Gluten exists in the grass-like grains such as barley, wheat, rye, kamut and spelt. It provides an elasticity and glue-like function to hold its flour products together, thus providing them with a chewy texture. Other grains such as rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and up to some degree oats are generally considered safe as their protein profiles do not match the profiles of the troublesome grains. Oats, however, often need to be avoided as they are harvested and processed alongside wheat and thus may be cross-contaminated and trigger cross-reactivity in celiac patients.
Western civilization today has become quite reliant on gluten not only as an important nutritional protein but also as a utility for obtaining a desired texture and elasticity in foods. However, numerous studies and researches have suggested that our bodies may not tolerate and digest this unique protein composite as well as everyone has always assumed in the past. Some studies even suggest that this applies to most people and not just the ones suffering from some degree of sensitivity.
One important point to consider is that gluten is in more products and foods than you may realize. In many cases just removing gluten from your diet is not enough as it is used in sauces, flavorings, flavor enhancers, and even as a binder in vitamins and supplements. Adapting a true gluten-free diet requires more than just removing wheat products from your life style. Nonetheless, it is a great way to start placing yourself on the right track.
Today there are three main categories of the gluten intolerance:
- Celiac disease – occurs when the proteins in gluten trigger your immune system to overreact with strong antibodies. Overtime it becomes less and less possible to process any nutrition from your food due to destruction of micro-villi which line your small intestine. Blood test or intestinal biopsy can confirm you having a celiac disease, thus enabling you to completely change your diet and lifestyle.
- Wheat allergy – a histamine response to wheat, much like a peanut allergy or hay fever. Some people experience stomach pain and discomfort while others experience hives and headaches. This condition is often misrepresented as gluten intolerance.
- Non – celiac gluten sensitivity: is currently much more difficult to pinpoint. In general, these people suffer similarly to people with celiac disease, but the blood tests and biopsy is negative. The only proper way to diagnose is through food and product deduction and gluten challenge.
Gluten intolerance and long term untreated or unchallenged celiac disease may lead to numerous health concerns and pathologies such as:
- Abdominal distention, pain, and cramping
- Bouts of constipation and diarrhea
- Anemia and arthritis
- Attention deficit disorder
- Gas and bloating
- Bone density loss
- Brittle nails, dry hair
- Diabetes, depression, anxiety, fatigue
- Stunned growth and failure to thrive
- Gluten ataxia
- Hair loss, headaches
- Hypoglycemia, infertility
- Joint pain
- Lactose intolerance
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Sjogren’s disease
- Tooth and gingival problems
- Mineral and vitamin deficiency
- Weight loss
- Vomiting, skin problems
Today clinical researchers and pathologists find more and more conditions which may be either directly or indirectly relate to long term gluten intolerance. Therefore, the best way to do it is to get properly diagnosed with the help of a qualified professional specializing in the three main categories of gluten intolerance. Many and almost all symptoms may be either reduced or helped by the implementation of proper diet and lifestyle. Adoption of natural treatment techniques such as homeopathy and use of herbal remedies may greatly improve your success when used in combination with the needed dietary changes.
In Dinas Homeopathic and Acupuncture clinic we always research and improve on the issues and symptoms associated with gluten, caffeine, dairy, and sugar sensitivities. All symptoms may resemble themselves similarly to gluten sensitivities, however, often they are related to dairy or sugar. Many patients are not aware of the facts that they may not tolerate or may be extremely sensitive to certain products, they blame it on specific pathology which is completely unrelated to the current issues. Often, with the correct dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as proper homeopathic treatment, patient can be freed from most unwanted reactions. In our practice we try to find an individual remedy and approach to each specific case to solve the puzzle. In many cases when the specific food or product is eliminated, it will help to relieve the patient from undesired reaction, nonetheless, it does not cure the problem long term. This is where a correct homeopathic remedy comes in, and with a proper application may relieve the patient from such reactions for good. In many cases, even when the troublesome food was re-introduced, the reactions were either significantly milder or altogether non existant.
– Dr. V Shmitsman
Dr. Vladamir Shmitsman has been practicing Alernative Medicine such as Homeopathy, Acupuncture and Reflexology for almost two decades. Today Dr. Vladimir cures and teaches in Canada and the United States. His full biography can be found here.