We now know that while many people may tolerate gluten without any issues, there are still millions of people that experience negative and even debilitating effects from trace amounts of gluten. Some people might be experiencing negative effects from gluten without realizing it, attributing the symptoms to other health conditions or just a part of life they must deal with.
For decades, people that suffered from celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) did not have these options available and were left to suffer silently while frequently being misdiagnosed with other conditions. The increasing awareness of the role gluten plays in our health has helped to improve the way we treat many conditions, and the way we produce food and medications. Health care providers are now much more likely to consider dietary factors and utilize dietary approaches including nutritional supplements to bring their patients back to optimal health.
Before making drastic changes to your diet, it is important to work closely with a trusted healthcare provider that can help you determine what will work best for you. This is especially true if you have any medical conditions or are using any medications. Your healthcare provider will want to discuss any symptoms you are experiencing in addition to your current dietary practices and your personal health goals. They may also want to monitor levels of some nutrients in your blood to make sure you are being adequately nourished, as well as to track your health and progress following any changes.
Many people are misled into believing gluten-free food items are healthier for them than their gluten-containing alternatives. A gluten-free cookie is likely still loaded with similar unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat as a gluten-containing cookie. Removing gluten from the diet may help improve a person’s health when it comes to gluten-triggered symptoms, however, it does not make an unhealthy food healthier for you.
Most of us need to be eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, which also happen to be gluten-free. A healthy and balanced diet that incorporates plenty of fresh produce and lean protein is naturally going to contain far less gluten compared to a diet heavy in processed foods, fast-food, and other junk foods. A well-balanced gluten-free diet is likely healthier than the average American diet.
Most of the time, when we think about gluten, it is in relation to the food that we eat. However, gluten and gluten-containing ingredients can be found in much more than food items. It can be found in medications, supplements, and even items like toothpaste. Remember that in people with severe cases of celiac disease, even trace amounts of gluten can cause unwelcomed symptoms. This means that even gluten residues on production equipment can potentially contaminate other products that do not have gluten-containing ingredients.1 It is important for companies to test their products and verify that there are not even trace amounts of gluten present in the final product.
About the author:Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings, the makers of Viniferamine Supplements and Skin Care.