Meet Mark

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
464 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!

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464 thoughts on “How Common is Gluten Sensitivity?”

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

        2. 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.

      2. 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 lot more reliable than your opinion, which was disproved with one search of the website. I have not as of yet found evidence contrary to the idea that “gluten sensitivity exists, is discrete from celiac’s, and is more prevalent than you think”. Moderation is a cop-out used by those who can’t hack it. Only if you call your moderation a “cheat day/meal” do you really understand what it is that you’re eating – a food in the sense that it provides calories, but a toxin in that it may increase the permeability of your tight junctions because the plant wants to throw your intestines into your bloodstream. Cheat meals are alright, but please don’t try and tell other people that their health won’t suffer (however slightly) from your “moderation”. The science doesn’t support it.

        1. 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.

        2. 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 is based on when I was first diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 1999. I had to detox off of a ton of foods (sugar, milk, wheat/gluten, and about 10 other items)for an eight-week period. I cannot begin to tell you the extreme withdrawal I experienced. The first few days were the worst, but the desire for wheat products was so strong, it stayed with me until about the sixth week. I remember at one point drinking maple syrup just to compensate (trust me, it wasn’t the sugar – I didn’t eat a lot of sugar then). Finally it passed. When I reintroduced wheat per my naturopath’s recommendation, I couldn’t stop weeping. That was the first sign this food was not for me. Over the years I lapsed, especially with pregnancies, but I see now how that may have affected my kids and I’m sorry for it. Needless to say, I’m off it for good and I have my three children off of it. Happily, I no longer get serious bouts of depression, a bloated belly, symptoms associated with IBS, etc. The worst were the mood swings two hours after eating, and the longer I went without replenishing my wheat intake, the worse my mood became. I am not like that now. I can go hours without eating and though I get hungry, I don’t become a rabid animal. I know for a fact that my cravings for pasta and bread and such were very strong before I detoxed those years ago, and the withdrawal was horrible. Now, if I can just head a little more in the primal direction, I’ll be all set!

        3. 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 to be intestinally impaired (less so if non-gluten sensitive, but the short-term effects of zonulin remain with each gluten-containing meal). Does this mean I never eat gluten? I’m not very sensitive to it, so of course I do on occasion, but I keep it to a very infrequent cheat (longer than 15 days) so as to reap the maximum benefit of a healthy gut as well as the instantaneous exorphin rush of grain foods. That is what I define as a cheat meal, and that is why “moderation” is like the word “dieting” – both are very detrimental psychologically and physiologically due to their short-term focus. Gotta put all those scientific pieces together, then moderate the hell out of that birthday cake 😉

          Tina, the evidence suggests you’re right. There is hard evidence of exorphin effects of wheat on the brain of rats, though there is some other human evidence here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201103/wheat-and-schizophrenia-0

          I would expect that the ~2/3 of people without gluten sensitivity or celiac’s do still experience pleasant sensations from wheat, but I wonder how evolutionarily plausible it is. Wheat doesn’t like humans eating it, so why would it grant us opiate pleasure every time we eat it? Perhaps it’s an abberration of human metabolism that wheat didn’t account for due to humans eating wheat for such a brief period of evolutionary history. If so, sucks for both our species as we’re now in a plant-hominid pissing match to see who can kill the other fastest #topsoilandautoimmunity

        4. 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.

      3. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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 bread and whatnot in the past, it was, in truth, my “comfort” food and nothing else satisfied quite like it. Now I find that beef short ribs braised in wine do me one better! 🙂 (Thanks for the link – will check it out!)

        3. 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 via my homeopathic physician (yes he’s a board certified physician) and my Chiropractor. I introduce local, hormone free, anti-biotic free meats, and RAW dairy products. Eating only locally grown fruits and veggies. Then cut out glutens, specifically wheat. It’s been a month now. My skin is clear, my eyes bright, hair shiny, body fat fast decreasing and i’m developing muscle out of no where! The cravings and food obsession (which was diagnosed as an “eating disorder”)depression gone, anxiety and panic attacks down by about 75%. As it’s been a while i reintroduced wheat…within 15 minutes of eating it I end up with terrible intestinal cramps, bloating etc. Seems at least for me, the glutens were having a significant affect on my body as well as my mental state.

        4. 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.

          I’m afraid your argument is a non-starter. Humans always go long periods without specific foods in their diet, and rarely have trouble on reintroduction. Wheat and other allergens/toxins are completely different.

      4. 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 constant pains through the chest due to GERD). I would recommend primal to anyone.

        1. 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 to the spleen from chronic inflammation .Dad also had a weird rash as a child ( nobody knew what it was .) A grain allergy perhaps ?? I am better off without grain , and I don’t miss it . I don’t miss hi fructose corn syrup either !

      5. “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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      6. 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 truly allergic to a certain food.

        1. 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.

      7. 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 in any way.

        1. 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…

      8. 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!) 🙂

        1. 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’…

      9. 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.

      10. 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 ignore the rest.

      11. “….moderation is the key.”

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

      12. 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 until he gave up wheat. I am sure there are many people who can tell their own stories of improved health after eliminating gluten. I think we need an open mind here and an understanding of the validity of the notion that the proof of the pudding is in the eating (or not as the case may be)

      13. “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”.

      14. 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 make it good food. It is lacking the nutritional elements needed for its digestion, so it robs the body of its own resources as the body tries to digest it.

        Unnatural highly-processed vegetable fats that change their properties when heated and turn into substances resembling varnish (ever tried to scrape the congealed oil off a fryer???) clog the cells within the body causing more damage.

        Every process within the body needs elements to fuel it. If we are not getting them from the food we eat, and if much of the food we eat is using up more elements than it is providing, then where is the body to get them from? Thin air?

        How can the body possibly repair itself if it isn’t getting the elements needed to do it with? Is it any wonder that the World is so sick???

        1. 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.

      15. 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 began to improve and realise how bad I had been. I had been robbed of more than a year of enjoying my baby fully because of the “oh I’m not as bad as her so I don’t have that problem”.

        By the same token, for years I suffered so many of the symptoms of wheat/gluten sensitivity but didn’t click that grains were the problem because I didn’t have the severe problems that full-blown celiacs suffer. But when I did cut grains (especially wheat) from my diet not only did so many of my complaints disappear, but I felt healthier than I ever had in my entire life!

        Can you see the parallels? Two common problems that can be suffered in varying degrees of severity, but neither are ‘good in moderation”!

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

    2. 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

      1. 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

      2. 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. 🙂

        1. 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, wheat turns me in to a psycho alcoholic depressive with a bad back, next to no immune system and filthy bad attitude. Without it I’m a lovely, happy, energetic spunk.

    3. 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 and even had surgery to cure my situation.Didn’t work of course. It’s amazing that a simple diet took a few days to make me normal again. The bloating is gone, too.

      1. +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 weights and appropriate exercise, I eat good food, I sleep enough. I have no clothes because ALL my shirts are huge, ALL my waistbands are 5 inches too big, I can’t believe I ever wore my suits, my coats have room for a sleeping bag in the extra space inside them where before they were tight.

        This Primal stuff works. Thanks Mark, saving my life (genuinely). Why did it take till I was 58 to find out? 🙂

    4. 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

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

    5. 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 about 10 years.

      If you’ve been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, I highly recommend going for longer than the six week trial Mark mentioned. Give it a few months–it took months before I felt completely better.

      1. 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!

    6. 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!!

  2. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. 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?

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

        1. 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…

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. 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.

      3. 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.”

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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, but I can deal with that one. Here I am in the second fall in a row with zero symptoms what so ever. I haven’t had so much as a sniffle in over a year. It’s awesome.

          -Tim

      6. 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!

        1. 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 :/

      7. 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.

      8. Mark/All

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

      9. 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?

      10. 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!

      11. 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…

    2. 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!

    3. 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 all nightshade vegtables and of course gluten. there are many websites about lectins and their damage to people like me… so for someone to think that all food eaten in moderation is ok, hasn’t had the ill effects of lectin intolerance.I would love to know what people think of this as many physicians I have asked have never heard of it. you can go to http://www.krisipin.com/lectin.html have a great day!

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

  5. 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…

    1. 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!

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

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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. Whether my intestinal permeability went down as I got older or as I got more primal, I don’t know, but I know for a fact it fixed my seasonal allergies at the very least.

          Maybe you don’t have allergies. But how do you like having muscle: “the short-term adaptation to high fat feeding in lean and obese human beings shares two of the main characteristics of the “healthy endurance training” the same Dr’s who warn their patients about the dangers of a high fat diet usually prescribe to their patients”

          http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/01/if-high-fat-diet-was-pill-lay-press.html

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

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

        2. 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.

    3. 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…

      1. 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 board with this.
        “V” people are very vocal about how important grains are in their diets, insisting (again, based on food pyramids, etc.) that they are good for them. I know of a few of these people, and they are blind to their malnutrition and digestive issues (which seem to be almost universal in their world, at least from my limited exposure) and they continue to press the point that nutrients in vegetable products can provide all human requirements. Trying to show them that the uptake of, or ability to absorb, those nutrients is like talking to the wall.

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

  6. 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 my weight loss goals, and staying off of wheat is now a matter of health instead of carb-counting.

    1. 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 for me. Everything that I was just doing intuitively was validated. And now my husband is also on board and has lost 40 pounds so far.

      1. 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 pounds I think no one would question you…)
        Anyway, welcome aboard!!!

      2. 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.

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

  7. 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…

    1. 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 me, but from time to time I get stupid and drink a beer or eat something with gluten…yep, not good.

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

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

    1. 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…

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 even more sensitive. They may or may not have symptoms from this.
        Buffets are completely out. Cross-contamination occurs everywhere.
        What I’m trying to say is, you want to “know” if you have celiac, because you have to be extremely careful with your food, supplements, meds, etc. Forever. If you just follow the great Primal Diet, but still eat out at regular restaurants (ordering primal food, of course), you’re probably regularly getting glutened. Which puts you at a much higher risk of many auto-immune diseases, as well as non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
        That’s my personal recommendation. I know that I would have a really difficult time sticking to any diet for the rest of my life, unless it was a medical necessity.

        1. 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 is trying to claw its way out. There is no 80/20 for me with grains.

        2. 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 be tested.

          The tests are much less accurate (and they aren’t perfect to start with) after you’ve been gluten free for even a short period. If there are any autoimmune conditions in your family tree, definitely test.

          Here’s a checklist for who should consider testing. It is very conservative. http://www.southernarizonaceliacsupport.org/disease/symptomchecksheet.pdf

  13. 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…

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

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

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

        1. 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!

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

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

        1. 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!

      6. 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

      7. 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 regular beer and wine, made with glutenous wheat and rye, there are fewer chemicals added, making the home brew better overall.

  14. 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 can do that. You have to heal your digestive system through broth, probiotics, ferments, etc. Going GF for 4-6 weeks should clean gluten from your system but the sensitivity will still be there…

    1. 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 bread. I’d rather make them this than the crap in the stores with multigrains and HFCS, etc. Up until recently, I would always have one slice. Within 2 hours a horrible wave of fatigue would come on, and I would feel tired & depressed for days afterwards. It took me long to wean off that one cheat (I swear the withdrawal didn’t happen for a week) but think I’m over it now. Just not worth the hangover.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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?

      1. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

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

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

  21. 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?

  22. 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?

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

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

    2. 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 corn, dairy, eggs and legumes, including soy and peanuts), and foods high in salicylates (all fruit except for pears, most herbs and spices, most oils, all teas except for chamomile, mint, honey, most nuts, and a lot of vegetables…. and of course, the worst culprit is Aspirin, as it is 100% salicylic acid).

      What does that leave? Meat, fat and a few vegetables.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

    3. 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’ due to the awful withdrawal symptoms. Anyone have any tips on how to reduce them??

      1. 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 as new (note: may take a long time for those few steps depending on how badly your gut needs to heal – just don’t stop improving!)

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

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.”

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

    2. 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!

    3. 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. I Thank God for sites like these where the kernel of an idea can turn into the end of what would have been a lifelong illness! Thank you Mark, and thank all of you my fellow paleo friends!

  26. 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, and will look forward to more research being done on this topic.

    1. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

    1. 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!”

      1. 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.

    2. 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!).

    3. 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.

  29. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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 Syndrome?” I’ll stop the nightshade veggies first (which is pretty much all the fresh things we have here) except for light green squash.

          Has anyone out there seen improvement in overall pain symptoms?

        2. 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 any number of foods they tend to like. You should try something other than the standard boring sandwich.

  30. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  31. 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 day a few weeks ago at a beach barbeque, I simply could not say no to succulent chicken… on a bun. Woe was me. For the next day and a half, I was plagued by intermittent severe cramping, and diarrhea. Pleasant. There was nothing it could be but that bun. In short, despite never having shown any symptoms previously in 30 years, I’m now fairly certain that I do have a gluten sensitivity. I would not be surprised if many, many other people fell into the same category.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.

  33. 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 my entire life disappear, it’s cured my cat and dog allergies, I no longer get a sinus infection every Spring and Autumn when the mold blooms…it’s not a question of if gluten will get you, but a question of when, and sometimes, something else just kills you first.

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

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

  34. 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.

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

  35. 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 is important to know if it is celiac or not and then also rule out any other AI diseases. I myself was told to go on the diet first which I dutifully did and never got the offical diagnosis. However, I am pretty sure it’s celiac as I have other Autoimmune issues.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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 reservation and eaten something with gluten, I feel as if I’ve been beaten with a sledgehammer. When I’ve been careless, the first sign is a “goopy” throat and I know I’m in for a day of hell. I’m glad there are studies to help convince those that need more than anecdotal evidence. For me, being able to continue doing the job I love is all the proof I need.

  41. Foggy brain
    Depression

    Those are enough to have me stop eating gluten.

  42. I have hay fever, and as I work in farms and with cows and horses that was quite a problem, I used to take anti histamines all year long, now, I’m just a little sensitive if I give dusty hay to my horses, U might sneeze a few times but that’s all;
    some time ago I had a friend at my place for a few days and her eats practically anything in a sandwich so I ate more bread in a weekend than I had for the previous 3 month, on the monday at work, I had trouble getting up, was tired and sleepy all day, felt bloated and had a bad case of allergy, I came back home with my nose red and chafed from sneezing and wiping, so no more wheat for me, unless I’m on holidays, and exven then, very moderately (I can sleep as much as I can and not exposed to hay).

  43. I am definitely gluten sensitive. Ditching the grains and going primal cured my IBS. It was like a miracle.

    I started promoting the Primal Blueprint to everyone I know online and in real life. Repeatedly.

    I may have become something of a zealot but when a miracle happens to you that’s to be expected. Right?

  44. I really do not know if I am intolerant to gluten or not. So many things were eliminated when I went on this way of eating. My feelings of health, well-being and energy are just so amazing, I don’t want to find out if gluten isn’t a problem. I’m 47 years old now. For the first time in my entire life I feel young, vital, alive, energetic, happy, with beautiful skin. In my 20s, I complained that life felt like walking through molasses.

  45. The problem that I have with not testing is that you may overlook getting a needed celiac diagnosis. 90% of celiacs are undiagnosed, that means they aren’t emaciated and running to the bathroom every time they eat bread. The symptoms for celiac and gluten sensitivity can be the same. The difference is that the gluten sensitive person might cheat once in a while but the celiac person could set off an immune reaction even from using dishes with cross-contamination or toothpaste or shampoo with gluten in it. Even if the celiac person doesn’t have symptoms, damage is being done inside. Just going by how you feel is not safe with a disease as serious as celiac.

    1. I agree with you. 100%.
      This has been a concern of mine as I was reading thru these comments and also on the Wheatbelly blog.
      If you really know the details of celiac there is SO much more to it than just not eating gluten…cross contamination, medicines, proper diagnosis in case of hospital stays, etc. of course I have seen hospital dietitians screw up a celiac diet BIG TIME. No offense.

      1. no offense taken, and I don’t work in a hospital…try to stay far away. I know there are a lot of RDs who aren’t as knowledgeable as they should be.

    2. the only treatment for celiacs is to not eat gluten. period. so why would you put yourself through the hell of re-introducing grains so that you can get a test that confirms the obvious and then you go off gluten again for the rest of your life? who benefits from that?

