Gluten Intolerance Unveiled: 10 Signs and Their Impact on Health

doctor holding red stethoscope

Why Gluten Intake Is Bad for You

A scientific review was published in the New England Journal of
Medicine revealed that the consumption of gluten can trigger 55
different diseases. As alarming as it sounds, it turns out to be true.
There are, in fact, quite several conditions caused by eating gluten.
These range from fatigue to inflammatory bowel diseases, even
osteoporosis – all by simply eating this protein. Gluten also causes
inflammation, which in turn can affect your entire body. Simply put,
gluten can hurt your brain in the same way that it
affects your digestive system and joints.
Most people who suffer from inflammations due to gluten intake tend to
focus on treating the condition at the surface level. They do so by taking
medications that help reduce the symptoms. Unfortunately, they have
to do it regularly as they weren’t able to get to the root of the problem.

If you have a chronic health issue, or even if you don’t, you want to
eliminate gluten from your diet. After all, gluten is associated with some
of the most problematic conditions such as digestive issues and poor brain
In the event you’ve already consumed gluten, here are 10 telltale signs to
let you know that it’s time to stop:

Sign 1: Digestive Issues

Occasionally suffering from constipation, diarrhoea, and other digestive
issues might seem normal. However, if either one of them happens almost
too often, it could be a sign that gluten is starting to wreck your body.
Not surprisingly, this is also a common symptom experienced by gluten-intolerant individuals and those with celiac disease. In some cases, they
may even have a particularly pale and unpleasant bowel mainly because
the condition prevents their body from absorbing nutrients properly.
According to research, gluten consumption causes digestive issues by
disrupting the barriers of the intestine, thus allowing harmful substances
to move through the bloodstream. Around 14% of Americans
suffer from the so-called IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which causes all
sorts of digestive issues. The consumption of gluten makes the symptom
even worse than before. In some cases, it may even be the cause of IBS.
Around 50% of gluten-intolerant individuals suffer from diarrhoea on a
regular basis, while around 25% of them suffer from constipation.
While this is common to gluten-intolerant and celiac-afflicted individuals,
those who have been consuming foods with gluten can also be negatively
affected. If you begin to experience such symptoms, you might want to
stop the consumption of foods containing gluten as soon as possible. If left
unattended, it may lead to some serious issues such as dehydration,
fatigue, and the loss of electrolytes in the body.

How exactly does it happen?

Upon eating a gluten-containing food, it moves through your stomach
and then into the small intestine. From there, gluten is broken down into
gliadin with the help of an enzyme known as tissue transglutaminase
(tTG). Once broken down, it then moves through your digestive system.
From there, your digestive system, with the help of the gut-associated
lymphoid tissue will review it for any potential harm it may cause to your
body. If you’re not gluten intolerant, it will be directly absorbed by your
body. However, if you’re sensitive to gluten, the protein will be considered
a dangerous substance, and your digestive system will produce
antibodies to attack it.
The problem is that they attack the tTG as well, thereby causing the
microvilli in your intestine to become damaged. Over time, the microvilli
will start breaking down, tearing up the walls of your intestine and letting
food particles and other harmful substances move into your bloodstream.
If this happens, you’ll start experiencing digestive issues such as
constipation, bloating, diarrhoea, and even malnutrition.

Sign 2: Skin Problems

Intolerance to gluten doesn’t just affect your digestive tract, it also affects
your skin as well. If you’re starting to experience skin conditions that
you never had before, it might be because gluten is starting to take its toll
on your body.
According to research, 7 out of 10 celiac-afflicted individuals e
symptoms on their skin. There’s actually a variety of them, but the most
common which is linked to gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis.
Dermatitis herpetiformis is a gluten-caused skin condition in which you
experience one of the itchiest rashes you could ever have. It’s a really
painful rash that is often found in 15-25% of individuals who have celiac
disease. If you have this symptom, you’ll notice lesions that appear on
any part of your body, mostly in the knees, elbows, and buttocks.
Fortunately, this only happens to individuals who have a diagnosed or
undiagnosed celiac disease.
Another common symptom is very dry and flaky skin. Although it’s still
not clear whether the consumption of gluten directly causes dry skin,
some physicians believe that poor nutrient absorption caused by celiac
the disease can steal the nutrients which your skin is supposed to have,
thereby leading to very dry skin. In some cases, this can be remedied by
resorting to a gluten-free diet.

