With all the buzz on how Gluten can cause so many chronic symptoms, many patients I consult with have tried a Gluten Free diet at one time or the other. The responses I hear is that they felt better for a little while or even that they may have felt worse. Gluten sensitivity is not a fad, it is real – there are over 10,000 research publications on Gluten and its affects causing multiple health issues from digestive disorders to chronic pain and fatigue to metabolic disorders like thyroid disease and diabetes.
Because going on a gluten free diet takes a great deal of education and commitment, it is recommended that proper testing be performed to identify whether the diet is right for you. Remember going gluten free is not a trendy diet; it is a permanent lifestyle that should be taken very seriously as even small amounts of gluten exposure can cause problems. To accurately diagnose gluten sensitivity, the right lab test must be used. Genetic testing is the gold standard for diagnosing gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately, many doctors still use antiquated and inaccurate tests. If you have chronic health issues Gluten may be a trigger, but you have to consider other components that are adding fuel on the fire as well.
Here are my top 3 Reasons Why You May Not Have Felt Better on a Gluten-Free Diet
1. Gut repair – Unresolved Intestinal Permeability issues also known as ‘Leaky Gut’ can continue to cause symptoms even on a gluten free diet. Realize if you are sensitive to gluten and been eating it for years, damage has been done to your intestinal lining that needs repair and continued support. There are tests now available to measure the damage to your intestinal lining.
2. Cross reactive foods “I’m Gluten Free but I eat Corn-chip Now Syndrome” -Some foods act chemically similar to gluten and may cause a negative reaction or symptoms for you as well. These foods should be tested for sensitivity along with gluten: Coffee, Chocolate, Buckwheat, Rye, Barley, Sorghum, Millet, Tapioca, Amaranth, Spelt, Sesame, Corn, Rice, Milk, Potato, Hemp, Oats, Yeast.
3. Hidden exposure- Gluten while found in our diet in foods like bread, pasta, cake, cereals, and crackers; can be found in other places as well like: Soy Sauce, Food Starches, Food Emulsifiers, Food Stabilizers, Artificial Food Colorings, Malt Extract, Flavor, Syrup.
People who experience chronic pain and fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and even weight gain should consider Gluten sensitivity as a possible trigger. Also consider the possibility that other foods mentioned above may also create a negative reaction for those already on a gluten free diet. What I am finding in my patients who are Gluten sensitive is that there are other mechanisms that are preventing their gut inflammation from decreasing not allowing them to feel and function at optimal health. Once those are addressed, they feel better and get their life back.
Dr. Jin Sung is a chiropractic physician who helps his patients both neurologically and metabolically to manage complex health issues. He can be reached at 978-688-6999 or visit his website at www.DrJinSung.com