What is gluten intolerance?
There has been a great deal of misconception over this condition in the last few years. Part of that, to be fair, is because only recently have doctors been able to perform tests which can effectively determine if a person is gluten. By the way, those tests, which I recommend you get if you believe yourself to be suffering from gluten intolerance, are not especially complicated consisting of a blood test (to test antibodies) and then followed up with a biopsy of the intestine.
You may be wondering what the likelihood is that you have a gluten intolerance. According to current data, nearly 10% of people over 18 in the United States are gluten intolerant to some degree or another. However, among this number is a much smaller subsection of people who suffer from Celiac Disease. Less than 1% of people in advanced nations suffer from this disease, yet it is a very serious condition. People with this disease have a mutation in their immune system which causes a reaction, it attacks the body so to speak, when gluten is consumed. Therefore it represents a very serious condition that can cause severe damage or even death to people who consume gluten when they have it.
However, though that needed to said, realize that the vast, vast majority of people who are gluten intolerant do not have Celiac Disease.
Let's take a look at the preliminary question in this matter, and that is:
What exactly is Gluten?
Yeah, we kinda, sorta need to answer that before we can proceed. Gluten is a unique type of protein that is contained in many common breads, cereals and other substances generally considered to be "carbs". Gluten provides these products with a lot of their unique characteristics. It is gluten, for instance, in bagels that gives them their tough, doughy consistency. Gluten also makes bread absorbent of water, elastic, and firm. In short, it does quite a lot of things.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is a condition that develops if the body is unable to completely digest gluten. As a result a number of unpleasant side effects will follow. These side effects vary. And, unfortunately, most of these side effects are difficult to use to determine a gluten-intolerant diagnosis. The fact is that many of these symptoms present in a wide variety of cases. They are not so specific as to point doctor's towards the correct hypothesis, because, really, they could be anything.
What are the most common intolerance symptoms?
Here are some of them
* Gaining or losing weight
* Lack of iron in the blood.
* Intestinal Symptoms such as Constipation, Diarrhea, and Bloating
* Fatigue and loss of motivation
* Eczema and other skin conditions
* Problems with irritability
* Problems in the menstrual cycle.
Naturally, this is not a list that any person aspires to have. However, you should be aware of the fact that with treatment and proper diagnosis the prognosis for people with a gluten intolerance is fantastic. What this means is a significant change in your dietary habits -- obviously the main thing here being that you will have to refrain from eating gluten containing foods. But, with time, a new diet can be adjusted to. And, with increased energy and a proper weight, you will feel a new vigor to take on life.
Now, I hope that you do not take this article to end your quest for information about gluten. Since I was diagnosed gluten intolerant two years ago, I have found so many great sites on the web for information and support. I hope you take advantage of this vast library of resources to educate yourself.
Finally, if you feel you might be suffering from gluten intolerance symptoms, I recommend that you visit your doctor to begin the testing process.
So, in a nutshell, that answers the question what is gluten intolerance.