Lastly, there’s psoriasis, a skin condition that causes your skin to
develop red and scaly plaques. According to several studies, regular gluten
consumption is strongly linked to the development of this condition.
Those who are diagnosed with psoriasis have huge amounts of antibodies
in their bloodstreams which only suggests that their bodies are reacting to
the gluten in their diets regardless if they’re diagnosed with celiac disease
or not.
While it’s not yet clear whether glusome reports shows or not,
there are some reports that show people who followed a gluten-free diet
were able to experience a significant improvement in their skin symptoms
even if they don’t have celiac disease.

Sign 3: Recurring Migraine

A lot ofIt’sr from a headache or migraine every once in a while.
In fact, it’s a common condition which affects around 10-12% of the
Western population. However, if migraine appears too often, it can be a
cause for concern, especially if you’re gluten-intolerant.
Interestingly, a number of studies revealed that those with gluten
intolerance are more prone to migraines compared to others. If you have
migraines that occur regularly without any clear cause, it might be because
you’re sensitive to gluten.
You might wonder: what is the connection between gluten andseveralFor some people, gluten could trigger migraine. There have been a
number of studies that confirmed the connection between celiac disease
and migraine. A recurring migraine can be an early indicator of celiac
disease, and those suffering from celiac disease are more likely to
experience recurring migraines.
According to researchers, the connection between celiac disease and
migraine is due to increased gut permeability and inflammation. As
your gut starts “leaking” inflammatory compounds toward the
bloodstream, they can easily find their way into the brain, thereby causing
The connection is so strong that some researchers even recommend that
individuals who suffer from recurring migraines should consult with their

doctors to check the possibility of celiac disease. Surprisingly, this
connection isn’t just exclusive to celiac disease. It’s also found in
individuals who have intestinal disorders such as IBS.
There are only a few studies conducted to address this issue. Fortunately,
they did find that having a gluten-free diet can significantly reduce or even
eliminate the occurrence of migraine. Although they are still in their
preliminary phase, it seems that the results of a gluten-free diet showed a
the massive decline in both the duration and intensity of migraines.
Further research is still required to confirm, but the results suggest that
having a gluten-free diet can be a major help to relieve migraines and
headaches without relying on expensive medications.


Sign 4: Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia

The feeling of tiredness is a very common occurrence and is not often
linked to any medical condition. However, if you get very tired on a
constant basis, it’s likely that you have an underlying condition.
One good example is gluten intolerance. People who are gluten-intolerant
are more likely to experience chronic fatigue, especially when taking foods
that have gluten. According to studies, around 60 – 82% of gluten-intolerant patients suffer from constant fatigue regularly. In addition to
that, gluten intolerance can also lead to iron-deficiency anemia which is
another major cause of tiredness.
If you wake up constantly tired even after getting a good amount of sleep,
chances are you have gluten intolerance. Therefore, regardless of how
much you sleep, your body won’t be able to get enough rest due to the
effects of gluten. The reason is that your body ends up expending all
of its energy to “attack” your allergen, which is gluten in this case, thus
causing you to get drained of all energy which results in fatigue.
If you experience fatigue or a “foggy mind”, likewise known as brain fog,
you may have what they call non-celiac gluten sensitivity or perhaps an
undiagnosed celiac disease. In some cases, chronic fatigue can be a
symptom of an even more serious condition, one of which is celiac.
If you think that you have an allergy due to gluten, the only way you can
confirm this is through an official diagnosis from your doctor. Various
tests can easily determine if the cause is due to gluten. Afterwards,

depending on the severity of your allergy, you may have to limit or even
eliminate your consumption of gluten.
Meanwhile, if you are not sensitive to gluten, you shouldn’t experience any
consistent feeling of tiredness from consuming it. Therefore, unless you’re
allergic to gluten, you shouldn’t feel sleepy on a regular basis.

