Always having problems with your intestines: it could be gluten intolerance

Always having problems with your intestines. It could be a gluten intolerance. Because there are many people who suffer from their intestines every day. Diarrhea and constipation alternate, they almost always have stomach ache, especially after eating, and they often have a swollen stomach and/or suffer from a lot of flatulence. It is often stated that this is irritable bowel syndrome. But is that also true? Because a gluten intolerance can also cause many intestinal problems. And it is precisely such a gluten intolerance that is often not diagnosed.

Irritable bowel syndrome and gluten intolerance are very similar

The thing is, the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and gluten intolerance are actually quite identical. People can have a large number of complaints that are almost the same in both. Because irritable bowel syndrome cannot actually be clearly identified, this designation is often given if there are persistent intestinal problems. But eating gluten can also be the problem and that is often not investigated.

Celiac disease

Gluten intolerance is often directly linked to celiac disease because many people are familiar with it. It is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine caused by a gluten intolerance. The only thing that helps against celiac disease is following a strict diet without gluten. And that diet can never be stopped, it must be followed for a very long time. About 1 in 100 to 200 people have celiac disease in the Netherlands. Only most people don’t know that at all.

No celiac disease but gluten intolerance

People think you have celiac disease if you have a gluten intolerance. But nothing is less true. People simply cannot tolerate gluten without suffering from celiac disease. They mainly have all kinds of intestinal complaints, but can also feel very bad in general with changing moods and a major shortage of the right substances in the body. There are also people who have no complaints, but cannot tolerate gluten. In most cases, however, no diagnosis is made, because there are no complaints.

Complaints of gluten intolerance

The complaints that can occur with a gluten intolerance are:

  1. Strange stools. Then diarrhea again, then constipation again or alternately
  2. Strange smelling, somewhat sour stools that are often greasy
  3. Abdominal pain, swollen abdomen with a lot of flatulence
  4. Nausea, vomiting
  5. Losing weight for no reason
  6. Not feeling well
  7. Not hungry or very hungry
  8. In children, there is a delay in their growth
  9. Bad teeth and tooth enamel defects
  10. Always tired, always sleepy
  11. Anemia
  12. Bone abnormalities: such as osteoporosis
  13. Reproductive problems


Gluten intolerance reason or cause of other diseases

With certain conditions it can also happen that gluten intolerance actually causes other diseases. These include:

  1. In diabetes mellitus type 1 (1 in 30 has celiac disease),
  2. Irritable bowel syndrome (1 in 10 have celiac disease),
  3. Thyroid disorders (1 in 10 develop celiac disease),


Know if you are hypersensitive to gluten

Anyone who has thought for years that they suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, but is then suddenly presented with the possibility of gluten sensitivity, can simply try to stop eating gluten. That sounds simpler than it is, because gluten is in many products. From bread to pasta, from muesli to cookies and from sauces to soups. However, anyone who only eats gluten-free for a while will quickly notice whether his or her intestines are doing better. Evidence has not yet been provided, but this can be done through certain studies. Celiac disease can only be proven by making a biopsy of the small intestine. Blood tests for AGA IgA antigliadin, EmA anti-endomysium and IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase (IgATTGA) are also part of the study. People with celiac disease often have a very poor absorption of nutrients because their intestines work poorly. This can be seen in the low values for:

  • hemoglobin,
  • iron,
  • calcium,
  • vitamin B12,
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D.


Determining other gluten hypersensitivities

Forms of gluten hypersensitivity other than celiac disease can be determined by determining IgA anti-gliadin and IgG antibodies against gluten in the blood and/or determining IgA anti-gliadin and tissue/transglutaminase in the stool. This is a blood test that can only be arranged through a doctor or naturopath. Anyone who has already stopped eating gluten can have blood tests done, but these often reveal nothing.

Also other sensitivities if you cannot tolerate gluten

If someone is hypersensitive to gluten, there is unfortunately a good chance that there are also other hypersensitivities to, for example, cow’s milk protein, lactose, yeast, fatty food or food with a lot of sugar in it. Pungent herbs and spices can also pose a problem. These hypersensitivities are caused by gluten intolerance, because they have affected the condition of the intestines. As a result, the intestinal flora is often considerably disturbed. (This can be found in a stool test).

What is gluten?

Gluten is proteins from gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Many products contain gluten, so you have to be careful when eating and drinking all kinds of products. With celiac disease, gluten can no longer be eaten at all, so that also means that gluten-free food must not have come into contact with gluten. Anyone who has a different form of gluten sensitivity will have to find out for themselves what is possible and what is not. Small amounts of gluten do not always have to be a problem.

What can you eat if you can’t eat gluten?

Eating clean is too easy an answer to the question of what you can eat if you are not allowed gluten. Because it’s not that simple. In principle, grains are a very pure food for many people, but for someone with a gluten intolerance that is absolutely not the case. Grains can be replaced by:

  • teff
  • corn
  • rice
  • buckwheat
  • amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • potato flour
  • tapioca
  • oats (but only the whole grain, such as oat flour or home-made oat flakes. Oat flour and oat flakes from the store often contain other grains with gluten).


The disadvantages of gluten-free food: gluten-free food is often very sweet and high in calories

Because it is known that more and more people suffer from a gluten intolerance, there is an increasing supply of gluten-free products. They are often made with starch without gluten, but often with a lot of sugar. Moreover, there is no longer much good in starch without gluten. Grain protein, germs and grain husks have been removed. Bread, pasta and pizza made from gluten-free flour therefore often contain only calories and nothing in terms of vitamins, minerals, fibers and other good substances. Those who eat gluten-free often notice the difference: the bread is much sweeter and tastes more like cake, the pasta is also much sweeter. However, there are also gluten-free products that come from the whole gluten-free grain, such as whole wheat flour, whole wheat corn flour, teff and quinoa flour. Gluten-free flour or items with gluten-free starch do not have any of that. If you want to know exactly what is in a purchased product, it is best to look at the ingredients list. The most important ingredient is the ingredient listed first. If teff flour or whole wheat corn flour is mentioned first, it means that it is a product that contains good substances. If flour or whole wheat is mentioned first, then that is also a good product. If starch or flour is listed first, it is a processed product and provides little to no nutrients. Adjusting your diet in such a way that you eat much more vegetables, fruit and, for example, potatoes and rice, can prevent you from developing deficiencies or becoming congested with calorie-rich gluten-free products.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins that occurs naturally in certain grains such as wheat, rye, spelt, kamut and barley. It is a sticky substance that ensures that bakery products such as bread, cookies and pastries become nice and fluffy and taste good. When someone with a gluten sensitivity still eats gluten, the intestinal mucosa is damaged. Anyone who stops eating gluten will feel better again quite quickly afterwards. With celiac disease, this requires more time, because the intestinal mucosa must first recover.

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