Our understanding of the body advances in leaps and bounds each year. Discomforts once thought to simply be a part of life are now known to be caused by a number of factors, including what we eat. This is certainly the case for people who suffer from gluten intolerance. What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance? Let’s take a look.
What is Gluten Intolerance or Celiac Disease
Gluten is a binding substance found in grains such as wheat. The term “gluten” literally means “glue” in Latin. Because of this ability to bind food ingredients, gluten is used as an additive in a wide variety of processed foods. Unfortunately, developing medical research is revealing a majority of people suffer a negative reaction to the presence of gluten in food. While the negative reaction is found in the digestive organs as one would expect, surprising research is revealing gluten can negatively impact other parts of the body including the brain and joints.
What are the gluten intolerance symptoms in adults and children? It varies from person to person depending on their digestive makeup as well as the type and amount of gluten eaten. Regardless, common symptoms include:
- Keratosis Pilaris – This is a symptom that appears on the skin, often on the back of the upper arms. Usually mistaken as a rash, Keratosis Pilaris manifests as what appear to be acne-like bumps that are closely grouped together. Traditional skin treatments are ineffective at resolving the condition.
- Gas and Bloating – One of the more common set of symptoms of a gluten sensitivity is excessive gas and bloating in the abdominal area. This is particularly true where the symptoms appear within an hour of eating a food with gluten present. These symptoms can also be accompanied by cramp like pain to the right and left areas of the abdomen above the waistline.
- Nutrition Deficiency – One of the more recent discoveries regarding gluten sensitivity focuses on nutritional deficiency. When we eat food, the nutrients are taken up through the walls of the stomach and intestines. A victim of celiac disease or intolerant to gluten has difficulty with the absorption of the nutrients, vitamins and nutrients because the stomach and intestines become inflamed and inefficient at absorption. This leads to most of the nutrients in your food passing through the body as waste. This situation reveals itself as a symptom in the form of weight loss despite frequent hunger.
- Diarrhea and Constipation – How could these conditions both reflect the presence of gluten intolerance? Keep in mind that the intolerance causes a malfunctioning of the digestive process. That malfunctioning can manifest in many different ways, making diarrhea and constipation two potential symptoms. Occasional bouts of diarrhea or constipation are not symptoms of the disease, but the presence of either symptom more than twice a month are cause for concern.
- Brain Fog and Migraines – Medical researchers in Maryland have reported that approximately a third of people suffering from gluten sensitivity will exhibit brain fog and migraines. This may seem surprising given the brain is not a part of the digestive system, but gluten intolerance or celiac disease research is revealing the condition impacts the body far beyond the digestive system and may actually be more of a neural condition than anything else.
- Joint Pain – Joint pain is a symptom of gluten issues as well. Researchers are still attempting to determine if this is a problem related to the physical condition of the joints or an indication of a neurological issue with the nerves located at the joints.
- Extremity Numbness – Find that you occasional suffer numbness in the extremities such as your fingers or toes? These symptoms have long been considered a vascular issue, but new research reveals the numbness may be directly or indirectly related to a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
- Lactose Intolerance – Lactose, a substance found in milk and dairy products, is often a substance many people are believed to have difficulty digesting. A new view is developing that this issue may be greatly overstated. Instead of a lactose problem per se, researches are now starting to believe most people suffering from the condition actually have a gluten intolerance problem. As the stomach and digestive track react to the gluten, lactose intolerance develops as a sort of side-effect. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, gluten may be the real issue.
- Chronic Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is also considered a gluten intolerance symptom. It is believed the fatigue occurs because the body is unable to absorb the available nutrients and vitamins in consumed food, leaving the body malnourished. Having said this, chronic fatigue can be caused by a host of other non-gluten issues as well. In most cases, gluten is the issue if the fatigue is accompanied by frequent diarrhea or constipation.
- An evolution in medicine is occurring as we speak. You might be shocked to learn that while physicians go through years of schooling devoted to the practice of identifying and treating certain illnesses, short shrift is given diet. This is now changing with the realization naturally occurring substances such as gluten and artificially created substances such a chemicals in plastic bowls and cups can upset the body.
While the study of gluten intolerance or celiac disease is advancing, it is important to understand that when considering the question of what are the symptoms of gluten intolerance, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. New finding suggesting a relationship between gluten intolerance and neurological reactions suggest we may find illnesses such as depression and autism may have a gluten component.