Gluten is basically a composite of two proteins, which are known as glutenin and gliadin. An intolerance to gluten can cause the inflammation of the intestinal lining, whenever a food containing this protein is consumed.
Gluten intolerance refers to the sensitivity to gluten. Gluten is actually a composite of two proteins, known as glutenin and gliadin. This protein can have adverse effects on the intestine of those people who cannot tolerate it. Some people are allergic or intolerant to this protein, and they experience a range of annoying symptoms after consuming gluten-containing food, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and the food prepared from these grains. This intolerance can develop at any age.
Intolerance to Gluten
Gluten can cause the inflammation of the intestinal lining in people who are sensitive to this protein. This in turn can manifest in several painful symptoms. The condition mainly affects the small finger-like projections, known as villi, that can be found in the intestinal lining.
When the intestinal lining or villi get damaged, it can adversely affect the absorption of some vital nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. In the most serious cases, it can lead to celiac disease.
Celiac disease is characterized by the damage of the intestinal lining by the immune system, which is triggered by the consumption of gluten-containing food. Several factors, including genetics, physical injury, severe illnesses, and traumatic shock, can trigger the development of an intolerance to this protein.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of this condition can vary from one person to another. If symptoms are present, they can either appear immediately or several hours after consuming gluten-containing food. The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms this condition can produce:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Unusual fatigue
- Depression and irritability
- Frequent headaches
- Mouth ulcers
- Muscle and joint pain
- Skin rash
- Eczema and dermatitis
- Malnutrition and stunted growth in children
- Foul-smelling stool
Management and Prevention
At times, it may seem quite difficult to follow a gluten-free diet, as this protein can be found in so many food. Apart from wheat, rye, barley, and oats, this protein can also be found in a number of food made from these cereals, and a wide range of processed and baked food. It can also be found in certain medications and supplements. In order to eliminate this protein completely from your diet, you have to read the labels of all food products before purchasing.
If left untreated, this condition can lead to some serious complications. Apart from celiac disease, it can cause Crohn’s disease, anemia, osteoporosis, and diverticulitis. Therefore, if you observe the symptoms of gluten sensitivity, and if such symptoms are persistent in nature, then consider to go for the gluten intolerance test. This test can help find out if you are really intolerant to this protein. If the result of the test is positive, then eliminate this protein from your diet altogether. Talk to your physician and dietitian to formulate a proper diet, that can provide all the essential nutrients required by the body without including gluten-containing food in it.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.