced hemoglobin in the blood. You might be suffering from signs of anemia.
- If you are suffering from other autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or ulcerative colitis, there are higher chances that you are gluten sensitive.
- Gluten intolerance can lead to different neurological symptoms like poor muscle coordination, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Inflammation and swelling of joints of fingers, knees or even hips.
- Research has shown that gluten intolerance can even lead to hormonal imbalances or even to infertility.
- In children, we can see abdominal distension, diarrhea, muscle wasting, poor appetite, lethargy, change of mood and emotional distress.
How to test if you are gluten intolerant?
If you are suffering from the symptoms listed above for a long period of time then first I would like to suggest you to meet your family doctor.
But in case you are too busy to visit a doctor or don’t have an insurance to cover up the medical bills, then there is a very simple test to know whether you are gluten sensitive or not.
Just avoid all kind of gluten containing foods from your diet for few days to a week and then reintroduce it to your diet. Check whether you feel normal while on gluten free diet and when on gluten containing diet, you are back with the same problems. If that is the case, then my friend you are gluten sensitive.
So, what’s the cure for gluten sensitivity?
Gluten sensitivity has no particular cure. There’s only one way to prevent it, start eating gluten free diet. And what I mean by that is eat 100% gluten free diet. If you follow strict gluten free diet then you will be free from all the symptoms and there is no chances of recurrence of any symptoms. So , stay healthy and feel free to share you experience , if you are suffering from gluten sensitivity.