What is Gluten Intolerance?

A lot of people think gluten intolerance is just a fad or another newly discovered type of allergy, but this condition is neither of those. Sometimes it is a symptom of celiac disease, but gluten intolerance can also exist outside the disease and even wheat allergy or gluten ataxia, which are all different conditions.

Gluten and Gluten Intolerance
Simply put, gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is the person’s sensitivity to gluten in food such as wheat, rye, barley, oat and triticale. Gluten is the name of the proteins, prolamins and glutelins, found in the food listed and are responsible for maintaining their shape. It is the component that makes the dough elastic or the food chewy. Fortunately, gluten is only found in the food listed above and the related species and hybrids, so it is possible to monitor the person’s diet to avoid the symptoms.

Cause of Gluten Intolerance
There is no known cause for gluten intolerance, although some researchers are trying to look for markers in the genes to determine a treatment. What they found, however, is that it is a distinct condition that is separate from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition that makes the body react to gluten as if it is a poison. It was also determined that there are more people who are gluten-intolerant than those diagnosed with celiac disease.

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance
With celiac disease, the body will try to destroy the part of the small intestines that absorb nutrients, but a person with gluten intolerance will not have the same response. Symptoms of gluten intolerance vary among those with the condition, but signs may include diarrhea or constipation, abdominal pain, cramping and bloating, muscle and joint pains, frequent headache, chronic fatigue, mood changes, skin problems, difficulty concentrating and remembering, and nutrient deficiencies.

Gluten-Free Diet
If you think you have gluten intolerance, you need to talk to your doctor about tests that will rule out other possible conditions such as celiac disease. Remember that celiac disease can cause damage to your intestines, while gluten intolerance does not. While there is there no cure for gluten sensitivity and treatments are limited because the condition is poorly understood, a patient with this condition is advised to practice gluten-free or low-gluten diet. For the next 30 days, you will eliminate gluten from your diet until your condition improves, then the doctor will ask you to reintroduce it and to look for symptoms. If you have adverse reaction to gluten, you will have to avoid food that contain wheat, rye, barley, and other related species and varieties. Remember to read labels carefully, because not all manufacturers indicate that their product is gluten-free.

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