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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 05, 2012

How Common is Gluten Sensitivity?

By Mark Sisson
574 Comments

I’ve long suspected that everyone has some degree of sensitivity to gluten, even if they’ve never been formally diagnosed and even if they don’t notice any overt symptoms after eating it. Now we have concrete evidence that non-celiac gluten sensitivity actually exists. My own story was that of a lifetime grain-eater who defended my “right” to eat grains until I was 47 – until the evidence was just too overwhelming to ignore. Once I gave them up as part of a 30-day experiment, lo and behold, my arthritis cleared up, my lifelong IBS went away, and my occasional GERD disappeared. Ditching grains, especially wheat, changed my life for forever and made me understand how easy it is for so many people to overlook this possible problem. A recent study, which I highlighted in Weekend Link Love, confirmed the existence of non-celiac wheat sensitivity. Subjects without the atrophied villi (tiny projects that line the intestines and help absorb nutrients) characteristic of celiac and without positive tests for various markers that indicate celiac experienced gluten-related symptoms after a blinded wheat challenge. It doesn’t give us much of a clue as to the prevalence of sensitivity, but it establishes that such a thing might exist among the general population.

It’s not even the only study. It’s just the latest of many to establish and/or hint that non-celiac gluten sensitivity exists:

But how prevalent is it? We know that celiac disease is on the rise; what about gluten sensitivity?

First, before we get into numbers, let’s go over the difference between celiac and gluten sensitivity:

Celiacs have persistent and profound perforation of the intestinal lining (at least as long as they’re eating gluten) as well as atrophy of the villi, thereby allowing foreign proteins – including, but not limited to, gluten – constant access into the bloodstream and impairing nutrient absorption. Folks with “mere” gluten sensitivity have transient and milder intestinal permeability, or sometimes none at all.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease that inspires the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues, while in gluten sensitivity, the immune attacks are directed solely against components of the diet (gliadin).

Celiac disease seems to involve the “adaptive immune system,” while gluten sensitivity involves activation of the “innate immune system.”

In celiac, the inflammatory cytokine IL-17 is elevated. In gluten sensitivity, it is not.

So gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are two distinct “clinical entities” with the same environmental trigger – gluten – and many of the same symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Eczema
  • Headache
  • Foggy brain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Joint pain
  • Numbness in the extremities

And sometimes the symptoms aren’t obviously connected to gluten (or anything you did or ate). It’s tough to ignore persistent diarrhea that precipitates (pun intended) upon gluten ingestion. That’s an obvious symptom that may clue you in, especially if you’re aware of the potential problems with gluten, you’ve just eaten something containing it, and you’re pondering all this while filling the toilet. But gastrointestinal symptoms don’t always present themselves in gluten sensitivity, as in this study, where 13% of subjects with gluten ataxia (a kind of neuropathy) had no GI symptoms. I mean, who hasn’t felt brain fog from time to time, or been tired in the middle of the day, or had some itchy rashy red skin, or had sore joints before? Most people would never think to link these to the bagel they just ate (ok; you guys might).

Testing for gluten sensitivity is tough because there’s no real standard yet. You’ll notice that the recent study didn’t determine gluten sensitivity solely by running patients’ labs and looking for a certain figure; they had to painstakingly and laboriously eliminate confounding variables (like celiac) through extensive lab testing, and then run a double blind wheat challenge to see if symptoms still arose. That grand, single overarching lab test doesn’t exist, not yet anyway.

Well, that’s not exactly true. There are tests that measure the presence of anti-gliadin IgA (a gliadin antibody) in the blood and in the stool. Antibodies in the blood mean that gliadin made it through the intestinal lining into the blood, where the body mounted a defense against it; antibodies in the stool indicate the presence of antibodies in the gut, where the body has mounted a defense. Gut antibodies, however, come before blood antibodies. For that reason, fecal antibody tests are regarded as more accurate for testing gluten sensitivity, because blood antibodies only show up after significant intestinal damage has allowed gliadin to pass through. You could test positive for fecal antibodies and negative for blood antibodies if your intestinal lining remained fairly intact.

One study found that around 12% of healthy people’s blood samples tested positive for antibodies to IgG. Fecal tests, however, indicate that around 29% of healthy people test positive. If the fecal antibody tests are accurate and reflective of gluten sensitivity, that’s nearly a third of Americans!

There’s also a genetic component to gluten sensitivity and celiac, the HLA-DQ gene. According to some reports, almost every permutation of the HLA-DQ gene is associated with some manner of gluten sensitivity, particularly the haplotypes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. Only HLA-DQ4 has never been linked to any form of gluten sensitivity, and less than 1% of the American population possesses a homozygous HLA-DQ4/4. If that holds true, then the vast majority of Americans have the genetic potential toward gluten sensitivity.

Of course, when you consider that everyone – regardless of genetic proclivity toward autoimmunity – releases zonulin, the regulator of intestinal permeability, when our intestinal lining is exposed to gliadin (a component of gluten), a universal response to gluten looks likelier. Sure, we all know plenty of people who can eat a sandwich without complaining, or that guy who claims he could never live without wheat. Gluten and related fragments may be getting through the intestinal lining in these people, but their immune systems mop them up pretty handily before they can do much damage. But what happens if their immune system is impaired, maybe because of a period of chronic stress or overtraining? What happens if their microbiomes are ravaged by antibiotics and poor diet and thereby absent the bacterial species necessary to fully degrade gluten? There’s no clinical trial tracking the effects of usually healthy people undergoing chronic stress or antibiotics on their sensitivity to gluten, but people are stressed, people are overworked, and their guts are messed up. It’s hurting our health in many different ways, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a lot more undiagnosed gluten sensitivity out there because of it.

It’s conceivable that gluten could be doing damage and causing constant, low-grade inflammation without you even knowing it. This is why folks who go Primal and give up wheat and other gluten-containing grains become more “sensitive” to wheat upon reintroduction. It’s not that going Primal has suddenly made them intolerant of gluten; it’s likelier that going Primal has made them more sensitive to their gluten sensitivity. It was probably always there, but they never knew what they were feeling until they removed it and then tried to reintroduce it.

As for figuring out if you’re gluten sensitive, I suppose you could go for one of the stool or blood tests provided by EnteroLab or Cyrex Labs (although not everyone is enamored with EnteroLab). But honestly? The gold standard is to just not eat gluten for a few weeks to a month and then reintroduce it and see how you feel. If any strange symptoms pop up (see list above), you’re probably sensitive to gluten. If you want further clarification at this point, then go for the tests. Just try the diet first. It’s gonna be your best (and probably the only necessary) lens.

We don’t have any real solid answers, sadly, just hints. But isn’t that how questions of human physiology tend to play out? It might be 12%, or maybe 30%, or perhaps even a higher (or lower) percentage of the population. Whatever the number, I know that grains don’t serve me well, and they probably aren’t doing you any favors either. So try giving them up for 30 days and seeing how you feel. After all, you aren’t missing out on anything nutritionally by avoiding gluten, except for some potential nasty health issues down the line.

That’s what I’ve got, folks. What do you think? Are you gluten sensitive? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

TAGS:  gluten

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574 Comments on "How Common is Gluten Sensitivity?"

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Colloid
Colloid
4 years 22 days ago

After going gluten free, my joint inflammation is down, and belching is extremely rare. I don’t need any more gluten in my life.

Paul
Paul
4 years 22 days ago

I like aspects of the Primal lifestyle however it concerns me a little when every article is aimed at discrediting every aspect of food not “approved” by Mark. There is a study for just about everything you want to prove and another disproving that if you care to trawl through the published studies. There is no bad food it is just food…..moderation is the key.

Barb
4 years 22 days ago

I disagree. For some people, there is definitely bad food, and no amount of moderation is going to make it “just food”. For example, when I eat wheat bread (only 1 or 2 bagels in a day), people congratulate me… BECAUSE THEY THINK I AM PREGNANT.

True story, and very embarrassing all around. So, am I gluten sensitive? I am guessing so, If you can eat something, it does not mean that everyone can. And if I can’t eat something, doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t eat it either.

You have to figure out what works for you.

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 22 days ago

Indeed, there are bad foods. And wheat is one of them.

Wulin
Wulin
4 years 22 days ago

I totally agree. If I ate wheat in any form, my belly will turn from flat to 4 month pregnant in an hour.

Roxie
Roxie
3 years 7 months ago

So true. I’m exactly the same. It annoys me because I would love to be able to eat like everybody else that looks normal and without inflated abdomens. However I must say that in the last 5 – 10 years I’ve seen alot more ‘pregnant’ looking men and women of ages ranging 25 upwards.
I eat rice instead, small quantities, with fat, protein, and alot of veggies.