  46. Oh yeah, I’ve always suffered from intermittent
    Diarrhea, stomach pains, gas, bloating, excessive
    Burping, rashes, fatigue, heartburn… It all goes
    Away on gluten free and low sugar/ other grains.
    If I eat wheat now I get horrible stomach pains and bloating. I am a glutton for punishment though and indulge way more than I should. Addiction to wheat? Absolutely, for me it’s really hard to avoid it completely even when I know I’d feel so much better.

  47. Yep, I gave up wheat last year around Thanksgiving, and all the GERD, joint pain, sinus infections, allergies and asthma are gone. I’m down 55lbs and today, for the first time in 20 years, have not taken an insulin injection. My blood sugar is well within a normal range for a non-diabetic. GO PRIMAL!

  48. I’m surprised no one has mentioned GERD symptoms. I always thought mine was caused by eating fatty or “rich” foods, but the GERD completely stopped when I cut out grains, and seems to only recur when I eat anything with a substantial dose of wheat in it. The fatty and rich foods don’t bother me at all.

    And the IBS I lived with for 50 years is GONE unless I indulge in wheat products. At this point in my life, I thought IBS was something I would just have to live with for the rest of my life. NEVER has wheat been suggested as the cause until I found MDA. I am somewhat stunned and entirely delighted by this unexpected side effect of eating primarily Primal foods.

    And to think, I was just trying to lose weight! Losing the GERD and IBS makes me feel like I’m on the road to better health, whether or not I lose the rest of the weight.

    Count me as one more person who cannot thank you enough, Mark, for all you do for us FOR FREE!

    1. OK, I see two people DID mention GERD while I was writing my post. Glad to see some validation of my assumption that it’s the wheat, not the fats!

  49. I believe I became gluten sensitive after a course of antibiotics. The joints in my hands became painful especially my thumbs. Driving and changing gear became painful and my grip was becoming weaker. After unsuccessfully trying various things including omega3 and glucosamine, none of which made any difference, I gave up gluten containing food. There was a steady improvement in symptoms to the point where I now have no pain. If I eat any gluten containing food I get twinges in my thumbs within a couple of hours, that gradually go away afer a couple of clear days.
    I have also noticed early morning urgency has disappeared now that I no longer eat wholewheat bread!

  50. I went primal to eliminate inflammation. Never thought I had any problems associated with gluten-containing foods. After several months G-free, I ate part of a slice of pizza, and within 5 minutes was violently projective vomiting. I’d say I definitely have a sensitivity.

    Since changing my diet, I have also had my 5 and 6yo’s on a primal diet. My 6yo son definitely is sensitive. If he eats anything with gluten, he complains of a stomach ache within half an hour and has diarrhea for two days. He also has severe emotional swings and feels like his body is out of control. For example, he will spin in circles, even while walking, because his “body has to do it.”

    Meanwhile, his 5yo sister used to gloat that she could eat all the gluten-y mac and cheese she wanted because her stomach never hurt. But yesterday, she had a piece of bread after 2-3 months g-free and announced that she had a tummy ache and was never eating gluten again.

  51. I believe that gluten sensitivity caused internal inflammation, including liver inflammation. My dsyfunctional liver, in turn, raised my cholesterol past “normal” and I was as a result prescribed statins.

    Fortunately, I found a doctor who put me on a “non-inflammatory” diet ie. no gluten, added sugar, corn, dairy etc.

    My elevated liver enzymes and cholesterol returned to normal on this diet.

    I’ve never experimented by isolating only gluten, but it has been the major item that I’ve eliminated.

  52. I have dropped from a high of 111kg down to 88kg this year. I have a weakness for Nairn’s oatmeal biscuits which i seem to tolerate fine but today I had a frozen wheat waffle I made at the start of the year. I had a head gripping reaction and my stomach shuddered. Anyone else fine with gluten containing oats?

    1. Yep I’m fine with oats, although I believe they contain avenin rather than gluten, which is much less allergenic. The small quantity of oats I eat are the 5% of my diet that it nor primal.

  53. Been off grains for about 2-3 months. Have you ever seen a pregnant 55 year old?!! That’s how I looked I was so bloated. Not many other symptoms though. Now if I have too much wheat I get cramping and diarhea within a couple hours. I seem to be OK with a breaded whatever or a beer but I have had sandwiches on 2 occasions and they did me in. However in keeping with primal I do try to avoid all grain products now. My reflux went away too but I noticed it coming back just when I ate too much crap not just wheat.

  54. I know I’m gluten sensitive and suspect a few other sensitivities. Right now I’m trying to figure out if it’s the butter or eggs. I hope it’s not either, but if it has to be one then let it be the butter. Wait maybe the eggs. :C

  55. I have cut out gluten and feel so much better. I’ve even ‘gone back on’ gluten a few times just to test it out, and sure enough, I feel horrible (stomach bloating, gas, depression). I feel lighter in mind AND body when I cut it out, and I have found I’m not that interested anymore in finding gluten free replacement products (like breads and pastas) they aren’t that good, and I’d rather just skip it. I’m trying to get my family on board with me too!

    1. I haven’t tried gluten-free pasta or bread. But, once a week I cook a meal where I use spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti noodles. My parents usually insist on having regular pasta noodles. So, when it is time to test to see if the noodles are cooked, I put one in my mouth and chew it up and then spit it out. LOL! But, I notice in that time that I’m tasting the wheat pasta that it really doesn’t taste good at all. I much prefer the spaghetti squash.

      Also, last night I caught my mom munching on my spaghetti squash. She was like, wow, this is really good. I think I’ve got a convert!

      1. Try zucchini noodles now. Even better since they have less water! That’d dinner tonight!

      2. Throw a spaghetti noodle at the ceiling. If it sticks but slowly comes off its al dente. If it sticks really well, it’s over cooked ( but most people like it that way). 🙂

  56. When I was a child I was diagnosed as allergic to gluten. I stayed away from it (for the most part). When I was in high school, I took another allergy test and was now no longer allergic (supposedly). Of course I went over board with the wheat eating after having been denied all those years. Two things happened after that; I started gaining weight after being as skinny as a rail all my life, and I started having acid reflux at the age of 14. I didn’t put two and two together until quite a while after that when I noticed that I would invariably get acid reflux after eating cookies. My doctor didn’t agree with me that wheat was the culprit and told me to stay away from acidic and fried foods, and gave me a prescription for prilosec.

    I didn’t want to just mask my symptoms, so I listened to my body and stopped eating wheat, did some research and came upon primal/paleo. Guess what? No more acid reflux!!

  57. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom (PCOS) which makes sense because for years I’ve struggled with adipose obesity despite dieting/exercise. I researched for PCOS diets and found going gluten free was helping many women with PCOS symptoms. I decided to try it and I have to say it works. I felt more energy, less moody, less bloated, my face was clearer, my allergies(sinus) improved, I even lost a couple of pounds more easily. I tried to tell my MD GF was working but they don’t pay it any mind, my MD doesn’t even have a nutritionist to send me to. I think there is something to GF living but until the medical world is given $$$ to fund the research we won’t have scientific proof.

    1. I should also note I recently had skin allergy testing done and gluten was not indicated for me. But I can tell you that once I removed it from my diet for a few weeks, then had a moment of weakness for gluten I paid dearly for it with ghastly GI upset.

      1. It probably won’t come up on a skin test. It’s not a “true allergy” triggering “IgE” antibodies. It’s real though, Mark talks about the IgG and IgA antibodies above that they can detect. I went to an allergist who thought none of my symptoms were food related. Then I went to a naturopath who tested me and confirmed they were. Then I went to a different allergist because I wasn’t sure about the naturopath and tested again, and again confirmed. This allergist recommended paleo. I never tested positive for celiac and I had to beg for the test because my doctor said I did not “present” as celiac (i.e. not wasting). I present more like the gluten sensitivity with multiple food intolerances in the study, more of an allergic-like reaction. I also have PCOS and lower carb is the way for me, to lose weight and just to feel better. My new doctor recommended low-carb for PCOS. Also, if I exercise too strenuously (i.e. trigger male hormone production, heavy lifting, really hard intervals, running) I gain serious weight (18 lbs in five weeks the last time, lifting heavy 3x/wk + cardio) and it’s really difficult to lose, so I moderate the intensity of my exercise by doing bodyweight strength training 2x/wk and sprint/intervals only rarely but lots of yoga, walking/hiking. Have you found anything similar with your PCOS and hormone production? I’ve talked to other women with PCOS who have gained weight when they exercise.

  58. I’ve been eating grains and indulging in sweets lately maybe now I know what has been causing this rash and itching. Looks like it wasn’t the razor. Going to have to go cold turkey again. Mmmmm. Turkey.

  59. Gluten sensitivity seems to suddenly be so prevalent these days that I have to believe it has to do with the recent development of GMO grains. I don’t think our grandparents had this, do you?

    1. My grandmother died after having colon surgery in 1984. The doctors didn’t know why her colon died. My niece has had two similar surgeries to remove parts of her intestine that has died, but, of course, it’s NOT celiac even though she presents with multiple symptoms. Sadly, some people would rather die than give up bread.

  60. I had a lifetime of irritable bowel syndrome and ugly bumpy skin on my arms and legs and the older I got, the more my joints started to swell and hurt. I also woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, like I’d been “hit by a truck” in the middle of the night. I was beginning to worry that I had a serious illness. Since I’m overweight (less so now, since going gluten free, and losing every day)any articles I came across on belly fat, I would read. I came across an interview with the author of the Wheat Belly book and just thought, for kicks and grins, it can’t hurt, gave up wheat/gluten to see what would happen. By week five I’d had no diahrrea, no GERD, my joints stopped hurting and low and behold, the icky ugly skin I’d had for 47 years went away. My husband went gluten free with me for support, and reported that he no longer had heartburn or bloating or that “pressure” feeling in his upper stomach. One thing led to another and now I eat as close to paleo as I can, although I do still consume oats, a very small amount, about three times a week and it doesn’t seem to bother me. People look at me like I’m crazy when I start prosthelytizing about the evils of gluten, but I can’t help myself. Think of all the prescription drugs for digestive issues that people could do without if they just stopped eating wheat.

  61. yes – I had been clean for a while, but on the way to work one day, was in tears of hunger (hadn’t been able to food shop, and between the baby, and having to get to work early, just had already been up so long without eating) The only thing open on the way to work was a Panera, and in my desperate state I ate an egg sandwich instead of just grabbing some fruit – oh that became a much much worse day…. BUT it became even easier to stay clean after that! all things happen for a reason… hahah

  62. My entire family suffers from a host of autoimmune disorders – the worst being psoriatic arthritis – and mine all went away when I eliminated gluten. I also lost 70 lbs. The rest of my family still has the health problems. And most of them are still obese. My change, of course, is confounded by the fact that I also eliminated all other grains and refined sugars and now eat a very low carbohydrate diet. Is it the wheat that caused my problems or was it inflammation caused by chronically elevated insulin levels? I have no idea. But I feel way better.

    1. solid connection between auto immune and gluten. if you have auto immue you MUST get off the wheat! i have auto immune disease and i have researched the hell out of this. google terry wahls for a really dramatic example.

  63. I gave up gluten in October 2010 after seeing a nutritionist. I promptly lost 18 pounds I could not lose before. I get so angry when I read articles that say that gluten sensitivity is a “fad.” All my tummy troubles and GERD symptoms disappeared and I was able to stop taking medication for GERD. Also, my stomach is the flattest it’s ever been. I’m going to be honest though and say I miss bread A LOT! It was my favorite food (that and pretzels).

  64. If we could bottle this one bit of advice – go grain-free for 30 days and see how you feel – we would be rich! In my experience everybody feels better. One man lost 50 pounds,his wife lost 20 and her joint pain disappeared and their kids are doing much better cognitively – getting off gluten. If you think you can’t stop grains, that’s the addiction talking, or your candida overgrowth talking or your hypoglycemia talking. You can do it, and it will turn your life around.

    1. Growing up, I thought that eczema, fatigue, brain fog, eczema, headaches, and sometimes severe knee stiffness were just a part of life. I had never associated my symptoms with foods because I did not have digestive problems and because I assumed that I was predisposed to rheumatoid arthritis, which my mother has. After my husband read the PB, I decided to go primal for Lent this year. I couldn’t believe the results! Suddenly, I had a clarity of mind and consistency of energy that I had never known before, and my joint pain and eczema were gone!

      I was so transformed that I convinced my mother to go gluten free, and her symptoms are dramatically improved. She acts and feels years younger. Now I just need to convince my younger brother, who sees diarrhea medicine as a part of life.

  65. Please tell me that the fermentation process as in brewing beer eliminates gluten.

    1. This is the best write up of gluten sensitivity/celiac disease I have seen. I will share this. Thanks Mark!

      I have been GF for 9 years and paleo for 4 of them. Before I gave up gluten I thought I was about to die. I had many symptoms but a few of the worse were an extremely painful peripheral neuropathy, depression, joint pain, brain fog and GERD. When I stopped eating gluten all my symptoms disappeared or greatly improved(except for tinnitus). I hope I am continuing to heal.

      I saw that someone else mentioned resolution of urinary stress incontinence – that totally disappeared for me too. I have seen others post about urinary incontinence in children resolving by removing gluten or gluten and dairy.

      If you want to find out if you have antibodies to gluten, the Enterolab antibody tests remain positive for up to 2 years after giving up gluten. Dr. Fine feels that the Fat Malabsorption test is very important as can give indication of small intestinal malabsorption and pancreatic maldigestion. I have no connection to Enterolab but I have used and like their tests.

    2. It doesn’t. Many restaurants, however, are starting to carry at least one gluten-free beer.

    3. Haha, nope but it is greatly reduced. Enough for me to indulge in my favorite microbrews once in a while.

  66. After a year and a half gluten free, had a half a bite of a homemade don’t a coworker had made… Just to see what would happen… By the end of the day had a hard time breathing and my lips started to turn blue.
    None of my gluten tests were positive except for the genetic one.

    1. You had a hard time breathing from a “half a bite” ?? What the hell was it made from? lol

  67. There’s something I don’t understand. It makes perfect sense that someone who has a health problem that goes away by eliminating gluten would endorse the idea. But those people who didn’t notice any specific problems, who stop eating gluten (with little or no improvement) and then develop *new problems* by eating it again – how does this whole thing benefit them? It sounds as if they have created a new problem by trying a gluten-free diet, that they then have to follow whether they want to or not.

    1. A lot of times we don’t recognize problems we have as being associated to the food choices we are making until we take those foods out and then reintroduce them. Our bodies get used to processing poisons on a daily basis so when we remove them and let it heal when we bring them back in the reaction is that much more severe.

    2. Not a new problem, but an old problem you didn’t realize before. Your body has an amazing array of workarounds that keep the whole organism alive at the expense of specific systems. When the workaround is not needed as much and atrophies from disuse, but then you put the grain (for instance) back in, the bad effects are perceived more clearly.

  68. I have heard that if you are not gluten sensitive and try going gluten free that after a while you will become sensitive to gluten. Has anyone else heard that?

  69. Mark,

    Do you think that the rise in symptomatic gluten sensitivity comes from a population that consumes grains that are not sprouted and fermented first-as Sally Fallon would assert? I personally am completely intolerant fermented or not but for those with mild sensitivity, which is essentially everyone, do you think there is a place for these “pre-digested” grains in their diets?

  70. Three years ago, I was looking at a total knee replacement. Instead of surgery, I did prolotherapy and changed my diet. After giving up all grain, my knee is rock solid, I am 20 pounds lighter, have more energy and strength than ever.
    Gluten free was the first step for me. Grain free rocks!

  71. Another gluten-sensitive person that was celiac negative. Found by accident when trying to target my son’s chronic stuffy nose. My symptoms are definitely GI, heartburn and diarrhea. Work as a nurse practitioner and nutritionist. Found that the number one thing that we did to help patients is to get them off gluten. It helped across the board in a broad-spectrum of diseases; migraines, IBS, GERD, fibromyalgia, CFS, RA etc.

  72. I do know about the brain-fog. I haven’t done much to nail it down except that some convenience foods make me spacey and real food tend not to.

    I grew up on convenience foods. Side-dishes usually came from a box with a “dehydrated it before they could legally call it cheese” sauce. Luckily the frozen lasagna or fishsticks nights were rarer than meat.

    Once I became a foodie, I didn’t quite notice the clearer thought patterns but I sure got messed up on the day I raided the convenience foods for two meals in a row, and that suddenly struck me as familiar.

    Considering that home-made bread and pasta are still part of my diet, I’m thinking it’s a preservative or that alternately-named MSG.

