Gluten sensitivity may trigger autoimmunity and chronic pain
We all have a chore or project in our house that we never seem to tackle. Maybe it’s cleaning out the garage, finally getting the family picture framed, or revamping your kitchen. You know it wouldn’t take long to complete the task and you’ll feel better when you’re done, but you never quite seem to take the time.
Living with autoimmune disease and chronic pain is similar. You know there’s probably a better way to deal with your ailments than constant meds, appointments, and new treatments. Yet you continue to follow your medical routine, succumbing to what seems like the inevitability of living with chronic pain and autoimmune diseases and the host of drugs and doctors that come with it.
However, just as you’ll feel better when you finally tackle that nagging chore, you can find relief from your autoimmune disease and chronic pain by breaking out of traditional approaches to these ailments.
Gluten sensitivity is a common underdiagnosed trigger for many autoimmune diseases and chronic pain. Once patients discover they have gluten sensitivity and start a gluten-free diet, their illness and pain often go away. It’s an amazing yet incredibly simple diagnosis that brings relief to many people who suffer unnecessarily every year. Let’s take a closer look at how this simple diagnosis can provide the much-needed cure you’ve been looking for.
Gluten Sensitivity: The Basics
Gluten is a protein found in common grains, especially wheat, rye, barley, malt, and a few other grains like spelled and couscous. Gluten is what gives dough its elasticity and helps it rise. It is the compound of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Most people can eat and digest this protein without any problems.
However, many people suffer from gluten sensitivity or basically a gluten allergy. Unlike other allergies, say to peanuts for example, gluten does not usually cause anaphylaxis. However, it triggers the basic allergic reaction. When you eat gluten, your immune system produces antibodies to fight what it perceives to be harmful to your health. This immune response causes inflammation in your body, leading to a host of autoimmune diseases.
Some of the more common autoimmune responses seen in gluten-sensitive people include:
- Thyroid disorders;
- neurological problems;
- celiac sprue disease;
- Skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema;
- And chronic pain.
There are also a host of secondary issues related to gluten sensitivity due to the way gluten protein damages your intestines. When gluten passes through your intestines, it can damage the villi, the tiny follicles that capture nutrients from your food and move them through your body, nourishing you and your organs. When the villi are damaged, they cannot absorb nutrients from your diet, and you may experience chronic fatigue, anemia, narcolepsy, and other symptoms related to nutrient deficiencies.
Ending Autoimmune Diseases
The mainstream medical community has only just made the connection between autoimmune diseases and gluten. These illnesses have always been seen as stand-alone problems that doctors treated with medication. Doctors could test for gluten sensitivity, but older tests only targeted a fraction of the antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity. Many people have not been diagnosed when these tests come back negative. They continued to eat gluten and continued to suffer unnecessarily.
Recently, new tests that examine a wider range of antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity have become available, and patients can get more definitive answers from doctors who understand the link between autoimmune diseases and gluten sensitivity. You can learn more about why the typical gluten intolerance test is not adequate by reading a informative white paper on the subject.
You can also take steps to treat your chronic pain and autoimmune conditions without testing by simply switching to a gluten-free diet. However, someone sensitive to gluten can often cross-react to gluten with many of the ingredients found in gluten-free products. Ideally, you should strive to work with a gluten-savvy physician who can guide you through the food selection process.
As you’ve probably suspected for years, there’s a better way to treat your autoimmune disease and chronic pain than regular doctor visits and handfuls of medication. Take the time to explore your illness a little deeper to find the root cause of your ailments. Who knows? Once you’ve tackled your chronic condition, you might also be ready to clean out the garage.