Sign 5: Joint Pains

Joint and muscle pains can be caused by a number of reasons. One theory
states that people suffering from celiac disease have an innately
oversensitive nervous system. As a result, they’ll have a lower threshold
for activating sensory neurons which leads to joint and muscle pains.
Aside from that, exposure to gluten can also lead to inflammation in
people with gluten intolerance. This inflammation can cause a wide
variety of pain – that includes pain in the muscles and joints. Recent
studies have shown that there’s a possible connection between nonpathological joint pain and gluten.

How exactly does it happen?
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance and you consume gluten,
your immune system will jump into action, thus leading to inflammation.
This inflammation can have an impact on your organs and soft tissues.
Although you may not see noticeable signs of inflammation like swelling
and redness, you may notice some other symptoms like joint pain. You
may not realize it, but gluten can actually cause some serious damage in
your body, especially if you have arthritis (or even if you don’t).
Fortunately, you can stop suffering from chronic joint pain by eliminating
gluten from your diet. This is especially helpful as it also helps you increase
your energy levels, trim down belly fat, and even clear up your skin.

Sign 6: Autoimmune Diseases

If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, you want to get better and
reverse your disease’s progression if possible. From a medical perspective,
these two can be achieved by simply knowing the root cause of your
condition. According to researchers and medical practitioners, gluten is
one of the many possible causes.
There’s actually a well-known connection between autoimmune diseases
and gluten. Therefore, a lot of healthcare providers recommend that you
stick with a gluten-free diet if you are suffering from an autoimmune
By now, you’ve probably heard that those with any form of autoimmune
condition should eliminate gluten from their diet at all costs. You might
have also heard of people thinking that gluten didn’t pose a problem to
them at all.
Like a lot of issues, the truth actually lies somewhere in between. A
recently published study has examined the connection between
autoimmune diseases and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. According to the
study, people who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity have an increased
incidence of autoimmune conditions than those without. This study also
looked at patients with celiac, those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and
normal individuals. It also considered the levels of autoimmune disease
for each test group.

Researchers found that the incidence of autoimmune thyroid disease was
similar in both the celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity groups.
Therefore, there was an increased incidence which was the same for the two
groups, and gluten seems to be a major factor.
Another interesting finding was that the levels of another autoimmune
marker which is called ANA (antinuclear antibodies), was higher in people
with NCGS than those with celiac. Specifically, 24% of the subjects who
have NCGS experienced high levels of the ANA which indexes
autoimmunity compared to only 20% of those with celiac.

Why is this so?

One possible reason could be that following a gluten-free lifestyle is
less recommended for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity than for those
with celiac. Therefore, there might be more people who consume gluten
and are non-celiac gluten sensitive compared to those who have celiac.
This only means that people who have NCGS have higher risks of
experiencing autoimmune conditions by eating foods that contain gluten.
Now, if you have an autoimmune disease, consuming gluten can pose a
serious threat due to a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry. Each
time your body is exposed to any form of invader (gluten in this case), your
immune system will try to memorize its structure to allow it to create the
perfect defence against the said pathogen.
The sad thing is, our immune system can’t perfectly recognize a molecule’s
structure. As long as it has a similar structure, it will be considered an
invader, and the immune system will try to attack it. Gluten, which is quite

a large protein, happens to have a similar structure to some of our body’s
tissues, especially the thyroid.
In people with autoimmune thyroid disease, each time they consume
gluten, their immune system will send antibodies to destroy it. However,
since gluten and their thyroid gland look similar, some of those
antibodies will mistakingly end up attacking the thyroid.
There are also several other proteins like casein which share the same
molecular structure as that of gluten. Due to molecular mimicry, each time
you eat dairy, your body will think that you just consumed gluten and
incite an immune reaction.

