Gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, kamut, barley and rye. Due to cross-contamination it is usually found in oats, too. Why is gluten so problematic? Individuals who are sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease (genetic condition) the body doesn’t recognize gluten and considers it an invader. Therefore the invader “gluten” causes the immune cells in the intestines to activate, which then releases chemicals that can lead to the destruction of the villi of the intestines. The intestinal villi is responsible for absorption therefore if they are damaged your body cannot properly absorb the important nutrients from foods. (big problem)
Kenneth Fine, a renowned gastroenterologist, believes 1 in 3 people experience sensitivity to gluten. The most common symptoms of gluten sensitivity are chronic diarrhea, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel disease, and arthritis. Other symptoms include: gas, acid reflux, fatigue, bone and joint pain, unexplained anemia, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, and recurring abdominal bloating and pain.
Gluten is hidden in many foods! Again, gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye, and sometimes oats and it can be hiding in baking powder, soy sauce, pasta, cottage cheese, beer, breads, candy, caramel color, cereals, citric acid, non-dairy products, flour, miso, meat, seasonings, malt vinegar, packaged dessert mixes, brown rice syrup, flavorings, soups and soup mixes. For example, some flavored coffee uses wheat as a flavor carrier, brown rice syrup sometimes uses barley, some yogurt and cottage cheese contains modified food starch, most beer and ale contains wheat and barley and most processed meats (sausages, luncheon meats, hot dogs) use fillers that may contain gluten.
Two ways to find out if you are sensitive to gluten are an elimination diet and a test panel. As a certified nutritionist, I can help you with the elimination diet (insurance accepted) and the second way is to do a Test Panel B: Gluten/Antigenic Food Sensitivity Stool/Gene Panel; you can purchase this panel from Enterolab. https://www.enterolab.com/Default.aspx