Questions and Answers on GLUTEN
(Part 2)

1. What are the symptoms of GLUTEN sensitivity?

The inflammatory and autoimmune responses that arise from gluten sensitivity can impact almost any organ system, including your brain, muscles, skin, and bones, your liver and heart, and your endocrine system.

Here are the more common symptoms

  • General vague feeling of unwellness
  • Unexplained health problems
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and Pains
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Recurrent canker sores
  • Gastro-intestinal symptoms
    • Nausea, gas, bloating, digestive upset, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain
  • Neurological symptoms
    • Numbness in the extremities, impairment in mental functioning, depression
  • Dermatological symptoms
    • Rashes, itching, blistering
  • Gynecological symptoms
    • Infertility, early menopause

2. What diseases are associated with GLUTEN sensitivity?

As I said above, gluten sensitivity can affect any organ system.

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten.

Here are the common disease associations

  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Thyroid disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Addison’s disease
  • Autoimmune liver disease
  • Sjorgren’s disease
  • Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis

Gastro-intestinal diseases

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel Syndrome

Neurological diseases

3. Is it possible to develop a GLUTEN sensitivity in adulthood?

It is not unusual for people to develop gluten sensitivity and even celiac disease later in life and although it’s well described, it’s currently unclear exactly why this happens.

4. How is it diagnosed?

The hallmark of a celiac diagnosis is either having specific antibodies in the blood or damage to the intestinal villi in the small intestine when a biopsy is done.

The classic antibodies checked in the blood are

  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
  • IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
  • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG )

But both of these are often negative with gluten sensitivity!

Therefore the best test for gluten sensitivity is to eliminate gluten completely from your diet for 2-4 weeks and see how you feel. But you must eliminate gluten completely including all the hidden sources.

Then after the 2-4 weeks, you introduce it again and see how you feel. You will know if you have a gluten sensitivity as some of the symptoms which had disappeared will come back.

5. What do you suggest?

My experience has shown me that eliminating gluten grains helps at least three quarters of the patients who come in to see me as it decreases their “total load”. It seems to give their system a break and makes it easier for them to recover from whatever they have. This could be because their body is expending less energy to deal with this hard to digest protein, giving it more energy to do other processes.

So my suggestion to anyone who thinks they may be sensitive to gluten is to eliminate it from their diet and see how they feel. Gluten sensitivity has such far reaching effects in the body — going without it is one relatively easy path to explore and it will be worth it to your health in the end. I promise, removing gluten from your diet isn’t as difficult as it seems. You can have a perfectly natural, delicious, and nutritious diet without gluten. There are many gluten free grains to choose from….rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat.

6. Can I eat oats?

Oats, although considered a gluten grain, does not contain the “gliadin” protein that people have a hard time digesting and breaking down. Gliadin is found in all gluten cereal grains except oats. The problem is that oats are usually handled with the same farm machinery and stored and milled in the same facilities as the other gluten grains and gliadin contamination happens. So pure oats are fine.

7. What resources do you recommend?

For all sorts of info on being gluten free, try these sites

For a gluten free shopping guide, try this book

For gluten free recipes, try these sites

For gluten free products, try these sites

For gluten free oat products (pure oats), try these sites

  • alena

    I discovered my gluten sensitivity while on your Spent program, and ever since I'm always hunting for delicious low-surgar gluten free products. I recently discovered Gluten-Free Gourmet Solutions at…they have some delicious options!

  • thanks

  • Ed Markosek

    This is just what I need! I will take some time to read it carefully. Thank you!

  • Joylohrer

    My partner has multiple schlerosis and we've eliminated gluten, but aren't sure that we need to since she doesn't show any symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Eliminating it to reduce inflammation. Think we need to?

  • Yes I would still eliminate it for at least 3 weeks and see how she feels

  • Sarah

    can gluten cause cold allergy/uticaria?

  • HI, 

    Its brilliant post guys. Its really very impressive post guys.


  • Lindsey

    I’m really interested in learning more about what gluten does inside the body and why it causes all these diseases. Is there a book you can recommend to me to find out more about this? (I.e. Not a gluten free cookbook, but more informational). Thanks!

  • Wheat Belly By Dr William Davis

  • Katya

    These are great articles but I want to caution that not all celiacs can handle oats. Even the celiac association admits they still don’t know if they are okay or not. My daughter is celiac and even a tiny amount of certified pure oats (Bob’s Red Mill) upset her stomach terribly. Celiacs or those with gluten sensitive should eliminate all oats for 6 months and then try to re-introduce them gradually, no more than 1/4 C per day.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience with oats Katya. There is no one diet or answer that works for everyone – we all have to do what works for our bodies. Especially with autoimmune diseases and leaky gut, food sensitivities can develop and change over time.
    – Katrine, Be Well Team

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your experience with oats Katya. There is no one diet or answer that works for everyone – we all have to do what works for our bodies. Especially with autoimmune diseases and leaky gut, food sensitivities can develop and change over time.
    – Katrine, Be Well Team

  • sharon

    A friend of mine religiously reads your newsletters and forwarded August 17’s letter to me this week. The article that grabbed my attention was “Is Food Affecting your Mood?” From there I clicked on more links in your site and discovered that you are an advocate of eliminating Gluten. I was diagnosed with Celiac back in 2001 when my daughter was a year old and my brother had just been killed in a car accident. I bring that up because the Dr. that finally diagnosed me said that often stress is a trigger for the disease. When I was diagnosed it wasn’t easy to find prepared GF foods, not that were marked as such anyway and even fresh meats, cheeses and other non-prepared food, was not guaranteed to be Gluten Free. At that point I turned to a very simple diet of mostly fruits, vegetables and fresh meats that I prepared into meals myself. I follow my diet very strictly and have had success but recently some of my original symptoms have returned. I have suspicions that I am becoming intolerant of other foods. I have now taken pretty much all dairy out of my diet and eat sheep or goat cheese and use coconut milk or coconut yogurt. I have also eliminated tomatoes, many beans, eggs, oatmeal and a few more items. The very strange thing is that I can eat the exact same meal one day and be fine but the next day the same foods will cause me to bloat to a point where I truly look and feel 8 months pregnant. Where I feel that I could literally pop! Not sure that that is possible but that is how it feels. So, long story short, do you have any advice?

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like your gut needs repair; you could try our Cleanse program which includes digestive enzymes and an herbal antimicrobial in conjunction with an elimination diet. Best of luck!
    -Laura, Be Well health coach