According to WebMD, gluten intolerance is a condition which causes a person to react after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The most common symptoms of the condition are joint pain, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems and depression.
Wheat is a grain found in bread, cereal and pasta, but it can also be found in soups and salad dressings. Barley is also a grain often used in stock feed products, while rye is a type of grain commonly found in cereal, bread and beer. All of these grains contain gluten, and all of them can cause gluten insensitivity.
The disease caused by gluten intolerance is called celiac disease. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder and causes damage to the small intestine. When a person ingests gluten, the body reacts with an abnormal immune response and attacks the intestines, and the damage caused impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If left untreated, celiac disease can cause long-term health problems. At the moment, about 1 out of 100 people are suffering from the condition.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance subside once you remove gluten from your diet. Here are the most common signs of gluten intolerance:
- Brain fog
Brain fog is a subtle symptom of gluten intolerance which can be pretty enigmatic as it can be caused by different conditions. However, it is also commonly associated with Celiac disease. An article titled “Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness” which was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, found that immunoglobins, a class of antibodies, react abnormally to gluten and that the reaction contributes towards reduced cognitive function.
- Unexpected weight gain
Sudden weight gain is related to gluten intolerance due to malabsorption and gut permeability, two known side-effects of gluten intolerance, as well as systemic inflammation triggered by gluten. People suffering from gluten intolerance should eliminate it from their diet and their weight should soon go back to normal.
- Abnormal immune function
In case of gluten intolerance, the IgA antibodies have a counter effect on the immune system. These antibodies are found in the gastrointestinal tract and saliva, and are the body’s primary response to colds, the flu or other diseases. When they counteract the system, it cannot defend against the said diseases properly.
- Dental problems
A study published in the “BMS Gastroenterology” found that there’s a link between gluten intolerance and a condition called “aphthous stomatitis”, which is linked to mouth ulcers and canker sores. Due to malabsorption, gluten intolerant people have low calcium levels, a mineral which is vital for your oral health.
- Headaches and migraines
Migraines can be pretty painful and they are more common in gluten intolerant people. A recent study discovered that 56% of the gluten intolerant participants had migraines, but just 14% of the control group suffered from the same problem.
- Skin problems
The malabsorption caused by gluten intolerance affects the skin, which is why the condition has been linked to acne, eczema and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). Skin symptoms caused by gluten intolerance include redness, itching, burning, rashes and blisters. DH is a difficult condition defined by the Gluten Intolerance Group as a “a chronic disease of the skin marked by groups of watery, itchy blisters that may resemble pimples or blisters.”
- Joint and muscle aches
The inflammatory effects of gluten intolerance are often the underlying reason behind muscle and joint pain. WebMD also links the pain to the condition, as well as a research published by the Arthritis Foundation.
- Fatigue and exhaustion
These symptoms are similar to brain fog as its mechanisms are still a mystery. There’s little scientific research on the subject, but medical experts think that gluten intolerance causes fatigue and exhaustion due to inflammation and de-allocation of the body’s energy reserves.