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Are You Born With Gluten Intolerance?

By: Christine Whitfield BA (hons) - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Gluten Intolerance Child Allergy Adult

Gluten intolerance is a malabsorption disease which also goes by other names such as celiac sprue and gluten enteropathy. A gluten intolerance is when it is difficult for the body to get the required nutrients from foods.

The body does not produce a digestive enzyme called intestinal glutaminase that is essential for digesting gluten products. Sufferers can develop celiac disease which is when gluten is unable to leave the body and so Gliadin (a molecule that makes up a large part of the protein in wheat) antibodies are produced. This in turn makes the bowels become flattened and so getting rid of waste products and toxins becomes difficult. The bowel will turn irritable, becoming more permeable, which is when sufferers develop symptoms as larger proteins are able to pass through.

The body’s response to this is to producing more histamine, seratonin, kinins, prostaglandins, and interleukins and they can all trigger or aggravate autoimmune and inflammatory. It is often difficult for doctor's to diagnose gluten intolerance and so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and if you have concerns, to consult your doctor or take a home test.

Am I Born With It?

A gluten allergy is an hereditary disorder and so people can be born with it. Sufferers can still develop it as a child allergy or it can even be developed as a late onset allergy. However, a gluten allergy can appear at any time of life but some research shows occurrence does not change much between childhood and adulthood and so gluten intolerance is likely to have been developed at birth, as a child or when a person is growing up. However, there have been reports that those who have had a child allergy will then see it fade and return as in their 30s or 40s.

Gluten intolerance can also be brought on through stress, infection, surgery and childbirth. To be sure to avoid a reaction, those suffering with the allergy or believe they have symptoms of the adult allergy should consult a physician or dietitian who specializes in allergies such as these. Symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Dyspepsia (an uncomfortable sensation or pain in the upper area of the stomach)
  • Diarrhea (possibly the symptom that is the most major)
  • Fat excreted in stools (because of poor digestion)
  • Insomnia, fatigue and/or irritability
  • Emotional or behavioural problems / referral to psychiatric counselling
  • Conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, and many, many more
  • Repeated episodes of bad gas and/or foul, burning, and ropey stools
  • Pain, burning, or numbness in skin, joints, hands, feet, and/or muscles
  • Seizures
  • Bad teeth
  • Obesity or emaciation
  • Frequent headaches
  • Frequent colds

If diagnosed with gluten intolerance, a dietician or physician will be able to help devise a gluten free diet plan. Even once a sufferer knows the type of foods that are gluten free, it is still important to read all food ingredient lists carefully to make sure that the food does not contain gluten to avoid a reaction. If you are unsure whether a product has gluten in or not then make sure you speak to the assistant.

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