  73. When I finally eliminated all grains from my diet about a month ago, I was amazed at how quickly my IBS and bloating cleared up. My face has angles for the first time and that weird, lingering ache in my shoulder and neck is gone. At 41 I thought maybe I was just getting older, now I know for sure the gluten was the culprit. Thank you Mark for such an informative website and fantastic books. I feel so much better now.

  74. This post is just what i needed to read! People tend to think that if they don’t have celiac disease than eating gluten is fine. The distinction of Celiac from Gluten sensitivity is very important to point out. The spectrum of gluten sensitivity was eye opening and when you add the element of stress, than even otherwise non-sensitive people can be affected. This pretty much puts most of us at some risk, at some time in our lives of health problems related to gluten.

    Although I tested negative for celiac, I have seen enormous benefits to my health since dropping that doughy mess from by diet. Like you, I also had major IBS and GERD. I had to give up coffee, tomates and other acidic foods because of this, but since changing my diet, I can eat tomatoes and drink coffee again (thank God!).

    People just don’t want to give up foods they have so many attachments to. Bread is a comfort food that brings up memories of good times for most of us. There is also a big cultural component that is hard to deny. Injera is the utensil for Ethiopian food, and it’s hard to imagine not soaking up a good Indian curry without garlic naan. It is also a source of convenience. In our fast paced life the choice of sandwich over salad is an easy one.

    I have managed to get around all of these dilemmas that are really bigger in my head than in reality. I put my quality of life first then everything else is a lot easier!

    Thanks Mark for a great post! I will forward this on to everyone I know.

  75. What about other foods sensitivities testing? Is Cyrex best for that as well?
    I have been on elimination diet for a month but I have not noticed any differences.
    Regarding the way you feel after you reintroduce a food you were not eating for a while: I am not very convinced that the symptoms that you get are a proof that this particular food is bad for you. Is it possible that because you have not been eating it for a while then the body has lost the enzymes etc. to process it? Does anyone know anything about it? For example raw foodist quite often say that every time they try cooked food they feel terrible. This apparently is supposed to prove that cooked food is bad for us. Well, the body does not have the enzymes to process cooked food any more. It does not mean that the cooked food is bad.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you.

  76. I did a food intolerance test through ALCAT in 2007, which told me I have a gluten intolerance. I was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and once I went gluten free the symptoms were gone! Along with some other digestion issues that I thought were normal. I think everyone should be gluten free!

  77. I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease at age 34. My symptoms were fairly mild, but I knew something ‘wasn’t quite right’. I had blood tests and then the diagnosis was confirmed by endoscopy. Being Gluten-free has made me feel so much more alive and well. I realise now that I have probably suffered since my early 20’s without knowing it. My mother has since been diagnosed as well and we suspect it has been in the family for generations. I was vegetarian for 20 years and relied on bread, pasta etc to fill me up. Now I have started to eat meat and fish and follow the primal diet.
    I feel ENLIGHTENED! I share my story with anyone that will listen, especially those filling their faces with pizza! YUK! 😀

  78. My naturopath informed me several years ago that the reason many people have become gluten sentitive is because of the way the grain is processed–and maybe the way the grain has been modified as well. I quit eating all bread and pasta products years ago and no longer have grainy feeling eyes in the middle of the afternoon or the terrible stomach problems I suffered through. It was my niece who alerted me to the sleepiness that she experienced and that was the key to my own–the gluten products that I had previously ingested made me sleepy. I can’t say that I have missed bread or any wheat products. The only thing that confused me for a while was why I had the same symptoms when eating food like sausages. You guessed–they had wheat as a filler.
    Re arthritis and nightshade veggies–I read about that as well years ago. They certainly do affect arthritis.
    Great article on gluten. Thanks!

    1. Just read something on naturalnews.com that said todays wheat contains 10 times the gluten of wheat grown just 50 years ago. Didn’t read all of the article, so don’t know where they got their data, but that would explain why gluten problems are so prevalent.

  79. Been gluten free for about a year and a half now and primal for 2 months. Anything wheat doesn’t even interest me any more because I know I’m in for intense joint pain within 30 minutes if I have any. I used to work at a bagel shop and had such terrible foot pain I ended up going to physical therapy to try to help it. 3 weeks without gluten and my foot was fine. I had a slice of pizza not long after that and I felt like I’d been hit by a bus…even my wrists and elbows hurt. I definitely agree with Marks comment that the reaction from gluten is more “explosive” when you’ve been off it for a while.

  80. Thanks for this, Mark. I had all the symptoms of gluten sensitivity except excema and going primal (nearly a year ago!) removed them all. Just before fierce, wild weather swings, I’ll occasionally still have joint pain, but nothing like the joint pain I used to experience. I would literally be in HUGE pain for days before a storm because I could feel the pressure front coming.
    The other return oly if I’ve eaten something inadvertently that contains grains / gluten.
    Clearly, I am gluten sensitive.

  81. I was slow to totally give up wheat because I had none of the ‘classic’ symptoms. My digestion has always been wonderful no matter how much wheat I ate. So although I went 80 to 90 % paleo, I did not sweat it if someone made me a quesadilla or some such. Since wheat is in almost everything, it takes a fair effort to avoid it. However, after reading tons and tons about potential dangers, I finally gave it up.

    The first thing I realized is I was addicted. I craved it for several days and I had a kind of low carb flu type feeling even though overall carb intake was about the same (I eat taters, fruit, and rice still). This alone was enough to scare me into continuing to NOT eat it. The second thing is all traces of allergies immediately went away along with some lingering muscles aches I’d had and I have more energy. Scary considering my wheat intake was not high to start with!

    Wheat might be the one thing where even a little bit can cause a lot of damage. It’s been about a month now and I feel better not eating wheat. Makes me wonder how many others could feel better too. Few people are willing to give it up unless they are sick and desperate. I wonder if there is anyone who made a switch off of wheat without major other changes to diet that did not notice improvement? Lately, I’ve been hearing about regular SAD eaters giving up only wheat and losing 30 pounds while still eating other junk. Very interesting. Also, I noticed there’s something about wheat that I think makes me crave more food and sugar in general as well as more wheat. Giving it up, I’ve noticed a diff in my cravings and appetite in general.

    Wheat, it’s the new opium! It’s in everything now from ‘broth’ they inject into your fresh chicken (some chicken has 13% broth!!) to soy sauce. I am guessing maybe they have found that things that have wheat in them sell better.
    -Eva

  82. I spent my entire childhood with stomach pain. I would have to lie down in the middle of meals because I didn’t feel well. This reduced in severity as I got older but I still had stomach issues more often than not.

    Eliminating gluten has changed my life in so many positive ways. No more stomach pain, no more joint pain, better skin, and improved allergies. Staying majority grain free has also helped my mood. With my blood sugar stabilized I am less likely to get angry and I am much more patient. I am the better me.

  83. For those who *really* want some kind of “diagnosis” (for all the good it does)this guy is a world-renowned expert who figured out that you don’t have to have full-blown Celiac disease to have a “problem”:

    http://www.thedr.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21

    What’s totally ridiculous is that the mainstream medical establishment can’t officially diagnose you as having Celiac disease until your guts are virtually destroyed and by then it’s too late.
    Yup. The wonders of “modern medicine”, brought to you by the same people who tell you to “eat sensibly” but have no clue what that entails.

      1. Agreed! I had lots of the listed symptoms, including gastrointestinal ones. It took me over a year to get my GP to give me a referral to a gastroenterologist, and meanwhile, I went gluten free and felt much better. The gastroenterologist pointed out that my symptoms could indicate mild coeliacs, but after tests, he told me that I was probably non-coeliacs gluten intolerant. He referred me to a nutritionist to complete a medically supervised elimination diet, which showed sensitivity to wheat, gluten, eggs, cow’s milk, and some other things.

        Not eating gluten and the other items really helps!

        So, I considered myself non-coeliacs gluten intolerant (but perhaps even coeliacs, as if you are gluten free before testing, the tests are much more likely to be false negatives).

        I was very surprised recently when I had a referral to a physiotherapist, and the GP wrote that I was *self-diagnosed* as gluten sensitive! Even with gastroenterologist involved the GP didn’t believe this as a diagnosis!

        Great post, Mark! I wanted to comment, even though others have said similar things. I think this is a very, very important issue for many, many people.

  84. After nearly 40 years of migraines, I went gluten free a bit over two months ago, and have had only a couple mild headaches that went away with an nsaid; unheard of in prior days when I never left my home without my headache meds. Two others in my family dramatically improved lower gi issues after getting of grains.

  85. I have exactly what Mark describes when I reintroduce wheat; severe brain fog, depression, bloating, itchy eczema from hell breaks out on the back of my hands, my joints ache, it’s horrible. It took me a few years to figure this out and to avoid it completely.

    What makes it worse is the fact that this crap is hidden in foods you’d never expect. My husband bought a bag of sweets at the movies and I ate a few licorice – it contained WHEAT – it was like I had eaten an alien, severe intestinal distress for hours. I won’t touch that processed garbage ever again.

  86. I believe that the number of people identified as gluten intolerant will rise, as awareness grows. For example, I was suffering from various maladies that were so chronic, I took them as simply being a part of life. Despite trying every diet and exercise plan, I was clinically obese. I was tired all the time. My stomach was frequently bloated and the gas was ridiculous. A gastroenterologist had advised me to take Prilosec daily for severe heartburn.

    I took up running but that really hurt my back, and then I got plantar fasciitis but I kept going because I was still obese and determined.

    Thankfully, the back pain led me to a chiropractor who is also a nutritionist. He reviewed my overall health. Long story short, he identified the gluten intolerance and then some adrenal fatigue. Losing the gluten made me feel a lot better but not quite 100%. The next piece in the puzzle was a test by Cyrex labs for other sensitivities. Now, I avoid potatoes, corn, rice, quinoa and several other things.

    Almost miraculously, the GI symptoms are gone completely. I feel 1000% better. No more reflux meds because the heartburn is all gone. My back and foot no longer hurt. I haven’t had a UTI in a long time, rather than monthly.

    I’m assured that as my leaky gut heals, and the adrenal rehab program progresses, the weight will come off. This has to be the way of the future. I just wish that more people were willing to try subtracting the gluten for a while, rather than adding a poly pharmacy of drugs to reduce its effect.

  87. I will be blunt (be warned!).

    I am now 36 (female). About two years ago, I started having a menstrual bleed every two weeks. I panicked, thinking I might have cancer. I went primal; the problem disappeared. My periods regulated.

    Recently I ate some bread product after about two years primal. I started bleeding within 24 hours.

    Something in bread products screws my menstrual cycle. Not only that, but prior to going primal (and I ate a fairly good pure diet, not much processed food at all), I used to say to my husband that I felt like I was being *poisoned* somehow.

    It may not be a gluten problem per se, but I am convinced they have done *something* to grains products that we now have in our food in the West and it is highly damaging.

    1. I had sort of the opposite problem resolved. I’ve averaged 6 periods a year before. After trying to avoid gluten, while its not “every 28 days” its close to it, varying between 27-35 days.

  88. I gave up wheat after reading WHEAT BELLY and within days my hand cleared up from a blistery rash that I had been plagued with on-and-off for over 20 years. It had originally appeared during a very stressful time I was going through, but was constant last winter. So I just attributed it to that. Doctors told me it was contact dermatitis. I am now on the CARB SENSITIVITY PROGRAM to determine exactly what and how much carbohydrate I can eat because I think I am highly sensitive. Family members have had non-alcoholic liver disease and diabetes.

  89. Hi Mark!

    I have been off gluten since March, 2012 (just over 5 months) and went totally grain-free a week or so after that when I read Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis; a month further in, I also went sugar-free.

    I am 43 and had been feeling progressively worse for the past 5-10 years, and had the feeling that something was seriously WRONG with me, health-wise. That maybe I had a severe undiagnosed illness, and that feeling was degrading my life and depressing my outlook for the future.

    In addition to the chronic severe headaches and IBS that I’d had since I was a teen, I now was chronically fatigued, had terrible PMS, severe joint pain in my hips, shoulder and knees, blurry vision, recurring UTIs, recurring allergies, recurring sinus infections and bronchitis, and just generally felt TERRIBLE a good bit of the time. I was also overweight and unfit because I was far too exhausted to maintain any sort of workout!

    Since going off the wheat and other grains, I haven’t had a sinus infection, bronchitis, OR UTI; joint pain was relieved 80% within days of being gluten-free and has improved even more since, my body no longer SCREAMS when my feet hit the floor in the morning; headaches *disappeared* after a lifetime of taking handfuls of ibuprofen to try to dull the pain; PMS is much, much milder and bloating is gone; IBS is much improved, though I still have incidences on occasion, it seems to be steadily improving as my gut heals; vision is improving; and I have lost 27 pounds so far! I have the energy to exercise and am now beginning to follow the PB fitness method of taking hikes/walks, adding a few sprints, playing more and leveraging my body weight in exercises! Go me!!!

    I can’t remember a time in my life when I felt as healthy as I do now! (Like, ever!) While I started out following Wheat Belly, I read your articles here all the time, and I believe the essential elements are very much the same, and that being grain-free and low carb with enough protein and healthy fats is an essential part of how I feel now. No processed foods!

    My husband and son eat grain-free, primal as well (though my son “cheats with corn products and sugar from time to time.)

    My husband has lost 32lbs, feels and looks much younger, and no longer suffers from the chronic acid reflux that bothered him for years after most meals.

    My son doesn’t get the frequent stomach aches he was having, and the pain that I thought was “growing pains” has lessened quite a bit as well.

    Thank you SO MUCH for all of your wonderful information, Mark, truly.
    And I believe deeply that gluten is a universal toxin that is bad for everyone, but shows up in varying degrees and in various ways.

    I even started a food/health blog at the beginning of our lifestyle change, where I post recipes and articles.
    http://www.ggiswheatfree.wordpress.com and I sometimes link back to articles here to give readers more information!

    When you experience a total health transformation, it’s nearly impossible to stay quiet about it, and we enjoy spreading what we know to help people get healthy through diet, not drugs! Eating primal is the way to go 🙂

    ~Gretchen

  90. I am have a gluten sensitivity for sure. I had almost all of those symptoms as well as others. I was exhausted all the time, constant headaches and migraines, I used to have terrible allergies and got colds all the time, etc. It got so bad that my parents actually thought I had mono, but we got it checked out and the doctor said it was just a really bad sinus infection. They gave me some strong medication, it healed, and then I started getting chronic sinus infections. Finally took grains (and dairy-after finding out I had a sensitivity to that as well) out of my diet and ALL my symptoms have cleared up. No more sinus infections, no more allergies, and I have TONS of energy.

  91. I suffered from chronic heartburn every time I ate wheat for over ten years.
    I have since managed to cure myself by eating a diet which regularly features raw unpasteurized fermented vegetables.
    Of course the issue I now face is having to use my own will power to avoid eating wheat rather than the using the fear of a heartburn attack of i eat wheat. 🙂
    I do believe that a lot of these issues can be dealt with by eating fermented vegetables – they taste great and are good for oyu in so many ways.

  92. I had atrophied villi but as the lab results came back negative for celiac disease the doctor told me that I had no problem with wheat and to keep eating it…I looked at him like he was freakin’ crazy!!!!! Followed my own common sense and ditched it. Happy bowels from then on 🙂

  93. A few members of my family are Celiac, and since it is likely hereditary, I did the 30 day diet. I felt great! I then reintroduced wheat and felt terrible again. That was enough for me so I was never tested because I had previously been suffering from ulcer-like symptoms, constant digestive discomfort, fatigue and bloating my whole life which ALL went away after a few weeks grain free. My quality of life improved, and I really think it just changed my entire being for the better, I have more energy, feel happier- the change was very noticeable. This year, I did the Ragnar relay race for my second time, it’s very stressful on the body, and I got really sick; dizzy, diarrhea, nausea, cold sweats… I wound up in the hospital suffering from dehydration and was tested for all manner of things including the antibodies that indicate celiac’s and popped positive. I don’t know what it was I ate that made me so sick, but I am convinced it was the combination of stress and exposure to a small amount of gluten. Now I am even more careful of what I eat- gluten pops up in unlikely places. I worry that I will experience another severe reaction one day, but the few avoidable days of symptoms seems like a better deal than the constant yuck I was in before.

