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  • Writer's pictureHeather

Are You Gluten Intolerant? Here’s How To Know

Roughly three million Americans have celiac disease, a severe form of gluten intolerance. An even larger number of people have a different type of gluten intolerance called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. What these numbers mean is that gluten problems aren’t rare. How can you tell if you’re intolerant to gluten? What Are the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?

In simple terms, people who are intolerant to gluten feel terrible after eating foods with gluten. Many of the symptoms are related to your digestive system:

  • Intense stomach pain

  • Frequent diarrhea or constipation

  • Rapid bloating

  • Overall discomfort

  • Unexpected weight loss

It doesn’t take long for these symptoms to appear. In people who have gluten intolerance, digestive issues show up every time they eat something with gluten. Many people also notice a strange skin rash that doesn’t go away. In addition, there are important symptoms in other parts of the body:

  • Constant headaches

  • Frequent tiredness or exhaustion

  • Ongoing anxiety and depression

  • Significant joint pain or muscle pain

  • Unexplained osteoporosis

  • Persistent brain fog

  • Odd numbness in arms or legs

Some of these issues happen because of damage to the healthy bacteria in the gut. For example, many scientists think there’s a connection between probiotics and fighting depression. As celiac disease progresses, it affects your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and other nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies explain the constant fatigue, headaches, anemia and osteoporosis.

What Causes Gluten Intolerance?

Celiac disease is an inherited illness. It makes your immune system malfunction when you eat foods with gluten. Instead of letting your digestive system do its thing, the immune system starts to attack your small intestine. Since the small intestine is responsible for extracting nutrients from your food, gluten intolerance can cause deficiencies of iron, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals.

People who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience many of the same digestive symptoms, but their immune system works just fine. Scientists still aren’t sure what causes NCGS. If you want to know whether you have celiac disease or NCGS, a gastroenterologist can run a few tests.

What Foods Have Gluten?

What is gluten? This is a group of proteins found mainly in wheat. Many foods in the U.S. use wheat products:

  • Bread

  • Pasta

  • Cookies

  • Crackers

  • Pizza

  • Cereal

  • Breaded/fried foods

  • Hot dogs

If you’re gluten intolerant, always steer clear of these foods. Your body simply can’t handle them.

How Can You Avoid the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?

Changing your diet is an essential part of living with celiac disease or NCGS. Fortunately, there are many foods you can still eat, and they’re things you should honestly be getting lots of anyway:

  • Fruits

  • Veggies

  • Beans and legumes

  • Nuts

  • Cheese

  • Fish, poultry and lean meats

  • Quinoa

  • Herbs and spices

You also need to replenish the healthy microbes in your digestive system with probiotics. Until your small intestine recovers, take vitamin supplements to boost the amount of nutrients available to your body, preferably with an absorption enhancer such as BioPerine.

Many of my friends tell me that getting a diagnosis of celiac disease was actually a relief because they finally understood what was going wrong in their body. With a few lifestyle changes and some nutritious superfoods, you can go back to feeling happy, energized and healthy.


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