If it seems like everyone and their grandmother is suddenly “gluten-free,” well, they kinda are. It’s been touted as the solution for everything from symptoms of IBS to lack of energy and has even been promoted as the latest and greatest for weight-loss. But is this medically necessary diet for people with Celiac disease right for you?
Dr. Susan Blum, the Founder of Blum Center for Health and Chronic Disease Specialist, is here to help us figure it all out. As Dr. Blum explains, “Although most test negative for Celiac, almost all have a some sensitivity to gluten which can present itself in a wide variety of symptoms. It has been reported that as many as 1 in 20 Americans may have some form of gluten sensitivity but there is currently no test or defined set of symptoms.”
So, how should you know if you’re one of the gluten sensitive? Read on…
The most common symptoms related to gluten are irritable bowel (IBS), which can be any bowel symptoms (like constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating) after you eat. But just because you don’t have belly issues, doesn’t necessarily mean that gluten-free isn’t for you. In fact, many people with fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, chronic fatigue and autoimmune disease respond well to gluten-free diets. As do loads of others who just don’t feel right, can’t think right, experience brain fog or suffer with fatigue – or even some of us without any tangible symptoms at all. And that’s where it gets confusing!
Sure, blood tests are the common go-to for diagnosing a gluten intolerance (and are the only way to prove that someone should avoid gluten), but they only test for a very specific immune reaction to Gluten. But what if you have no symptoms (and therefore never get a blood test) or test negative? Well, the fact is that even if you’ve tested negative, you still may not be in the clear.
Most of the time, the best way to help someone know if they should remove gluten from their diet is to do an “elimination/challenge” experiment, during which you first eliminate gluten 100% for 3 weeks (to see if your symptoms improve) and then “challenge” yourself by eating several servings of gluten rich foods (to see if you notice a worsening of symptoms). Many times, people aren’t sure they feel better without it, but are positive they feel worse when they add it back. And if you’re one of those people? Well, then it’s time to go gluten-free!