Sign 7: Hormonal Imbalance

Aside from messing up your brain, bones, muscles, skin, digestive tract,
and neurological system, gluten sensitivity can also have a negative impact
on your endocrine system which is responsible for your hormones.
Specifically, gluten puts stress on your adrenal glands which results in
hormonal imbalance.
The adrenal glands are situated on top of your kidneys and are the ones
responsible for a lot of your bodily actions. Mainly, they give you energy,
keep your immune system strong, maintain your weight, control sleep
quality, maintain a stable mood, keep various allergies at bay, help with
hormonal imbalance, and more.
Also, since they are the stress-buffering glands in your body, they
essentially help you cope with daily stress by producing hormones. In the
event your adrenal glands get exhausted, your body systems will start to
break down. They’ll stop functioning normally, causing them unable to
repair themselves. This also causes your body to function slowly, leading
to depression, fatigue, loss of libido, and more. Once you undergo chronic
stress, your adrenal glands will start producing stress hormones in
exchange for your sex hormones.
However, if you have gluten intolerance but still continue eating foods that
contain gluten, your adrenal glands will suffer from chronic stress due to
an ongoing intestinal inflammation. This can lead to chronic adrenal
exhaustion which is a major factor in certain conditions like arthritis,
depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and hormonal imbalance.

Unfortunately, while gluten sensitivity and the accompanying stress on
the adrenal glands is a common occurrence, it is rarely diagnosed. Due to
this, a lot of people suffer since they are not tested properly for this
But why exactly are your adrenal glands affected if you continue
consuming gluten while being gluten-sensitive?
The answer is that your adrenal glands are quite sensitive to unstable
blood sugar. In case you’re wondering, stable blood sugar is derived from
eating healthy, gluten-free food. If you’re gluten intolerant, gluten is
basically poison. Therefore, regularly consuming gluten can create
unstable blood sugar which in turn places a tremendous amount of stress
on your adrenal glands.
Since your adrenal glands are responsible for a wide variety of bodily
functions, simply removing gluten from your diet is not enough to restore
their original function. They have to be “reset” using a dietary program to
help restore their original health. This also explains why most gluten-sensitive individuals still suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Asthma
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Joint pains and aches
  • Frequent illness
  • Sleeping issues
  •  Unexpected weight gain
  •  Migraines

Sign 8: Frequent Mood Swings

This might sound surprising, but your digestive system is literally
considered your second brain; and as such, has the ability to influence
your mood and behaviour. Both your brain and gut work alongside each
other and are connected via the vagus nerve.
As it turns out, serotonin, which is known as the feel-good
neurotransmitter and has a huge effect on your mood, actually has a
massive concentration in your gut, or the so-called second brain. This
might explain why a lot of researchers keep on finding a connection
between the imbalance of bacteria in the gut and depression. Additionally,
more and more start using nutrition to help treat the condition rather than
medication which doesn’t seem to help at all.
Here’s another surprising fact: around 100 trillion bacteria thrive in your
body – that’s 10 times the total number of your cells! Ideally, the ratio
between the bacteria inside your gut is 85% good and 15% bad. As such,
keeping your gut flora nourished is important to keep the production of
serotonin at its optimum level, which in turn can help protect your mental
Your gut bacteria are easily affected by your lifestyle. Eating a lot of foods
that contain gluten and sugar can cause them to suffer. In general, gluten,
sugar, as well as processed foods damage your gut health by destroying
good bacteria and nourishing bad bacteria.

By regularly consuming gluten, the number of good bacteria in your gut
will significantly decrease. This can lead to a number of symptoms such as
bad breath, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, yeast infection, dandruff,
eczema, psoriasis, joint pain, and mood swings.
This can also cause you to crave more gluten-rich foods. The best way
you can solve this issue and eliminate mood swings is by following a
gluten-free diet and completely eliminating gluten from your lifestyle.

