Is gluten/wheat a real problem for everyone? I have seen lots of media attention about it and wondered if I should cut it out of my diet.
Many people have developed “sensitivities” to gluten and/or wheat, and for others, overt allergies to wheat and/or gluten can lead to headaches, joint pain, auto-immunity, skin rashes, fatigue, or “leaky gut.”
In most cases, people with a gluten “sensitivity” experience vague symptoms of discomfort like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. An initial assessment of patients with these types of symptoms is challenging because other food “sensitivities” can have the same side effects, so it can be difficult to identify if indeed wheat and/or gluten is the source of digestive troubles.
If you think you might have a gluten and/or wheat sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy, there are several external symptoms that could point you in the right direction:
Skin rash: Ever wonder what those little hard red dots on the back of your upper arms are? This is a condition called keratosis pilaris and can be the result of Vitamin A deficiency. If your body is unable to absorb gluten (the protein found in wheat), often times, you will not be able to absorb nutrients like Vitamin A.
Migraines: Migraine headaches can be linked with any number of health problems, but many people present to my clinic with digestive problems along with the migraines. The two symptoms together can be a side effect of a gluten sensitivity.
Acne: Our skin reveals a great deal about our “gut” health, and it has been said that the face is like a “road map to internal health.” If you are prone to breaking out, it could be a sign that your digestive health is off as a result of a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
Other food sensitivities: If you tend to develop stomachaches after every meal, even if you did not eat gluten, you may have other food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies.
Brain fog and chronic fatigue: If you are living a healthy lifestyle, get enough sleep, and stressors are managed but you are still feeling tired all day, it could mean that your body is inflamed or exhausted because of the added burden it is under trying to digest gluten when it can’t.
Overly emotional or severe PMS: If you tend to feel emotional, have moods swings, or worse than normal PMS, it could also be a sign of a gluten sensitivity (or any number of other conditions that are made worse when you have a food sensitivity, intolerance or allergy).
Of course, most of these symptoms could be the result of something else that is going on with your body. However, if you are experiencing more than one of them in conjunction with gas, bloating, and diarrhea, then it might be worth cutting gluten completely out of your diet to see if the symptoms go away. You can also consider food allergy testing as a place to start.
The information contained in this article is for information and education purposes only and is not medical advice. Do not use this information as an alternative to obtaining medical advice from your physician or other professional healthcare provider. Always consult with your physician or other professional healthcare provider about any medical conditions you are experiencing. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, contact your local emergency services for help.