Adam
Adam
4 years 22 days ago
Well, every article is not an opinion piece by Mark. For one, I do believe there’s an entire MDA team helping to run this thing. For another, if you go back and look at the end of the “Is Wheat Addictive?” article, and I quote: I’m definitely anti-wheat. I think people eat way too much of it, and it appears to perpetuate its own consumption. I wish I could say definitively whether wheat is addictive as an opiate or not – but I can’t. Not yet”. If he references double-blind placebo-controlled studies to support his opinion, then it is a… Read more »
Paul
Paul
4 years 22 days ago

If moderation is a cop out….does that mean obsession is good?

Forrac
Forrac
4 years 22 days ago

I don’t think moderation is necessarily a cop out, but it is definately not for me. I fail at moderation – compliance with my own choices for my life is easier if I go for full tilt at it.

I found this article quite helpful in getting my head around this:
http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2011/04/quiz-are-you-a-moderator-or-an-abstainer-when-trying-to-give-something-up/

I do better to just quit, and for me 80/20 is the slippery slope to relapse. Other people can’t cope with the idea of never having something they love again. Figure out who you are and what works for you.

dodny
dodny
4 years 22 days ago

I’m actually replying to this “Paul wrote on September 5th, 2012 If moderation is a cop out….does that mean obsession is good?

but there is no reply button for that comment so here goes:

Autoregulated obsession 😉

http://castironknowledge.blogspot.sk/2012/09/obsession-why-is-it-dirty-word.html

Tina
Tina
4 years 22 days ago
Adam – I can say, first-hand, that wheat IS addictive, and when I read Dr. Davis’ “Wheat Belly,” was happy to see it confirmed. In fact, my naturopath made a comment last fall when I finally went off gluten for good, that struck me as true. I asked her what I can eat in place of gluten, and though she is paleo, she listed a few things, including corn; when I said, “But I’ve never been a fan of corn or corn products,” she replied, “That’s because it doesn’t get you high.” So true. Anyway, the thrust of this story… Read more »
Adam
Adam
4 years 21 days ago
Paul, I totally get the idea of not becoming rabid about things like “paleo” or a certain diet. However, the reason I consider moderation a cop-out term is because of a few reasons. One is that grains aren’t food, they’re the fiesty babies of plants that want to remove your plant-eating species from the gene pool and thus mount an evolutionary, biochemical defense. Second, Robb Wolf stated it can take up to ~15 days to get rid of gluten’s effect on your intestines. Thus, if your moderation allows for a solid bit o’ bread every 5 days, you will continue… Read more »
bigmyc
bigmyc
4 years 21 days ago

Paul, are you a neo-con? Your line of reasoning (is that what you are trying to do?) sure seems like it.

I was with you on your very first sentence but the other posters are right about that tired, “moderation” thing.

Tyler
Tyler
4 years 22 days ago

I agree with you, I was pretty convinced of all the paleo dogma but after reading some of matt stones work I think he does have a point. I am worried that taking ANYTHING out of your diet for a month~year and reintroducing it will have a negative reaction, not just gluten…I do like ALOT of the paleo movement though, but moderation or minimization is probably sufficient for most people when it comes to grains/legumes/dairy.

Sofie
Sofie
4 years 22 days ago

Nope. I got no negative reaction when reintroducing butter, and I’m pretty sure I’ve gone more than a month not eating several different plants without them making problems. Meanwhile, trying a piece of cake gave me stomachaches, headaches, bloating and difficulty thinking.

But if you do find a lot of things give you problems, check out the GAPS diet.

Tina
Tina
4 years 21 days ago
Adam – I’m no brainiac on this topic (only do a little reading here and there to figure out how to avoid all of what caused damage in the past). Dr. Davis (Wheat Belly) does say, as regards the addictive properties of wheat/gluten: “. . . wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptor, the very same receptor to which opiate drugs bind,” which you so astutely referred to as “exorphins.” How and why it happens in relation to all other factors regarding wheat and human adaptation or non-adaptation, I am clueless. I just know, when I ate pasta and… Read more »
Kristen
Kristen
4 years 21 days ago
Interesting thought Tyler. In my own experience, I believed myself to have an allergy to milk as well as sensitivity to meat. If that makes any sense. For years I dealt with all manner of inflammatory problems, joints, bowels, bladder, skin etc. So i removed the meat and the milk from my diet and moved myself vegetarian thinking this is what my body wanted. What I ended up with was being completely and utterly OBSESSED with food and eating. Exhausted, depressed, and only a little less inflammation in my skin. Frustrated and CRAVING meat and dairy…I found the paleo diet… Read more »
freerangepiglings
freerangepiglings
3 years 26 days ago
I only eat asparagus in season, which is about 6 weeks a year, during which time I gorge on it. Then I don’t eat it for 10.5 months. I have never had any trouble introducing it. When I was 12 (misguided) I went vegetarian and stayed that way for 15 years. When I went back to eating meat I went straight to nose-to-tail eating and made up for lost time. No trouble, just improved health. When I gave up wheat, I felt instantly better, then had all sorts wrong with me when I did a challenge a few weeks later.… Read more »
Trish
Trish
4 years 22 days ago
I disagree, my husband was diagnosed with coeliacs 18 months ago, with him having to go gluten free meant that it was easier for me to as well, now if I do have gluten I end up with stomach cramps. Also I was diagnosed with CREST, an autoimmune disease, recently and decided that since the doctors couldn’t help I would do what I could, so I went primal in a big way, now I find that a lot of the symptoms that I had learn’t to ignore and therefore didn’t realise I had are disappearing (a major one being the… Read more »
Elizabeth Young
Elizabeth Young
4 years 22 days ago
I decided to eliminate grain after reading the book ” Wheat Belly .”Since we eliminated all grain , my husband has lost about 25 to 30 pounds , has tons of energy and is never hungry . It is the only diet plan he could stay on long term . We do eat yams and potatoes in relation to our activity level . Interestingly , upon reading ” Wheat Belly ” , I remembered that my late father had issues with colitis . When operated on for a ruptured diverticulum , his surgeon stated the bowel was inflamed and adherent… Read more »
Taz
Taz
4 years 22 days ago

“every article is aimed at discrediting every aspect of food not ‘approved’ by Mark.” …umm…well don’t we want to know WHY the foods are discredited??? Otherwise it’s some loony guy making up random rules!! Mark is providing the proof and reasons why these foods are not part of the diet.

Paul
Paul
4 years 22 days ago

No……as with all proof and studies… only one side of the story. Don’t get me wrong I see the benefits because I have been Primal for a few months now and there are many aspects of it that are life changing even if you don’t need to lose weight or have a food allergy. Just love to see a balanced view now and then. As with most things the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Sofie
Sofie
4 years 22 days ago

I say we kill all Americans!

You: NO!

Okay, so compromise! The middle is always true; kill half of Americans!

Some things ARE black and white. Eating grains, what’s the best that can happen? You displace more nutritious foods. What’s the worst that can happen? Serious illness. It’s really a no-brainer to me.

Jane Brockbank
Jane Brockbank
4 years 22 days ago

How about “not approved by evolution”?……

kerry
kerry
4 years 22 days ago
if you are celiac, there IS bad food. the slightest bit of gluten & i am in misery! if you had non-stop, uncontrollable diarrhea for days on end, with gut-wrenching pain, you wouldn’t say “moderation is the key”. i accidentally ate some gluten over the weekend and had 4 very embarrassing accidents on monday that 20 immodium didn’t stop. there IS bad food for some people. gluten can be just as bad of an allergy as peanuts are for other people. don’t be so sure that you know it all until you’ve walked in the shoes of someone who is… Read more »
Ian
Ian
4 years 22 days ago

Definitely, I am also a Coeliac (Hey I’m a Brit so I’ll use the Brit spelling!).

I really have a bad day the day after I get glutened – even to the point of having touched a wheat product if I eat without thoroughly washing my hands again I’ll suffer.

Sol y Sombra
Sol y Sombra
4 years 22 days ago
Paul, every year I stop eating some kinds of fruit when they go out of season – strawberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots – it’s a long list. When they are in season again next year and I reintroduce them into my diet, I don’t get any kind of problems whatsoever. But I do get some (gastrointestinal and other) issues if I get off wheat for a couple of months and then reintroduce it. So I do think some foods are inherently bad, at least for the people who have a negative reaction to them. And moderation is not the key… Read more »
smgj
smgj
4 years 22 days ago

Same for me. I eat boatloads of strawberries in season (about 1 -1,5 month a year) and don’t have any troubles from that.
If I eat wheat I get stuffy sinuses (thougth I had chronic sinusitis for 18! years before realizing the connection) and my carpal tunnel syndrome acts up again… I’m also stuck with autoimmune hypothyroidisms, which I partially blame on wheat (the connection to coeliac is well proven).

