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Many people instinctively know they are intolerant to wheat, because of the occasional bloating or fatigue they feel as a result of eating food containing gluten, although they usually ignore it. What they may not realise, is that it could be causing more issues.

Everyone will react differently, depending on what your immune system decides to target on when you eat gluten. There are many different antibodies that may be activated when someone is exposed to wheat, such as IgG, IgA, IgE and IgM. When these are activated, you experience inflammation throughout your body, disguised behind ‘symptoms’ which will vary from person to person.

People who say they are wheat or gluten sensitive without having coeliac disease are often accused of following a ‘fad diet’, and that they are making it up.

Science has recently proven these people are experiencing a real reaction to gluten. People, who eliminated ‘modern’ wheat from their diet and then introduced it, admit to having a reaction to eating it again.

If you experience one or more of the following, then I strongly encourage you to trial eliminating gluten from your diet for at least 6 weeks.

1. Headaches or migraines

Headache, migraine

Some people who have suffered migraines and/or headaches for a lifetime and take daily pain killers to relieve the pain, are amazed that when they remove gluten from their diet, their migraines and headaches disappear. A study showed that abnormalities form in the central nervous system’s white matter in nine out of ten participants when exposed to gluten.

2. Body aches and pains

People who suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis or general body aches and pains, notice dramatic reductions in pain once wheat and gluten is removed from their diet. These symptoms are a result of inflammation, and we know that in many people wheat causes inflammation through an immune system reaction.

3. Sinusitis

It is not just milk that may cause that consistent stuffy nose, as sinusitis generally results from a  systemic inflammation within the body. Although there are many causes of sinusitis, wheat can be one of the triggers due to its inflammatory properties.

4. Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are generally a sign of coeliac disease, though they can also be a sign of non-coeliac wheat or gluten sensitivity. For people who have mouth ulcers, when they remove wheat from their diet, their ulcers heal completely. When it is reintroduced, the ulcers return.

5. The diagnosis of an autoimmune disease

The protein gliadin found in wheat directly increases intestinal lining permeability by opening the tight junctions, which is known to cause autoimmune diseases. Most individuals with autoimmune diseases are highly likely to have increased intestinal permeability, and therefore wheat is seen as a key player in many autoimmune diseases. You can read more information about it here.

6. Mood swings, irritability and anxiety

mood swings, irritability, anxiety

When people who haven’t eaten gluten for a while, reintroduce it back into their diet, they see an increase in mood swings, irritability and anxiety. This may be caused from several different elements. Wheat directly affects the intestinal permeability of our gut lining, which results in inflammation throughout the body causing pain, discomfort, alterations in our hormones and therefore irritability and mood swings.

Our neurotransmitter production also may be affected, particularly serotonin, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), all of which are key in maintaining our state of wellbeing and happiness.  These neurotransmitters are produced by our gut flora, which are directly affected by glyphosate which is sprayed on our wheat crops. The documentary ‘What’s With Wheat?’ explains this in more depth.

The best way for you to discover if you have non-coeliac wheat sensitivity is to eliminate wheat completely from your diet for a minimum of six weeks, and then reintroduce it back into your diet, to see if your symptoms disappear and then return.

There are countless more symptoms that are known to be a result of non-coeliac wheat and gluten sensitivity, so I suggest you simply eliminate it from your diet and see if you feel better without it or not.

Happy changing habits.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist

September 2016