We see so many people in our pharmacy practice who are suffering from gastrointestinal issues. I had one customer tell me that within a half-hour of eating a bagel, her stomach would get so distended from bloating that she looked pregnant!
Why is this happening and what can we do about it?
One possible culprit is Gluten.
There are different levels of intolerance to gluten. The worst case scenario is actual celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients.
The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment.
There’s no cure for celiac disease — but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
Many people, however, have many of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease but when tested, come up negative for actual celiac disease.
But just because you may not have actual celiac disease doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering from gluten intolerance. It’s estimated that about 15% of the U.S. population is gluten intolerant. The question is how do you determine if you are one of them?
The attached article highlights some of the symptoms that could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance. These symptoms range from gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea to neurological, inflammatory, mood, and autoimmune symptoms.
One of the best ways to determine if you have a gluten intolerance is to simply eliminate gluten from your diet for a period of time. We often recommend a strict 21 day elimination diet to our patients experiencing these symptoms. The vast majority of the time, our patient feel amazingly better during and after the 21 days. If gluten is reintroduced and the symptoms return, it’s a good indication that gluten intolerance is at least one of the culprits.
There are other areas that we explore in a functional medicine consultation, but being aware of the negative effects of gluten sensitivity is one step in shoring up your GI tract and improving your health and vitality.
Enjoy the article, and as always, give us a call if you have any questions.
Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga. He has over 15 years experience in custom compounding. Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue. He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness. Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.
sources: eatlocalgrown.com; mayoclinic.com