In Part 1 of this post, I explained what gluten is, the difference between gluten allergy and gluten intolerance, and the impact of modern wheat. Heavier concentrations of gluten in today’s genetically modified wheat are overwhelming the human body and resulting in gluten intolerances and allergies.
Whenever I’m learning about a patient’s history and looking at their blood chemistry, I always ask myself if they have a gluten intolerance or allergy. I begin to break it down into the three major categories of damage caused by gluten, which Marlene Merritt outlined in an excellent article in DC Practice Insights:
The inflammation caused by this intestinal damage can trigger obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. Gluten intolerance can even cause skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, hives and dermatitis.
As you can see, eating gluten can do more than cause a belly ache, diarrhea or constipation.
In most cases, years and years of gluten intolerance goes undiagnosed because there’s no allergic or anaphylactic reaction. Reactions to gluten intolerance aren’t nearly as severe, and they can occur hours or even days after consuming gluten.
So how do we diagnose gluten intolerance?
Medically speaking, diagnosis of gluten intolerance typically requires a celiac blood test and a stool biopsy, which is still the quintessential test for finding immune antibodies. It should also include a thorough medical history and an understanding of the patient’s digestive condition, neurological condition and any autoimmune issues.
Another less expensive but often effective approach to self-diagnosing gluten intolerance is a gluten-free diet. For four to six weeks, pay close attention to what you eat and eliminate gluten from your diet. You can find plenty of information online about what “gluten-free” means, how to eat gluten-free, and other gluten-free dietary protocols.
Watch how your body responds to a gluten-free diet and log this information in your health journal. There’s a great chance you’ll notice improved digestion, increased mental clarity and clearer skin.
Keep in mind that a gluten-free diet is perfectly safe. Nobody has ever died because they didn’t consume enough gluten.
If you reintroduce gluten, see how you respond or feel. Again, write it down in your health journal.
If you like the results of a gluten-free diet and decide to stick with it, don’t make the mistake that many people do and over-indulge in gluten-free products, from pasta to brownies. It’s not healthy to overload ourselves with carbs just because you’ve removed gluten, and your body wasn’t designed to absorb high amounts of many of the ingredients found in gluten-free foods.
Focus your diet on proteins, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. If you remove grain from your diet, get your fiber from vegetables and fruit.
Sometimes the truth gets lost in the hype, so I hope this two-part post about gluten clears up many misconceptions and confusion. If you suspect that you may have gluten intolerance, try a gluten-free diet, or contact us at Natural Healthcare Center. We can help you identify the true cause of the problem and determine the best path forward.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.