Moderation is NOT the key for me, abstinence on the other hand…

Asia
Asia
4 years 22 days ago

I really don’t like the phrase ‘there are no bad foods’, i hear it all the time, often from people who really need to do something about their weight/diet,and “can’t”, and when they come out with this it is really like a cop- out. they don’t have to cut out their beloved wheat, dairy, cakes etc. because ‘everything’s ok in moderation’! argghh! (like what does ‘moderation’ meany anyway?! (sorry bit off topic. great article Mark- as always!) 🙂

Asia
Asia
4 years 22 days ago

one person’s ‘moderation’ is once a day, for others it may be once a month. Too often people continue with a junk laden diet ‘thinking’ this is ‘moderate’…

Val
Val
4 years 21 days ago

I think the point here is to give this a try and see what happens. There is nothing to loose, especially with what studies and people have been reporting. Any food can be bad food for someone. If you gave up gluten for a few months(not a few weeks)and noticed no change then maybe you will be fine. You don’t know whats going on inside you sometimes until you try something different or until its too late.

Rob Robertson
Rob Robertson
4 years 21 days ago
When telling my kids about testing for lead paint, they wanted to know why it was such a big deal. Jokes ensued about babies eating lead paint chips, to which I responded (with an implied wink), “Of course, lead paint chips are fine *in moderation*”. Aside from the principle of hormesis, there are substances/foods best to be avoided. Mark is clearly stating that there is a percentage who are NOT sensitive to gluten, so YMMV. There isn’t a go/no-go list here; the Paleo diet/lifestyle is a work in progress; take what you find of value, add what you can, and… Read more »
Raynote
Raynote
4 years 21 days ago

“….moderation is the key.”

Oh yeah, really? Eating poison in moderation is the key?

Dave
Dave
4 years 21 days ago

Disagree. Completely.

Janet
4 years 20 days ago
I am sorry Paul but you are wrong. This isn’t about Mark or studies that prove one thing or another. It is about people whose health improves the minute they remove the offending food from their diets. In this case we are discussing gluten, which affects many thousands of people. Those who have eliminated it find they have immediate relief from their symptoms. I am one of those people, and I would add that moderate amounts are just as bad as large amounts. Even the smallest amount means I have stiff joints and digestive problems. My son suffered from depression… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
4 years 19 days ago

“There is no bad food it is just food.”

1. Run-on.
2. Something tells me you and I have very different definitions of “food”.

Ali
Ali
3 years 10 months ago
There IS bad and very damaging food out there. Modern wheat, unlike its ancient counterpart, contains new and foreign proteins – gliadin being just one of them. Ancient wheat had 14 chromosomes, modern wheat contains more than double. Gliadin binds to the ‘opiate’ receptors in the brain, which is why so many people complain of ‘brain-fog’. It and other foreign proteins also trigger a host of other issues like forms of ataxia (Restless Leg Syndrome being one that many people complain of). Sugar is another bad ‘food’. Just because it has been around for centuries in its refined form doesn’t… Read more »
Trish
Trish
3 years 10 months ago

Wow this is a very interesting comment. the bit about scraping the congealed oil off the fry pans struck a cord. i have recently gone uswing cocnut oil although I still use the rice bran oil at times and thinking about it the cleaning of the frypan has gotten a lot easier.

Kate
Kate
3 years 22 days ago
After my second child was born a friend of mine with a baby the same age was suffering post-partum psychosis. It was so severe that she ended up being hospitalised. At the same time I was suffering what I now know are all the classic symptoms of post-partum depression but at the time I was convinced I didn’t have depression because my symptoms were nowhere near as severe as my friend. The lack of energy, negative thoughts etc became my “normal” and it was only after a very understanding doctor recognised my symptoms as depression and prescribed medication that I… Read more »
amanda
amanda
3 years 21 days ago

Sugar, GMOs, corn syrup, wheat, soy…. You might be right that they aren’t bad foods, because they AREN’T FOOD at all.

Dianne Bevan
Dianne Bevan
4 years 22 days ago

Defibitely gluten sensitive – but have also discovered that have an intolerance to some salicylates – eg almonds and almond meal which I had been using – but not to almond milk this is a hard one to track down

Shannon
Shannon
4 years 22 days ago

Dianne, make your own almond milk, and end your searching! This recipe is from http://www.elanaspantry.com. 🙂

Almond Milk

2 cups almonds
4 cups water
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

1.Soak almonds and vanilla bean overnight
2.Discard soaking water and rinse almonds in a deep bowl of water, repeat until water is clear
3.Place soaked almonds, vanilla bean and 4 cups of water in a Vitamix
4.Blend on highest speed for 90 seconds
5.Strain milk through cheese cloth or a fine mesh paint strainer bag discarding solids
6.Serve

Serves 6

Sian
Sian
4 years 22 days ago

Try soaking almonds for 6-8 hours then drying out in a cool oven over night. Nuts have enzymes in then which make them hard for us to digest and extremely difficult to get the amazing nutrients out of them. This process breaks these nutrients down and makes them much softer on our systems. Nuts used to give me terrible indigestion but don’t like this. It was recommended by WestonPrice foundation. 🙂

Ma Flintstone
Ma Flintstone
4 years 22 days ago
I soak almonds in a bowl with 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt soaking up a storm- leave them up to three or four days (in winter) till they start fermenting. Plop the lot in boiling water for 7 seconds then drop them in cold water before the enzymes become munted, then pop off the skins so they’re blanched (white). Easy. Then dehydrate for 48 hrs and they are the most crispy, crunchy delicious snack ever created. That said, before this method even biodynamic raw almonds fresh from the shell had me sprinting to the latrine, soldier. For what it’s worth,… Read more »
Sue
4 years 22 days ago
Since I started (1 week) eating primal mainly cutting out almost all wheat, except some minor cheating, my IBS is gone which has been around for over 10 years, and so is the gas, so are accidents which have made my life so very “interesting” and stressful. I can now walk around all day and feel like a human being again. I can ‘t believe I stumbled onto your website and found a form of eating that my body immediately took to and I can keep up every day. I’m starting to feel human again.I went to so many doctors… Read more »
Malcolm
Malcolm
4 years 20 days ago
+1 A year ago (by chance on my daughter’s birthday) I came across Mark’s site and knew I needed to do something. I was way overweight, had the cloudy head, sensitive guts, felt unfit even though I cycled 20 miles every day. One month after dropping wheat, oat, corn, starch based products and reverting to meat eating from being a vegetarian, I lost 14lbs. In six months I lost 40lbs. I stopped being hypoglycemic and I could run up stairs without being breathless. My high blood pressure began to come down. Now, a year later, the progress continues. I do… Read more »
T
T
4 years 21 days ago

I have knee joint pain really bad at times. I thought it was caused by milk, but then thought maybe bread as well. I have not had either for two weeks and knee pain was not as bad. I had multi grain cheerios/milk yesterday and my knees killed me last night, could barely get up if I had to squat down for something. I think I will eliminate wheat/gluten and see what happens in a couple weeks

yvette
yvette
4 years 21 days ago

Hmmm…I wonder if bread is the cause of my extreme heartburn.

Trish
Trish
4 years 21 days ago

It probably is, whenever I lapse and eat bread I get stomach cramps and SEVERE heartburn

Eclectic
Eclectic
4 years 17 days ago
I was diagnosed with lupus about a year ago. I went on an anti-inflammatory/paleo diet (no grains, beans, dairy, nightshade vegetables, or certain nuts and eggs because I’m allergic to them), and I have not had a flare since. I also take a slew of supplements (including curcumin and pretty high doses of high-quality fish oil for inflammation). So many other bad symptoms (like chronic back pain, nasty rashes, GERD, high blood sugar, and esophageal spasms) are completely gone. I have to be strict, and it took several months of being strict, but I feel better than I have in… Read more »
Eclectic
Eclectic
4 years 17 days ago

I should add that I went this route in desperation because I had such bad reactions to the medications my rheumatologist prescribed, including Prednisone (made me blinder than the lupus did), and Plaquenil (an anti-malarial) and methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug)–whose side effects were the same as my lupus symptoms, duh. All NSAIDs are out because I’m severely allergic to all of them.

I feel sorry for those with lupus caused by gluten sensitivity/celiac disease who have not tried this diet–or who haven’t tried it for long enough. I’m actually glad the drugs didn’t work for me!

Goddess
Goddess
3 years 7 months ago

Check out Dr. Peter Osborne regarding the latest and most current info. on gluten sensitivity/intolerance. He has lectures on U-Tube that are cutting edge! More incentive to avoid grains in our diets!!

James Hunter
James Hunter
4 years 22 days ago

Yep, I am gluten-sensitive. I haven’t touched any wheat or gluten based foods in over a year and I feel fantastic. I suffered from all of the symptoms you listed above. I don’t see a need to take a test when the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Thanks for the post. A good read.

Doug D
Doug D
4 years 22 days ago

+ 1, except for excema. That’s the only symptom I didn’t have.

