You hear a lot about gluten these days. In fact, the way some people talk about it, you’d think the stuff was public enemy number one. What is this much-maligned substance? It’s just a protein found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Gluten helps bread dough rise and gives it a chewy and fuller texture. There’s really nothing wrong with gluten, unless you have an allergy or develop celiac disease. In that case, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction, causing inflammation and a host of related problems. There are some common warning signs that you might have gluten intolerance. If you have some of them, you may want to consult with a doctor to find out if you indeed have gluten intolerance and need to change your diet.
Chronic fatigue is at the top of the list. When your immune system is going haywire, it drains you of energy, leaving you feeling depleted. Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or off-balance is also high on the list. The mental fog typically rolls in soon after eating foods containing gluten. Another thing that can happen soon after eating gluten-rich foods are headaches and migraines. Sometimes these are ocular, disrupting your field of vision but without any accompanying pain. You might experiment with a gluten-free diet for several weeks to see if mental fog, dizziness, headaches, and/or fatigue go away.
Other warning signs appear on your skin. Gluten-induced inflammation can produce itchy skin and conditions like psoriasis and eczema. And then there’s “chicken skin.” This is actually keratosis pilaris, so named because excess keratin, a skin protein, is clumping around hair follicles and forming bumps. What often triggers “chicken skin” is a deficiency of vitamin A and fatty acids caused by malabsorption which in turn is caused by gluten-related inflammation.
Persistent stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation can all indicate gluten intolerance. Again, these are related to intestinal inflammation.
We’ve posted a video with more details about these and other warning signs. Let us know what you think in the Facebook comments and don’t forget to like and share.