Guest post today by Nancy Cashman.
A good friend of ours was experiencing some health issues recently. He had stomach pain and diarrhea. It was starting to affect his daily living so he made an appointment with his doctor who ordered a biopsy.
It was discovered that he had an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and oats. He immediately thought, “How is this going to change my life?” When diagnosed, people are given all kind of information about ways to adjust, including gluten free vitamins and nutrition. There is a definite adjustment that has to take place and fear of the unknown can make you uneasy.
There is a genetic component with about 10% of people affected having a close relative with the disease. Gluten is believed to stimulate the production of certain antibodies that damage the inner lining of the small intestine, and can result in malabsorption of nutrients.
We know that most people are not getting enough nutrients in their diet for optimal health even without a challenge like this, so this decreased absorption makes it a significant concern on a daily basis. The small intestine’s normal surface and function are restored when the person stops eating foods containing gluten.
After doing some additional research on this condition I discovered that there have been various studies conducted and the results show a range of gluten allergies in children from 1 in 40 to 1 in 167. In regard to adults, 1 in 30 to 1 in 111 were affected by gluten allergies. The range where it is more common involves children and adults who were already having some symptoms. Overall, studies show that a gluten allergy is quite common, so that many kids and adults out there have uncomfortable guts.
There are many symptoms of a gluten allergy sufferer. They include: extreme fatigue, mouth ulcers, anemia, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, abdominal bloating, crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, depression, attention and behavioral problems, skin problems, irritability, and more. While having a few of these symptoms together might alert you to something being wrong, a proper test will determine if you have a gluten allergy. Since you are the one who has the uncomfortable symptoms, and if you have several of the above symptoms, insist on a test even if your doctor is hesitant.
People who must be on a gluten-free diet say that it changes their lives because they must read labels closely and really become aware of ingredients in foods, making gluten free nutrition including vitamins important to keep the nasty symptoms away. Not being able to eat bread as they always have is one of the hardest adjustments kids and adults will have. Of course it is not only bread that must be removed from the diet, but bagels, muffins, croissants, hamburger and hotdog buns, many cereals, pasta, breaded meats, and pizza.
Of course there are alternatives. Health food stores and now more grocery stores carry gluten-free products, including bread. It is important to make sure the label reads “100% gluten-free.” Corn and rice-based cereals, and rice noodles in place of pasta made with wheat, are good choices. Our friend and his wife are both professionals with a business of their own, and like so many of us live a very busy lifestyle. This health issue has affected his life in a lot of different ways and takes time to manage, but you have to be grateful that in most cases it is manageable.
Nancy Cashman represents Shaklee Independent Distributor brand products where the majority do not have gluten-containing ingredients. To learn more about high quality gluten free nutrition, contact Nancy through her website www.havegoodhealthforlife.com.