Archive for October, 2013

Are you Gluten Sensitive? How to find out

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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Gluten intolerance

~By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately about “gluten”.  It’s usually referring to “gluten intolerance” or new food products on the market labeled “gluten-free”, but what does this all mean and how does it affect me?

What is Gluten?  It’s a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye.  It gives many bread items elasticity and a chewy texture.  It also serves as a thickener, adding more bulk & substance to food items.

What are the symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity?  Studies have shown there is a variety of symptoms people display indicating possible gluten sensitivity:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Low energy, brain bog or feeling tired after eating a meal which contains gluten
  • Bloating, diarrhea or constipation, gas
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, psoriasis, MS
  • Hormone imbalance such as PMS or unexplained infertility
  • Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety, depression, severe mood swings, and attention  deficit disorder
  • Inflammation, swelling or pain in joints such as fingers, knees or hips

In general, gluten sensitive patients typically have a more acute onset of symptoms which can range from hours to days whereas those diagnosed with “celiac disease” have reported suffering for weeks to years.

How can I test for Gluten Sensitivity?  The best way to determine if there is an issue with gluten is to exclude it entirely from your diet for at least 3 weeks and then slowly reintroduce it.  Because gluten is a very large protein, it can take months or possibly even years to clear it completely from your system, so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet, the better.  (Remember, you’ve probably been eaten foods comprised of gluten all of your life, so it will take some time to remove it)

When you eliminate it from your diet, it must be 100%.  Even trace amounts from cross contamination can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.  Besides the well-known “wheat” containing products like bread, pizza, cookies, crackers, and pasta so many of us consume, gluten is also a hidden ingredient in many foods.  Most fried foods have a coating which contains gluten, along with bologna and hot dogs, sauces and gravies and even most bottled salad dressings.  Be sure to read all ingredient labels thoroughly.

How do I treat gluten intolerance?  The answer is pretty simple, yet challenging.  Because our standard American diet is so full of starchy, carbohydrate laden, glutinous foods, it seems near impossible for total exclusion.  But fortunately, gluten-free products are starting to line the shelves at local supermarkets.   Just know that fresh fruits or veggies will be your best choices for gluten-free eats.

 

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