To be or not to be...Gluten Free?

I loved every minute of my vacation. But if I am completely honest with you, there were moments of silent discomfort. Why you ask?

Because my digestion system was not happy.I had gas, bloating, feeling of instant fullness, sometimes diarrhea, other times constipation. Ugh!!! So not fun!

I know I was off my regular nutrition anti-inflammatory plan, but what could it have been? Out of the many culprits could it have been GLUTEN! It is hidden in grains, packaged goods, boxed food, cakes, pastries, crackers, buns, flat breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, french toast etc. 🙄 30 min to an hour after eating these delicious foods, the discomfort began. Eeek!

What is gluten?

Gluten, is a group of proteins found in many foods. These proteins make food sticky and gooey in nature. For example, wheat has gluten. Thus, wheat has many of gluten proteins such as:

alpha- gliadins (increase food viscosity)

glutenins (increase foods elasticity)



What are gluten sources?





Malt (malt vinegar or syrup)

Brewers yeast






Gluten allergy

A gluten allergy occurs rapidly. After you eat any gluten, your body within 5-15 min will mount an allergic immune system response. You will get some or all of the following skin hives, itch, nausea, sneezing, itchy eyes in bad cases you may have swollen throat, anaphylaxis. Yikes! I was more itchy than normal on the trip and still feel a bit itchier now. But I did not see any hives or red skin. I don’t believe it is a gluten allergy. But there is a gluten IgE test you can order to 100% verify this!

Celiac disease (CD)

Now this one is an auto immune disease condition. 1 in 100 people have it. It is seen in those that are genetically susceptible to it. In CD your immune system mounts a response to the gluten proteins specifically: alpha-gliadin (mentioned above) and also a reaction to tTG2 which is known as tissue transglutaminase. I know the latter is a big word but it is a by product of the stomach trying to break down gluten protein molecules.

Are you still with me?

So, in CD our bodies immune system, sees the gluten and sends T cell defenders to go and blast the protein molecules. In trying to defend itself it damages the small intestinal lining.

The damage can be so severe it causes many symptoms:

>Mucosal inflammation: gas bloating diarrhea abdominal discomfort

>Little tiny villi (the little fibers at the top of the gut lining that are used for absorption) ATROPHY: Yup! The villi get reduced in number and size, so it become increasingly hard to absorb things. Can you say NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES, low energy and not feeling vitality?

>Malabsorption: where people will have loads of fatigue, bad skin like acne, bad growth of hair and nails, weight loss, ANEMIA (this one means its hard for your body to absorb iron – so you have low iron)

Could I be Celiac?

The best way to test is for me to go 90 days without any gluten and then re -introduce it. After waiting you look for those weird reactions. I did this test back in school so I know I’m not Celiac but something is still off.

Gold standard “Diagnosis is by small-bowel biopsies showing characteristic though not specific pathologic changes of villous atrophy that resolve with a strict gluten-free diet”

Hence the only way to fully confirm is to do the biopsy or do the full removal of it.

If not Celiac, then what?

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)

Since Celiac is a severe immune response to a gluten intolerance, perhaps mine is simply a mild intolerance without those harsh symptoms. This would be called a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). In literature it is unknown of how this actually works but gluten causes some form of a mild intolerance with variable weird symptoms similar to mine.

In conclusion, it could be gluten, or perhaps it is not. 😲 There are other culprits linked to gas, bloating, discomfort and irregular stools. Some other culprits include, low stomach acid, low enzymes, low pancreatic enzymes, low healthy bacteria…etc.

Knowing all this, will you choose to be or not to be GLUTEN FREE?

Sending you all loads of health and vitality!

Dr Dreia Horta

Naturopathic Doctor

ps. If you have a topic you want me to write about - send it in!! Please:)



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