24 Signs That May Be Warning You To Try A Gluten Free Diet

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24 Signs That May Be Warning You To Try A Gluten Free DietInfographic © herbs-info.com

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley which acts as a glue that holds the foods together and helps maintain their shape. Gluten can be found in many foods, especially those that we eat every day like bread, pasta, salad dressing, beer, and cereals. [1]

Some people have an allergic reaction to gluten found in wheat which is triggered by the immune system. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is when the symptoms similar to celiac disease is experienced but no antibodies and no damage to the gut are found. [2]

Pay attention to these 24 signs that may be warning you to try a gluten-free diet:

1. Gastrointestinal problems. People with gluten sensitivity may experience abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and bowel problems. [3]

2. Headaches or migraines. Studies found out that people with celiac disease experienced migraine twice as frequent as people who do not have the disease. [4]

3. Premenstrual syndrome. Gluten intolerance makes the body produce more estrogen, resulting to premenstrual syndrome among women. [5]

4. Infertility. Gluten is known to be a hormone disruptor and could cause problems with conception. [6]

5. Stiff joints. Joint pain is one of the symptoms that people with celiac disease experience, and eating gluten-containing food triggers stiff joints. [7]

6. Inflammation. For people with arthritis and celiac disease, gluten may also cause inflammation in the joints to worsen. [8]

7. Anxiety and depression. People who are gluten intolerant are found to be more prone to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. [9]

8. Schizophrenia. Studies have linked gluten intolerance and mental illness, though the reasons for the connection between the two are not fully understood. [10]

9. Hyperactivity. Eating foods with gluten triggers behavioral disorders like ADHD, whereas a gluten-free diet brings significant improvements to the behavior. [11]

10. Keratosis pilaris. Commonly known as chicken skin, gluten intolerance damages the gut, which causes fat-malabsorption. It could eventually lead to keratosis pilaris. [12]

11. Asthma. People who have allergic diseases like asthma are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to wheat or gluten intolerance. [13]

12. Sniffles. Wheat and gluten allergy also causes runny nose and sniffling. [13]

13. Chronic cough. Celiac disease and chronic cough have been closely linked since gluten intolerance causes inflammation in the nasopharyngeal airway. [14]

14. Crohn’s disease. Researchers found out that adhering to a gluten-free diet may help people with Crohn’s disease, and that foods with gluten could worsen intestinal inflammation. [15]

15. Skin problems. Some people develop itchy, blistering rashes when they ingest gluten. It can be treated with medication or a gluten-free diet. [16]

16. Low energy and fatigue. Inflamed intestines cause poor nutrient absorption which leads to lack of energy and strength. [17]

17. Insomnia. People with celiac disease, as well as those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, are prone to anxiety and depression, which could lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. [18]

18. Fluid retention. Inflammation in the intestines leads to edema, or fluid retention, which could be a factor of weight gain. [19]

19. Autoimmune disease. If you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, eating gluten-containing food may worsen your condition. [20]

20. Miscarriage. Celiac disease could cause miscarriage and birth defects due to the mother’s malabsorption of nutrients, especially folic acid. [21]

21. Weight loss. Adults and children may have unexplained weight loss and slower development despite having a normal appetite – a condition called failure to thrive. [17]

22. Nutritional deficiencies. Because of intestinal inflammation and poor absorption, a nutritional deficiency may occur. [22]

23. Vomiting. Some people experience nausea and vomiting after ingesting gluten. This is because of an individual’s allergic reaction to wheat. [17]

24. Nosebleeds. This is a problem that can develop over time because the intestine does not absorb key nutrients. [23]


[1] What Is Gluten? https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/what-is-gluten/

[2] Gluten Sensitivity. https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/about-coeliac-disease-and-dermatitis-herpetiformis/gluten-sensitivity/

[3] Is Gluten Causing Your Bowel Problems? http://www.digestionreliefcenter.com/resources/articles/about-gluten/is-gluten-causing-your.html

[4] Kopishinskaya, S. et al. 2015. Gluten Migraine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26356609

[5] Gluten Intolerance and PMS – What’s The Association? http://healthnowmedical.com/blog/gluten-intolerance-pms-whats-the-association/

[6] Choi, J.M. et al. 2011. Increased prevalence of celiac disease in patients with unexplained infertility in the United States. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21682114

[7] Rath, L. 2015. The Connection between Gluten and Arthritis. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/anti-inflammatory/gluten-free-diet.php

[8] 8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation-8.php

[9] Jackson, J. et al. 2012. Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641836/

[10] Cascella, N.G. et al. 2011. Prevalence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in the United States clinical antipsychotic trials of intervention effectiveness study population. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19494248

[11] Niederhofer, H. 2011. Association of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Celiac Disease: A Brief Report. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184556/

[12] Myers, A. 2013. 10 Signs you’re Gluten Intolerant. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7482/10-signs-youre-gluten-intolerant.htm

[13] Wheat Allergy. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/wheat-gluten-allergy

[14] Brightling, C.E. et al. 2002. A case of cough, lymphocytic bronchoalveolitis and coeliac disease with improvement following a gluten free diet. http://thorax.bmj.com/content/57/1/91.full

[15] Casella, G. et al. 2015. Celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26006779

[16] Ratini, M. 2014. Slideshow: A Visual Guide To Celiac Disease. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/ss/slideshow-celiac-overview

[17] Celiac Disease – Symptoms. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/celiac-disease–symptoms

[18] Zingone, F. et al. 2010. The quality of sleep in patients with coeliac disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20937049

[19] Libonati, J. 2010. How to Lose Weight on the Gluten-Free Diet. https://glutenfreeworks.com/blog/2010/01/21/weight-gain-in-celiac-disease-how-to-lose-weight-on-the-gluten-free-diet/

[20] Myers, A. 2015. 3 Important Reasons to Give Up Gluten If You Have an Autoimmune Disease. http://www.amymyersmd.com/2015/09/3-important-reasons-to-give-up-gluten-if-you-have-an-autoimmune-disease/

[21] Gasbarrini, A. et al. 2000. Recurrent spontaneous abortion and intrauterine fetal growth retardation as symptoms of coeliac disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10972376

[22] Nutrient Deficiencies. https://www.gluten.org/resources/diet-nutrition/nutrient-deficiencies/

[23] Celiac disease – sprue. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000233.htm

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