  94. I have a terrible sensitivity to the most random collection of grains and vegetables, resulting from (apparently) the truck-loads of anti-biotics I was on during my teen years. (Had tonsillitis 6 times a year; had glandular misdiagnosed as tonsillitis, had an exploding appendix and peritonitis, so antibiotics galore). In my late teens, I became really scrawny like Dobby in Harry Potter, had chronic constipation and diarrhoea and was tired ALL the time.

    I had numerous tests and not one has indicated any issues. Doctors assured me I was fine and that I was being picky, and (because our society is so freaking obsessed with weight), they focused on the skinny issue rather than any underlying causes. Every doctor told me to “Make sure you get a balanced, healthy diet, with at least 6-11(!!) serves of grains, 4 of fruit and veg’ etc, pretty much reciting that ‘Healthy Eating’ pyramid.

    Finally, one doctor picked up that I’m lacking maltase (none whatsoever) and amylase (have far less than I should) enzymes, and that by continuing to eat grains during those former years because I was told I could and SHOULD, I screwed up my digestive system even more.

    By eliminating all gluten, wheat, potatoes and (strangely) onion and garlic over a year ago, everything has righted itself. I’m still a stick but a much healthier weight, I don’t have digestive issues at all and I’m so much more energetic.

    What I’m saying is: Don’t listen to your doctors like what they say is gospel. No one knows your body quite like you, and if you know you get sick when you eat something, just don’t eat it. There doesn’t need to be a medically diagnosed reason for every ailment that befalls you.

    Also. Quit grains. You’ll thank yourself.

  95. I suffered all the symoptoms except glossitis and thyroid until I gave up wheat 7 years ago. I gave up all grains a year or so ago and felt even better. Sadly I sometimes lapse (pizza) but I really regret it the next day, or even that night (recurrent reflux that keeps me sitting up all night). I guess I am a slow learner.

    A doctor once told me he read an article that said 90% of the population are gluten insensitive to some extent – it may be very low but it’s there.

    Why do we eat this stuff?

  96. When I stayed off gluten for a month the VLDL levels (very low density lipoproteins) in my blood work plummeted back down to a healthy level. Eliminating sugar and wheat worked to drop my cholesterol by 100 points – better than the prescribed drugs (which I no longer take). I also take 500 mg of niacin, fish oil and a good multi-vitamin. Blood work stayed the same whether on paleo or vegan (still minus wheat) but I love bacon, so that choice is easy and I feel better than I have in years. Thanks, Mark!

  97. I have suffered from chronic migraines for 36 years, about 10+/- of them a month. I’ve been worked up by many specialists and tried on standard and cutting edge medication. Nothing worked. I also have always had pretty severe PMS. The last 10 years I have dealt with a steadily increasing amount of joint pain and inflammation. I have never had GI symptoms and would have never even suspected a gluten problem if it hadn’t been for switching my diet up and not eating it. I started noticing a profound difference within 3 days. I was more clear headed and thankfully my pain level was reduced. Now, 2 months after removing gluten from my diet, the only migraine I have had was the morning after I ate a few crackers that contained gluten just to test my theory. I woke up the next day in pain, with a migraine and just feeling terrible. I still have some joint pain but it is more in line with damages from old injuries and more importantly it is not ruling my life. I won’t argue about the 10 lbs I dropped right away when I removed gluten from my diet either. I only have circumstantial evidence that gluten is the culprit but that is enough for me. Waking up in the morning looking forward to the day instead of trying to get my pain under control is more than enough motivation to stay away from the stuff.

  98. Thanks for the article. I gave up gluten two years ago while training for an Ironman.
    I am looking for endurance athletes who eat gluten-free (or have eaten gluten-free) to take my very quick survey for research. I really appreciate the help!
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/667TXJS

  99. Hi everybody! I’m just starting my primal new life, it’s been actually only four weeks but i’ve already notice that without grains I have no more IBS, no more bloating, no more falling asleep after lunch… and my PMS sympthoms and pains during my period mostly disappeared! Is any primal girl who have similar experiences? Have anyone reported a link between PMS, pains and gluten sensitivity? I’m really curious!

  100. “One study found that around 12% of healthy people’s blood samples tested positive for antibodies to IgA.”

    Looks like the 12% is for IgG antigliadin antibodies. You don’t have antibodies to IgA anyway; that’s a type of antibody.

    Anyway, I’m confused about these tests. When I had my celiac panel done, the results indicated that there was a “normal range” for the antibodies, as in you could have some amount of them and still be considered “normal,” and you have to have more than that to be considered to test positive. So when they say that x% of a group had the antibodies, does that mean any at all, or outside of a range? I don’t even understand why it’s considered normal at all to have antibodies to something that’s ostensibly food.

    In any case, my own IgA AGA level was high enough to be positive, but because the IgG AGA wasn’t quite high enough and the transglutaminase levels weren’t either, my doc said the results were “inconclusive” and I should have an endoscopy to be sure.

    I decided that a positive IgA AGA combined with the rapid resolution of symptoms upon cessation of gluten consumption indicated a problem with gluten, and it seemed silly to start eating gluten again just so I could get sick again and have some more invasive testing done just to prove to my doctor’s satisfaction that I really had a problem with gluten.

  101. I had all the symptoms except the eczema. I argued with my doctor for years about being tested for Celiac, since several family members have it. He assured me it was “simple IBS”. When the diarrhea and cramps became unbearable, I decided to take my health into my own hands. I gave up wheat and grains six months ago, and I have never felt better! I lost 20 pounds, have no arthritis, no intestinal problems, no fatigue, no pain. My LDL and non-HDL numbers have dropped dramatically. At my physical last week, my doctor was impressed…”What have you been doing to drop the weight, and get these numbers?”, he asked. “Gave up all grains!”, I replied. “Huh…well that is really something,” he said,astounded.
    Perhaps I have helped a rigidly trained physician see a broader point of view!

  102. I’ve been gluten free for a little over 2 years now. It’s amazing how different I felt within just a few weeks of being off of it! I had the bad headaches, brain fogg, extreme fatigue, joint pain, depression, even pretty bad mood swings! Wheat/gluten is in everything! Now if I eat anything even the slightest bit contaminated I get dizzy, or headaches, or really sleepy. It’s tough to dodge the stuff, but it’s definitely worth it!

  103. Fabulous article. I’ve been watching the lectures by Dr. Peter Osborne on Youtube. He states all grains have gluten. Prolamine a subfracture of gluten is in everything including corn and rice. The gliadin prolamine in wheat is always the one people talk about but all grains cause this problem just with the low grade inflamation. Mark what do you think about his information?

  104. My husband & I have been eating primal for 5 months now….his Type 2 diabetes was under control in 2 days..whew! Aside from both of us losing weight, we just feel better all around. My husband had inflammation all through his body & arthritis and used to eat tums with every meal…needless to say all that is better now! Thanks to a friend who inspired us to “just try it”!

  105. I never would of thought I had a problem till I went paleo for a year. I went on a weekend binger at the state fair after a year of paleo. I ate burgers with buns, corn dogs, a sandwhich, some deep fried veggies, and maybe a deep fried Oreo. I was fine for a about two days and well after that I ended up on the floor with sever stomach cramps that landed me in the E.R. It took about 2 months to get my digestive system back in order with prilosec and anti-bodies. Since then I can only tolerate a little glutten here and there. Bagels are the worst offender… Not worth it,

  106. I eliminated grain and reintroduced. I thought I was fine. But, I found myself depressed almost all last summer. I cut out the grain again (and also cut out potatoes and other high carb foods) and the depression cleared up along with a lifelong list of other symptoms: infertility (I got pregnant after over a decade of infertility), digestive issues, a rash I thought was just my inherited “sensivite skin”, my environmental allergies (I’d had daily allergy medication and asthma meds for over 30 years), and so much more. And people wonder how I can live without bread…

  107. I’m a little confused by some of the comments. I know the Primal community advocates cutting all grains, but will many issues clear up by simply eliminating gluten containing grains?

    1. You ask a great question. I would say that my experience is exactly as you describe–but we are too complex to answer definitively. Are my gains because my Primal/Paleo lifestyle is a better way to deal with stress, because I’ve eliminated grains, because I’ve added coconut oil, because the government switched to desalinated water, because I sleep in a darker bedroom, because I no longer watch much tv, because I’ve eliminated polyester from my wardrobe? I can’t answer scientifically, all I can say is that I’m sticking with what is working.

    2. Your immune system can affect any part of your body, and if it’s reacting to gluten, then cutting out gluten can clear up a surprising array of symptoms.

    3. There are many foods that are believed to be cross reactive with gluten–mostly other grains, but also things like coffee. So, for some people there are other foods you might have to cut out to see complete relief of symptoms. For me it was a mix of gluten and also carbs. Essentially, I needed to be lower carb to stop feeding candida. But, I have major symptoms if I relax and have even a hint of gluten. If I get a bite of rice in something (say at a neighbor’s BBQ, like I did last week) I don’t have nearly the same bad reaction, but I still have some digestive symptoms, especially if it’s more than a bite. In short, you can see huge benefit just from getting rid of gluten, but in the end reaching optimal health is more complext than that.

  108. I am extremely gluten sensitive and have been without it now for years. What a difference in the way I feel! I also think I need to leave even the raw dairy out of my life. I have been trying raw A2 kefir, but have experienced abdominal distress from that also.

  109. I went off gluten when my wife was advised to do so–moral support and all that. Until that time I had a number of issues, ranging from chronic headaches to eczema. I went to my doctor with the list, and she said I was hugely over-stressed, so sent me to a psychologist. That was useful, but at one point I mentioned always being in a fog. She said she didn’t know what that is. Now I see that it makes Mark’s list of symptoms. Since I’ve gone Primal, I no longer have the headaches, the eczema, or the brain fog. I also feel generally stress free, and far more resilient when stressors come along. But I’m sure there are various explanations. I am 50, and have read that stress tends to drop at 50. So while people explain away the improvements, I’ll just keep doing what is working and enjoying the benefits.

  110. I have been plagued with night time (only) uncontrollable itching for several years. The itchy feeling is similar to hives, but there is no rash or bumps. Just miserable itching that causes me to scratch until I bleed. It started on my back and eventually has crept up my shoulders and is now on my arms just below my elbows. Weird, huh? Just recently, I eliminated wheat, and I think I’ve discovered the culprit! No more itching unless I eat wheat! I also learned that wheat causes bloating and gas, which I didn’t realize before. Anyone else have this strange type of night time itching?

    1. I had mysterious itching like you (but time of day didn’t matter) chronically dry skin, and adult acne. I also had migraines, debilitating sinus allergies, brain fog, and constant lethargy. I didn’t notice minor stuff like intestinal gas and bloating because my other health problems were so bad. MDs were at a loss, they thought I had Lupus. 18 years ago on the advice of a bodyworker I went off wheat and haven’t looked back.

      I was so happy to get my life and my energy back. I felt like an old lady at 27. Now I feel young at 44.

      18 years ago people used to look at me like I had four heads when I’d ask if there was wheat in something. Or they just plain didn’t believe I was allergic to it. It’s a lot easier now with gluten awareness entering mainstream society.

  111. I was recently diagnosed with multiple food allergies including gluten. At 32 yrs old it came as a shock. I had had blood tests before that came back fine. This time around it was a test looking for a delayed allergic reaction. Definitely something to explore, I think more and more people are developing this problem.

  112. In the middle of being vegetarian for 4 years, and being totally into grains, I had to have my gallbladder out. The surgeon and doctor both explained I was eating a diet too high in fat, thus the sick gallbladder. Since I had just gone a year without sugar and was eating mostly grains, I asked, “What’s the other explanation?” Not until I did some reading about Paleo did I understand the problem with grains to the gut. My digestion has totally changed, unless I cheat with grains! I am convinced!

  113. I read an article three years ago that linked hypothyroidism with sensitivity to gluten, so I thought I would give it a try. With in a month I felt so much stronger and had more energy. Now three years later, I have a clearer complexion and have not suffered from sinus infections. If I do get a hold of any gluten, I know it the next day or two with achy joints and tiredness.

  114. So I think we can see that there are considerable advantages to giving up the grains with gluten. But are there any disadvantages? Social? Solid stool formation? Having to become a Howard Hughs of eating? Reading blog after blog to find like-minded views?

    1. I’ve not had any problems finding gluten free meals in restaurants and gluten free items, including cookies and cakes (not that I want them) in the neighborhood groceries stores. I suppose it depends where you live. As for finding blogs, that also requires no effort, but I try to read a variety of views.

  115. After going Primal last December the wrenching intense pain which felt like a monster inside my stomach reaching in, pulling it inside out and twisting it a million times finally left me! In the past I was genetically tested for celiac but it was negative, so I went back to gluten. Now just one tiny bit of wheat contamination on a dollar bill will cause me to have a severe anaphylactic reaction! My response became much more severe. I’m so grateful that my health has turned around! Thank you!

  116. Funny you should ask… I have been going wheat free for a couple of weeks now and feeling really good. As it has been a gradual improvement in how I felt coupled with a few pounds of weight loss, I’ve just chalked it up to the initial positive attitude of deciding to live a more primal lifestyle.

    Well, we had Mexican food last night and my youngest boy had a cheese quesadilla that he merely ate the edges off of. So I fell into my old routine of cleaning my kids plates and ate the rest of that cheese filled flour tortilla. BIG MISTAKE. The miserable bloated feeling came back. The deep rumbling belching came back. The general feeling of blah came back. All carrying over to the next morning were the grouchy old fart I used to be came back.

    All this just from one partially eaten tortilla. It was shocking. It was shocking. Not just how quickly it all came on or how bad I felt but the realization that I used to feel like that ALL THE TIME. Belching, not just burps mind you but these monster belches, used to be a part of my nightly routine. But I didn’t even realize that that routine had stopped until it started up again last night.

    Suffice to say, that one flour tortilla and its affect on me was a wake up call.

    No. More. Wheat.

  117. Makes sense to me…ever since I went primal in the beginning of this year I always feel better when I avoid gluten. I know that is qualitative evidence but you can not beat results when your talking your own health and well-being…

  118. I actually have you to thank for being diagnosed with Celiac disease! I stumbled upon Primal Blueprint at the library. I started eating Primally in March and felt AMAZING! I “cheated” at one point (half a doughnut) and felt soooo sick. Very foggy brain, headache and moodiness all day. It happened another time I cheated so I went to the doctor about it. He told me I had to eat gluten for 6 weeks in order to be tested for Celiac. I did and it was HORRIBLE! I was moody and achey for 6 weeks (and this was with only eating about the equivalent to a slice of bread a day and eating Primally the rest if the time). Well, I wasn’t shocked when the blood test showed positive for Celiac. Since I am not interested in the “typical” Gluten-free diet of fake substitutes that really don’t taste great, I am back to eating Primally. I feel better than I ever have! Thank you!

  119. Listening to your body is the most important thing we can learn to do. I had psoriasis from the time I was in grade school. Eating “blue” cheese made me ill, drinking coffee made me ill, wine made me ill. Turns out I’m seriously allergic to mould and coffee! Who knew that mould was good for making wine? As I got older, say 40, I was told my hormone problems were early perimenopause. Really? Then my hands and other joints would get so bad that I couldn’t bend them – but arthritis tests showed it wasn’t that. Elimination of all grains (corn too as it gives me bad digestive problems) cleared up EVERYTHING! Imagine that. I am no longer heading for menopause. Phew!

    More people need to learn what we know, but doctors still poo poo it. I was lucky to find a doctor who just didn’t like grains (or dairy!), but he didn’t know that my issues could be caused by grains. I keep surprising him 🙂

  120. I’ve been grain free (except for a tiny amount of corn occasionally) for about a year. Also can’t eat dairy, nightshades, citrus, caffeine, onion, garlic, chilli. After eliminating these foods I have been able to go off the proton pump inhibitors and huge amounts of mylanta I chugged back daily, and now only get migraines if I cheat on the diet.

    Gluten free beer – Billabong Brewing in Western Australia has an awesome gluten free beer 😉

  121. I’ve had issues with ibs-c my whole life, escema, headaches when I was a kid, and definitely bloating. A month ago I kicked it all, gluten, gaseous veggies, dairy, all to try and see what would happen. Oddly, I felt tins better. At first the bloating went away, and the ibs slowly got better. After about two weeks my skin looked normal fir the first time in years. I went fir testing, blood and egd but they didn’t find anything. Prior ti the test I had to eat gluten again, and all the old symptoms came back. I don’t need a doctor to give me a diagnosis; no way am I going back.

