What Exactly Is Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten Sensitivity is an autoimmune reaction in the body to the consumption of the proteins contained in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is the common name given to the protein part of these grains. It gives the dough the elasticity necessary for making things like bread.
It is the protein in wheat that gives bread it's structure. In wheat there are two components of this protein on the molecular level that can cause problems. They are called gliadin and glutenin. Glutenins are in wheat starch, and some people do react to them. It is gliadin that causes most reactions though. In barley the protein is hordein, and in
rye it is secalin.
In those people who are born with the genes associated with gluten sensitivity, these molecules cause an immune reaction in the body. The body begins to produce anti-gliadin antibodies, which can be measured on tests.
If they inherited the genes for celiac disease, the antibodies will cause the person's own immune system to attack
the lining of the small intestine, destroying the little finger-like projections, (villi), that absorb nutrients from food. This damage will lead to malabsorption of nutrients and cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
What About Oats?
Wheat, barley, and rye definitely must be avoided. Oats raised
commercially are also processed on the same equipment as wheat, barley and rye, and therefore they are cross contaminated.
There is some controversy about oats in the diet as some people with celiac disease seem to tolerate them, while others react.
It is best to avoid them at least until you have healed, and then only to consume them in limited quantities, provided that they are certified gluten free, and as long as your doctor approves. You may need monitoring for antibody levels to see if you are having an immune reaction to them.
Recent studies show most celiacs are able to tolerate them after healing, in moderate amounts (up to 3/4 cup for adults, and 1/4 cup for children per day). There is still a certain percentage of celiacs that do have an immune reaction to the avenin protein in oats, even those certified as gluten free.
A recent test has shown that a high percentage of oats labeled as pure or clean are still cross contaminated at various levels.
There is no cure for celiac disease or a gluten/gliadin sensitivity. There is only control. The only way to stop the immune reaction is by complete avoidance in the diet.
The gluten free diet must be maintained for life. Even a tiny amount of wheat, barley or rye can cause an immune reaction, and create more damage. For the person with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, eating it is like swallowing a toxic substance.
The Spectrum Of Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten Sensitivity can provoke all sorts of
that are not even intestinal. Some people get headaches, memory problems or even
rather than abdominal pain. Others can be hyperactive, or have gait problems. The spectrum can range from no symptoms at all to those that are so severe the person cannot function. These reactions are not limited to those with the genes for celiac disease.
Most people who are sensitive to gluten but do not carry the celiac
gene tend to have more neurological symptoms than the typical
gastrointestinal ones. Because their symptoms present in other parts of the body, the connection to gluten is not easily made.
A home gluten sensitivity test
might be necessary to get an answer.
Share YOUR Story About Gluten Sensitivity.
Do you have a personal story about discovering the role of gluten sensitivity in your health?
Share it and help others learn what to look for.
What Other Visitors Have Shared
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Incontinence No More!
I’m 65 and decided to try a gluten free diet about two years ago after reading an article about gluten sensitivity. Within two weeks, the incontinence …
I just found out
Well I'm 64yrs old and just found out I have Celiac Disease. What a shock!
After 64yrs of not eating gluten free it will be quite a test, but when …
From Pain to Liberty
My story begins almost five years ago, after the traumatic premature birth of my son.
I began to get terrible fatigue, pain and inflammation in my …
It All Makes Sense Now!
I'm a 36 year old female with no health insurance.
I have had issues for many years, yet no one seemed to be able to connect the dots.
Since my …
A Slow Realization
I had always had a sensitive stomach. Barring the occasional hangover, I have not had a headache in my life, but from childhood on I was liable to have …
My Daughter is Now Gluten Free
With my daughter's learning difficulties, we decided to see a Naturopath, who determined that she was likely to be gluten intolerant. So out went the …
Misdiagnosed for 30 years
I had severe eczema as a child, and I read that eczema is a symptom of gluten intolerance. Then about 20 years ago, I started having joint pain and severe …
Wow, I must say, it is good to hear of others with the same symptoms and reactions to gluten and dairy. I have only been gluten free for 6 months now, …
Gluten Made Me an Angry Person
The effect that gluten sensitivity (and casein sensitivity) had on me was to make me an angry person. Angry at the world.
I started seeing a homeopathic …
Finally Able to Live My Life!
When I was 10 years old I had my first gluten attack. Of course at the time we didn't know what it was; it was so painful I ended up in the hospital. The …
Maybe a diagnosis
Ten years ago (2000) I weighed 103 lbs, which is my average weight throughout adulthood. I was 47 years old then. For the last 10 years I have had issues …
Click here to write your own.
Back from Gluten Sensitivity to Gluten Free Diet Help Home Page
Foods Containing Gluten-Foods to Avoid