Gluten is a word that is very popular in the media with many organizations and food outlets promoting the gluten free message. Genuine gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react unnaturally after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Symptoms vary widely and can include gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and depression as well as outward conditions such as skin problems, breakouts and rashes.

In order to distinguish if you have a genuine gluten intolerance as opposed to just thinking you have one take note of the below symptoms to see if you have any of these…


  1. Digestive issues

Digestive discomforts are a big symptom of gluten intolerance such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation – all very uncomfortable conditions.  Constipation and diarrhea are particularly prevalent symptoms.


  1. Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis is more commonly known as ‘chicken skin’ and this appears on the back of your arms usually and is a big tell tale sign that you have a gluten intolerance. This rough, chicken-like skin is a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-mal absorption caused by gluten damaging the gut. Check your skin on the back of your arms regularly.


  1. Fatigue

Those who suffer from gluten intolerance will consume gluten-based foods and suffer from brain fog or feeling very tired after eating a meal that contains gluten. If certain foods make you feel drowsy and lethargic then it would be a good idea to get tested for the intolerance.


  1. Neurologic symptoms

Gluten intolerance can also result in neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance and sometimes a little disorientated. These symptoms can be very inconvenient and really interfere with your day-to-day life.


  1. Hormone imbalances

You can also experience hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility as a result of gluten intolerance.


  1. Migraine headaches

Suffering from migraine headaches is another big indication that you have gluten intolerance. If you suffer from these regularly anyway it is a good idea to get checked out regardless but make sure you ask your doctor for a test.


  1. Mood issues

Gluten intolerance can also reveal its existence through mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.


If you want to try and determine if you have a potential gluten intolerance, the best thing to do is to do an elimination diet and remove all potential sources of gluten out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it while noting down any symptoms which have either reduced or reappeared so you have something to show your doctor or health practitioner. It is important to remember that gluten is a very large protein, and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.

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Betsy Smith

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