How can gluten harm you?
There are some people whose bodies cannot digest gluten properly. Those individuals are suffering from celiac disease, or more popularly known- gluten intolerance.
This serious autoimmune health condition is characterized by abnormal ingestion of gluten, which causes damage to the small intestine and limits the proper absorption of nutrients by the body. In the long run, this health issue can lead to severe problems, such as iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, nervous system damage, pancreatic inefficiency, bowel cancer, and others.
Celiac disease is a relatively frequent health issue, as it affects 1 in 100 on a global scale. Yet 83% of the patients are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. As it is a hereditary problem, people with relatives suffering from this condition have a higher risk of developing it. Thus, they should be very attentive to the symptoms and should start early treatment.
According to the Global Celiac Disease Organization, it is difficult to diagnose this condition, as more than 200 different symptoms are recognized. And in some rare cases, there are no symptoms at all. However, some of the repeating, general signs of celiac disease are:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Lack of appetite
- Acid reflux
- Liver disorders
- Depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts
- Missing menstrual periods
- Skin rashes
- Bones and joints pain
Nonetheless, as those symptoms are very generic, the only sure way to diagnose celiac disease is to visit a specialist and get tested.
In order to treat and control this health condition, you have to start a strict gluten-free eating regime, eliminating both natural gluten sources and foods with artificially added gluten.
According to Dr. Leffer, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School: “People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They’ll simply waste their money because these products are expensive,”Also, such diet may limit you from essential vitamins and minerals if you are not supplementing with them properly.
If you have any doubt that you might suffer from celiac disease, test yourself. If you are positive, immediately adopt a gluten-free diet to prevent deepening the condition. Yet, if you are negative, do not limit your grains intake. Gluten-free does not mean “healthier” for everybody.
And when you shop for gluten-free foods, check which foods are naturally gluten free in order to save money from the expensive “gluten-free versions” of the naturally gluten-free goods.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I do not aim to give any medical advice. The information presented in this article is based on scientific research and personal experience and aims to give information about the topic.