Gluten, a protein present in wheat, rye, and barley, has been associated with over 55 different diseases. Surprisingly, approximately 99% of individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease remain undiagnosed. Recent estimates indicate that up to 15% of the US population may suffer from gluten intolerance, leading to a growing concern about its prevalence and potential health impacts. This article aims to shed light on the symptoms of gluten intolerance, methods of testing, and the importance of eliminating gluten from one’s diet for effective treatment.

Recognizing Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

  1. Digestive Issues: Gluten intolerance may manifest in the form of gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, especially in children after consuming gluten-containing foods.
  2. Keratosis Pilaris: Known as ‘chicken skin,’ this condition may result from a deficiency of fatty acids and vitamin A due to gluten-induced gut damage.
  3. Fatigue and Brain Fog: Feeling tired or experiencing brain fog after a gluten-containing meal could be a sign of gluten intolerance.
  4. Autoimmune Diseases: Gluten intolerance has been linked to autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, and Multiple sclerosis.
  5. Neurological Symptoms: Dizziness or a feeling of imbalance might indicate gluten intolerance.
  6. Hormone Imbalances: Conditions such as PMS, PCOS, or unexplained infertility may be associated with gluten intolerance.
  7. Migraine Headaches: Frequent migraine headaches could be a potential symptom.
  8. Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia: If conventional doctors cannot identify the cause of fatigue or pain, gluten intolerance should be considered.
  9. Joint Inflammation: Swelling or pain in joints, such as fingers, knees, or hips, might be related to gluten intolerance.
  10. Mood Issues: Anxiety, depression, mood swings, and attention deficit disorder (ADD) can be linked to gluten intolerance.

Testing for Gluten Intolerance

One effective method for identifying gluten intolerance is through an elimination diet. By removing gluten from the diet for a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks and subsequently reintroducing it, individuals can observe any adverse reactions. Since gluten is a large protein, it can take months or even years to clear from the system fully, making an extended elimination period even more beneficial.

Dr. Amy Myers emphasizes that if individuals experience significant improvement without gluten or worsened symptoms upon reintroduction, gluten is likely problematic for them. Achieving accurate results from this testing approach necessitates the complete elimination of gluten from the diet.

Managing Gluten Intolerance

The key to managing gluten intolerance effectively lies in a strict 100% elimination of gluten from the diet. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross-contamination, medications, or supplements can trigger immune reactions in the body.

Contrary to the 80/20 rule or occasional indulgence when dining out, individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity must avoid gluten completely. An alarming study published in 2001 revealed that consuming gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.


Gluten intolerance affects a considerable number of individuals, with many remaining undiagnosed. Recognizing the symptoms and undergoing an elimination diet for testing can aid in early diagnosis. The importance of eliminating gluten entirely from the diet cannot be overstated, as even small amounts can lead to adverse health effects. If you suspect gluten intolerance, consult with a healthcare professional to receive appropriate guidance and support for optimal well-being.

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