Do You Know Nutrition: Gluten intolerance

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease after years of suffering from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Any chance you can share with your readers a list of gluten intolerance symptoms? Many do not realize gluten intolerance can include non-digestive conditions.

Gluten intolerance can be separated into three categories; Celiac disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and a wheat allergy.

Celiac disease is when the proteins in gluten trigger the immune system to overreact with strong antibodies in the small intestine. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is much more difficult to pinpoint.

NCGS individuals suffer the same, although blood work is usually negative for Celiac disease. Wheat allergy is a histamine response to wheat, which is similar to hay fever.

While the list below may not be completely inclusive since there are more than an estimated 250 symptoms, here are the most common and most important symptoms: abdominal distention, abdominal pain and cramping, alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, anemia, anxiety, arthritis, attention deficit disorder, autism, bloating and gas, bone density loss, borborygmi (stomach rumbling), stunted growth, depression, dermatitis, diabetes, dry mouth and eyes, fatigue, gluten ataxia (reduced coordination and muscle control) grayish stool, hair loss, headaches and migraines, hypoglycemia, infertility, joint pain, lactose intolerance, mouth sores, nausea, tingling in hands and feet, restless legs, swelling of hands and feet, steatorrhea (high lipids in the stool which causes it to float), dental issues and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Because it is doubtful that there is a truly typical case of Celiac disease, it is important to consult your medical professional rather than attempting to diagnose yourself.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some individuals with Celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Also, Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn's disease, parasite infections and anemia.

Work with your medical team to identify your gluten intolerance symptoms by using an elimination diet in which gluten is completely eliminated for a period of time. This is not a long-term diet; rather, its initial phase helps rid the body of any type of food that could be causing problems.

Thought for the week: Find the good in every situation and focus on it.

The next free nutrition class is 7 p.m. March 12, at Organic Emporium. Call 361-576-2100 to reserve your seat.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.