  122. I have been totally gluten free for a year. I didn’t have any of the symptoms listed but had seasonal allergies. Since allergies are an immune reaction, I thought I would try it. Allergies gone! No more sinus infections either.

  123. Its worth mentioning that Danish scientists have found a link between Coeliacs and Hashmimotos – the incidence of both is much higher in each population ie: @ 30% of people who have Coeliacs have Hashimotos and vice versa.

    I have Hashimotos, so stay away from gluten because of that 🙂

    Also – if I have gluten, I get the opposite result – horrible constipation :p

  124. Gibson Girl, arthritis is commonly caused by nightshades and dairy that comes from the US and Canada. Make sure you avoid all the bad fats and stick with the good fats. I assume if you read this post you know what that means!

  125. Almost three years ago, my partner decided to get tested for celiac disease. Lo and behold, he had it — and getting off gluten immediately had astonishing effects on his health.

    My own diet was largely based on “healthywholegrains” — wheat-bran cereals for breakfast, whole-wheat breads for lunch, whole-wheat pastas for dinner — and his new dietary changes made me a little sad. I knew from previous testing that I didn’t have celiac disease myself. But when I got around to reading Gary Taubes a few months later I decided, on a lark, to try cutting carbs to see if it budged the numbers on my scale (which I felt were 15-20 lbs. too high). It did.

    Not only did twenty-two pounds fall off, but the more time I spent off gluten grains (I wised up early and stopped eating frankenfoods like “low-carb tortillas”), the better I felt! The constant aches, pains, and fog of fibromyalgia became a thing of the past. My IBS largely disappeared, and I stopped having gas, which I’d thought was a fact of life. My asthma and eczema nearly vanished, and hay fever attacks became few and far between. I stopped getting regular tension headaches. And unlike family members who didn’t cut out wheat, I haven’t had a bad cold or stomach bug in two and a half years.

    Most amazing of all, the chronic depression I’d been battling for nearly thirty years was cured in a matter of weeks. I live a normal life now, and I no longer mind getting out of bed in the morning.

    Last weekend a new neighbor (who looks to be in his early twenties) said to my partner — who, remember, has celiac disease — that he’d fooled around with Paleo but thought “this whole gluten thing is a myth.” The others in the conversation looked at each other and said when we were his age, we’d thought we knew everything too. Clearly we, and he, were wrong.

  126. I spent 12 years under the care of a gastro and psych doc for Ulcerative Colitis, GERD, hemorrhoids and depression. I had symptoms of fibro and chronic fatigue. I would hurt all the time. I tested negative for Celiac Disease so the gastro made no other recommendations and I didn’t know any better. Had a total hysterectomy at age 30. Turns out gluten issues can cause female health issues too.

    Later (because I had no answers anywhere else) I got an awesome naturopath and chiropractor. My Chiropractor suggested I try going gluten free. I did it for one week and it CHANGED MY LIFE! I never looked back. 5 months later I got tested for other food allergies and took eggs, milk, beef and some nuts out of my diet. (There may be a chance that my wrecked colon will tolerate those foods better once it has had time to heal.) A month ago I was able to get off my anti-depressant too. (I did this with doc supervision and naturopathic support – don’t do it on your own.)

    I am a NEW woman. I have the energy of 17 year old me. I have drive and purpose and joy. I don’t need a doc to tell me that gluten was wrecking my life. The proof is in the pudding! I will never go back.

    And I will tell any one that will listen – just give it a try. If it doesn’t help you in a week you can eat it again. I’m confident that if its bothering them, they will notice the difference and never want to go back.

  127. Discovering that gluten was at the source of my young baby’s stomach upset was what started me down the path that eventually led me here! I figured, if I’ve been eating wheat my whole life and had no idea what it was doing to me, what ELSE am I eating that isn’t great either?

  128. Giving up wheat made a huge difference for me with IBS, allergies and congestion and frequency of viral infections. It also reduced my sleep requirements (low-carb= less strain on adrenals? Better immune function?) But the IBS did not totally clear up until I started following the FODMAP diet. Incidentially, beer (most of it anyhow) has gluten and it is not a FODMAP and it does not exacerbate my IBS.

  129. I started a 30-day grain-free program at the beginning of the month of September and already — only 5 days in — the itchy burning eczema that has plagued my hands for years is 99% gone. The proof is in the primal pudding, my friends.

  130. Very interesting post Mark. Here in Australia I get the impression that Doctors view the idea of wheat or gluten intolerance as a ‘fad’ (except in the case of coeliac disease). I rather suspect very little time is spent on nutrition in medical school here, as a GP will always refer you to a dietician or nutritionist to advise you on diet. Even in the case of children’s food allergies the Immunologist gives advice about the allergenic foods, then offers a referral to a dietician to ‘ help’ you give the child an otherwise ‘balanced diet’. (I politely refused).

    Recently the Medical Journal of Australia published an edition ‘Is a vegetarian diet adequate’. Many of the contributors had nutrition degrees, and every article has a contributor from the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Corporate Nutrition services (Sanitarium make WeetBix and other breakfast cereals). On the back of the magazine were the logos for Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council, Nuts for Life, Lifestyle Medicine Institute (whatever that is) and Adventist Health –(Sanitarium). You’d love some of the quotes and references regarding dietary fat.

    Anyway I found this interesting reading shortly after a consultation where I could have sworn my GP rolled his eyes when he asked about my IBS and I said I had a 95% reduction in symptoms after excluding wheat and oats from my diet.

    Another example – My nephew (10 y.o.) has chronic bowel problems since a young age, constipation with overflow diarrhoea. My sister eliminated grains (expect rice) for six weeks with great improvement – symptoms returning within days of re-introduction. They were referred to a nutritionist by the GP after various tests for underlying pathologies were negative. My brother –in-law took him and was told ‘not eating grains is very ‘unbalanced’ and the amount of fat (sausages for breakfast) in his son’s diet was ‘really dangerous’. A visit to the paediatrician (even after this positive result on elimination diet) elicited ‘this wheat intolerance fad ‘ response and another referral to a nutritionist and a psychological diagnosis of his bowel problems – (i.e. he is not ‘sitting’ for long enough, poor kid). So back to the Weetbix for breaky and back to the bowel problems. I feel cross writing this – such a load of crap. (sorry)

    Like many posting here I do not feel the need for expensive and time consuming tests to prove I have intolerance to wheat and I do not care if this it too gluten or fructans or something else in the grain. I am satisfied by my own elimination experiment. However though I am curmudgeonly enough to persist with a no-grain diet for myself and my family in face of this established pro-wheat medicine , it is gratifying to know there is some science behind my ‘wheat intolerance’ when it is being implied (or openly said) that it is just a fad I am following. So thanks for the post.

  131. My father has had peripheral neuropathy for several years, and the doctors couldn’t diagnose it. The closest they can guess is that he has the early stages of ALS, which usually progresses much more quickly than it has with my dad. So he’s been living with the symptoms and (thank God) hasn’t gotten much worse these past few years. But since going to a physical therapist he has gone gluten free and noticed tingling in his extremeties that were previously numb! Also his cronic GERD completely disappeared immediately.I recommend it to everyone that asks!

  132. I went grain-free cold turkey, about 3 weeks ago.

    Lessee, what went away? Brain fog, bloating, energy roller coaster, poor sleep, mood swings, a few pounds already, …

    And all this was pretty much overnight! Fantastic.

  133. I have been pondering the mystery of grains and why they have become somewhat of a nasty to human biology, in the past few decades. Especially when there’s been civilisations which have lived off grains in the past.

    Then it occurred to me with a book I am reading about soil fertility and how plants control the whole lot, that plants have a defence system when growing conditions aren’t ideal. They make themselves more inedible.

    Nature does this so plant munchers don’t wipe out the seed producers of next seasons plants. When water and soil fertility is down, more plants turn their foiliage into toxins.

    When you think about how we’ve run the planets soil fertility down to the point we have to kill he weeds the conditions are perfect for, it’s any wonder lettuce hasn’t become toxic yet!

    I think the link here is soil fertility. Without it, we get more poisonous plants. Only unlike genuine herbivores, we haven’t avoided eating the plants which are most toxic. It would go a ways to explaining why civilisations of the past could eat gluten without any issues, but in our modern sprayed and improverished soils, we can only manage to grow more poison.

    1. Well, Chris, that does sound like something to start researching.

      I wish I could remember what that site was, it described how the new GMO crops would shred tires within one year when tractor tires used to withstand about six years. (Something about stalks that became like hardened spears.)

      1. And the sad part about that is, hardened spear like carbon matter, doesn’t make for building better soil fertility either.

        They have found animals which graze on pasture with high soil fertiliy, get no diseases, while those which graze on pasture with lower feriity, get every disease going around.

        They have found the the higher the rate of microbial activity in the soil (ie: diversity) the harder it is for diseases to develop in livestock. Sounds a lot like the human gut too. For the *more* enzymes and good bacteria present in the gut, the *less* disease associated to the process of digesting food, appears.

        When you think about it, food is just an extention of natural processes. We may think we are the top of the food chain, but ultimately it’s the plants which run the show. The plants feed the livestock, we eat the plants and the livestock, and if we don’t respect the processes of nature, we get a belly full of poison.

  134. Have any of you checked out the Genotype diet? I have a friend who was sensitive to wheat and she ate avocados every day. She learned that wheat was a good food for her and avocados were toxic. When she quit eating avocados she didn’t have a problem with wheat. Her body couldn’t handle both. Now that she’s spent about 6 months following the super food list, she can eat anything…..”Change Your Genetic Destiny” by Peter D’Adamo It’s very interesting and explains why some foods are fine for some people and not for others. Of course, you should only eat organic wheat and sprout or soak it. See “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.

  135. I was overweight w/ IBS symptoms until I decided to limit carbs. The diet was typically VLC except for a weekly cheat meal or two, usually on Friday nights (pizza night) and/or Saturday morning (lots of breakfast pastries).

    I immediately felt better LC, and lost about 40 lbs in 6 months, but I couldn’t shake some IBS symptoms that would “flair” toward the middle of each week.

    I thought that these symptoms were probably related to accumulated stress over the beginning of the work-week but it turns out that it was the pizza and pastries. Yep, the symptoms wouldn’t show up until 3 to 4 days later which made the source of the problems all that much harder to track down.

    Glad I finally found the cause, but to think I’ve lived most of my adult life suffering from gluten still bums me out.

    What I also find kind of intriguing is that I grew up eating cereal, toast and sandwiches yet didn’t have any IBS symptoms until the the early 90’s (age 28 at the time), right about when semi-dwarf wheat started to become ubiquitous in the U.S. Coincidence or no I wonder..

  136. I turned my back on grains and said goodbye to: constipation, gas, abdominal pain, back pain, joint pain, asthma, allergies, acne, fungal infections in my nails and other odd places, itchy skin, depression, memory issues, losing my hair (I’m female) and migraines. What I said hello to is… MY SEX DRIVE!

    I’m 56 and I am happier and healthier than I have EVER been. I am so grateful.

  137. I’m definitely gluten sensitive. I get the brain fog, joint pain, depression and the extreme fatigue within a few hours of eating anything with gluten. I’ve Found so many other foods and alternatives (coconut flour biscuits and waffles, although those are treats) that I don’t miss the bread anymore. In fact, I look at it and associate it with feeling bad. Who the heck wants that? I’m trying gingerly to convince my husband who has muscular dystrophy as well as severe sinus problems and allergies to give up gluten for a few weeks, but he has that “all in moderation” mentality. Sigh. Guess it will happen when he is ready and willing. Any advice? I don’t want to be pushy.

  138. What perfect timing. My hubby and I started the 21 Day Total Body Transformation program two weeks ago. Frankly, I hadn’t felt that good in years! Unfortunately, I made a homemade Birthday cake for my soon to be son in-law last weekend. I just had to try the cake. Truly the worst thing I could have done. Sure the tummy aches were bad, but nothing compared to the pain in my joints. I could barely stand up for the next two days and my joint still hurt. After this experiment, I know I will never eat wheat, gluten or sugar again! Right back at it and starting to feel better!

  139. I had some cake last week after being wheat free for a long while. By that evening I had tingling lips, dizziness and heart racing.

    Anyone had a similar experience?

  140. i have terrible symptoms from wheat. I have most of them as well if i eat gluten-free starches.They include but aren’t limited to: stuffy/runny nose, horrible heartburn and chest pains, gas, weight gain, severe numbness and tingling in my hands at night, bad crying spells that can last up to a week after consumption—and often don’t start for 24 hours after eating the wheat/gluten. I went for the blood test and it came out negative for celiac and when i told my GI doc(!) that there is a stool test for celiac, she adamantly denied the accuracy of that! needless to say i did better with treating myself by not eating gluten/wheat, which relieves me of all of these symptoms.

  141. Do you guys (who do not have celiac) avoid gluten religiously the way celiac would or you just get sure that for the most part you do not eat gluten. So you do not eat the obvious bread, pasta etc. but you are Ok if you were to ingest some from hidden sources? I hear that gluten is even in creams, stamps glue etc. You do not obsess about these do you?

    1. I’ve known I am wheat intolerant for about 5 years. At first I cut it out completely and then it was sneaking in more and more frequently and eventually I was having it about once a week for several years. As I worked on weeding it out entirely, I got progressively more sensitive and eventually to the point where now gluten (not just wheat, now) not only gives me my usual symptoms but it puts me to sleep, literally, and gives me terrible stomach pain, etc. My experience recent experience has been to avoid it as much as I can, but I don’t worry about cross-contamination in restaurants or factories. I don’t eat soy sauce, I read other labels really closely, and I ask questions at restaurants.

  142. Personally, I seem to be EVERYTHING sensitive. I’ve eliminated pretty much all grains, carbs and sugars, including most fruit, and I do feel a lot better than I used to.

    Wheat is definitely the worst! I used to have a wide variety of horrible symptoms from eating it, and cutting it out has definitely helped.

    But it’s still a struggle from day to day to have enough energy, and I’m now having difficulty with losing too much weight, since there are so few things I can eat successfully. Not sure what to do at this point, but I’m still trying.

    1. I have that problem of loosing to much.
      But I eat a banana, raw butter, whole fat yogurt, lots of raw nuts,some dark chocolade, eggs and cucumer with raw cheese as extras en hope that’ll prevent losing more.

  143. My daughter in England as tested extensively for celiac disease, but was declared negative. Nonetheless, she is definitely gluten sensitive. I keep encouraging her to go off all grains and dairy as well, but she hasn’t gotten miserable enough …yet! Last night she came close with a migraine that kept her from work. She’ll learn.

  144. I’m having a tough time determining it. I’m pretty sure eating wheat (or gluten… unsure which) triggers my asthma. I used to cough ALL THE TIME, especially after eating. Now that I’ve been mostly grain-free for a while, I notice the coughing really obviously, sometimes accompanied by some other allergy symptoms like itchy jawline. The problem is that I sometimes get that after eating anyway. :\ I wonder what I could be on this spectrum.

  145. I know I’m gluten sensitive because of how my stomach issues cleared up, but I am also pretty sure that it was causing me epileptic seizures. I have strong evidence of this but have not been off the anti- seizure medication long enough to confirm for sure. Of course, the standard neurologists don’t want to hear it and my family likes the security the drugs provide, but I think they are poison. I also think a gluten free life would mean a seizure free life. Has anyone heard anything like this before?

    1. Obviously, don’t take this as advice, but you’d be interested to know that doctors have treated intractible epileptic conditions with a ketogenic diet (especially in children) for a long time. I would hazard to guess it also might be the lack of refined carbs. I’ve also heard that gluten intolerance can cause seizures.

    2. Yes, celiac and gluten can be associated with neurological symptoms. Gluten ataxia, neuropathy , and other neuro symptoms often missed as you may have no gastrointestinal symptoms.

      Please do a bit of research at celiac.org or
      University of Maryland’s famed celiac research center headed up by Dr. Alessio Fasano.
      Just google them. Lots to learn.

  146. It turns out I don’t have arthritis; I have gluten intolerance. It’s amazing how taking wheat and other grains out of my diet has made me feel.

  147. Question on Beer anyone ?

    Is Beer ok, given it has gone through a fermentation process, which hopefully would break down some of the bad molecules (such as Gluten).

    I did some research on this, and the jury seems to still be out on this one.

