Perhaps you’ve already thought about the idea of ​​giving up gluten , or at least limiting it a bit, but haven’t made the leap just yet. After all, you have not yet been diagnosed as gluten intolerant or celiac.

3 reasons to give up gluten that you probably never suspected

You probably don’t know that approximately 99% of people who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease have never been diagnosed.

1. More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten

It is estimated that at least 1 in 30 people are sensitive to gluten. If you are one of those people, your immune system sends out antibodies to attack the inflammatory gluten particles. Unfortunately, the protein in gluten, gliadin, on a molecular level resembles some of the body’s own tissues. Gliadin antibodies often mistakenly attack other organs and systems, from the skin to the thyroid to the brain. This process, called molecular mimicry, is why many people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to other foods, such as the proteins in dairy products, that resemble gluten.

Gluten is causing your body to attack itself, sometimes on multiple fronts. The fact that a food is causing you a problem outside of your digestive system, such as rheumatoid arthritis or autoimmune thyroid, is the reason that many people go so long without realizing that they have a problem with this protein. If you have an autoimmune disease you should get tested for gluten sensitivity, and if you are gluten intolerant you should get tested for autoimmunity.

2. Eating gluten can cause skin problems

The generalized inflammation caused by this protein appears in different body systems, including the largest organ: the skin.

Among the causes of acne are hormonal fluctuations. When you eat gluten, the body responds to the constant irritation by increasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol. The high levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, lack of sleep and, you guessed it : acne.

3. Gluten problems with your brain

A healthy gut is crucial for a healthy brain . This is because 90-95% of our serotonin, the key neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, is made in our gut. A deficiency of serotonin causes depression and anxiety in some, in fact, most antidepressants work by blocking serotonin receptors in the brain, leaving more of the chemical to remain present in the brain.

Gluten inhibits digestion as it damages the intestine and because it is itself poorly digested. The undigested food particles that persist in our intestines serve as food for bacteria and yeast . When there is a bacterial overgrowth , a layer is created over the intestines causing the suppression of the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Bacteria produce chemicals that actually mimic our own neurotransmitters, which travel from the gut to the brain and cause mood imbalances such as irritability, depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

How can you tell if you are sensitive to gluten?

The easiest ways to determine if you have a problem with gluten is to go through an elimination diet and remove it from your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Keep in mind that gluten is a very large protein, and it can take months and even years to clear it from your system. The longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroduction, the better. The best way to figure out is that if you feel significantly better without gluten or feel worse when you reintroduce it, then gluten is probably a problem. In order to get accurate results from this testing method, you must eliminate 100% of gluten from your diet.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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