Gluten Intolerant: Are You?

FACT: Symptoms are not a reliable indicator of a gluten sensitivity.

Gluten Free Food, Food Intolerances, Food Sensitivities

Emily was telling her friends how she has started eating gluten free foods. She went on to share about all the new gluten free products she has discovered at her favorite supermarket.

“Have you been tested?” Jane asked. 

“Well no… I haven’t been tested but I feel better when I’m not eating gluten, and I think  in my case it’s gluten causing diarrhea"

This is a common experience: Guessing gluten is causing one’s bowel problems.

There is a much better chance, however, that Emily has food intolerances or sensitivities, not an allergy to gluten.

Just 10 years ago few people had heard of “gluten free” except those who suffered from an extreme intolerance to gluten, known as Celiac disease. Research shows that only 1% of the American population have Celiac. That means only 1% of people truly need to be gluten free. 

That leaves the rest of us guessing- either those who don’t know if we are gluten sensitive or, like Emily, those who think we are gluten sensitive.

Is gluten making you sick? Or is it something else irritating you?

One thing the gluten free movement is not free of is… confusion. Here are few facts:

FACT: The gold standard for testing for gluten intolerance is an intestinal biopsy. 

However, there is no known biomarker for gluten sensitivity. Yet many people, such as Emily, mistakenly self diagnose and eat gluten free foods unnecessarily. 

FACT: Symptoms are not a reliable indicator of gluten sensitivity. 

More than 100 symptoms, which can be attributed to other conditions, have been linked to gluten sensitivity. Plus, some symptoms mimic gluten sensitivity when in fact there can be many other causes besides gluten.

FACT: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. 

Yet we think of gluten as a carbohydrate, not a protein. So some of us cut down on carbohydrates when the problem may be wheat or another grain sensitivity, or a fat, carbohydrate or protein intolerance, not gluten.  

Can gluten cause diarrhea?

FACT: Gluten can cause diarrhea and it gluten can cause constipation as well. Traditionally doctors were taught that gluten causes diarrhea. New findings show, that patients with gluten intolerance may also be constipated. Just limiting your thinking to gluten diarrhea may cause you to over look gluten as a cause of your problem.

Do you really need to be gluten free? 

It’s rarely necessary to go to all the trouble of a gluten free diet for many people with chronic bowel problems. If you’ve tried to solve bowel problems on your own, assumed that you have gluten sensitivity, or sought professional advice that hasn’t helped, don’t give up. There is another solution.

At the Digestion Relief Center, we know that when we can find the cause, we can find the cure.

We use a multi disciplinary approach to bring you relief. First we assess what foods are causing your bowel symptoms. We can identify food sensitivities, like gluten or wheat, and intolerance to other foods. Then, we help you modify your diet, enhance your digestion and desensitize you to the foods that produce allergy-like reactions.

Once Emily understood her ‘true’ trigger foods, and improved her digestion of starches and complex sugars her symptoms improved. She no longer had to place herself on highly a restricted and expensive gluten free diet. And, she is able to live without the fear of “not making it to the bathroom in time”.

If traditional medical approaches for bowel problems are not working, call Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741 to schedule a consultation at our office in Chico.  Find out how you can live life free of the pain and embarrassment of bowel problems. 

Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC, Internal Health Specialist, Founder of the Digestion Relief Center,  specializes in effective, natural relief for IBS, food sensitivities and digestive problems. He has has helped thousands of people in Chico, Redding and the Sacramento Valley live their lives free of the pain and embarrassment of bowel problems. Learn more at

Published in the Chico Enterprise Record April 2012.

2012, © Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved. 

Related Articles

Eating Gluten Free But Not Free of Bowel Problems?

Gluten Sensitivity - Should You Be Tested? 

Is Your Bowel Allergic to Your Food?

Gluten: Some Things You Need to Know 

Digestion Relief Center 

2639 Forest Avenue, Suite 120 Chico, CA 95928


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