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Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity

What Are The Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity?

The answer to this question can be different for different people.  Gluten is often times referred to as a “medical hydra“.  Why?  Because gluten can cause a variety of problems.   The classic thought, even in medicine today, is that gluten induced damage is isolated to the GI tract.  This long standing misconception is problematic for many patients because it can delay a gluten sensitivity diagnosis for years.

Many doctors will not even consider gluten in the absence of gut issues even though research has found that extra-intestinal (symptoms outside of the gut) manifestations of gluten are extremely common.  Understanding this, it is important to seek out a doctor with a level of clinical expertise above and beyond traditional medical training.  (Gluten Free Society is accumulating a list of health care providers here <<<).  In the following video, I break down several of the common symptoms of gluten sensitivity:

Below, I have comprised a list of symptoms of gluten related disorders along with links to research on the associations.  It is important to remember that gluten can contribute to and cause a multitude of symptoms, but it is also important to note that gluten should not be considered a “cure all”.  Though gluten can contribute to the symptoms and diseases on the list below, so too can other environmental factors.  All that being said, let’s dive into some of Symptoms of gluten sensitivitythe most common diseases and symptoms of gluten sensitivity…

Gluten Sensitivity & Brain/Neurological Disease

A number of research studies have linked gluten exposure to brain and neurological dysfunction.   Some researchers believe that nerve damage caused by gluten is more common that celiac disease.  Some of these conditions and symptoms include (follow the links to learn more):

  1. Migraine headache
  2. Epilepsy or seizures
  3. Bipolar
  4. Schizophrenia
  5. Cerebellar Ataxia
  6. Vertigo
  7. ADD/ADHD
  8. Depression
  9. Multiple Sclerosis
  10. ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  11. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  12. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and other forms of chronic nerve pain

Gluten Sensitivity Causing Hormone & Organ Dysfunction

Gluten is a known to contribute to multiple forms of hormonal disease.  Some of these include:

  1. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  2. Miscarriage and Infertility
  3. Liver Disease – including autoimmune hepatitis, non alcoholic fatty liver, and gall bladder inflammation.
  4. Pancreatic Problems
  5. PCOS – poly cystic ovarian syndrome
  6. Pituitary dysfunction
  7. Blood sugar problems – hypoglycemia and diabetes (both type I and type II)
  8. Anemia

Gluten Sensitivity & Musculoskeletal Pain Disorders

I wrote an entire book on the topic (No Grain No Pain).  Contrary to popular belief, joint and muscle pain are not directly linked to aging.  Many chronic pain sufferers make full recoveries after going gluten free.  Some common muscle and joint conditions and symptoms linked to gluten exposure are:

  1. Fibromyalgia
  2. Arthritis – Rheumatoid, Lupus, Reiter’s, Ankylosing Spondylitis
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Migratory arthritis
  5. Muscle spasm, pain, and weight gain

Gluten Sensitivity & Skin Disease

Multiple forms of skin disease symptoms have been linked to gluten exposure.

  1. Psoriasis
  2. Eczema
  3. Vitiligo
  4. Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms in the GI Tract

  1. Celiac Disease
  2. GERD (acid reflux disease)
  3. Intestinal Lymphoma (cancer)
  4. Intestinal pain and bloating
  5. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – linked to both diarrhea and constipation
  6. Malabsorption leading to severe malnutrition (vitamin and mineral deficiencies)

Treating the Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity With Drugs

As stated above, one of the biggest problems in medicine today is that physicians typically lack the knowledge of gluten induced problems outside of celiac disease.  They are not trained to fully understand the symptoms of gluten sensitivity.   This lack of knowledge typically leads to the broad application of using medicines to treat symptoms – i.e.

  • Pain medications (opiods, steroids, NSAIDS, etc) to treat gluten induced pain syndromes –
  • Immune suppressing drugs in the case of autoimmune diseases like lupus and RA.
  • Headache medications
  • Anti acids to treat GERD
  • Antibiotics to treat skin inflammation
  • Hormones to treat diabetes, thyroid problems, PMS or PMDD, infertility, PCOS, etc

No Grain No PainThis approach is dangerous for several reasons.  Using medicine to mask symptoms does not lead to resolution of the problem.  However; masking the symptoms leads to a complacent patient while allowing the underlying damage to continue.  In essence the disease process goes unchecked leading to future complications.  Using medications can lead to drug induced nutritional deficiencies.  These deficiencies end up causing a whole new set of problems that lead to the use of even more medications.  Using medications comes with the potential of creating “side effects” that either cause additional problems, or lead to adding even more medication to “treat the side effects”.

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found traditional medical care to be the third leading cause of death in the US!

Bottom line – Now that you have a better understanding of the diverse symptoms of gluten sensitivity, take action.  If you suspect gluten may be playing a role in your health condition, go grain free.   You can take this free simple quiz to help you figure this out.  There is no human requirement for grain.  There is no danger of malnutrition when following a grain free diet.  Contrary to what you may have heard from doctors or nutritionists, a grain free diet is completely safe to follow… and it might just save your life.

Now do me a favor – If you have already gone grain free and experienced a dramatic health improvement, share your story below in the comments.

Always looking out for you,

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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7 responses on “Symptoms Of Gluten Sensitivity

  1. When I went through menopause, I gained 60 lbs over several years. When I decided to reduce my gluten, I slowly over several years lost 30 of it but when I went all the way, I lost 10 more then paleo went 10 more & now keto lost 10 more. I am now back down to where I was 10 years ago & feeling great.

    • Jacqueline,
      Love to hear that you have found answers to your health issues through the power of diet change!
      Thanks for sharing your story!
      All the best,
      Dr. O

      • Susan Boyce says:

        I have been trying to get my brothers to go GF but it falls on deaf ears. Two brothers developed seizures and schizophrenia both are deceased both ate the SAD diet. I have 3 brothers left and would like to help them but don’t know how especially when they see I’m not getting better. Its too complicated to explain to them since I have gone over the edge and it will take years for me to recover but they can prevent their future problems by avoiding grains so they don’t have to go through my same experience. I signed up to be your patient but the appointment won’t be until May of 2017

  2. Leslie says:

    I have had too many symptoms to even mention, but by losing grains all together along with throwing out sugars and diving into vegetables and real foods , I no longer suffer with fibromyalgia and the painful arthritis I have had for over 2 decades, I am now 50 and am feeling better than I did in my 30’s! I have more energy and am maintaining a good weight at 5’2. I’m off of all meds and don’t visit the doctors every time I turn around! Natural is the way for me and that’s how I will stay! Don’t give up!!!! That’s what I can say to anyone suffering out there!!!! This lifestyle has been so deeply life hanging for me that I have decided to further my education and become a health coach!!!! Thanks to great people fighting for people’s true health like dr Osbourne we can help our bodies heal!!!!!

  3. Susie says:

    Started GF 5 days ago. Biggest change so far is having very large BM’s – at least 2 a day. It is not diarreha. I am working through cravings. I do feel better too.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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