Do You Have Gluten Sensitivity or Food Allergies?
If you suffer from a gluten sensitivity or food allergy, you can be plagued with a variety of symptoms, including digestive disorders, skin irritations, fatigue, pain and inflammation. Many people, who actually suffer from gluten sensitivity, think they have food allergies. However, these two conditions are quite different from one another. A true food allergy triggers an immune response to occur in the body, causing damage. This can cause itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, rash and loss of consciousness. Gluten sensitivity causes digestive woes, such as flatulence, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and bloating, inflammatory symptoms, fatigue, and “brain fog”. In addition to gluten sensitivities and food allergies, some people have an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Celiac disease can damage the lining of the intestinal walls.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as oats, rye, barley, spelt and wheat. Unfortunately, it can be hidden in foods that you would not think had gluten, such as ketchup and soy sauce. If you suffer from gluten intolerance, you will need to learn to read package labels carefully. Thankfully, many manufacturers are realizing the significance of manufacturing gluten-free foods and are clearly labeling said products.
Determining if You Have a Gluten Sensitivity, Gluten Allergy or Celiac Disease
There are two methods used to determine if you have a gluten intolerance. One method is the elimination and reintroduction diet. With this method, you remove all traces of gluten from your diet and then slowly introduce them into the diet once again. If you experience symptoms during the reintroduction stage, you may have a gluten intolerance and need further testing.
The other method used to verify a gluten sensitivity is a blood test. This blood test checks for antibodies in the blood. If it is determined that you have sensitivity, your doctor will make recommendations to help ensure that you are protecting your body from damage.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the immune system. When you ingest products containing gluten, the immune system begins attacking the intestinal tract. This can lead to debilitating symptoms, including diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, anemia, edema, excessive bruising and vitamin K deficiency. If gluten is not avoided, the condition can cause long-term health consequences, including osteoporosis, damage to the intestinal walls and even cancer.
Food allergies occur when the body thinks a food is a foreign invader. This causes the immune system to flare up and fight off the “invader.” This flare up can cause a variety of symptoms, such as swelling, itching, hives and even life-threatening symptoms, including difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, difficulty swallowing and anaphylactic shock can occur. The most common food allergens include peanuts, milk, wheat, eggs, fish, shellfish and soy.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity, often referred to as gluten sensitivity, is neither an autoimmune response nor an allergic reaction. This disorder often mimics the symptoms of celiac disease; however, the gastrointestinal tract is not damaged and there are no immediate severe reactions to contend with. Most often, patients with this type of sensitivity will experience gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, bloating, gas and abdominal pain.
Are You Ready To Get Started?
Do you have any of the symptoms of gluten intolerance including digestive disorders, skin irritations, fatigue, pain and inflammation. Call us at 571.529.6699 and setup an appointment with our integrative nutritionist, Elizabeth McMillan. She specializes in gluten free diets and can create a customized meal plan that will help improve your health.