What is Gluten Intolerance and What Symptoms Can it Cause?
What is gluten intolerance? Can it actually cause so many
unusual symptoms? There are some less well known symtpoms that
can in our experience resolve on a gluten free diet. Even
those with celiac disease may not be aware of the relationship
between gluten intolerance symptoms and some of these
Gait Ataxia and Clumsiness
Along with brain fog while eating gluten, I used to manage to
catch my outer arm and scrape it painfully, or bump it on the
edges of doorways, or perform other clumsy maneuvers that my
kids found vastly entertaining. I think that this was related
to an alteration of spacial perception from the gluten and the
lack of vitamin B12. It is quite rare for me to do this now,
unless I accidentally get "glutened". This resolved after a
few months on the diet.
My father had gait ataxia, where he would weave side to side
when he walked, almost like a drunken stagger. Doctors thought
at one time that he had a narrowing of the vertebrae in the
neck, and were going to do surgery for it.
It was a problem with balance and muscle control. He spent the
last two years of his life in a wheel chair. I now believe
that his ataxia may have been due to gluten intolerance.
Gluten ataxia may be the true cause for many labeled with
idiopathic ataxia. Since it is not a gastrointestinal symptom
doctors may overlook it. The damage is progressive, and
if it continues for many years, may become irreversible.
For anyone with ataxia, gluten ataxia should be ruled out
as early as possible, while a gluten free diet may still be
able to reverse the damage.
Immune System Problems, and Catching One Flu After Another
One thing that is rarely mentioned in regard to these
intolerance symptoms and celiac disease is that for many of
us, the immune system works very poorly.
Our family caught pretty much every virus that was going
around. The elder daughter and my husband had pneumonia
at the same time. Usually we all got bronchitis several times
every winter. It seemed like we were ALWAYS sick! No matter
what I did, the girls brought home every virus at school. It
usually took twice as long for us to get over a virus
as other people we knew. I often felt like a failure as a
mother because we were always sick!
Now I understand that the gluten causes inflammation in the
small intestine. It disrupts the tissue where the majority of
the immune complexes are produced. Over 70% of the immune
system cells that are supposed to protect you from these
invaders are made in the gut! So if you have an inflamed gut
wall, that not only is unable to absorb nutrition, but is
also hindered from producing the immune system's first line of
defense, then you really are susceptible to many more
So not only does the immune system get distracted from it's job
defending against invaders, the damage actually causes a
failure to produce the necessary immune complexes to protect
us. The body's gluten intolerance reaction causes
inflammation in all parts of the body. The immune system's
attack on gluten even affects purkinje cells in the cerebellum
of the brain, which are similar to gluten receptors. It
has even been implicated in some forms of epilepsy.
What is Gluten intolerance and how can it lead to so many body
systems being disrupted or disabled? Perhaps it is the
missing factor in the underlying cause of your health issues.
Between the direct attack on cells, even in the brain, and the
inflammation of sinuses, joints, muscles, intestine, and skin
tissues, it can cause total havoc. No wonder it feels so bad!
We have had less illnesses in the past 6 months than ever
before. My husband's sick leave account has begun to rise
as of September, which was 2 months shy of our being gluten
and casein free for 2 years. I also have been bypassing
illnesses others around me are having. So we feel we are
beginning to have a better immune system function. Since
it is peak flu season, something must be changing.
I have put a lot of personal information in this section, which i
is not normal for me as I am usually a private person. I do
this in the hope it will help my readers to connect the dots in
their own symptoms and life. If it helps even one person to
recognize if they have gluten intolerance it will have
been worth it.
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