Recent discoveries of the affects of gluten in non-celiac populations has many people buzzing and wondering if they may be gluten intolerant too. Despite some common conception beliefs; it IS possible to have non-celiac gluten intolerance or sensitivity and in fact, it can come in an array of degrees.
WHAT IS GLUTEN-INTOLERANCE?
Celiac disease is a disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten. More specifically, it is caused by the reaction gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. An allergic reaction in the small intestines can cause inflammation and destruction in the lining and can lead to malabsorption of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, the only treatment for this disorder is a gluten-free diet to minimize symptoms.
Less severe is non-celiac gluten intolerance. This means that the body is intolerant to gluten, without having celiac disease. Symptoms can range from non-symptomatic to just as severe as celiac. An individual could react from a little bit of gluten in soy sauce or could eat gluten at every meal for a whole month before they show symptoms.
The least severe is non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The blood can contain the antibodies to break down gluten in the digestive track, but it may not be able to do it very well. Individuals in this case can generally consume gluten for periods of time, but an accumulation of too much can result symptomatic.
Each person reacts differently, so this is no definite set of noticeable symptoms. There is no age group that is more prone to gluten-intolerance; signs and symptoms can appear at any age depending on the individual and the amount of exposure to gluten. Even people who are non-celiac can have the safe life threatening effects of developing autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, etc., they just may be less likely. That’s the scariest part about gluten though because when celiacs are diagnosed, they immediately cut it out of the diet to prevent any further damage. Non-celiacs though could continue eating gluten and assume that they’re fine and later develop these conditions. Just because no symptoms can be seen doesn’t mean that damage is not actively taking place. Don’t take any risks!
Symptoms can range from non symptomatic to severe. There are many common symptoms patients can see, and each individual may have completely different symptoms from the next.
Abdominal Pain, Bloating and/or Gas, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Diarrhea and/or Constipation, Hard to flush, flaky, fatty stools, Bloating, gas, abdominal pain after meals, Nausea, Vomiting, Chronic Fatigue, Brain Fog, Itchy skin rash or Eczema, Acne, Headaches and/or Migraines, Mood Swings, Anxiety, Depression, Aching Joints, Canker Sores, Discolored Teeth or Loss of Enamel, Poor Appetite, Weight Loss, Weight Gain, or Weight Cycling, Low Sex Drive, Poor Concentration and/or Memory Problems, Infertility, Irregular Menstrual Cycle, Compromised Immune System, Fluid Retention, Easy Bruising, Irritability, Nutrient Deficiencies especially Vitamins B12, D, D3, K, and selenium, Other Food Sensitivities.
Long term affects of gluten exposure to sensitive or intolerant individuals can lead to cancer, osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorders.
→ Read more about gluten-intolerance and the truth about gluten.