Among allergies to certain types of food, it seems that gluten sensitivity is currently emerging. Be careful, because many people use the expression “celiac disease” as a synonym for “gluten intolerance”, and this is a mistake. We will see shortly.
There are warning signs to detect this type of rejection of gluten that are closely linked to the digestive system, but whose exteriorization also occurs on a psychological level. Some of these indicators are externalized; others may go more unnoticed.
Clarification of terms: celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten allergy
They are often used as synonyms, but although they are interrelated, each one is different in characteristics and intensity. Broadly speaking, this is how we can distinguish these pathologies:
A common problem
Celiac, intolerant and allergic have the same enemy: gluten . In the first case, your digestive system rebels against this protein if you eat any food that contains it, due to the inability (congenital or acquired) of your digestive tract to absorb it.
On the other hand, in the second and third cases, people afflicted with this ailment get better if they do not eat anything that includes protein. Third parties, in addition, suffer at the moment the consequences of eating gluten. Let’s see the differences in more detail:
Celiac disease is an underdiagnosed disease that can be suffered from childhood and be diagnosed late, precisely because its symptoms can be confused, masked , or simply not present in its entirety.
However, there is something that never disappears: the deterioration of the intestinal villi (the fluff that lines the walls of the intestine, responsible for absorbing the nutrients we consume). When this condition is present, the person may have problems related to vitamin deficiencies and, every time they take gluten, they will get sick.
Something that makes celiac disease detectable is its genetic basis, although it is still not very clear how it is transmitted. If there is a history in the family diagnosed with the disease, it is possible that the patient who reports the typical symptoms is also celiac.
Although celiac patients represent a very low percentage (around 1% of the population), there are other people who, without being celiac, claim to feel better if they eliminate gluten from their diet and whose proportion is higher.
Without having the hairy lining of your intestines damaged, as happens to celiacs, it is possible that due to a diet high in gluten, your body ends up reacting with the symptoms that we will see shortly. In case of eating gluten, they will feel cramps and rumbling in their gut, but there will be no basic damage to the gastrointestinal tract.
Gluten intolerance is not considered to be a less severe variant of celiac disease, but rather is independent. In short: those who are intolerant to gluten just need to eliminate protein from their diet to feel good again; while the celiac suffers a damage that degenerates the intestinal tube.
With an incidence similar to celiac disease, gluten allergy is another way that the body rejects this substance. In the case of allergies, the body generates antibodies that attack gluten even before it is deposited on the intestinal walls.
Likewise, in both pathologies, the immune system is involved. Now, while in one the symptoms take a little longer to manifest and the deficit is chronic (celiac disease); In the case of allergy, the symptoms are immediate and typical of food hypersensitivity: breathing difficulties, hives or swelling in the presence of gluten , due to the action of IgE antibodies, involved in the immune response to allergens.
How to know if you are celiac, intolerant or allergic to gluten
It is enough to carry out the pertinent medical tests, an injection or a duodenal biopsy will suffice to have a sure diagnosis.
Once the suspicions are confirmed or refuted, it is enough to replace the provisions made with wheat flour for the same ones , but made with other types of flour (rice or chickpea, for example), so that the intestine stops suffering.
8 keys to detect if you are intolerant to gluten
Although it is advisable to visit a doctor when suspected of not processing gluten well, first we must attend to a series of clues that give us an idea of whether or not our suspicions are substantiated.
Obviously, we can try at home through trial and error tests to see if gluten really harms us, simply by eating or not eating it and seeing how we react. However, there is no home way of knowing if our intestinal tube suffers permanent damage in case we are celiac; so this point can only be confirmed by a specialized professional.
1. Stomach pain
Feeling pinches and cramps in the stomach after eating foods rich in gluten may mean that your body does not accept this protein well. This pain is usually accompanied by gas, a bloated feeling, diarrhea or, on the contrary, constipation .
Remember that these symptoms can damage the lining of the small intestine, which would lead to problems in the absorption of minerals and vitamins from other foods consumed. Here is the potential danger: that due to not processing gluten well, it causes chronic damage that affects our entire diet, even if it has already been eliminated from the diet.
Once we have eaten, if we begin to see blurry, to feel disoriented and somewhat unbalanced, there are quite a few numbers that there is something in the digestive tract that contains traces of gluten.
As the brain is involved in this type of manifestation, it can be difficult to associate it with something we have ingested instead of other causes (stress or lack of sleep, to name two classic symptoms resulting from the accelerated pace of life we lead). The question is to pay attention to whether these signals always occur after meals . If so, we better check how much gluten is in our food base.
3. Mood swings
The human body is wise and has various ways of showing us that something is wrong. One of them is through mood swings after eating: thus, our mood changes as a result of a change in the body.. If this happens frequently and always at these key moments that we are commenting on, pay attention to the food.
If a more or less intense headache appears within 30-60 minutes after finishing eating , gluten may have something to do with it. This migraine can appear in different forms and intensities.
5. Itchy skin
When the intestines have trouble absorbing swallowed gluten, they become inflamed and welts appear on the skin. As we said before, gluten allergy is linked to skin diseases, such as eczema or psoriasis.
This can be a very reliable indicator that, together with the others, can make us understand that we have to eliminate everything that contains wheat flour (rich in gluten) from our food.
Fibromyalgia is a very common ailment nowadays that causes a lot of pain in muscles, ligaments or tendons and that can become really disabling.
Many medical professionals agree that by removing gluten from our eating plan, these symptoms could be alleviated.
7. Chronic fatigue
If there is a problem with gluten in any of its variants, the body and mind will react to it, so it will not be strange if a feeling of constant fatigue invades us.
It does not matter that we have slept the required hours; We will continue to feel that everything costs us more than usual. If there is no underlying insomnia problem, gluten may be to blame.
8. Being lactose intolerant
A predisposing factor is being lactose intolerant. If so, the chances that our body will reject gluten will increase. Apparently, there is a type of sugar found in lactose , which can trigger digestive problems and worsen signs of gluten intolerance.
The truth is that food has an impact (and a lot) on our health and well-being, so we should not lose sight of the fact that we may not be as resistant to diseases as we think.