    1. From everything I’ve read, most beer is out. There are a few brands (red stripe and red hook I’ve heard mentioned) which are gluten free though. I tend to go with hard cider instead; it has a similar alcohol content to beer, and tastes MUCH better in my opinion. If you can, Woodchuck hard cider is the way to go.

  148. After being on a grain-free diet for several months, I was enticed into having “just one slice” of standard flour-based birthday cake by my mother (who gleefully sabotages any and all diets, but that’s another story). Within a few minutes of eating the cake, I had gut cramps. So, yeah, I think I’ve got a sensitivity.

  149. When I started eating primally, I felt as if I’d woken up from a coma. I started with BP when I heard Mark say that it sometimes helped joint pain. Not only did it do that, it stopped the continual tremors and muscle weakness I’d felt since age 30. When I was young, I loved working out and heavy physical labor. When the muscle pain and weakness prevented those workouts, I gained weight like crazy. Life is much better now that I don’t eat poison.

  150. My apologies for over-posting today, but I have one more sort of non sequitur inquiry. Does anyone who is intolerant to casein have problems with butter? Is there any way to improve this? I can’t do cream anyway, but no butter is a sad state of affairs. I just bought buffalo milk butter (seriously, like burrata, water buffalo) and it didn’t work. I get sinusy and start swelling right away. Goat and sheep cheese don’t work, so I’m guessing their butter won’t either. Thanks!

  151. This past December, I had an allergy profile done, and found out that I had a gluten sensitivity. In addition, I found out I had an intolerance to lactose and a nasty shellfish allergy, neither of which I knew about because of the damage that gluten was doing to my gut. I also found out that this sensitivity was wreaking havoc on hormone levels throughout my body. I was told that I had testosterone levels comparable to that of a 90 year old man (I’m 20) my adrenal glands were working well below the level they should be, and I was deficient in more nutrients than I can name. If you know much about testosterone or the adrenals (which I’m sure most of you do), you can begin understand the absolute havoc that this has caused my body. I was unmotivated, tired, my brain was foggy, and I was doing miserably in all of my college courses. The crazy part was, I thought the way I felt was normal! Since cutting out gluten and dairy, my testosterone levels have rebounded, and are well on their way to being where they should be for a guy my age.

    The changes I’ve noticed in my body since I’ve stopped eating gluten have been incredible. I’ve felt stronger, smarter, I’ve been thinking more positively, and I’m more confident than at any time in the past. Its as if all of the negative thoughts I used to have about myself have been replaced with confidence and positive outlook.

    I’ll admit that the confidence and positivity stem from more than just cutting gluten from my diet, but I know that it’s been the biggest factor.

  152. Has anyone read “Wheat Belly” ? I’ve only read a small amount of the book at this point, but it begs the question of whether the problem is actually the gluten, or the fact that the wheat is genetically modified? Interesting read so far.

    1. Tracy? Please FINISH reading “Wheat Belly,” and you’ll learn that the “genetically modified” thing was to INCREASE the gluten….

      1. Interesting…. it was definitely an eye-opening book for me so far though – I didn’t realize how much of our food was GMO before this book – knew some was, but not to what extent!

  153. I had an allergy test done that said i had a mild to moderate intolernce to gluten. I was always bloated, had severe tendonitis in both wrists from work as a rolfer (deep tissue massage)plus severe inflammation all over my body. I barely ate any wheat maybe once a week but when i cut it out completely all my inflammation disapeared within a month. Now for the past year in my rolfing practice I can now tell by the feel of someones muscle tissue if they are having a gluten sensitivity. The muscle tissue feels puffy and has a unique texture to it. Even in clients that don’t have this feel to their muscles I will recommend them to try cutting out gluten to see if their chronic pain, digestive issues, migraines etc. etc. will dissapear or diminish. No word of a lie at least %95 of clients that are willing to do a one month trial come back with at least 50% less pain to no pain at all!!! Plus there tissue has a complete different feel to it, bloating gone, migraines gone, etc. etc. I am conviced at this point no one needs gluten not even in moderation! You go Mark… your a man that knows his stuff…. Go Paleo! 🙂

  154. Although my problems could be termed minor, I gave up wheat about 9 months ago.

    I began to see improvements within a month, but full resolution of some spinal problems probably took 3 months. Alleviation of the tendinitis in my thumb took several months.

    The only thing I had wrong neurologically was headaches, and they were the slowest to show improvement — I began to see a big change within 5 months.

    I may not be that sensitive to the gluten in wheat, but I have learned to hate the gliadin in wheat, with its appetite stimulating properties. I ate way too much wheat. I do not have insulin resistance, never had a problem being overweight, and am generally a person who tolerates carbs well, but I’m not going to make the mistake with wheat again. Before, I could easily eat a half-stack of Nabisco saltines, and still want more.

    Wheat truly is an anti-nutrient. I could eat a slice of bread tomorrow morning, and nothing would happen. However, in my case, over time, it is obvious to me that my ability to absorb critical vitamins and minerals has improved greatly, along with my health.

  155. my youngest daughter, now 10, was diagnosed with Celiac when she was a year old. Despite no one else being symptomatic, the entire family (my wife, two other daughters and I) have all gone through genetic screening and came back positive for the marker for Celiac. 4 years ago, in an act of solidarity with my “Celiac” daughter, I waived gluten. I haven’t touched it since and feel great…no bloated feeling, no joint aches and consistent energy throughout the day. A year ago, after nearly a year of suffering from Eczema, my oldest daughters stopped eating gluten…the Eczema disappeared. She has experimented with re-introducing gluten, and in each instance, the eczema reappears…

  156. I experience constipation when I eat gluten. That is the main reason I stay away from it. If I have some on accident, it takes at least 3 days to get out.

    Dairy has a similar effect but also causes a lot of gas.

    Does this happen for anyone else?

  157. I have both Hashimoto’s and a gluten sensitivity and when I stick to a strict gluten free diet and exclude potatoes and soy I’m a different person. Seriously I’m not bitchy, my skin issues are gone, I’m not down about anything, I have more energy….I could just keep going on and on. I’ve noticed that when my 8 year old sticks to the gluten free, soy free, and junk free diet he seems to be a different child as well. Our bodies are telling us lots of things, it’s just a matter of us listening. Thanks Mark and all your readers for keeping us entertained and educated!

  158. Went gluten/grains free for 30 days. Then reintroduced it. I experienced no negative effects whatsoever.
    The only negative effects I’ve experienced are eating more carbs again and having sugar crashes.
    So with this information I’ll be going on a low carb diet. Though as I understand it grain products (bread etc) also contain a lot of carbs.
    So I’ll be avoiding them either way.
    Looked at gluten free products the other day, which have corn starch as their first ingredient… so I’m not going to those products.

  159. Thanks for the info,that was a great help indeed.I have maximum symptoms of gluten sensitivity which i thought was of dairy sensitivity.Is that only wheat i need to avoid or something else. please suggest!

  160. I want to add my voice to the chorus on how going gluten-free can make an incredible difference in an amazingly short period of time.

    Giving up gluten resulted in:

    * More energy
    * No more crippling brain fog
    * Better sleep patterns
    * Going from getting a cold/flu at least once a month, to none in nearly a year
    * Fat loss
    * Muscle gain
    * Improved skin tone
    * Reduction in asthma symptoms
    * The disappearance of a ‘thudding’ heart beat
    * No more ‘Atomic TMI’ i.e. an extremely unstable digestive tract
    * Improved memory
    * Ataxia(dizziness, unstable gait) symptoms disappearing
    * Crippling, severe depression disappearing within a day and a half of giving up gluten

    I’d recommend anyone who has any sort of mystery or chronic illness to try giving up gluten. Even if it’s only for a couple of days it’s worth trying.

    –P.S. Thanks to Mark for this website. I’m half paleo/primal right now, and I’m going to try transitioning to the full lifestyle.

  161. What an interesting post tonight. I’ve never been tested, but I have to say that within about 3 days of giving up grains, I started to notice all kinds of positive changes which continued to improve the longer I stayed away from them- the most dramatic being the lack of that full, bloated feeling after a meal.
    Lately I’ve been getting a little careless tho, and need a “tune up “. I hear there is a 21 Day Challenge coming up – does anyone know how this works or where to get more info? Sounds like exactly what I need right now!

  162. I started following (mostly) the primal blueprint about 6 months before my wife and was very happy with the results. Both my wife and her father and brother are highly sensitive to wheat gluten and typically drink massive quantities of benadryl any time they eat any. Gluten sensitivity finally played a large role in convincing her to adhere more to the primal diet, in no small part contrasted with the obvioulsy un-natural gulping through a large bottle of benadryl every week.

  163. I’ve been diabetic for twenty-five years and for the past five years have been on a daily dose of insulin of up to 100 units. I have been wheat free now for approximately two months. My insulin useage has dropped to about six units once every two or three days and I feel that I will be insulin free within another week or two.

    I have lost about ten pounds, but my weight is about the same as it was when I first was diagnosed with diabetes. They could not understand why I had diabetes because I was not fat and most people who develop the illness are overweight.

    To me, the wheat free way of life is wonderful. I do not miss eating wheat at all. It would have been nice if I knew to avoid wheat twenty-five years ago. Maybe some people can eat wheat, but I now avoid it.

  164. Wow, I am sitting here reading all of your comments and I have to say to those of you who seem to disagree with Mark, why are you reading his stuff? Did you know that doctors diagnose people and prescribe medications without doing proper research on what they are giving their patients but were told that “this is the best on the market” or “the newest latest drug.” And did you know that digestive issues such as celiac didn’t come around until the late 70’s when the government decided to turn farmers into one crop producers…mainly corn and second soy and wheat. Gluten is the major additive in processed foods to give you that “full” feeling so we can mass produce tons of food and never be hungry. Before you judge someone for doing research and understanding how the body works, maybe you should do some research yourselves. Find the truth out there. Read some books, studies, and other articles because they are out there and they will show you that there is a major problem with our food since the creation of processed food and fast food. Don’t be ignorant because you aren’t happy that someone said you shouldn’t eat your favorite food, find out why. Investigate!

    1. Did you know that doctors diagnose people and prescribe medications without doing proper research on what they are giving their patients but were told that “this is the best on the market” or “the newest latest drug.”

      Well, Mark does seem insightful and intelligent, backing up a lot of his newsletters with studies. But it’s still a question of face value. Naysayers keep this place from feeling like a cult.

      I think I came here because I was looking for vegetable-based side dishes for nights were I knew what meat and starch we were having, and the vegetarians had too many starch-based sides. The newsletter is entertaining, whether it’s an interesting day or an “are you for real” day.

    2. It’s nonsense that celiac disease “didn’t come around until the late 70?s.” As five seconds of Googling would tell you, Aretaeus of Cappadocia described clear celiac symptoms in the second century of the Christian era. And it’s likely the disease was around for millennia before that.

  165. I have not eaten wheat in 20 years. 20 years ago I mistakenly became a vegetarian, eating plentiful grains. The lectins destroyed or damaged my knee joints and I had to have a high tibial osteotomy with external fixator on my left leg. Of course when I went back to meat I was able to eliminate my systemic candida which had developed, and my health slowly returned. I still rotate foods and do not eat grains.

  166. I is just in the starting point of giving up gluten. I have tried alot of diets for my painfully stomach. Take away milk, take alot of fibers (the worst accually) and so on.

    I was trying some diet (LCFH-low carb high fat) and I saw a change in my stomach but not good enough but after I change to a high fat/green/meat glutenfree diet I finally feel great. =)

    I have been eating this for 2 weeks now and don´t want to change it back to what it was before, ever..

  167. I won’t say that wheat is great – I myself avoid breads and many wheat products. But I don’t think it’s always horrible – I notice a big difference between higher quality locally produced breads and pasta products vs. processed crap sold in supermarkets. I wonder if part of the problem of all the allergies and sensitivities lately doesn’t also have to do with a reaction to the preservatives and other garbage that is in this stuff? I have a theory that the body starts reacting to these – but it can’t identify what they are – so it goes after the thing that is identifiable such as peanuts, or wheat.

  168. After giving up gluten I have noticed that I no longer feel bloated or uncomfortable after meals and my mood has certainly improved. I went out for dinner at the weekend and me and my partner agreed it was cheat weekend, we could eat absolutely anything we wanted which meant when my chicken liver pate came to the table I ate it with bread, then for dessert we had cake along with cheese and biscuits, a few hours following the wheat filled meal I was doubled over with stomach cramps and rushing to the toilet (not the romantic ending we were hoping for)! I can honestly say I have learned a very valuable lesson and when the fresh baked bread is tempting me I will know that the second of pleasure it will give me is not worth the pain and visits to the toilet.

  169. My son turned me onto Primal/Paleo about 6 months ago. I’ve been recently diagnosed with MS and while I normally don’t let it get to me, sometimes I eat ‘comfort foods’….bread and popcorn. Since I’m over 60 my memory isn’t very good anymore so I completely forgot the consequences of eating gluten! Thanks to Mark’s article and all of your comments I’m back off of gluten for ever!

  170. I took the opportunity of going gluten free after a big operation when the hospital provided a very good gluten free diet. By the time I went home, I was feeling good, no bloating, no migraine, no allergies, no fluid retention, no eczema spots and 10 kilos lighter. I have since lost another 10 kilos helped along by the exercise for my rehab.
    I am not coeliac, but definitely gluten intolerant. So are my daughter and grandsons. It is a strong gene.
    I have wondered if it is increasing because we eat so much more gluten now and also, perhaps more common in people who are allergic to grasses as all grains are grasses?
    Toni

    1. Wow Toni! That sounds like a prettyngood hospital!
      I have never heard of a hospital offering a non-celiac patient a gluten free diet nor one so outstanding that it altered their feelings about eating gluten.

      You are a very lucky person. Is this hospital in the states? I always like to hear of a hospital doing a great job at nutrition. So rare.

  171. Great article – I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I recently had my youngest son tested because he had some symptoms. Found out he’s IGA-deficient, so they did IGG testing and Genetic testing. He had elevated IGG and has the DQ gene. He then had a biopsy, which was negative, so he was told he does not have Celiac Disease. They did say he was very lactose intolerant, which they thought was causing him stomach pain. He tried going gluten-free after the biopsy for 3 weeks, and he felt like his ‘head was clearer’. So now I have this growing 16-year old boy who has an enormous appetite and is listening to the doctor and eating all the gluten he wants. I feel that if there is a positive IGG test, that should be enough evidence to suggest sticking with a gluten-free diet. Just wanted to rant because I’m frustrated with this situation. Thanks for the great article, by the way!

    1. Trace more often then not coeliacs (sorry I’m Australian thats how we spell it) causes lactose intloerance due to the damage to the stomach once the coeliacs is under control (ie no more gluten in the diet) and the stomach repairs its self you can go back to dairy.

  172. I was tested for Celiac’s but of course my blood work was low so they said I didn’t have it. I bloat like a pregnant woman, bad stomach pains, itchy skin, rosacea, and now I have it in my eyes too, bye contacts! My doctor told me I was lactose intolerant with IBS (easy way out). I started a low FODMAP diet which does help considerably, not completely primal but getting close!

  173. Thanks for this Mark, and all you lovely commenters! I knew I reacted to wheat because when I ate it my carpal tunnel and arthritis came roaring back. But it was annoying symptoms not debilitating, so {shrug} it was ‘okay’ every once in awhile. (Mostly, I never have wheat.)

    Before and across this past three-day weekend, I was horribly depressed and anxious — which seemed reasonable if unpleasant. (My husband died last year; not sure if his, now my, biz is failing or it’s just the economic slowdown; am waiting to get cut off at the knees when the ER bills (from the weekend-before’s kidney stone) arrive — I have no insurance, so it’s gonna be bad); and so on… (Depression is a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation!)

    Reading all-y’all’s comments: maybe the depression (which is unusual for me) isn’t just the overwhelming stress and sadness, but follows “naturally” from the bag of pretzel chips I gave in to starting last Friday: pretzels and swiss cheese being a fav comfort food…). Ran out of the chips on Sunday; today, Thursday, I’m not depressed. I’m not delighted and happy, but I’m back to stable and doing okay.

  174. Has anybody had frozen shoulder and seen any benefits from going primal. I tried to convince my ex to try primal for 30 days just to see if it would help. He pooh poohs the whole idea. I’ve had amazing results, no more eczema or migraines and weight loss but that’s not enough to convince him to try.

