Gluten is a protein, made up of substances called gliaden and glutenin, which is found in many of the starchy foods you eat. These foods include pastas, breads, cereals, and anything else that contains barley, wheat, rye, oats, and/or kamut. An intolerance to gluten – also called gluten sensitivity – is believed to cause a number of disruptive, and sometimes debilitating, health problems. Unfortunately, there is no blood test that can definitively identify gluten intolerance, and therefore doctors are not able to diagnose it. Generally speaking, those who suffer from gluten sensitivity must figure things out on their own, through a process of trial and error. Here are some suggestions for how to find out if you have a gluten intolerance:
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of gluten intolerance include weight gain that is unexpected and not in relation to an increase in caloric intake, indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, depression, chronic fatigue in spite of getting the appropriate amount of sleep, nutrition deficiencies (low iron is especially common), headaches, muscle cramps, eczema, irritability, and more. Signs are generally slow to onset, and you are more likely to develop them if you have other family members who have a gluten intolerance. Evidence also suggests that emotional stress, illness, and trauma can exacerbate gluten intolerance and drastically worsen the symptoms.
Keep a Food Diary
Keep a running log of everything you consume, being sure to take note of how you feel – and whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms of gluten intolerance – every step along the way. The most compelling evidence of a gluten intolerance is the presence of symptoms when you eat certain foods that are known to contain glutens, and having that information right in front of your face is a sure fire way to help you make that connection.
Removing the Problem
If you think that gluten is the likely culprit to your health concerns, then the next step is to take it out of your diet altogether. If your symptoms disappear once the gluten disappears from your diet, then it is safe to say that you have a gluten intolerance.
Research supports the belief that up the fifteen percent of the population is affected by some form or another of gluten sensitivity. If you believe that you may be one of those people, then you should follow these tips to figure out if you suffer from gluten intolerance. The only way to handle gluten intolerance is by staying informed and conscientious of your diet choices, so it is best if you act sooner, rather than later.
About the Author: Jessie Amico is a future nutritionist who is particularly fascinated by the relationship between gluten and autoimmune diseases. She also enjoys researching the effects candida can have on a person’s life and regularly checks yeastinfectiontreatment.org for information and updates.