What is Gluten Intolerance?

The Celiac Treatment and Research Center estimates that approximately 18 million people suffer from some degree of gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in many grains. Many people suffer some degree of sensitivity to gluten, complete intolerance of gluten is a condition known as Celiac Disease. People with Celiac disease have damage to the villi in the small intestines, which causes inflammation and inability to absorb nutrients, which often leads to a range of vitamin deficiencies. The Celiac Treatment and Research Center estimates that approximately 18 million people suffer from some degree of gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in many grains. Many people suffer some degree of sensitivity to gluten, complete intolerance of gluten is a condition known as Celiac Disease. People with Celiac disease have damage to the villi in the small intestines, which causes inflammation and inability to absorb nutrients, which often leads to a range of vitamin deficiencies.

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Symptoms of gluten sensitivity are wide-ranging and include diarrhea, bloating, cramping, increased appetite, weight loss, headaches, pain, depression and inability to concentrate, among many other. Because the symptoms are so vague and wide-ranging, symptoms are often misdiagnosed and it can take months or years to figure out what is happening.

Gluten is found everywhere today, most particularly in processed and packaged foods and in food additives. Even foods that aren’t specifically made with gluten can still be cross-contaminated if they come into contact with kitchen utensils that have been in contact with gluten. Food isn’t the only place gluten is found, many nutritional supplements contain gluten and gluten is used to produce many medications.

If you suspect you may be gluten sensitive, you can try eliminating gluten products for 30 days and gradually reintroducing gluten foods. Or you can purchase a finger prick gluten test kit and find out in 5 minutes. If you decide to eliminate gluten, be sure to supplement your diet with extra fiber, iron, and B-vitamins, as grains are a main source of these nutrients.

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