Statistics report, 40% of the American public suffers from gluten sensitivity–that’s 1 in 3 individuals! It seems over 50 years ago the protein in wheat was 5% gluten ; now the tally is estimated at close to 90%.
What is gluten you ask? It is a protein found in wheat, oats, rye, barley, and other grains related to wheat. It is also hiding in salad dressing, soups, yogurts, ice cream–the list is endless. Gluten purportedly hastens and lowers costs of production in food products. Gluten intolerance is a tepid descriptor for this intruder which can manifest in long-term malnutrition and as a result, myriad diseases; it is often referred to as Celiac Disease.
Some of the early signs are headaches, sore stomach, rapid weight loss (which is actually wasting!). Other symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, stools that are bulky, pale, floating or horrendously smelly, abdominal pain or distension, weakness, and even anemia.
Advanced signs include diseases triggered by continued lack of critical nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, that are flushed out of the digestive system by the destruction of the mucous membranes in the wall of the intestines. Multiple Sclerosis is also linked to gluten intolerance. In my opinion, no one is tolerant of gluten; it is just a matter of time until multiple signs erupt.
I was in an animated discussion today with Clarence and Lorraine, owners at the revitalized Freshco in Trenton, along with Mario from Sobey’s head office; this is clearly a subject of interest to all. There are two “Gluten Free” sections in the store, frozen and open shelf.
The Loblaw banner dedicated an entire page to Gluten-Free products in their flyer this weekend. The heat is turning up. “We are always expanding our gluten-free aisle [by demand]“, John Smiley, owner of The Independent in Trenton exclaimed as he gave me a tour. The baker corroborated people often ask for directions to the gluten aisle.
Since I launched my own crusade a week ago, it seems everyone has a gluten story related to their own health or a close relative.
Food manufacturers must step up to the plate, reducing the percentage of gluten in their products before people develop illnesses en masse. Full disclosure of gluten content must be on the ingredient list.
Tim Horton’s offers one gluten-free bite sized product near its cash; but, that’s all. Options are too scant in cafes and restaurants, a disproportionate response to the need.
SO HOW CAN YOU TEST IF THIS IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR FAILING HEALTH?
Get off gluten for at least a week; that means, no more wheat products, rye, oats, barley and other close relatives. You will be restricted to brown rice, millet and quinoa; organic corn is good too. You can get a blood test; elevated anti-gliadin antibodies will show up in a blood sample
If the headaches vanish, the abdominal pain vanishes, or a number of symptoms–voila! Begin taking supplements so you can replace the lost nutrients in your body; these deficiencies will appear in full blood work. As long as you continue consuming gluten you will likely not absorb supplements unless you can bypass the digestive system with injections and perhaps, sub-lingual forms.
Until food manufacturers cease using this protein to this degree, stay clear from their products. Even the slightest consumption will trigger symptoms again; you must be very careful in restaurants where gluten is ever-present.
According to researcher Dr. Kenneth Fine, M. D., certain populations are at greater risk for developing gluten sensitivity. Gluten Sensitivity may occur in 1 out of every 2 people with these conditions:
- Microscopic colitis
- Relatives of gluten-sensitive individuals
- Gluten-sensitive individuals 1 year after treatment
- Chronic diarrhea of unknown origin
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Hepatitis C
- Autoimmune liver disease
- Other causes of chronic liver disease
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Diabetes mellitus, type 1
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Any autoimmune syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue
- Iron deficiency
- Short stature in children
- Down’s syndrome
- Mothers of kids with neural tube defects
- Female infertility
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Cerebellar ataxia
- Seizure disorders
- Psychiatric disorders
This writer has been off gluten for an entire week; migraines and pain are gone. A number of life threatening symptoms will probably also pass–all caused by frequently diagnosed malnutrition. Many years with a number of conditions, doctors’ visits, biopsies, ambulance rides… No one ever mentioned gluten in my low nutrient levels. Now, maybe I’ll put some meat back on my bones! I welcome it.
This topic is so complex, I plan to write about it in a series. I am just scratching the surface. Social media is two-way; so weigh in with your experiences.
READ THIS amazing story written by Catherine Guthrie in 2010. This rabbit hole is deep.