Is gluten free just a passing fad?
Why does every second person seemingly have an intolerance to this little molecule found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale, kamut & oats?
There is evidence to argue the case that it’s all in our heads and it’s our expectation of discomfort from eating gluten that gives us tummy aches, bloated bellies and brain fog. There is however, stronger evidence for true gluten intolerance, allergy and of course – Celiac Disease (CD). You can’t argue with the latter.
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise and Celiac disease affects approximately 1 in 100 Australians, and 1% of the population worldwide, however most of us have not yet been tested. Detection rates are increasing and a prevalence study in Australia shows that more than half of the population are at risk of developing the condition (56% of us carry one gene for the disease). Having the gene doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop it but it does place you at high risk (and even higher if you have both genes).
These days we all know at least one person who has Celiac Disease right? And then a gaggle of friends who opt for GF when out at café’s or restaurant’s. If you’re like me you are stuck somewhere in the middle. You know you bloat and feel a bit crappy from gluten foods but it’s not all the time and you’ve tested negative for CD so you sway between strictly eliminating them and then having a gorge on them.
SO let’s way it all up and give you the tools to discover whether gluten is yay or nay for you.
There are many different types of responses you can have to gluten. These include…
What symptoms may gluten consumption cause?
Sometimes no symptoms at all or the individual may not have made the connection between what they are eating and how they feel. I often find that clients with asymptomatic Celiac Disease are used to feeling how they feel and only realise that they were tired and had brain fog when they come off the gluten and have a new sense of clarity.
More commonly though, the following are characteristic of gluten autoimmunity or sensitivity
It is important to remember that many people have no symptoms. Some may have very mild or vague symptoms. You can’t see what gluten is doing to you in the intestines & the reaction in the blood so it’s easy to pass it off as not an issue. The above symptoms are due to years of chronic malabsorption of nutrients and of toxicity and inflammation crossing the damaged gut wall into circulation.
Seeing as half the population are at risk of developing Celiac Disease and the rest of us may be experiencing some level of sensitivity or intolerance then it’s best to just get the simple blood test done and explore further if you suspect gluten is still an issue despite a negative result.
The Celiac screen test is free and can be tested by any GP. You need to be eating a high gluten load for 6 weeks prior to the test. A small intestine biopsy will be arranged if your symptoms are strongly indicating CD or if antibodies are positive. If tested positive, testing stops here for you. If still not convinced, there are more specialised tests to look deeper…
The other tests are functional tests that only a Naturopath or Integrative doctor will send for. They are highly valuable and give you an individualised approach to gluten. You’ll understand the type of response you are having (or not), the implications for your health and options of how you may be able to offset some of its effects.
Some other important information about gluten foods…
If you feel you need support through this investigation process, or are confused on how to go about a good gluten free diet please book in with me here.
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