Health One Family Medicine

Gluten Sensitivity: More Common Than You Think

Have you seen the ‘gluten-free’ labels on various food products? Is it a passing trend? Or is there more to than what meets the eye?

The rise of gluten-free consumption is almost always linked with the diet conscious section of the society. While in reality, it is an essential part of the diet of many people who are suffering from celiac disease or have some levels of gluten intolerance.

What is gluten?

Have you ever baked something?

Then you may be aware of how sticky dough can get.

 Gluten is responsible for the stickiness of the dough. It is the glue that helps rye, wheat and barley items to rise and hold shape when you bake them.

In short, it makes your bread soft and fluffy.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Fun fact, gluten was introduced to the European countries in the Middle Ages after voyages made to Eastern countries. This might be why our side of the world has a harder time adapting to a gluten-based diet.

By the looks of it, our bodies haven’t been able to digest the substances properly. Therefore, after ingesting gluten it usually swims about in the stomach. Oftentimes the gluten slips through the intestinal walls and enters the bloodstream. Unfortunately for many, this causes a negative reaction in the body.

The white cells in the blood view the gluten as an invader. They start attacking the trespasser and many helpful proteins that have similar chemical composition. Most of us are unaware of the battle raging in our bellies. However, many feel an inflammation in the stomach.

This is the basic description of the reaction caused by celiac disease. It is an autoimmune disease that triggers the immune system to go into overdrive in the presence of gluten.

Gluten sensitivity is a lesser evil. It means that the person is not able to properly digest gluten. Moreover, the gluten sensitivity has been noted to increase age.

Thus, all the facts indicate that an average American is either suffering from an undiagnosed celiac disease or may develop one in the future.

Why does gluten sensitivity go unnoticed?

You’d think we may notice the trouble brewing inside our gut, right? But we don’t!

 Even doctors previously assumed that gluten sensitivity was restricted to:

‘Children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive’

However, recent research has shown that one in 25 adults you encounter on the streets is gluten sensitive. The numbers appear to be staggering once a conclusive estimate has emerged.

The problem with gluten intolerance is that:

  • The symptoms are all over the place. Everything from stomach ache to fatigue could indicate intolerance
  • Gluten intolerance is not clearly identified through a blood test

The worst part is that this sensitivity doesn’t only affect our gut. It also weakens our immunity system. This makes the body vulnerable to numerous diseases like migraines, anemia, cancer and chronic pain.

Bottom line

We suggest that if you notice a digestive problem escalating every time you eat bread or other gluten products then you must take a test.

Better yet, gradually start moving towards a gluten-free diet as prevention is better than cure!