For most people, gluten is a harmless protein contained in common grains such as wheat, rye and barley and it doesn’t bother them when they eat it. However, that’s not the case for everyone. There are some people whose bodies cannot digest the protein correctly, which leads to celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Some scientists suggest that roughly 15 percent of the U.S. population cannot properly digest gluten and most people may not realize they even have a sensitivity.
Here are 10 signs that may indicate you should cut ties with gluten:
1. Gas, diarrhea and constipation are signs of gluten sensitivities, with constipation being primary among children.
2. “Chicken skin,” or keratosis pilaris. Most commonly found on the back of the arms, it manifests itself in dry, patchy bumps that are typically painless, according to the Mayo Clinic.
3. Exhaustion or tiredness after eating foods that contain gluten.
4. Individuals with diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis or multiple sclerosis often benefit from removing gluten from the diet.
5. Dizziness, headaches and vertigo may also be a sign of gluten intolerance.
6. If you are having difficulty getting pregnant or suffer from severe menopausal symptoms, try removing gluten to see if your symptoms ease.
7. Migraines and cluster headaches, especially if they happen frequently, could be a sign of gluten intolerance.
8. A diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia could indicate a gluten intolerance. Both diagnoses are simply a way for doctors to identify exhaustion or pain that is otherwise unexplained.
9. Inflammation of joints. Swelling around the fingers, toes, elbows and knees, absent of other symptoms, could indicate that you have a sensitivity to gluten.
10. Mood. Do you experience anxiety, depression, mood swings or have ADD?
The best treatment for gluten intolerance is completely eliminating the protein from your diet. Individuals with celiac disease should be particularly careful to avoid gluten in any food or medication.
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