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Gluten Allergy Symptoms

Updated on January 14, 2010

Gluten Allergy Symptoms

One of the most difficult things for a wheat-bread-loving person to do is to give up the very thing they love due to their reactions to the gluten that is present in wheat. For those who may not know, gluten is a protein compound found in wheat (barley and rye as well), composed of two proteins known as gliadin and glutenin. The gluten found in wheat flour is what contributes to its flexibility and resilience as far as kneading is concerned, and it also is what gives most wheat-based bread products their “chewy” characteristics. Although wheat protein is lauded as one of the highest quality proteins around, the unfortunate backside of it is the allergenic properties that it has due to the gluten content. Indeed, gluten allergy symptoms are no fun to deal with, and for the person who has not yet discovered that they are allergic to the gluten that’s found in wheat, it can feel like a “roll of the dice” every time they eat a wheat-based product. The range of symptoms will vary from person to person, and there’s no “cookie-cutter” reaction that will happen with every single person that’s adversely affected by gluten. Some of the more common symptoms are diarrhea, distended abdomen, weight loss, and vomiting, although again, sometimes the symptoms can manifest in a more serious manner, including interfering with the proper functioning of certain bodily symptoms. Some parents who have had to deal with finding treatments for autistic children have even claimed that removing gluten from their child’s diet caused the child’s autistic symptoms to lessen (Note: This is currently a controversial issue, and no conclusive scientific evidence has yet been established as to the effects of gluten on autistic children). The technical term (for those who are so inclined) for an adverse reaction to gluten is known as celiac disease, or (alternate spelling) coeliac disease. Another alias of celiac disease is gluten enteropathy. The disorder is basically a reaction of the autoimmune system to any foods containing gluten, and it produces an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine that makes it difficult for the stomach to absorb nutrients. This can actually cause a host gluten allergy symptoms, some of which have been named above.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Gluten Allergy Symptoms: A Gluten-Free Diet

Again, how far-reaching gluten allergies really are is not fully known yet, but one thing that is commonly agreed upon is that the best and most efficient way to deal with gluten allergy symptoms is by establishing and maintaining a gluten-free diet. This is not always easy, and as is often the case, you don’t realize how many foods contain gluten until you try to construct a diet without gluten. Some people can “get away with” a diet that has only a negligible amount of gluten, while others must avoid it altogether and go “cold turkey”, so to speak. All of these factors will vary based on the severity of the symptoms and the body type of the individual that’s being affected by celiac disease. As far as creating a gluten-free diet is concerned, it is commonly recommended that you see a dietician to provide input on what foods actually contain gluten, many of which I’m sure we’re not even aware of. The bottom line is that it will take quite a bit of “customization”, if you will, to arrive at a solution for gluten allergy symptoms that will fit each individual that has suffered from this condition. As always, the input and recommendations of your physician and (in this case) dietician is the safest route to go…as they say, leave it in the hands of the professionals!

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