Gluten Sensitivity: An Unrecognized and Common Food Intolerance

Gluten Sensitivity

and Health

Many people suffer from an intolerant reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. This reaction, known as gluten sensitivity, is a surprisingly common but unrecognized condition that can cause a range of digestive and other health issues. Here, we’ll discuss what gluten sensitivity is, what causes it, and how to manage it.

What is Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity, also known as non-celiac gluten intolerance or non-celiac wheat sensitivity, is a condition involving an adverse reaction to the gluten found in wheat and other grains. Unlike celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder, gluten sensitivity is not a recognized medical disorder. However, the symptoms of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease overlap, and they require similar treatments.

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What Causes Gluten Sensitivity?

The exact cause of gluten sensitivity is not known. However, studies suggest that gluten-containing foods activate an abnormal immune response in some individuals that leads to an intolerance to gluten. Additionally, some evidence suggests that the proteins in gluten may interact with other components of the digestive system, such as the intestines, in certain individuals to cause a sensitivity or intolerance.

Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity

The symptoms of gluten sensitivity vary in intensity and duration, but they can include:

  • Digestive Issues – Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
  • Skin Problems – Acne, rashes, hives, and/or eczema.
  • Musculoskeletal Issues – Joint pain, stiffness, and/or fatigue.
  • Mental and Emotional Issues – Anxiety, depression, cognitive issues, and/or irritability.

Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity is difficult to diagnose since there is no definitive test for it. However, your doctor can rule out other conditions, such as celiac disease, that might be causing your symptoms. A food intolerance test or an elimination diet to identify specific sensitivities may also be used.

Treating Gluten Sensitivity

The best way to treat gluten sensitivity is to avoid foods that contain gluten. It’s important to know that just because a food is labeled gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free of gluten. It’s best to buy certified gluten-free products to ensure that the food contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

Additionally, a balanced diet low in processed foods may be beneficial for people with gluten sensitivity as it can reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Additionally, probiotic supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, and enzymes may be beneficial.

Conclusion

Gluten sensitivity is a surprisingly common but unrecognized condition caused by an abnormal immune response to wheat and other grains. Symptoms can include digestive issues, skin problems, musculoskeletal issues, and mental and emotional issues. Diagnosing gluten sensitivity is difficult, but an elimination diet or food intolerance test may be helpful. The best way to treat gluten sensitivity is to eliminate gluten-containing foods and focus on a balanced, low-process diet and other treatments.

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