GWarrior
4 years 22 days ago

Great post!

I am unsure if I am gluten sensitive but I think I am going to take your advice and eliminate gluten from my diet for a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if the lack of gluten will be noticeable to me.

Sam Girgis
4 years 22 days ago

What we may be seeing here is a broad spectrum of inflammatory reactions toward gluten or gliadin. At the extreme end, severe autoimmune reactions precipitated by exposure to gluten/gliadin causes Celiac disease. At a more mildly degree of the spectrum, gluten/gliadin sensitivity exists.

It would be important to determine whether gluten/gliadin sensitivity increases the risk of developing full blown Celiac disease.

Thanks Mark!

Gift clumsywarrior
4 years 22 days ago

Yes, about the immune system, I don’t have severe Celiac disease or anything. I just get bloating.. but more prominently, I get allergy. When I eat anything gluten now, my nose gets itchy right away..and next morning, I will be sneezy. lol anyone experience the same symptom?

Erik
Erik
4 years 22 days ago

I do. Same with pasteurized dairy, though raw milk seems to reduce my allergies faster than claritin.

Gift Clumsywarrior
4 years 22 days ago

wow, glad we all figure out the evil behind our allergy! I never try raw milk tho, thats interesting!

Mrs.C
Mrs.C
4 years 22 days ago

Where do you get raw milk?

Primal Wanderer
Primal Wanderer
4 years 21 days ago

Raw milk is untreated (unpasteurized, non homogenized, just filtered) so its shelf life is close to zero (max 2/3 days). Your best (and probably only) way to get it is straight from the farmer. You should check with milk farms in your area… Where I live, we have an organic raw milk vending machine in which the milk container is replaced every morning, and the unsold milk goes back to the farm for cheese-making!
Check farms near you that might sell it straight to you, or ask for information at your local farmer’s market…

Clay Caldwell
4 years 22 days ago

I get a similar effect. The inside of my nostril and the outside of my nose in the same spot will get really sensitive too. It almost feels like I have a splinter.

Teri
Teri
4 years 22 days ago

I get that exact same reaction, inside of my nose, drives me nuts and hoping as I get further into being GF they will go away.

Barb Crocker
Barb Crocker
4 years 22 days ago

I get a prickly sensation at my nostril, too. I hadn’t connected it to anything particular, but did notice that it was distinct from seasonal allergies. They tend to make my soft palate itch like crazy.

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 18 days ago

In Canada, it is illegal to sell raw milk. Most dairy farmers have their production controlled by quota, so unless you can find a farmer who you can befriend to the point where he can trust that you won’t blow the whistle on him, you’re out of luck.
Some people have gone to goat’s milk, as it has less (or no?) lactose, which is the issue in many cases, particularly with adults. Goat’s milk must be pasteurised, as is cow’s milk, so raw goat’s milk is similarly out.

Stacie
Stacie
4 years 22 days ago

My sister has allergy reactions like that to gluten. Beer seems to have the most immediate effect, she plugs up like crazy after just one. It only took about 4 days of no gluten for her allergies to clear and then a couple days back on wheat for them to plug up. She’s officially “off bread.”

Joseph
Joseph
4 years 22 days ago

Same here. I’ve been gluten free for the better part of 5-7 years. Wife has been probably 4-5. We almost instantly can tell if something we are eating somewhere has gluten by the nose itch or stuffiness. We also noticed our daughter two now will instantly start scathing or rubbing her eyes or nose after eating it when were out. We probably would never have known if we didn’t introduce things one at time in her diet.

Paula
Paula
4 years 22 days ago

I sneeze, get a blocked nose, a feeling of chest tightness and I cough like there’s no tomorrow. Took me a long time to figure it out. I thought I was getting asthma. Went through allergy testing but everything was negative. When I finally gave up gluten, my symptoms stopped in 2 to 3 days. Whenever I consume gluten (unknowingly), the nasty symptoms return.

john
john
4 years 22 days ago

I have similar symptoms. I would get lots of sinus drainage in the back of my throat and I would be constantly spitting it out or coughing or sneezing. Stopped grains and it has almost completely gone away.

Tim
Tim
4 years 22 days ago
I have a similar situation. I’ve been on allergy shots for more than two years to treat a huge array of allergies to basically everything everywhere. Progress was hardly noticeable and I was still on some nasty meds for persistent asthma until we went primal/paleo and it went away. My allergist refuses to believe me but when I have pizza or beer or anything like that my nose gets stuffy and my chest tightens and I wheeze all day and all night long. But after a few days of clean paleo, I’m back to normal. I’m still allergic to cats,… Read more »
Jennifer Flint
4 years 22 days ago

I get the stuffiness as well, and also fatigue, hives, diarrhea, blurred vision, popping ears, nightmares, night sweats, and depression, just to name a few. Definitely not worth it!

Jesper
Jesper
4 years 22 days ago

Damn those popping ears (feels almost like I loose my mind!) and sleep sweats … This alone teaches my brain to stay away from the stuff. So much to unlearn :/

Audrey
Audrey
4 years 22 days ago

I get asthma and an itchy face. -.-

Jesper
Jesper
4 years 22 days ago

Yes, also itchy/sneezing nose and an overall “allergic feeling” (I have others, too) … I hadn’t noticed the symptoms until a couple of months ago, when I had a “I need bread with cheese!” moment and was so disappointed with the result (though I learned a lesson, that worked so far). The cheese alone just gets me bloated plus the toilet stuff, so I usually try to find low lactosis cheese.

Mikey UK
Mikey UK
4 years 22 days ago

Mark/All

How about a researched article on Chem-trails and associated respiratory and other illnesses, due to air and crop contamination?

Tina
Tina
4 years 22 days ago
Yes – My nose used to get itchy when I ate wheat/gluten. Even worse, the more I ate, the more I developed a small red rash around the base of the nostrils. I also used to break out, especially around the cheeks, and had rosacia and eczema. THAT IS ALL GONE. If I do accidentally ingest gluten (in a grain vinegar, for example, if I haven’t been careful), depending on how much, my nose itches, I may break out the next day, etc. Oh, and worse, the inner part of my ears flake up. Does that happen to anyone?
Ara
Ara
4 years 18 days ago

Before goin primal 3 months ago I had serious sinus problems . I had boxes of tissue all over the house because I was constantly needing to blow my nose. Not any more! And my seasonal allergies are all but gone as well (ie. hayfever, etc.). Thanks Mark!

Katie
Katie
4 months 25 days ago

Well this is 4 years later but the damn bloating! That is the only symptom I get but it seems to come from eating ANYTHING or maybe its from eating gluten days ago…

Ing
Ing
4 years 22 days ago

Immune system can also be effected by the spraying of the wheat with pesticides

http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/01/a-wheat-farmer-weighs-in-on-wheat-belly/

Maggie
Maggie
4 years 22 days ago

My understanding (from my dr) is that I have the genetic potential for celiac but I haven’t been triggered yet. that’s not going to happen as I’ve been wheat free since then. WOW what a difference that made. I love being able to think clearly!

Mimi
4 years 16 days ago
Hi all.. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease many years ago..(15) stayed on a very strick no gluten diet for years but still had issues.. now I have been diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome.. which caused many more issues.. After much testing with my holistic physician and research, I think Lectins,(the protein in all food) is the culprit.. the more lectins in the food the more damage I get. it blocks the insulin from entering the cells causing insulin resistance, and therefore, added weight, fatigue and depression.. has anyone heard of this? I have a very limited diet which excludes… Read more »
Trish
Trish
4 years 15 days ago
Hi Mimi, funny you should query this last night I was reading a passage to my sister out of Mark’s ebook “The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes etc” Chapter 5 under the heading “Gluten, Lectin-Immune Affectin'”. What he is describing is Leaky Gut Syndrome caused by the lectin (but he doesn’t use the term LGS) Both my sister and I have autoimmune diseases and if the lectin is causing LGS ditching grains might be the way for us to get a handle on our problems. It might be worth it just for interests sake for you to read this passage.
Mimi
4 years 14 days ago

thanks for the info, I have the Primal cookbook, but not the Primal Blueprint so I will order it today! good luck w/ the new diet… I also take probiotics to help with the digestion…I do feel better…yea!

Merky
Merky
4 years 22 days ago

what if I dont think im necessarily gluten sensitive? does that mean being Primal doesnt make sense for me? because I really like eating this way…

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 22 days ago

For me, that’s reason enough to keep eating Primal. Eating the way nature intended makes sense for everyone, I think, regardless of gluten sensitivity!

Moshen
Moshen
4 years 22 days ago

Even if you’re not gluten-sensitive, you’re still carbohydrate-sensitive.

Jake
Jake
4 years 22 days ago

….what?

Jason
Jason
4 years 22 days ago

What Moshen is saying is that fat metabolism is controlled by insulin and insulin is controlled by glucose levels. Glucose levels are controlled by the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Control carbs -> control body fat.

