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Monday, January 27, 2014

Gluten Intolerance – the confusing delay in symptoms

It took me forever to figure out, and then accept, that I have a non-Celiac gluten intolerance.   And I’m not alone.  About 5% of the population has gluten intolerance, and only a fraction of those people have Celiac.  The rest of us struggled along for years eating bread here and there, trying to figure out if we always felt like crap after eating bread, or if maybe our symptoms were related to something else we ate.  One of the reasons it can be so hard to “swallow” the idea that you might be gluten-intolerant is that the symptoms don’t necessarily come immediately after eating wheat.  Sometimes symptoms don’t occur until as much as 2 or 3 days after consuming wheat. 

If you eat a piece of bread and feel fine until the next evening, you’re more likely to blame your symptoms on whatever you ate for lunch on the day you started feeling bad.  But if you keep a food journal you can track whether your symptoms always come after you’ve eaten wheat. 

What are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?

-Bloating and stomach cramps
-Diarrhea, flatulence, constipation
-Tiredness, lethargy
-Headaches, memory problems
-Depression and anxiety
-Frequent illnesses such as colds and bacterial infections
-Joint and inflammation problems
-Eczema, itching, dandruff

Note that when you give up gluten it can take a couple of days to get relief from symptoms.  But once the gluten starts leaving your system your body will experience dramatic reductions in the symptoms.

Some good resources to check out:

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