Gluten: How It Impacts You

Over the last two years the gluten-free market has exploded, and along with it have come hordes of individuals who have decided to remove gluten from their diets in an attempt to feel better and more energized.

The sudden influx of talk about gluten-free diets have led some to call it a “fad,” claiming gluten is a natural part of the diet, but Celiac disease is very real. Some people simply cannot process gluten properly, and going gluten-free can restore the health of those individuals.

What is Gluten?

Gluten, simply put, is the general name given to a series of proteins found in wheat and wheat-like items. Gluten acts as glue that holds the food together once it is processed for consumption.

Gluten naturally occurs in wheat, barley and rye. As the crop grows, it acts as nourishment for seeds. Once the crop is harvested, gluten acts as the elastic quality found in dough products, like bread and pasta. While many grains contain gluten, the most common are rye, barley and wheat.

Is Gluten Harmful to Your Health?

Gluten itself isn’t harmful, but those who have Celiac disease are unable to tolerate it.

Celiac disease is a condition in which the body actively attacks itself when gluten is introduced into the system.

Symptoms of Celiac disease Include:

  • Pain in the abdomen and joints
  • Diarrhea
  • Fat in stool
  • Indigestion, Nausea, Vomiting
  • Bone thinning
  • Fatigue
  • Malnutrition
  • Cramping
  • Itching
  • Rashes

Over time, the stomach and intestines are damaged and it becomes difficult for the sufferer to absorb many nutrients. This may lead to the need for dietary and vitamin supplementation. A gluten-free diet is the foundation of treatment for Celiac disease. It can take many months for the gut to heal from the damage inflicted.

How Can I Find Out if I Have Celiac Disease?

It’s a good idea to look into testing to find out exactly what is causing your symptoms. Testing may be needed for a definitive diagnosis of Celiac disease.

Blood tests are used to determine the presence of celiac disease antibodies. Your physician will often recommend a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

The professionals at Gotham Medical Associates can help you through the process and answer all of your questions about gluten and Celiac disease.

 

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