Jake
Jake
4 years 22 days ago

fat metabolism is not that simple.

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 22 days ago

Not everyone’s pancreas functions the same–some produce more or less insulin with the same carb load. Nor are our tissues all equally sensitive to the insulin we produce. I suspect both nature and nurture play roles here. It’s not a radical concept; after all, not everyone has the same vision/eyeballs, hearing, VO2 max, bone structure, etc etc. So anyhow, that’s one reason why some people are more sensitive to carbs. There are people who can eat them all day and not get fat, for sure.

Eva
Eva
4 years 22 days ago

How do you know? I agree that for most people, keeping carb down is a good way to control weight, but some people are not overweight. Some tribes eat a lot of carb, fruits, potato, etc. and do well on it. The prob is when carb intake is from potentially damaging processed garbage with no nutrition or when your metabolism is already damaged. I would avoid wheat because it is unhealthy crap food, gluten sensitive or not, overweight or not.

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 22 days ago

agreed

Adam
Adam
4 years 22 days ago
Truths. In general, it is better to keep carbohydrates at a minimum, increasing them only due to activity level (once lean, of course, keep ’em low to lose more weight if necessary). There are benefits to a high-fat diet that go beyond particular sensitivities (for example, I likely do not have gluten sensitivity etc.) I was, however, allergic to cats and strawberries – when I was a kid we had to give away the family cat b/c the allergies were too severe. And if I ate strawberries I would get hives. Now, I have a kitten and recently ate strawberries.… Read more »
Tyler
Tyler
4 years 22 days ago

stop bullshitting. Can we get off the carbphobia already? CARBS ARE NOT BAD PEOPLE.

Peacemaker
Peacemaker
4 years 22 days ago

You stop bullshitting! Can we get off the “Fat is bad! Raises cholesterol! Saturated fat will you!” campaign.

Atti
Atti
4 years 21 days ago

You do realize that this blog is in part about eschewing grains, yes?
No one is saying, “No carbs!” because that would preclude the consumption of veggies.

mars
mars
4 years 22 days ago

No one should eat grains. Humans didn’t evolve to eat grains. Primal is the only way to eat! Just like we did for thousands of years…

Jake
Jake
4 years 22 days ago

lol i think it was a little longer than thousands….

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago
Yet the stores, including “Health food” stores, are full of grains, either by themselves in various forms, or as breakfast cereals, or as components of meals or portions. The general population will never get away from grains until a replacement food can be found, followed by some method of changing the mindset of people who gravitate to grains. The governments (at least of Canada and the U.S., and probably other nations as well) produce charts to show people a healthy diet; whole grains tend to be high on the list of “good” foods, and the food manufacturers are right on… Read more »
Doug D
Doug D
4 years 22 days ago

If you like eating Primally, keep doing it! It’s definitely not doing you any harm.

Steven
4 years 22 days ago
When I went primally incrementally in an effort to lose weight, I lost forty pounds before finally deciding to go “all the way” and try thirty days without wheat. Another ten pounds fell off and I made it through October without my yearly allergy attack. Apparently my lifetime bread and pasta intake was the root of my allergies and sinus problems. I became fully convinced of my gluten sensitivity during a recent trip to India, when I ate some noodles to be polite to my hosts. Within fifteen minutes, I had abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Not fun. I have reached… Read more »
Ravey
Ravey
4 years 22 days ago
This is my very first post here. My situation is exactly the same as Steven’s. I have lost 175 pounds over the past two years and during that time gradually eliminated all grain products and processed foods knowing absolutely nothing about primal/paleo eating but just because I didn’t have room for those calories in my day. I used to get horrendous stomach cramps and diarrhea and have to leave the table almost every meal. That is completely gone. I chaulked it up to “eating healthier” but now I know what it really was. Finding this site was like coming home… Read more »
Primal Wanderer
Primal Wanderer
4 years 22 days ago
Wow! 175pounds?! Good for you! The fact that you adjusted you diet intuitively towards a primal diet is amazing and just proves that Primal is the natural way our bodies want to be fed! Giant kudos for listening to the signals your body was giving you and going against conventional wisdom in ditching grains! I’m pretty sure that now that you have found this website you’ll have all of the info as to WHY it works better for your body, and also some witty frases you say to those who question your way of eating (although after having lost 175… Read more »
doghug
doghug
4 years 22 days ago

Welcome, and GREAT JOB!!!

Doug D
Doug D
4 years 22 days ago

You realize that you LOST the equivalent of an adult male, right? LOL (Ok, so someone at least bigger than my primal 5’8″, 165 pound body.) That’s freakin AMAZING!! Congratulations on your incredible success. Seriously!
I agree with you, this site was like coming home. It’s been an immeasurable help to me too.

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 22 days ago

Congratulations. And welcome Home!

Kitty =^..^=
Kitty =^..^=
4 years 20 days ago

Welcome from me too! And congrats on the amazing weight loss!

flenser
4 years 22 days ago

Going gluten free didn’t really improve my digestion all that much, but I can attest to the part about being more sensitive after quitting for a while. A single saltine (“It’s wafer thin, sir”) now produces explosive results…

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
4 years 22 days ago

Get the bucket.

Garde
Garde
4 years 22 days ago

LOL

RenegadeRN
RenegadeRN
4 years 22 days ago
Whew! I hear ya. I am DQ2 positive but tested negative on standard celiac panel and biopsy. HA! Give me gluten and I have clogged toilets from Costa Rica to Scotland! My husband is amazed at my abilities! Very embarrassing and should keep me gluten free for sure. I think standard testing is not adequate for the masses who should be avoiding wheat. I tested negative on Dr. Fine’s test back in 2004, but after Gastro’s tests were negative in 2008, I did Enterolab again. Crazy positive and extreme malabsoption. ( hence the nuclear BM). That should be enough for… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
4 years 22 days ago

It’s unfortunate that after inventing the wheel is was eventually employed in gristmills 🙂

THESABS
THESABS
4 years 22 days ago

I have been Gluten free for 6 months, and my acheing knee dosen’t ache

anon
anon
4 years 22 days ago

Going gluten free put my ulcerative colitis into remission. Just a few crumbs is enough to set me off again. May as well be shards of glass.
Roughly 20% of my friends present blatant symptoms when they eat any wheat. Usually rashes, joint pain, asthma, and/or intestinal bleeding. I suspect other friends would also benefit from a gluten free diet, but they arn’t willing to try it… yet.
Just don’t eat the stuff, it’s not worth it, ever.

gunnk
gunnk
4 years 22 days ago

That’s me! Went primal trying to stop GERD (it worked). I was on twice-daily prescription meds for asthma. Leaving wheat behind let me drop the meds — been free of them for over a year now. My problems have been reduced by over 90% — heck I *never* could have gone running without my meds before going primal. Now a fast 5K or an easy 5 miles means NO breathing problems and all WITHOUT meds. Breathing is GOOD.

Tina
Tina
4 years 22 days ago

Me too! Asthma is gone after going off gluten. No more inhalers!

Clay Caldwell
4 years 22 days ago

I have friends like that too. They’d rather let the doctor stick a camera up their butt than stop eating wheat.

Mary Shaw
4 years 22 days ago

Yep, I’m gluten-sensitive. It’s what led me to the Primal Blueprint 🙂 If I eat bread or anything else with gluten I get a rash, and really, who wants a rash? Thanks to PB I’m itch-free!

Kris
Kris
4 years 22 days ago

I had the gluten crossreactivity test done by Cyrex labs — very informative. It’s not just gluten grains that can cause these kinds of reactions. I can technically safely eat GF oats, but give me tapioca and forget about it. If I do indulge in a bit of bread, I’m personally better off with a traditionally fermented wheat-based sourdough than the rice-potato-tapioca bread my local bakery produces. The test revealed I’m just as sensitive to dairy, but at times, I can handle butter, small amounts of raw cheese and some yogurt without any ill effects.

Nannsi
Nannsi
4 years 22 days ago

Tapioca starch does the same to me. I figured it out one day when I opened a bag to mix GF flour. It puffed out, and I sneezed for 5 hours. Benadryl only took the edge off. I had noticed that tapioca based crusts and bread tasted unpleasantly “peppery” to me, but the sneezing fit put the lid on it.

Turns out there is a cross reactivity between tapioca and latex, to which I am definitely allergic. So there. No grains, no tapioca…just meat and veggies in butter for me! Life is hard…

Susan
Susan
4 years 22 days ago

Just a note: I’m all for eliminating gluten for 30 days to see if you’re sensitive or not, but if you *then* decide to get tested, be aware that some (all?) tests for gluten sensitivity require that you be currently consuming gluten. So you’ll have to go back to eating the stuff before you get tested.