  175. I come from a very sickly family: MS, Alzheimers, diabetes, psychological disorders.

    Being the youngest I observed everyone’s habits and I decided to do everything the opposite of my parents and relatives. I exercise, eat healthy, no gluten, especially bread and pasta, I take vitamins for where I am deficient, low stress, etc.

    I’m the only person in my family who isn’t sick.

    The proof exists all around us and inside each one of us. You just have to open your eyes, no M.D. necessary.

  176. I was told, for 45 years, that I was Lactose Intolerant. In my 20’s, I was told it was a Peptic Ulcer. Then, in my 30’s the diagnosis was IBS. Well, as most of us do, I know my body. I experienced every single symptom, listed above, for the last 10 years. And, it was gradually getting worse.

    In May, of this year, after extensive Internet research, I chose to completely eliminate gluten from my diet. I have never felt better in my life. I now, immediately know when I have “accidentally” ingested a gluten product. As you stated, my sensitivity has increased. I have lost 10lbs without really trying and I plan to lose 40 more. I must admit it was difficult at first, reading all labels and giving up certain items. But when you know what happens if you eat it, you quickly decide it’s not worth it.

  177. I found out that wheat gave me lots of problems back in 2001, when I tried the Atkins diet. After that, I avoided only the big sources of wheat: bread, pasta, cake and cookies. The thing that was most important was the improvement in my mood and energy…no more depression, irritability, fatigue, and “brain fog”. I was not very careful about avoiding breaded fried chicken or gluten sources in processed food. GI issues, joint pain and weird skin conditions, like psoriasis-like patches above my my elbows, new sensitivity to elastic, and insect bites turning into long-term eczema, either kept happening or started happening. After going primal in June, these have all cleared up. After a few breaded, fried popcorn shrimp at a restaurant last month, I had 10 days of diarrhea, worse than I had ever had before. I actually went back to white rice for a few days until I got better. So, no more wheat-cheating for me. I didn’t really start to drop weight until I eliminated dairy products in mid-July, except for whipping cream in my morning coffee. (That trial was inspired by several commenters on this board.) So far I’m down 12 pounds in 3 months.

  178. About 15 years ago I was told by a naturopath using a pendulum that I was sensitive to wheat. It makes me tired and bloated. I am now off it and all other grains as well most of the time. I have been able to lose weight successfully for the first time in my life. I notice when I do eat it I put on about 1 Kilogram overnight and after a couple of wheat-free days (hi GI, Grain-free)
    the weight is gone again.
    I am so glad to read that now there is some “scientific evidence”

  179. I am not diagnosed as Celiac but I am definitely gluten sensitive. I started this Primal adventure a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back. I had a weak moment last week and ordered spaghetti, the first time I had eaten pasta of any kind in over a year, and I will NEVER do that again. I will never even think of reintroducing wheat back into my diet. The pain and discomfort I felt about 1/2 hour after eating it made up my mind for the rest of my life. Not worth it!

  180. I have rosacea with severe flushing and mild pustules. I have tried to find out what is the trigger for my rosacea. I was suspecting cheese, weather, etc. Until I realized that is due to gluten. So I stopped eating gluten, my rosacea became almost non noticable.

    Then 2 weeks ago I ate some crackers made from wheat. The result was severe: I had constipation for 1 day followed by diarrhea for 2 days, on the 4th day I had itchy spots and pustules on my face. Took me 2 weeks to get the stuff out of my system, now my face is back to normal.

    Now if I meet someone with mysterious skin and gastro-enteral problems, I am advising them to try a glutene free diet.

  181. The naysayers in the comments section crack me up. Not so much that they doubt…doubting is good. But that they call Mark’s supporters “cultists”, etc. The truth is that many people can truly (and luckily) eat whatever they want and have no symptoms and no weight gain, so they read this stuff and are left scartching their heads. However, I am not so sure they do not suffer from inflammation and such. That remains to be seen, I guess as this science is still evolving.

    One of them said that “everything in moderation” and “it’s all just food”. I can’t stand these cliche’s and if you understand evolution and what humans are meant to eat, you understand it’s not just all food. You don’t just feed your dog or cat a piece of birthday cake, do you? Why do we eat that stuff?

  182. My 2cents:
    I have arthritis in my right hand (I am right handed) that flares when 1 of 2 things happen: I eat gluten or I use my hand a lot in one day (as in carrying things or anything strenuous). And when I say eat gluten, I have learned the hard way that it’s even just 1/8 of a round of soft pita. The pain will last at least 3 days and I will get bloating and intestinal distress. I went for a ton of testing (which I am still paying for) which showed nothing, so the dr was “well it seems you have gluten triggered arthritis, but no other signs of arthritis, so there’s nothing I can do to help you, just stay off gluten”. So, I’m taking apple cider vinegar to help decrease the pain I experience whenever I use my hands a lot.

    1. We are trying water kefir and kombucha, both of which are purported to help replenish beneficial intestinal bacteria. One of those might be helpful for your hand pain. If nothing else, they do help the gut feel better.

  183. “If moderation is a cop out…does that mean obsession is good?” quoted from Paul, he of moderation.

    sorry to return to this guy but he “arrrghs” me.

    If you want to obsess about needing to have moderation in your life, go for it. (I’m teasing you in fair moderation)

    “obsession: the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.”

    I think that it’s inaccurate to assume or imply that people obsess over the foods they eat because they are Primal. I know that for me and my friends that are Primal, we don’t obsess about what to eat. I do enjoy reading about things related to Paleo/Primal and food in general but I certainly do not obsess about not eating grains or corn syrup or margarine. I simply don’t eat them. I don’t smoke either. It’s a choice I make but I don’t obsess over the fact that I’m not smoking cigarettes every day. So no, obsession is not good as it leads to stress, but your statement is, again based on a completely false premise. I would say that people who go Primal remove many more additive foods from their diet in general and become LESS obsessed with food. At the same time, from my experience, Primal eaters become more appreciative of the foods that they eat. Also, it’s really unfair, to the point of rudeness, to come in a forum specifically about a nutrition perspective and imply that people are “obsessed” about it. Of course it will seem obsessive since the point of any forum is to discuss singularly a given topic.

    Lastly, the earth is spherical. It’s not flat, it’s not “somewhere in the middle like all things,” or whatever other cliches you like to espouse. (and yes, to any trolls, my flat earth reference is in itself a cliched rebuttal, I realize that. Oh the Iron(y)-overload.)

  184. Gluten sensitivity caused me to have insomnia for 15 months. Discovering the cause really improved my life. My insomnia was so drug resistant I had to change drugs weekly in a never-ending cycle and I think it would have shortened my life, which was really abnormal. I hope all of us that are gluten sensitive can help the celiacs find a tipping point where unnecessary wheat gets taken out of things that don’t need it like spices and vitamins & so more restaurants learn how to avoid cross contamination and provide gluten-free choices.

  185. Yes, I am definitely sensitive to gluten. I spent over 40 years suffering with chronic joint pain and IBS. I always had to rush to the bathroom after almost every meal. I finally figured out what it was after I did a Paleo Challenge. For the first time in my life my joint aches and pains vanished. My chronically upset stomach felt just fine after meals. Unfortunately, I had a celebratory cheat meal after the challenge completed. I ended up feeling violently ill with abdominal cramps for 2 days. So, I stopped eating grains permanently and have felt great for the last 2 years.

  186. I have Celiac. I was misdiagnosed for years…vitamin absorption issues for as long as I can remember but it was all dismissed because I’ve never had the classic gastro symptoms.

    There is something wrong when an otherwise healthy 25 year old has to receive IV infusions of irons on a regular basis to keep her levels “somewhat normal.” And 3000 mg of calcium a day too, among other vitamins. Doctors are often clueless.

    Been feeling pretty good since going gluten-free!

    1. Be glad the surgeons don’t drill holes in skulls anymore! Mind you, some of those prescriptions aren’t much less barbaric.

  187. I am gluten intolerant. Been off gluten for 20 years and so sensitive to it that just a tiny bit of accidental ingestion will give me problems for about 3 months before the villi have regenerated enough. (I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which I only learned in the last year is often connected with gluten intolerance, because of the auto-immune response in the body.) One of the symptoms not often mentioned for gluten sensitivity/intolerance is this: sores inside your mouth. I was constantly plagued by them until I went GF. And if you suffer from regular migraines, consider giving up gluten, too. Because of the auto-immune response, as I understand it, the sheathing around the nerves get inflamed. These days I am sensitive enough that I can distinguish between a ‘regular’ migraine and the ‘brain on fire’ migraine of gluten.

    Thanks for a great article, as always, Mark!

    1. Uh, you sound celiac, not merely gluten intolerant…

      Not diagnosing here, but from those symptoms…if it walks like a duck…

      1. I agree that level of sensitivity is definitely coelics not just intolerance

        1. Celiac is not well understood, and I doubt if anyone has done studies to determine healing rates, if any medicos even believe there could be a cure. If the body can recover from celiac, it would probably be a long-term process, I suppose matching or exceeding the length of time it took to develop in the first place.

  188. I have been eating Primal and GF for over a year now and have experienced so many benefits from the change in diet.

    Just last week my wife and I met our daughter and her husband at a pizza place and as we arrived Joe said that he had ordered me a beer. When it arrived I thought, “Oh, what the hell, it won’t kill me”. It tasted so good I ordered another one. Big mistake. In addition to the bloated feeling I had trouble sleeping that night and for the next couple days I had a continual urgent need to pee, and then when I got to the bathroom, had very little flow. There were a couple times when I almost wet my pants. I recalled that before going Primal I had had intermittent urinary annoyances, but that they had completely cleared up since I had stopped eating grains and started eating Primal. So it only took a couple bottles of beer to trigger it again. It makes me wonder how many people are taking unnecessary drugs for urinary problems that could be cleared up by not eating grains.

    I’d also like to mention that I had been having to take antibiotics several times a year for chronic sinus infections. They seem to have completely gone away.

    And people that I haven’t seen for a while say “Oh, you look so healthy!” (BTW, I’m 64)

  189. I know for a fact that non celiac gluten intolerance exists. about 3 years ago, on the advice of a CRNP friend I had the ALCAT test done, I was shocked at what I shouldnt be eating. Up till 2 weeks prior to the test I was on thyroid meds, anti depressants, anti acids and daily doses of NSAIDS. I quit cold turkey to do the tests. When I got the results and eliminated my intolerances from my life for 6 months, my eczema disappeared, I no longer needed thyroid meds, anti depressants, anti gas or antiacids. No suprise, a couple of my major intolerances were wheat, grains and CORN. I laugh now when I remember my doctor feeling my gut and telling me it was likely diverticulitis back then. Cut out the grains and everything changed on my insides.

  190. I haven’t read the pages & pages of comments, & congrats to anyone who reads all the way to mine. 🙂 But I just want to mention that the amount of gluten sensitivity in the USA has skyrocketed since the introduction of genetically engineered wheat flooding the market in the 1980s here. If you have ANY extra time or money, no matter where you live, you can volunteer to help or donate agains the millions Monsanto, Dow, etc. are spending to defeat a GMO labeling law in California in November. Remember, what goes in Cali WILL affect~maybe even determine~what Monsanto et all can get away with in the rest of the country. PLEASE support Yes on 37! This is SUPER meaningful to Primal eaters! Here is the website.
    http://www.carighttoknow.org/

  191. I’ve taken a celiac test and its come back negative, but I know I have issues with wheat. After 30 minutes of ingestion, it feels like someone has sucker punched my stomach, intense gas begins and almost exactly 24 hours later after consuming, I get a sickening migrane. Going primal has been much easier on my grocery bill (I can’t afford the $6 gluten free breads) and much easier on my stomach.

  192. I just read this article and I am amazed. I did not know that everyone might have some sensitivity to gluten. I personally believe that I rely too much on gluten based products and I am willing to try this diet. I will definitely link my results to this amazing blog! Again thanks for a great article!

  193. Hello,
    I had dandruff for the last 3 years before going paleo. When I started the diet, after 3 days with no gluten, it was gone. On a paleo diet for the last 8 months (went from almost narcoleptic to full of energy in 3 weeks), each time I have dandruff coming back, I can relate it to a accidental exposure to gluten and need 3 to 4 days to get rid of it.
    Is dandruff a known sign of gluten sensitivity ? Is there anyone else having this symptome when exposed to gluten ?

    1. Me too. It´s the wierdest thing. I never would have connected the dots before getting off wheat.
      But there you have it. Along with no knee pain, down over 50 pounds, no more depression, no more dry skin, vastly improved sleep and on it goes.
      To me wheat is a bloody posion.

  194. Last October, I stopped all grains. Since then, I wake up without “fog brain”. I am alert and ready to go. I had severe osteo arthritis since my late twenties and it was crippling in my feet. I made myself walk despite the pain. Since that time, I am pain free in my hips, knees,ankles and feet.I also have no more irritable bowel syndrome or diarhea. I don’t know why this seems to be related, but it would be worth further study. I also limit dairy and legumes. I am a fifty something. I’ve never had more energy than this. I eat a specific ratio of protein, good fats, veggies, and carb. With such good health benefits, why not try it and see how your body feels as Mark suggests.

  195. I started becoming more gluten sensitive when I was pregnant last year (it’s apparently not uncommon). Hence I really cleaned up my act to about 75% Primal, having gluten maybe twice a week – any more than that and I started to really feel it. After I gave birth, though, the gluten started slowly creeping back in. Well, until last week. A bout of food poisoning (homemade applesauce was growing fuzz) seems to have rendered me both lactose and gluten sensitive, literally overnight. I’m not 100% whether it’s one or both, since I stopped them both as soon as I realised they were the cause of my continued lurgy. Tonight’s dinner of chicken soup with barley should help answer that question.

    I asked Dr Google what was going on there (I didn’t have cancer! Bonus!) and discovered that a sudden onset of gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance after food poisoning is much more common than most people realise. Hopefully once I’ve been off the gluten for a few months I can slowly reintroduce dairy – I’ll be a very unhappy chappy without the option of raw cream on my blueberries. 🙁

  196. I want to say how pleased I am that I tried gluten free Paleo diet. My husband has tried to get me to try it for a few years now & I resisted. But, since I started this journey in June my migraines are almost gone. I still have a few but, I was starting have them almost everyday. My migraine medicine is very expensive. (my insurance doesn’t cover my medicine) I have also lost 22 pounds so far. My son thinks I am crazy he thinks gluten free is for people with Celiac Disease & I have told him I don’t care it must be working for me if I am not having migraines. All I know is I am happy to be gluten free!

  197. Great article, but test for celiac before trying the gluten elimination.

  198. I had a stool test done and it indicated to avoid all gluten etc. so went and had a upper and lower GI done and it didn’t show Celiac, and unfortunately that’s all the doctor was concerned about. But I do find when I avoid wheat/gluten I perform and feel much better, less brainfog! but I thik if the doc would of “diagnosed” me celiac I’d be more diligent, It’s a mental thing!

  199. There is another symptom caused by eating wheat….itchy butt! I had itchy butt so bad I went to the doctor. How embarrasing! He couldnt find anything wrong and then later, after about a week of grain free itchy butt went away. I seem to have a threshold of how much grain I can eat before IB returns. I know a couple of people who have confided to me about itchy butt and I tell them to 86 the grains.

    Bobbie

  200. The one thing I’m sure of is that no one diet is right for everyone. EveryBODY is different.

    I’ve been off gluten (as well as soy, dairy, oil, sugar and raw) for a year, trying to address a long-time problem: urgent diarrhea first thing in the morning (I generally feel fine the rest of the day and have no other symptoms.) Doctors suspect gluten sensitivity leading to a weakened ability to digest fats. But all sorts of other things trigger episodes too, and I’m never exactly sure what’s to blame. Anyone else in the same boat?

  201. I just read Wheat Belly too…so this is perfect timing. I grew up with asthma for no real known reason. Played sports and “outgrew” the asthma as doctors said I would. What came next? Eczema…the skin related cousin of asthma (genetic). So I dealt with ugly and often embarrassing eczema on the hands and feet for many many years. Only treatable by cortisone based creams I was told. Tired of the itching and flare ups, I tried alternative methods and that worked okay. Pulled myself off wheat 45 days ago (had a rare slice of pizza and still enjoy a beer)..,Amazing how the symptoms have cleared, my energy level has vastly improved, and I feel way better. #nowheat

  202. Going gluten free did alleviate my symptoms for sure. Back then, to me, that was proof that gluten is inherently evil.

