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With over 70 million Americans suffering from digestive complaints, it’s no wonder that many of us are turning to the gluten free diet. But is it really the answer?
Out of desperation from constant bloating, and other embarrassing symptoms, we are looking to celiac, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies for a much needed explanation. These conditions are serious concerns for many, so it is important to rule them out first.
Celiac is a very real ailment with possibly life-threatening effects. As an autoimmune disease, celiac results in severe damage to your intestines and inhibits your body from absorbing nutrients from food. It also comes with more than 300 known side effects like chronic diarrhea and recurrent miscarriages. The only treatment for someone with celiac is a gluten free diet—making it the most restrictive of the gluten-related conditions.
Wheat allergies and gluten intolerance/sensitivities can present themselves similarly to celiac or even other food allergies. But the good news is wheat allergies are detectable by blood tests. Symptoms for both may range from rashes to all-too-common diarrhea. Estimates state that about 18 million people in America suffer from gluten sensitivities, which are unfortunately not yet fully understood by researchers.
There are a number of often overlooked reasons you may be experiencing abdominal pain, gut grief or never-ending fatigue. And, the good news is a few easy tweaks and a healthy diet may work just as well for you as a gluten-free diet, but with significantly fewer restrictions! Here are just a couple of the most common:
Irritable bowel syndrome and Celiac disease have many of the same symptoms but completely different solutions. Since both conditions root from a disruption of the digestive tract lining, common complaints for both include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation.
We all know that those with celiac and gluten intolerance must avoid gluten products like bread, pasta, cereals that are made with, or derived from, wheat, barley or rye. But if you are actually suffering from IBS, your body often needs foods high in soluble fiber like oatmeal or barley to pass through easily. So mixing these two up and running with the wrong solution may not only be ineffective, but harmful.
If a gluten free diet isn’t working as you thought it would, you may want to consider testing for celiac or even probiotics. Many studies have shown probiotics to help with IBS symptoms like bloating and flatulence. To add probiotics into your day without popping a pill, try a powdered version you can sprinkle on your cereal, mix into your coffee, or put into your morning smoothie—like UNI KEY’s Flora-Key.
Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) is less well known than IBS and gluten sensitivity, but its symptoms overlap very closely. SIBO is a condition whereby bacteria ideal for the colon are present in large numbers in the small intestine. Similar to celiac, the absorption of nutrients from food is affected and results in fatigue and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It also delivers the same unpleasant symptoms like excess gas and bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain. SIBO results from a number of things like disruption to regular muscle activity in the small intestine, or alcohol, which is shown to increase your risk of developing SIBO. In one study conventional antibiotics presented a high likelihood of reoccurrence, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that many health professionals suggest the addition of probiotics instead. On top of the usual benefits probiotics offer, these good bacteria also aid the small intestine by supporting small intestine movement and reducing excess “bad bacteria” overgrowth.
Candida and Celiac disease are two very different things, but candida is more simple to treat and somewhat easier to avoid. Symptoms for candida vary, but those most similar to gluten intolerance include bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain and intense fatigue. Yeast naturally occurs within your body, but when you feed it with sugary treats, alcohol and over processed foods it begins to grow out of control. Often the biggest tell-tale sign of Candida overgrowth is insatiable sugar cravings! So how do you get it back in balance? First, make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to fight off an overload by eating a healthy yeast-free diet, and taking a multivitamin with zinc and biotin. Two additional sure-fire ways to get rid of yeast overgrowth is with Y-C Cleanse—a homeopathic formula used for years as a safe and effective natural yeast cleanse; and maintaining a healthy gut with probiotics to fight off future outbreaks.