Ursula
Ursula
4 years 22 days ago

Actually, if you want to get the mainstream Celiac tests done, yes, you have to eat lots of gluten. If you stop even for a month, it will take at least a year to wreck your villi enough to test positive again (but even at the best of circumstances, the blood test and even the biopsy produce many false negatives).

On the other hand, the test by Entero-Labs will still be accurate if you have been off gluten for a little while.

lilygirl
lilygirl
4 years 21 days ago
If you think you might have Celiac, PLEASE GET TESTED FIRST! As a recently diagnosed celiac (Dec ’11), my life is forever changed. I’m feeling much better now, the severe aches are mostly gone. But as a celiac, there is an awareness (some might say paranoia) that must be followed anytime I’m eating. Most restaurants are not properly trained for true celiacs, even if they have “gluten free” menu items. The standard measurement of gluten a celiac has to ingest to cause damage to their intestine during the course of one day is 1/8 of a teaspoon. Some people are… Read more »
AmyK
AmyK
4 years 21 days ago
Soooo true. Some days it’s hard to bear even knowing how sick I’ll get if I’m not careful. work functions around food are a giant pain because I have to bring my own. I get exhausted from explaining that I cannot eat ANY grain no matter what Celiac.org says (I react to corn, “GF” oats, rice, everything). And from explaining that no, I can’t just “scrape off the stuff I don’t want” because from the tiniest amount I will end up inflamed, broken out, fatigued, depressed/mean (crapshoot there), and with a stomach that sounds (and feels) like an angry alien… Read more »
NoGlutenEver
NoGlutenEver
4 years 20 days ago

yes!

NoGlutenEver
NoGlutenEver
4 years 20 days ago
yes! It is very important to test first. If you should ever need a medication for an injury, you’ll need the gluten free version and the test can help make that happen in the context of the modern medical and insurance system. That’s just one example. Also, if you have do have celiac disease, this lets you know that you have an autoimmune condition and that can influence other decisions about your diet and health. It is also very valuable info for your relatives. If you test postive, your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings and all the children should… Read more »
Scott McCollum
Scott McCollum
4 years 22 days ago

WarOnGluten.com or
GlutenIsTheDevil.com ?

Which website should we start? 🙂

all kidding aside… It’s crazy to think how much Gluten I was actually consuming before eating primal. I’m a big eater so double portions of everything was the norm and I was completely sold on the whole grain bandwagon. Add beer on top of that and it’s no wonder my joints were aching, ankle tendons burning, had tendinosis in my right shoulder, and just generally healed slowly…. oh yeah, and not to mention the bloating/gas and stomach pain out of no where…

Tiffany
Tiffany
4 years 22 days ago

Crud- no beer either- even though it’s in liquid form??!!

Mike B
Mike B
4 years 22 days ago

No gluten containing Beer. There are some other alternatives but they are not as good as an occasional glass of wine. IMHO.

yvette
yvette
4 years 21 days ago

wine and beer give me heartburn

StringOnAStick
StringOnAStick
4 years 22 days ago

There is at least one brand of gluten-free beer. Google is your friend!

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 22 days ago

There are gluten-free beers now.

Clay Caldwell
4 years 22 days ago

New Planet makes some good brews. I drink Bard’s all the time. Sorghum beer. You get used to it. :/

Cindy
Cindy
4 years 22 days ago

There is gluten free beer made from Sorguhm. It’s not bad. Probably can’t find it at the corner store, but places that deal in the more specialty beers would carry it.

Joseph
Joseph
4 years 22 days ago

My go to drink now is wine. You can try the gluten free beers, but they are no comparison to the regular beer. I know i can take 1-2 beers before getting stuffy from the beer, so my tactic is to get beer cocktails. Guinness and cider is great mix and you can have 4 making it only two beers.

Hilary
4 years 22 days ago

mmmmmmmmmm …. “black and tan” is my fave!

I panicked when I saw this discussion about beer … but then, I’m not following any “rules” per se. I’ve been off all wheat and corn for about 4 weeks now and feel really good. Like, set-the-clock-back-10-years good. I enjoy a good wine, but my favorite all time drink is Moose Drool on tap. Hope it doesn’t blow me up the next time I indulge!

Tina
Tina
4 years 22 days ago

You can drink Guinness if you’re off gluten? Or did I miss something here?

Doug D
Doug D
4 years 22 days ago

I’ve had some of the gluten-free beeers available in Canada. To say they suck would be kind.

Marilyn
Marilyn
4 years 22 days ago

I have to say that beer is the thing I miss the most since beginning to eat primally 11 months ago. But like many of you, there are only one or two things off that list that I didn’t suffer from a year ago. That once in a blue moon (and we just had one), beer tastes damned good tho!

Trish
Trish
4 years 22 days ago

My husband tried a few gluten free beers when he was diagnosed with coeliacs, he said most of them tased like dishwater, he drinks wine and cider now

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago
Be a DIYer. There are gluten-free beer kits, and making the stuff at home is easy, not at all time-consuming, and is very inexpensive. Add that the stuff you make can be (and usually is, but maybe after a batch or two of practice) better than the stuff in the stores. I made wine for years before getting brave enough to try beer. I had the notion that beer was harder to make than wine, but the opposite is true. The stories about exploding bottles are just stories. With a little care, that situation never arises. Another bonus: even for… Read more »
Magda
Magda
4 years 22 days ago
I have gluten sensitivity and I’m hoping to heal it with GAPS. Unfortunately with major carboholics in the house it’s hard to keep strict on the diet so it may take a while. I’ve been on GAPS for over a year now and recently I’ve tried some starches and GF grains with mixed results… I’ve been GF for years now and really have no desire to go back – the only thing I’d love to try is 24 hour sourdough. Just wanted to chime in and say that avoiding gluten for few weeks/months will NOT heal gluten sensitivity. Only GAPS… Read more »
Sandra Brigham
Sandra Brigham
4 years 22 days ago
I’m gluten sensitive and had many symptoms: esp. daily migraines, fogginess, bloating and ataxia. Between the chronic fatigue (falling asleep at work) and the ataxia (difficulty placing my feet where I needed them to be; needing a wall to walk along, bumping into things constantly; difficulty turning my head away and maintaining focus; neuropathy; etc.), I’m not sure which was worse. I gave up the grains (and started methyl B12) and w/i 2 wks felt much better. I make a long-fermented (24 hr) sourdough bread with a sourdough starter for my family who have cut back but not cut out… Read more »
Joseph Fetz
Joseph Fetz
4 years 22 days ago

For years I thought that my numb hands was caused by overuse (carpal tunnel syndrom). Same with my back pain. After some self-experimentation I found that I am extremely sensitive to gluten, and mildly sensitive to casein. If I eat either of these proteins my CTS and back pain are back within a day.

So, basically that is MY test. And that is all the testing that I need.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
4 years 22 days ago

Sup Fetz, I see we have similar blog interests: MDA, EPJ, Tom Woods; great minds.

Joseph Fetz
4 years 22 days ago

Unfortunately, mine isn’t so great. I try to work on it, though. 😉

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 22 days ago

Aghh! The numb hands. Had that years ago and terrified me wondering what could be wrong. Such a simple thing. After years of being clear, I’ve now found that the nightshades do the same to me.

Joseph Fetz
4 years 22 days ago

I’m actually okay with most nightshades, but I’m pretty let down about the casein sensitivity thing. I can still eat butter without problems, but I really miss cheese. That Dubliner is calling my name anytime I pass the dairy aisle.

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago

Interesting. As someone who has had a so-called “release” for CTS, which improved nothing, I will have to redouble my efforts to eliminate gluten from my life.

smgj
smgj
4 years 22 days ago

Me too – carpal tunnel syndrome (actually cubital tunnel syndrome for me) and stuffed sinuses – and a sligth depression …
Now do tell me why I have to go for “moderation” again?

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 21 days ago

My biggest boogeyman is my near addiction to wheat. Actually, Dr. Davis (“Wheatbelly”) says it really is an addiction, attacking the same brain receptors as opium does. Nice.
I find myself at the discount counter at the bakery dept., and carrying home doughnuts, danishes, and such. The first bite is fantastic, but the fiftieth starts to hurt in the gut, and it continues sometimes for a couple of days. Aches and pains always accompany the digestive issues.
Will power needs some support.

Angela
Angela
4 years 22 days ago

I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 21. After years of terrible problems, I went primal to lose weight, and my intestinal issues disappeared! My gluten sensitivity has definitely gotten more sensitive. I have dizziness, depression (along with the intestinal issues) and panic attacks when I eat gluten. I thought I was crazy, but all the symptoms disappear when I am off gluten and grains. And this may sound weird, but the panic attacks “started” in my gut. I can’t tell you the HUGE difference going primal has made for me!

Alice
Alice
4 years 22 days ago

I had a very itchy scalp that could only be controlled with prescriptions for over 20 years. I stopped eating gluten in May and after a couple of weeks I noticed I no longer needed the prescriptions and I have not used them since. The problem has completely vanished.

