Sensitivity to gluten is a serious issue in modern health. People suffering from it have difficulty digesting gluten and are consequently deprived of essential nutrients. The issue has been connected with a shockingly wide amount of disease and health issues ranging from skin problems to dementia and celiac disease.
Celiac disease (CD) is usually the only medical concern surrounding gluten sensitivity. It stems from an autoimmune response to gluten and if left untreated can contribute to malnutrition, mental illness, cancer, and diminutive body growth.
The problem is that doctors have restricted testing for celiac disease only and ignored gluten sensitivity. However incompatibility with gluten doesn’t have to be associated with celiac disease, therefore diagnosis for it is severely limited.
In other words, there are various degrees of gluten sensitivity, but for many doctors it is either you have celiac disease or you have nothing. Nowadays there is more awareness that there is non-celiac gluten sensitivity and it is a distinct clinical condition.
NCGS – A Distinct Clinical Condition
NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) is the name given to the majority of people who have a gluten intolerance that doesn’t have to deal with celiac disease. The condition’s legitimacy has received a lot of debate among health practitioners. Many want to stick with tradition and dismiss the issue as a hoax.
Some estimates say that around 1 in every 20 Americans has a type of NCGS. Medical experts that were curious about the issue conducted a placebo-controlled gold standard and double-blind, placebo-controlled trials on gluten ingestion. In the end they were able to validate the condition of gluten sensitivity apart from just celiac disease.
What is Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten is a protein composite that is found all around us – in grains, hair products, and even in playdoh. When the body has a sensitivity to gluten it has adverse effects on every inch of healthy tissue in your body. Medical experts are now shocked to find that this sensitivity might be a lot more common than we previously thought.
Estimates suggest that gluten sensitivity goes unrecognized and causes trouble in 99% of people that have it. Many people are quick to dismiss the issue of gluten digestion as a hoax, but more than 90 million people in the United States suffer some type of sensitivity to it.
Signs of Gluten Intolerance
The first step in validating any gluten health concerns is educating yourself. Since there has been an alarmingly small amount of medical research on gluten sensitivity, patients have been forced to take matters into their own hands and look for symptoms. A few of the most common signs of gluten intolerance are listed below:
- The most obvious indication of gluten intolerance is digestive issues. This includes bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Unstable emotional health like depression, anxiety, and sudden drastic changes in mood.
- Look for effects on the brain such as dizziness, lack of focus, trouble balancing, and tingling sensations.
- Frequent migraines and headaches.
- Abnormal tiredness throughout the day, even if you haven’t experienced much physical or mental exhaustion.
- Several types of rashes like eczema and psoriasis may appear on your skin. Look for areas that are dry and have red or white marks that cause itching.
- Despite the beliefs of some physicians, fibromyalgia (skeletal pain and weakness) can actually be a symptom of gluten intolerance. Inflammation and pain can occur virtually anywhere on the body.
- Issues with hormone balance that cause worsened PMS. Instances of inexplicable infertility may also signal a difficulty processing gluten.
- Keratosis pilaris might also develop on the skin. It is characterized by rough discolored bumps and hardened skin around the thighs, arms, and cheeks – usually happening when gluten damages the stomach.
- Joint pain and inflammation.
The lack of digestive clues makes it difficult to associate with gluten sensitivity. Many doctors find symptoms but fail to associate them with gluten. Remain objective about your symptoms and talk things over with a physician if you’re concerned.
How to Test for Gluten Intolerance
As mentioned earlier, the medical focus on gluten health issues is disappointingly small. Because of this there aren’t many testing methods available at the moment. Only two methods are worth trusting: blood testing and elimination dieting.
Blood testing is fairly straightforward but many people have been drawn to the simplicity and ease of elimination diets. If you’re exhibiting any symptoms of gluten sensitivity it could work for you. Cyrex Laboratories offer a comprehensive blood test which screens all of the wheat and gluten proteins and enzymes.
As for elimination diet, the first step is finding everything with gluten in your daily diet. Avoid eating those foods or any other that might give you digestive troubles. After approximately 3 weeks take note of the symptoms. If they’ve gotten better, chances are your body cannot tolerate gluten.
The important part of this diet is staying committed. You can’t consume even the slightest amount of gluten during your elimination period. If you do so, it could offset the entire process and give you faulty results.