Gluten Sensitivity Can Make You Feel Ill

Gluten Sensitivity Can Make You Feel Ill

By Tana, RN

If you have a gluten sensitivity, it can make you feel ill when you eat gluten products. You may not even realize why you lack energy or have abdominal discomfort. In recent years, there has been more awareness that this may be an issue for a lot of people. The process that happens in the body if you are gluten sensitive is similar to celiac disease, but generally way less severe. Eating grains with gluten causes inflammation in the “gut” or intestines, wearing down the mucosa lining. This can cause “leaky gut syndrome.” This allows incompletely digested food and other toxins to enter the bloodstream, which in turn, can cause different immune system reactions.

gluten sensitivity making you feel with leaky gut seeping out undigested food particles

Undigested food particles leaking into the blood stream from intestines.

This happens in differing degrees depending on your sensitivity and/or how much inflammation that may already exist at any given time. This sensitivity usually manifests itself as fatigue, feeling run down, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation or bloating. It can also cause achiness. Depending on the degree of inflammatory response and how long it has been present, you may have vitamin deficiencies. It has been found that gluten sensitive people often have low vitamin levels such as vitamin B-12, folic acid and iron.

Gluten Sensitivity And The Inflammatory Process

Gluten sensitivity can make you feel ill because of this inflammation process. The intestines are where the nutrient exchange happens between food and body. If the inner lining of the intestine is inflamed, it decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the foods that pass through. Your body needs a certain combination of nutrients in just the right amounts or it will start looking for where it can find it. Even a micro nutrient. So if it can’t find what it needs, it will trigger a message to the brain that you need to eat because it is missing a nutrient. You start feeling hungry and may eat to try supply the missing nutrient, subconsciously of course. Also, due to this inflammatory process or immune response from eating gluten products, you can feel tired or run down, which triggers you to eat more.

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Gluten sensitivity can cause inflammation


Unfortunately, your intestines are still messed up and you still may not get the nutrient you need in your body. Sometimes if you eat enough of the right things, you will, but then you have eaten too many calories. In addition, many can develop the “leaky gut syndrome,” which causes problems as mentioned above.

Gluten Is Not All Bad

Gluten is not all bad. Obviously, for people who suffer from celiac disease, it is, but many of the whole grains contain gluten. Whole grains are healthy for the body. To eliminate gluten means you will eliminate many sources of healthy grains. Some of the alternative grains do not have the same health benefits. Some of the “gluten free” products have more fat and sometimes more sugar. It is wise to do a lot of comparative shopping initially to make sure you focus on products that still provide some health benefit. It is also worthy to note that many people who say they are sensitive to gluten actually have a wheat allergy, not a gluten allergy. This is important as it will open up other grain options for these people. Also, for many people with gluten sensitivity, eating high quality whole grain products can decrease fatigue and GI symptoms that sometimes occur with eating gluten products. It may be worth a try.

Gluten Sensitivity Doesn’t Always Mean A Strict Gluten Free Diet

If you feel you have symptoms of unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating or discomfort or maybe more serious symptoms, you need to see a physician. He/she can do a blood test to see if you show gluten intolerance or sensitivities. It can also tell you if you are allergic to wheat as opposed to gluten. If you do have a gluten sensitivity, then you can discuss with your physician the pros and cons of going on a gluten free diet. Either way, getting a good nutritious diet on a daily basis is very important. If the doctor determines that you have a gluten sensitivity, it can be what is making you feel ill. The options of eliminating or a trial of cutting back on gluten products may be suggested.


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