Sign 9: Dramatic Weight Gain

Although there’s no evidence that removing gluten from your diet can lead
to weight loss, following a gluten-free diet may prompt you to eat more
unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, those who follow a
gluten-free diet are more likely to make healthier food choices simply
because they are aware of the importance of reading food labels.
That aside, it’s already been confirmed by a study that gluten can cause
weight gain. The study which was conducted by a Brazilian research team
and published in the January 2013 Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
attempted to examine the differences between gluten-fed rats and rats
that had a gluten-free diet in terms of their biochemical markers. Their
aim was to put an end to the so-called “wheat belly” controversy and
confirm whether or not gluten can cause weight gain.
In the study, both groups of rats were subjected to high-fat diets. However,
one was gluten-free while the other has 4.5% gluten in their foods. It turns
out that the group which was gluten-free exhibited a significant weight
loss with no trace of lipid fat excretion.
According to GreenMedInfo’s founder, Sayer Ji, instead of calories, gluten
is actually the major factor of obesity. Also, the fact that both groups were
given high-fat diets and the gluten-free group experienced weight loss
without excreting lipids also means that fat-free diets with the aim of
losing weight is just a fraud.

He also recommends avoiding gluten-rich foods, especially weight, to find
out if gluten consumption could be the underlying cause of an unexpected
weight gain.

Sign 10: Neurological Issues

The consumption of gluten can negatively affect your neurological system.
Additionally, people who have celiac disease and non-celiac gluten
sensitivity have reported symptoms such as brain fog, migraines, and
peripheral neuropathy.
Also, a number of neurological conditions like anxiety and depression are
also common in people who are sensitive to gluten. Lastly, there are hints
that conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia might be affected
by the consumption of gluten in some individuals. However, there’s still
no solid evidence as to who might be affected and if following a gluten-free diet can actually help.
A recent study found that 70% of patients with gluten sensitivity have
social phobias while 52% have depression. These are basically the
neurological manifestations related to celiac disease and NCGS. However,
there are also a few others.
Another study conducted by Italian researchers found that 22.5% of
individuals who have gluten sensitivity tend to experience depression,
migraines, neuropathy, and epilepsy. It was determined that the immune
the system played a part in 42% of the patients as the researchers were able to
detect antibody reactivity to neural antigens.
Interestingly, the ones whose antibodies reacted to neural antigens didn’t
have any neurological problems. This means that the said problems might
sometimes take a while to manifest. Also, if patients followed a traditional

gluten-free diet, the results still revealed the same antibodies. This only
means that simply eliminating barley and wheat didn’t change the way the
immune system responded to gluten sensitivity.
The research has also demonstrated the effects of consuming gluten on
your body. In this case, those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten
sensitivity developed a number of symptoms that affected the nervous
system like depression, headache, seizures, and more. Also, following the
traditional gluten-free diet didn’t eliminate the antibodies present during
follow-up testing on the subjects.
Keep in mind that gluten is present in all grains. Other studies also
identify other grains as a major problem for people with gluten
intolerance. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that substitute grains like
rice and sorghum aren’t properly studied to use as substitutes.


You should be aware that celiac disease only affects 1% of the entire
population. Also, some estimates that gluten intolerance is only present in
around 0.5 to 13% of the population. Although the conditions are rare,
their associated symptoms are very common and can have a number of
potential causes. Simply put, gluten intolerance is oftentimes easily
The problem gets even bigger due to diet trends which suggest the removal
of gluten from their lifestyle as it can have adverse health effects. Do keep
in mind, however, that there’s very little research that claims that
removing gluten from a diet will result in health benefits for people who
are not gluten-sensitive.
Regardless, if you want to be certain, it’s best if you consult your doctor
and get properly diagnosed. Also, if you start experiencing one or more of
the said signs, you should get yourself checked immediately.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot from this book. The signs mentioned above
were all based severald studies and are confirmed by a number of
researchers and medical specialists.

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