Hilary
4 years 22 days ago

o_O … holy moly, your comment just made me realize my scalp has not itched for weeks! Wow.

Mary
Mary
4 years 22 days ago

So, are you completely grain free or just gluten free?

Atti
Atti
4 years 22 days ago

Simple answer for me: yes, definitely.

But because my asthma symptoms decreased to a point where I no longer need a LABA/steroid controller daily, I think it may well be an actual allergy. My asthma/allergy doc encourages checking.

Eliminating the noxious stimulus is clearly the most important factor.

mars
mars
4 years 22 days ago

So many things are better now that we’re wheat- and grain-free. No need for formal tests. Primal works.

Mamachibi
Mamachibi
4 years 22 days ago

“Start with food” is the primal’s “Follow the money.” ALWAYS good advice.

CrazeeCatLady
CrazeeCatLady
4 years 22 days ago

Where is the like button? I’m so going to start using “start with food”. It’s perfect!

Crazy4Primal
Crazy4Primal
4 years 22 days ago

I’ve been totally Primal for 4 months. Before, I had a mild case of Psoriasis on my elbows and other areas that constantly itched and flaked. I suddenly realized those areas are completely gone last week. No itching, no scaling. Wheat? Perhaps. Or maybe the right kind of oils and fats?

Trish
Trish
4 years 22 days ago

I’ve been Primal/Paleo for about 3 years and GF for most of the last 2. However, last year I started to develop many of the symptoms in the list. Could sensitivity to other foods cause the same reactions? If so, anyone know some of the more popular culprits?

Alice
Alice
4 years 22 days ago

How about dairy?

Amy
Amy
4 years 22 days ago

Nightshades: potatoes, peppers and eggplants. Also, nuts and seeds.

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 22 days ago

Tomato is nightshade as well.

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago

Don’t forget tomatoes! They are also nightshades.
Nuts and seeds can cause allergic reactions, but are they related to gluten sensitivity?

Ursula
Ursula
4 years 22 days ago
I went gf seven years ago. At first ALL my horrible symptoms disappeared. But after three months, a lot of them came back. That is when I went on an elimination diet and found out the other culprits! The reason for this happening is, that your body was too busy reacting to the main culprit, gluten, before you went gf, to obviously cause reactions to other things. Once the gluten is cleared from your system, suddenly other sensitivities will rear their ugly heads. For me it was nightshades, all foods high in lectin (which includes all grains, including rice and… Read more »
Shayla
Shayla
4 years 21 days ago

Don’t see many people mention salicylate sensitivity. Coconut being very high in sals and I was eating it like crazy with primal. Thought it was a detox reaction (major hangover feeling, night terrors, etc.) Turns out it was salicylates. Removed the sals and feel like a new person.

Tracy Toft
Tracy Toft
3 years 11 months ago

Shayla, how did you find an accurate sal free list? There seems to be so much confusion between lists. I think I may have an issue with salicylates but I even don’t know where to start! Any advice?

Jennifer Mc
Jennifer Mc
4 years 21 days ago
Eggs can be very problematic. I can’t eat eggs at all..! Which makes going paleo a tricky one for me. I’ve been allergy tested and it brought up so many things, lamb, beef, gliadin, cow’s dairy, cashews, tea, lime, peach…! By far, the hardest thing I find to give up is gluten! I’m a complete addict, I crave it soooo much! But of course, the more I eat the more I want. The withdrawal symptoms aren’t good – I get so tired and irritable and muscle weakness and fatigue just gets worse. I’m sure I keep putting off ‘giving up’… Read more »
Adam
Adam
4 years 21 days ago
http://www.gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html Allergies to all of those things means you have/had an extremely permeable gut for a time, and now are allergic to a bunch of food particles that made their way into your bloodstream. Gluten is clearly the culprit, but it can cause cravings in those with leaky guts. Thus, you need to get off of the thing that’s giving you withdrawal. I’d start with GAPS to fix your gut health so you can eat tastier things that will replace the “tasty” gluten foods in your diet. Fix the gut, fix the food, toss the gluten, and you’ll be good… Read more »
Jennifer Mc
Jennifer Mc
4 years 21 days ago

Thanks for your kind advice Adam. I’ll check out the link and get started – need to feel better than this ASAP!

Greg
Greg
4 years 22 days ago

Thank goodness for access to your info Mark, it took till my fourth decade to feel this good, many of my suspicions about allergies and digestive troubles have been confirmed and remedied, wonderful site and blog!

Penny
Penny
4 years 22 days ago

I cut out grains about 6 months ago. When I tried to reintroduce them I developed eczema for the first time in my life. Take them out again=eczema gone. I’d rather give up wheat than go around with itchy, blotchy, rashes all over my arms.

Julia
Julia
4 years 22 days ago

I was a cripple while eating gluten: wiped out constantly, depressed, pre-diabetic, debiliating migrane/ PMS prone and suffering from chronic pelvic inflammation and urinary incontinence. ALL gone now with no meds needed ever just needed to get off gluten. I had NO idea how sick I was until I was no longer sick. I feel like a million bucks (gluten free for over 3 years now) and never bothered to test formally as the mere thought of ingesting gluten in order to test basically would put it into a panic attack as in “no way, ever, no thanks.”

hilarydanette
hilarydanette
4 years 22 days ago

I have been Primal (and gluten free) for a little over a month. I’ve noticed that the two times I tried to cheat with a few cookies, I get a migriane within two hours. Migraines have always been a problem for me. Usually, I just get them with my period or if I drink alcohol. So, it was weird to all of a sudden get a wheat migraine!

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago

Backsliding can give exaggerated symptoms. Ask a recent non-smoker what happens to them if they try a cigarette again.
I find if I eat a cookie (or usually several, unfortunately), my body reacts by holding those little monsters in the gut FOREVER, or so it feels. Bloated with a feeling something didn’t agree – which in reality is exactly what it is, except it isn’t the food that has gone bad, it’s just stuff that is incompatible with us.

hilarydanette
hilarydanette
4 years 22 days ago

I have been Primal (and gluten free) for a little over a month. I’ve noticed that the two times I tried to cheat with a few cookies, I got a migriane within two hours. Migraines have always been a problem for me. Usually, I just get them with my period or if I drink alcohol. So, it was weird to all of a sudden get a wheat migraine!

Tammy Kulman
Tammy Kulman
4 years 21 days ago
That was me too! literally crippled by arthritis and fibromyalgia( that was the diagnosis). Constant joint and muscle pain sometimes to the point I couldnt get out of bed. Mental fog so bad I could not carry on a intelligent conversation. And the fatigue….felt like I was sleeping my life away! After only 2 short months of being wheat free I am a new person!! I feel “normal” for the first time in over 10 yrs since I was diagnosed with the above problems. Now, I wonder if I ever really had those problems…maybe it was the wheat all along.… Read more »
Brian
4 years 22 days ago
I “thought” I was having heart palpitations almost two years ago. I had open heart surgery when I was 6 (I am now 46). So, off the cardiologist to run a battery of tests. Everything was negative. My primary doctor told me to go gluten free. I have not had those symptoms since going gluten free. Recently, I realized that I have not come down with the flu or bronchitis which I without fail got every year! Gluten is a poison, whether we want to admit it or not. It does not belong in our bodies. I agree with Mark,… Read more »
Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago

Lucky you, to have a primary health practitioner who is aware of, and accepts, the new knowledge about gluten problems. Those people are few and far between.

katieCHI
katieCHI
4 years 22 days ago

After 7 months with no migraines and no IBS I can definitely say it was the gluten. And I probably would have never figured it out if it wasn’t for MDA!

Judy
Judy
4 years 22 days ago

Not to worry all. According to the DOW commercial that I saw last night, they will be making palatable gluten free bread…just like mama used to make? Why would people prefer to go to the lab? I’m off of gluten, don’t miss it, don’t feel in the need for a substitute.
Augh!

MarkA
MarkA
4 years 22 days ago

I saw this ad too and was astounded! My initial reaction was “Thanks, Dow Chemicals! It’s not food, but it sure tastes like bread!”

Eva
Eva
4 years 22 days ago

oop, sorry, the link for gni is http://www.gnibakery.com not gni.com . Anyway, I don’t suggest pigging out on gni either as it is still processed and zero nutrition, but for those not willing to go diehard paleo, I think it’s healthier than wheat.

Eva
Eva
4 years 22 days ago

GNI.com makes decent gluten free stuff. I don’t really miss bread but occasionally I’ll get one of their chocolate brownies since their home base is near my house. Interesting thing about brownies without wheat, the ones from GNI are very very tasty but you find yourself satiated after a few bites. They are not addictive. You can enjoy the taste but you don’t turn into a glutton (gluten equals glutton!).