    However, as I researched more about health and different ways you can become reactive to foods (other than the usual “it’s all in your gut health!”), I started to correct those imbalances (which was much simpler than removing all gluten forever or doing crazy things to heal my gut)

    I looked more into raising my metabolism (i.e. body temperature) which has made life so much easier for me. All the things I attributed to bad gut health and wheat were pretty much eradicated.

    I don’t recommend eating wheat at all, but I don’t go out of my way to avoid wheat and gluten. Going out and eating whatever ONCE IN A WHILE is something I love doing, though. It’s nice to know that it won’t destroy me anymore, either.

    My 2 cents.

  203. I had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, esp. in my hands and hips/knees. MRI’s confirmed degenerative changes in my gnarled hands. Was barely walking with a cane. Was taking Methotrexate (chemo) & narcotic pain pills daily. Went gluten-free and within a few days was walking easily & w/out pain – 1 mile walk around the park…NO PROBLEM. Hands didn’t hurt any more. After many months gluten-free & off all pills for RA, my Rheumatologist redid the MRI’s of my hands and found HEALING of my joints (according to Dr, this just does NOT happen). Was discharged from the Rheumatologist and haven’t looked back since. Okay, well, I’ve had an accidental exposure to wheat/gluten here and there, resulting in pain in my hands and joints, sometimes for 3-4 weeks after. Boy, am I more vigilant now about checking EVERYTHING that goes in my body! If you suffer from any kind of auto-immune symptoms, I highly encourage you try going gluten-free. It requires diligence, but gets easier & easier the longer you adhere.

    1. That is very encouraging seeing I have rhuematoid arthritis. I have noticed I feel so much better when I ditch the stuff. Awesome!!!

  204. Growing up in a province, in Canada, whose licence plates proclaimed, “Wheat Province” quite proudly, makes it difficult to now leave the stuff alone. It is ingrained very deeply, despite the symptoms I have lived with my entire life. My mother told me I was born covered in exzema, I underwent allergy skin tests at a young age, suffer from asthma, and even had an operation called “draining the antrums” when I was 5. The doctors said I would have to repeat this procedure every five years. (This was in 1948) Never had it again.
    I had stomach cramps and bloating constantly, but never seriously considered wheat until I read “Wheatbelly.” Even though I feel much better when I avoid the grain, I frequently find myself in the bakery department, often taking home something from the day-old discount table. (I’m also a cheapskate) Dr. Davis talked about wheat’s ability to hit the same receptors in the brain as opium, and I believe that is why I can’t resist. I’m not trying to make excuses, but the foods look, smell and taste (for the first few bites) great, but within a few minutes, the negative reactions begin.

  205. When you’re advocating going off wheat for a month, or indeed giving it up altogether if reintroducing it brings symptoms, how hard-core are we talking? I lived for five years with a coeliac who was sensitive to the smallest crumb. It looks like a hard life to live. Do you think that people who suspect a gluten sensitivity should go to the same lengths?

  206. About 15 years ago a chiropractor put me on a cleansing fast for 3 weeks to “cure” my allergies and asthma. List of foods allowed were mostly fruits and veggies (but no citrus fruits or nightshade veggies). No meats, processed foods, grains, dairy. After 2 days on the fast, my allergies, asthma, excema and intestinal troubles all cleared up.

    I became a believer that what we eat drectly impacts the imflammation in our body and we can cure ourselves by changing what we eat.

    When I added foods in after the fast, my two biggest triggers were dairy and gluten.

    Since then I have been allergy and asthma free and a host of other ailments have righted themselves.

  207. I started seeing a naturopath after irregular (but too frequent for my liking) severe abdominal cramps. Followed the recommendation of removing gluten and dairy. No cramps since…except that one time when I ate something that I wasn’t 100% positive was gluten-free.

    I initially wanted to re-introduce gluten (life is easier when you don’t have to think about what you can’t eat), but after accidentally eating a little and having the same pain immediately return, I’m now completely happy leaving gluten out of my life (but I do crave good bread).

  208. I just returned from Burning Man and while prior to that was more or less 85% primal, I was definitely 100% on the playa. Not only did I lose weight, and lots of water, I also lost my bloat. I was diagnosed with Cholera while in India 5 years ago and it’s been very difficult to lose weight and the bloat. Upon returning to the “real” world I reintroduced a croissant 3 mornings in a row with an americano, and a plate of pasta for lunch yesterday. Low and behold – this afternoon a brain fog hit so hard I thought I was going to pass out – and the bloat returned. For me, it takes a certain amount of gluton to build up in my system, and time, before I react. I really get my sensitivity now. p.s. Thank you, Mark, for your incredibly detailed informative blog – been reading it for about 8 months now and I’m finally starting to heal.

  209. You are right that people can develop a wheat sensitivity, even though they test negative for Celiac disease. I am a medical provider, and have experienced the same problem for several years, as well as all of the same symptoms. Except, I became sensitive to other foods as well (corn, milk, animals fed grains, etc). With much research, I learned about the problem of dysbiosis of the gut, and knew that my problem (wheat sensitivity, IBS, inflammatory symptoms, etc) originated from that. Based on my research, there is a reason why people develop wheat sensitivity; and our high carb, high sugar diets, have a lot to do with it. I sought treatment from my primary care physician and a gastroenterologist, but both were limited in their knowledge. After many expensive tests, they could not tell my why my problem existed nor how to resolve it. I ended up going to a physician, specializing in functional medicine, who was able to do tests which revealed I had a significant overgrowth of intestinal candida, as well as a very low level of healthy gut flora. The candida had taken over, and caused leaky gut syndrome. With aggressive treatment, and a strict candida diet, I am on my way to recovery. In a year or two, once my intestines heal, I hope to be able to include some wheat on my diet again. I recommend that you do some further research into your medical condition. Giving up wheat can help for a short time, but if your problem stems from an overgrowth of candida, then other grains and sugars will also become a problem, and your symptoms will flare up again despite removing wheat from your diet. Best wishes, Karen

  210. I suffered from chronic sinus infections, blocked ears, post nasal drip, and coughing for YEARS. Even had surgery. Quit the gluten and it ALL cleared up in2 weeks. Hadnt breathed so well ever! Now if i have a small cheat, I’m stuffy and coughing within hours. Eat it all day and it takes several weeks to recover from the sinus infection.

  211. Grains make my skin break out, too, is there anyone experiencing the same? Maybe it could be added to the list of symptoms?

  212. I went primal for one month – wow!!! My IBS is gone, the burping, gas, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating – all gone! Since I’ve had my galbladder out in 2007, I’ve never felt right and now I do. Now I’m off the meds and feel great! Thanks for the enlightenment!!!

  213. I was diagnosed with dermatitus herpetiformus 3 years ago. Eating gluten causes me to itch a lot and get spots on my body, not disimilar to knat bites. The doctor advised me to follow a gluten free diet. Occassionally I’ll have a flair up, but on the whole, gluten free has helped.
    My partner has diabetes and we have been reducing his carb intake for the last 2 months (since i found Mark’s daily apple). He hasn’t cut grains out, only down, and his glucose levels still aren’t down to 5, but he had less wind and we’ve both lost some weight.

  214. Hi, I am a human with the usual human sensitivity to gluten. Also I cannot deal with any type of insoluble fibre. I am hypoglycaemic too.Bummer. I have been gluten+ sugar free for 2 months. I am almost symptom free(tada)including no more Hypoglycaemia! However, I am reaaaaaaally struggling with getting enough carbs in to me as I run about 20-25 miles a week. Please can anyone help me with some links to food ideas as there are really only so many bananas one can consume!

  215. Not until my rheumatologist suggested I might be sensitive to gluten did I even consider it. I went Primal about a year ago and recently started to eat things I shouldn’t. Now that I started to eat primally again, many of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity have come back. My doctor and I was discussing the other day about this whole issue of gluten and eating properly while ditching certain foods. I told her that when I eat right, my symptoms almost go away. She said that she has heard that so much lately that she is going to start researching this because there must be something to it. Hmmmm…

  216. im 99.9% sure it’s a gluten intolerance. after a month of paleo, i ate ‘regular’ this weekend when i was out of town (carbs and everything) and ALL the symptoms came back. that’s no coincidence! funny story though-when i went back to my doc to ask for the IgG blood test today just to be sure, he said they didn’t even do it, because it’s not common! he prescribed me a medication, ordered another test, told me to visit my GI and took two tubes of blood from me for a CBC test, just for fun. total WASTE of time and energy. im happy to know im not the only one with these issues, because i walked out of there feeling so abnormal.

  217. I used to own and operate a dental ceramics lab, and for some 10 years or so, I suffered on a daily basis from a morning “sinusitis” that would have me draining an unstoppable amount of nasal liquid for around 5 hours every day. It got to the point I used a t-shirt as a handkerchief.

    To me it was “obvious”. I was allergic to one of the many powdered stones or any other of my dental lab materials. I was wrong.

    I learned about gluten, started a gluten free diet and in a few days the problem was solved!

    It has been almost 3 years of a gluten free diet for me, and the same amount of time the problem disappeared.

    Gluten in our diets is a health wrecking enemy. It is a cellular toxic molecule, specially today with the new genetically modified varieties of wheat and grains allowed into the market.

    I found this website today. I have spent a couple of hours reading it, and is great to find a person with which I can agree on in so many things.

    I am subscribing now! :O)

  218. G’day, YES! I do believe (through my own experiences with gluten) that the human body was not designed to eat gluten (wheat, rye, oats etc)
    I had been plagued with VAGUE symptons and general feeling of ill-health almost all of my life (I even had an internal examination by keyhole surgery to determine why I had constant stomach pains (like appendicitis – only I had it taken out years before (it very nearly burst – another indicator of gluten sensitity??)
    Then, for one reason or another (mostly lack of money – student days) I stopped eating bread and other processed things didn’t drink milk or use dairy products – just ate what is now called a primal plan of eating – and I was as fit as a fiddle and twice as healthy.
    To cut a very long story short, life happened and not knowing that I was on the right path of eating, I slipped back into everyone’s way of eating and finally ended up vomiting all night because I had eaten fish with batter supposedly made with corn(maize) flour but containing wheat instead.
    Twice more I had this problem before I FINALLY came to realize that both gluten and dairy were a problem for my body. I have been medically diagnosed with both gluten and lactose intolerance- since then I have done my utmost to avoid them both.
    AND I feel sooo much better.
    Hope this general info helps someone else.

  219. wow, lots of comments on this subject! here’s a little something that mark missed: there are many studies out there that suggest all auto immune disease is gluten related. i have hashimotos. i suspect i also have celiacs. i gave up the wheat because of my thyroid and lo and behold, all of my gastro-intestinal problems vanished, along with my joint pain. i eat a mostly paleo diet now but i do indulge occasionally in a gluten free treat. i find though, that my body is not happy with any grain product. i just don’t feel right after my indulgence.
    i believe there is a very recently published study (JAMA?) where a definitive link between blood type and diet has been established. us O types do best on a hunter gatherer diet, it’s not “just theory” anymore. that is 40% of the human population! also, most people who suffer from auto-immune disease have an O blood type. it’s a no-brainer for me, grains are just bad business for a huge chunk of the population.

  220. I have been gluten intolerant for 5 months now. The symptoms just starting slamming me so hard that I had no choice but to stop eating it. Every time I did eat it I couldn’t stand up or stay out of the bathroom it hurt so bad. My husband offered to go on a gluten free diet with me so that we didn’t have any contamination issues in the house for me. Now if he tries to have a sandwich while out on a job or whatever, he experiences discomfort as well. So he’s staying away form it all together. And we’ve realized that some people are just not tolerant of this. My father in law thinks this is just in his head and he really can eat gluten, he just is delusional and thinks he can’t. And we have explained over and over what gluten intolerance is, and if I eat that sandwich I’m going to be in a lot of pain and in the bathroom. He still just doesn’t seem to get it and nags my husband to eat gluten, even though he’s said time and time again that he can’t. Any one else have this problem??? If so how did you get them to understand?

  221. You really make it seem so easy with your
    presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  222. I have been gluten free for 4 years and palo for 1 yr. I just havent seem to healed and going paleo helped but I took a food allergy test and it showed me still reacting to gluten even though I havent had it in over 4 yrs unless by accident and some other sensitives now. My doctor wants me to do the rotation diet the problem is it has legumes, bread in it which I dont eat so I cant get enough nutrients or protein right now. any advice or actions that you would recommend. I do know I am intolerant probably celiac .. from eliminating gluten.

  223. I’ve been trying to do a gluten free diet for about 1.5 years. I haven’t done a perfect job–but have tried to stick with it. I’ve struggled with a lot of inflammation issues–IBS, tendonitis, Psoriasis, PCOS, unexplained infertility and an inability to lose weight even with exercise. I quit gluten AND milk (but not all dairy.) I lost 40lbs in 5 months. My ovarian cysts disappeared. My regular cycle returned (had been truly gone for 2-3 years.) My skin got better. I felt better. When I ate gluten again over the holidays, I gained weight, my tendonitis returned, I became sluggish–a lot of negatives. I’ve been off gluten again for about a month–lost weight, inches, feel great. Tried a sandwich yesterday & today with wheat bread–my skin is now burning, I’m tired and recommitted to my gluten-free lifestyle. Just not worth it…

    My gastro did the celiac test and I came back negative. I’m thinking I am gluten sensitive–whether or not a test can catch it–the symptoms are there.

  224. Thanks for finally writing about >How Common is Gluten Sensitivity?
    | Mark’s Daily Apple <Loved it!

  225. I can’t say for sure I may be gluten intolerant or not, but I do know many of the typical symptoms you share here that I experienced on a pretty frequent basis are not so prevalent to me since I have been going primal for over a year now.

    I do see that on those times I overdo the carbs (donuts) I see the reaction pretty quick. Just a good reminder to watch what I eat closer.

  226. Hi – What’s the deal with my gluten sensitivity being JUST as sensitive as a celiac’s? I get sick even from minute amounts of gluten – e.g. cross contamination. I have yet to meet a non-celiac who reacts as strongly as I do to any traces of gluten. #bitter

    What gives??

    1. Well some people test “negative” for celiac but may still be. My BFF is although she tests out as not celiac. I’m not celiac but I am also very intollerant of all grains, my cure, don’t eat them. Ok, well a bite of dessert now and then that may have a teensy bit of grain…. once or twice a year, yeah, that can happen.

  227. When people say “well a tiny bite now and then”, it makes me realize just how gluten intolerant I am. I would never consider a bite of flour – it’d probably kill me! Cross contamination makes me sick for days. Enjoy and be grateful…I say that with love, and no bitterness; I want others to realize how lucky they are and to fully enjoy their cheats! =) I’ll live vicariously haha

  228. I think I am pretty much just like you. I’m not 47, yet, but, getting close. I believed I had no problem with gluten and that my problems were all soy and dairy related, and, maybe they are, since, almost everything made with wheat also is made with dairy and / or soy in it. But, considering the way my stomach feels, and, considering how it has developed after eating toast, sandwiches, cup o’ noodles over the last several days, I have to concede the possibility that it really is gluten insensitivity.

    I know that I don’t have the slightest problem with oatmeal, though. There were days I had nothing but oatmeal, and, it makes me feel strong and healthy. I know that many people with Celiac disease cannot eat that, either, so …

    So, this month, I am using up the pancake mix, spaghetti noodles, beans, etc., because, I am too poor to throw food out or give it away. Then, next month, I do the Whole30 and see what happens.

  229. Regarding your statement “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 going to be your best (and probably the only necessary) lens.” You overlook the possibility that an individual may be suffering from more than one sensitivity that would invalidate your “gold” standard. 5 years ago Entero Lab test revealed 6 intolerances (6 of 15). Not a perfect resolution even then. A recent blood test by U.S.Biotek for 96 foods revealed a total of 20 foods/food groups) leading to a diagnosis of a “leaky gut”. Which comes first, the intolerance creating leaky gut or stress/medications/bacteria imbalance creating a leaky gut resulting in intolerances from autoimmune response when food molecules make their way into the blood stream? It is not as simple as it may look with limited information/data.

  230. Giving up wheat products and food containing wheat, has changed my life. Reading Marks Daily has confirmed that I was right to do so, it has been life changing. The effects of wheat on the human body is catastrophic and explains a lot. We have a National Health Service which really should be re-named, the National Sick Service until wheat has been removed from our daily diet.