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Sep 11

Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

In our modern world, as we process food more and seek out new ways to feel better, gluten gets a bad rap. The phrase “gluten-free” appears in everything from fad diets to serious lifestyle changes. For the latter, avoiding gluten doesn’t just cause mild improvements; it can change your life! These people suffer from celiac disease–a rare condition that requires them to stay away from wheat, barley, and rye. It’s different from gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity, which are much more common and less serious–but still have benefits from leaving gluten behind. We’ll show you the differences between these conditions so that you can improve your lifestyle!

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a life-long, incurable physical condition. For those with this condition, eating gluten or gluten-contaminated foods trigger an autoimmune response against the body’s small intestine. In time, this can lead to intestinal damage and malabsorption. Celiac disease is genetic, and the sufferers have reached a gluten threshold to the point that eating any more could cause harm.

Symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Ulcers of the mouth
  • Seizures

The only way to prevent symptoms and live with celiac? Completely avoiding gluten. This includes avoiding foods that might have been manufactured on the same machinery as wheat, rye, and barley, or that may have come into contact with gluten.

Gluten Sensitivity and Intolerance

If you visit a diet blog or scroll down your social media feed, you may find posts urging you to drop gluten from your diet. Many of the authors claim feeling much better after doing so, even though they don’t have celiac. These people may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. NCGS is still a new unknown, and we don’t yet know how much gluten is necessary to cause trouble. However, it doesn’t appear to be genetic, unlike celiac disease.

Many people who are sensitive to gluten or wheat also have sensitivities to other foods. If you believe you have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, you should get tested to make sure that you don’t have celiac disease or other dangerous sensitivities.

Symptoms of a gluten intolerance include:

  • Gas
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Avoiding or reducing gluten is still the best option for those with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. However, check with your doctor. You may be able to take digestive enzymes to help.

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