Barrie Templeton
Barrie Templeton
4 years 22 days ago

Great. The chemical companies help develop shorrt-stalked, large-headed wheat, which turns out to be harder to digest than its ancestors, then go to the lab to manufacture a gluten-free grain. Of course, it won’t have any side effects, just trust us, we’re trained scientists.
And if the new product turns out to cause some other condition in people, Dow et al will make something to “fix” that. Can you say ‘self-perpetuating’? I thought you could.

gibson girl
gibson girl
4 years 22 days ago

I’ve been gluten-free as far as I can tell, for two years or so. Early on, I ate some bread quiche and suffered a bloated feeling. No doubt in my mind that I’m sensitive.

Unfortunately, my arthritis hasn’t gone anywhere!

BJML
BJML
4 years 22 days ago

Have you tried eliminating nightshade vegetables?(tomatoes, peppers, eggplant). There was an arthritis doc years and years ago who suggested this in an reticle my mom read (she had both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis) and while she hated giving up tomatoes, she swore it helped and that she could always tell by her joint pain if she’d accidentally gotten some in a food. Worth a try.

Ursula
Ursula
4 years 22 days ago

You forgot the potatoes… terrible for you, really. They are part of the nightshade family. Nobody with arthritis should be eating any of the nightshade foods!

Holly
Holly
4 years 22 days ago
I’m all for going primal- but the ones who I think would benefit the most, my kids age 19 down to 11 have a real hard time going to school without a sandwich. I don’t live in the States right now- actually in the MidEast- can anyone recommend a good recipe for gluten free bread? The bread I can buy here is very expensive and I don’t really think its nutritious. I also have numbness in my hands which started all of the sudden last year (age 53)…That along with other problems have given me a diagnosis of ‘Chronic Pain… Read more »
Tina
Tina
4 years 22 days ago
Holly – I couldn’t leave a reply below your post, so I hope you can read this since it’s below another post. I try to avoid giving my kids sandwiches every day. Try leftovers, or a salad with chicken, or bento boxes. I got them for my kids and they love it. I can put about 3-4 items in of foods they like. I’m not a “primal” eater, per se, so no one jump on me here, but I’ll put tofu in, and hummus, and veggies and dip, or jerky, or uncured salami with raw milk cheese and olives, or… Read more »
Anke
Anke
4 years 21 days ago

To Holly.
http://www.elanaspantry.com/
Check her site out, she has several paleo/primal breads.

Jennie
Jennie
4 years 22 days ago

My natural doctor trained with Dr. Kharrazian, (http://www.thyroidbook.com/. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that gluten affects. I have seen big changes in myself and family in eliminating gluten.

Cindy
Cindy
4 years 22 days ago

I, too have hashimotos and celiac. One of my symptoms was that the skin would peel from my hands whenever I made bread or ate gluten. I’ve been gluten free for two years I don’t ever go for substitutes. I tried a “gluten free” bread and my hands started peeling. Corn and soy are also issues for me. But I didn’t get real relief from the most of the symptoms until I eliminated all grains 1.5 years ago.

cherese
cherese
4 years 22 days ago

My naturalpath said gluten is poison to anyone with autoimmunity. Big changes after removing gluten, head to tummy to toes.

Serah
Serah
4 years 22 days ago
I never thought that I was gluten sensitive. I could wolf down huge plates of pasta, with garlic bread for dinner, after a sandwich for lunch, and Cheerios for breakfast. I was never tormented with an angry tums, nor gas, bloating, diarrhea etc. Brain fog, yes though. Regardless, I was “blessed” with an iron stomach. I went (mostly) Primal in March of this year. Though I occasionally eat rice and corn, I avoided wheat diligently, as my main focus was reducing inflammation, which was severely aggravating my damaged knee. I didn’t notice any particular improvement in my digestion… Until the… Read more »
Joshua
Joshua
4 years 22 days ago

I think I have gluten sensitivity. Every time I eat too much of it, I get fatter.
Am I the only one that doesn’t really feel stuffed on primal food, but add in bread and that awful feeling of being about to pop happens every time.

Myra
Myra
4 years 22 days ago

As long as I eat primally, I can eat as much as I want, feel great and not gain an ounce. Add some bread or french fries or pasta and I get a stomach ache, bloated and add an extra couple of pounds by the next morning. You’re not alone.

ChocoTaco369
4 years 22 days ago
Good post. I agree 100% – we are ALL gluten sensitive. It’s just to varying degrees. The only purpose of gluten is to irritate our bodies to discourage further consumption of the seed, but when you’re fed Cheerios, Frosted Flakes and contaminated Quaker oatmeal since infancy, you don’t know what it’s like to be healthy a day in your life. This was my n=1 experiment: I have no hint of being celiac and eating a big bowl of pasta right now isn’t going to impact me negatively, but getting off gluten has made red patches on my triceps I’ve had… Read more »
Eva
Eva
4 years 22 days ago

The wheat you eat today has little to do with nature. Nature did not make that wheat. In the 70s, humans created dwarf wheat with double chromosomes and novel amino acids that never existed in nature before. The morphology of the plant is also very different. They say the crop yields 10 times more grain than previously. The inventor got the Nobel Peace prize for feeding the world. Too bad it’s poison!

DebbieM
DebbieM
4 years 22 days ago

Yes, that’s true and conventional crops are sprayed with toxins…go organic and make sure you sprout or soak, or better yet, make sourdough…but don’t eat too much!

David B
David B
4 years 21 days ago

You probably shouldn’t be eating dogs and cats even if you aren’t allergic.

Ms. Zing
Ms. Zing
4 years 22 days ago

Near daily migraines, hives and angioedema, joint and muscle pain, IBS, sinus headaches, persistent runny nose, fatigue, depression, eczema, itching, rosacea. Gluten, casein, and soy. Be careful when you are still really inflamed though. I also wound up intolerant to egg whites and almonds after copious amounts of packaged liquid egg whites and almond milk, trying to eat healthy but gluten and dairy-free (read whole grains). Refined and processed is not good when you have a permeable gut.

Ms. Zing
Ms. Zing
4 years 22 days ago

Well, refined and processed are typically not good anyway. Hence, primal.

Kristin Lynn
Kristin Lynn
4 years 22 days ago
Agree on the gluten-free. Have been GF since 2008 and on Paleo since November 2011. However, I would encourage those who think they may have celiac to go through the offical testing. The thing is once you are off gluten (as someone previously mentioned) to get the tests you need to be back ON gluten. Once you are healthy and happy who wants to go through that? The trick here is that you don’t want to just “know” for your own sake that you have celiac vs. sensitivity. Research is showing that Autoimmune diseases often travel in pairs so it… Read more »
TwinDad
TwinDad
4 years 22 days ago

Two month s now as a regular reader. First time commenter. Having just finished a Whole30 and reintroduced gluten two days ago as prescribed (Pizza and a corned beef on rye, not gonna lie…it was delicious!), I feel awful! Awful!!!! AWFUL!!!!! I had about 6 of those symptoms. Yeah, I guess I’m pretty gluten sensitive!

Teresa
Teresa
4 years 22 days ago

I didn’t know I was gluten sensitive until I eliminated it from my diet. Now, if I indulge in anything with wheat, I get cramping and bloating. I also believe that I’m “reading” my body better than before Primal and I know what’s happening.

BobinNM
BobinNM
4 years 22 days ago

I haven’t noticed any changes after eliminating grains from the diet and I haven’t noticed any symptoms on those rare occasions over the last 18 months where I have eaten some, but I didn’t really have health issues to resolve either.
My wife, on the other hand, has had dramatic improvement with her asthma. Her doc wasn’t wild about low carb, but told her to keep doing what she was doing because her lungs had never sounded better. Her inhaler lasts more than a month now.

Michael
Michael
4 years 22 days ago

I had really bad GERD, I got and endoscopy and my doctor game the the following diet plan….

Oatmeal
white bread
Plain eggs
chicken
pasta
rice
noodles
low fat beef
crackers

I said, WHAT!, screw that! eventually I found the primal blueprint….and after a month all my symptoms were gone! I now drink lots of coffee, and eat lots of hot peppers, and occasionally some good whiskey, all of which my doctor said I could never eat again without incurring indigestion.

Katrina
Katrina
4 years 22 days ago
At the beginning of this year I was starting to contemplate giving up my career as a farrier (horse shoer) because of chronic, debilitating pain in my hands, elbows and hips. Around the same time, my sister introduced me to Primal Blueprint. Not only did I loose 35 lbs., taking me to my post high school weight, all of my pain is gone. I still feel a hard day of work, but I no longer carry that pain day after day. I’d say that I’m in the upper 90% for compliance. Why? because on every occasion where I’ve left the… Read more »
Julie
Julie
4 years 22 days ago

Foggy brain
Depression

Those are enough to have me stop eating gluten.