GLUTEN (Celiac Disease): How to treat Gluten Intolerance? How to build a Gluten-free diet? What foods contain Gluten? Side-effects of Gluten on the body? How to treat food intolerance using medicinal plants? Tips from Mr-Ginseng.

Gluten

“Gluten” is a sticky substance (from the Latin “Glu”), formed from proteins found in cereals such as wheat, barley, rye… Gluten is the source of numerous health problems and chronic illnesses. More than 10% of the world’s population is said to be allergic or intolerant to Gluten without even knowing it! Our recent habits of consuming excessive quantities of wheat and thus of Gluten (particularly in Western countries) have led to the emergence of “Celiac Disease” (Gluten intolerance) which presents numerous problems and symptoms such as diarrhea and/or constipation, joint pains, weakening of the bones and immune system… as well as cancer in the long term! Today, many doctors confuse “Gluten intolerance” with “Irritable bowel syndrome”, a mistake that can have very serious consequences on the body in the long term! But how should Gluten intolerance really be treated? And how can we change our diet without creating deficiencies? 

Gluten: Symptoms – Side-effects – Dangers

Danger du Gluten

Gastrointestinal problems

- Diarrhea (+++) which leads to loss of nutrients, vitamins and essential minerals.
- Abdominal pains, stomach aches (+++)
- Gas, bloating (+++)
- Constipation (+)
- Irritable bowel (+++) (Gluten creates inflammation and weakens the intestinal wall => poor synthesis)
- Vomiting, nausea (++)
- Chronic digestive problems (++) (stomach, intestines)
- Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory diseases (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Lactose intolerance (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)

Chronic respiratory problems

- Chronic respiratory problems and allergies (++)
- Rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, otitis (++)
- Sore throat, tonsillitis, flu (++)
- Cough, hoarseness, excessive mucus (++)

Chronic fatigue and weakness

- Weakness of the immune system (++) (especially due to the fact that Gluten weakens the intestine, which is key to the immune system)
- Sleep disturbances (+)
- Unexplained fatigue, particularly during digestion (but also throughout the day) (+++)
- Pimples resembling acne (the liver is unable to deal with all the toxins generated by foods rich in Gluten)
- Liver fatigue and weakness (+++)
- Neurological problems, depression (+) (Gluten even affixes itself to the lining of the brain)

Cancer, weakening of the immune system

- Increases risk of intestinal and stomach cancer (+++)
- Significantly increases risk of lymphoma and blood cancers (+++)
- Increases risk of development of all cancers (+)
- Increases risk of infertility by 15% (++)
- Increases risk of kidney stones (++)
- Development of autoimmune diseases (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)

Skin problems

- Skin that itches for no reason, hives (+++) (this can be accentuated by other food allergies)
- Dry skin (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Appearance of red spots, eczema (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Atopic dermatitis (++)
- Acne (++)
- Psoriasis (+)
- Dandruff (+) (can become more serious with other food intolerances)

Weakening of the bones, teeth, joints

- Arthrosis, Arthritis, joint pains (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Joint and muscle pains (+++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Osteoporosis, bone weakening (++)
- Back pain, weakness
- Fibromyalgia (+++) (Gluten and other food intolerances can provoke fibromyalgia)
- Increased frequency of muscle cramps (++) (care is advised for athletes)

Central nervous system

- Can provoke headaches, difficulties with concentration (++) (very common with Gluten intolerance)
- Migraine, headache, vertigo (++)
- Concentration problems (+)
- Drowsiness (+)
- Depression (+)
- Hyperactivity (+)

Eye and hair problems

- Frequent conjunctivitis, dry eyes, swollen eyelids (++) (relatively common with Gluten intolerance)
- Hair loss, baldness in the long term (+)

Cardiovascular problems

- High blood pressure in the medium term (++)
- Atherosclerosis, lipid deposition on the walls of the arteries (++)

Endocrine system

- Type I diabetes (++)
- Type II obesity and diabetes (++)
- Thyroiditis (++) (relatively common in the medium term with Gluten intolerance)

Gluten: How to build a Gluten-free diet?

How to build a Gluten-free diet? How to replace Gluten-containing foods?
- Fruits and vegetables in plenty (+juices): bananas, avocados, carrots, dates, peaches, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, clementines, oranges, kiwis, grapefruits, lemons, acerola, sea buckthorn, as well as Goji Berry (very rich in vitamin C). Vegetable juices are really effective in reinforcing the intestine which gets weakened by food intolerances such as Gluten intolerance. Fruits and vegetables are much more healthier than wheat. Actually, wheat has been modified a lot during the past 50 years, and is not nearly as well-adapted to the human body. Moreover, fruits and vegetables are also much easier to digest, and are a healthier source of nutrition. One of the healthiest world cuisines is fruits and vegetables cuisine, as well as medicinal plants such as Ginger and Turmeric.
- Potatoes: the potato in all its forms (boiled, fried…) should be part of your daily nutrition within your Gluten-free diet.
- Quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat: are Gluten-free cereals. It should be noted that soy flour and coconut flour are also Gluten-free.
- Rice: as well as the dietary supplements and medicinal plants mentioned below, it is better to consume rice in the place of bread and pasta . Rice is a staple grain that is healthier than wheat (even if fruits, vegetables and potatoes is much more suited to humans).
- Maize: although it is not as good as fruits and vegetables, maize is nevertheless well-adapted to a Gluten-free diet.
- Meat and fish (to be taken in moderation): beware of genetically modified products that can contain Gluten, notably in ready meals! Make sure to check the packaging.
Unmodified basic food stuffs: try as much as possible to consume simple, unmodified foods; they are the basis of a healthy and balanced diet, and will considerably reduce the risk of food intolerances such as Gluten intolerance.
Food supplements to avoid: eggs and dairy products are the source of many food intolerances, but so are genetically modified products, ready meals, preservatives…

Gluten: Which medicinal plants can be used for treatment?

- Turmeric and Ginger (combat inflammation, help to prevent cancer, purify the blood): numerous studies have proven the effectiveness of these two powerful spices for repairing the intestinal wall and combating inflammation. In addition, the two spices are very effective in helping in prevention of cancer and in toning the digestive organs such as the liver, stomach, intestine and pancreas… But above all, they purify the blood (especially Turmeric). Blood purification is paramount in the case of Gluten intolerance, because Gluten resides in many places in the body and can provoke lymphoma and other blood cancers.

Furthermore, Ginger and more especially Turmeric have been the subject of numerous studies in the fight against food intolerances, Crohn’s Disease, lymphoma, cancer of the intestine, lungs and stomach as well as irritable bowel syndrome. Turmeric and Ginger are much more effective when used in combination, and their anti-inflammatory and protective properties are also greatly enhanced when they are combined with other spices (Pepper, Cloves, Oregano, Savory…). They also have considerable anti-inflammatory properties, notably for the intestine; Gluten is prone to cause inflammation in the intestine and in the rest of the body. (Find more information on these medicinal plants in their respective articles: Turmeric and Ginger).

- White and Green Clay/Activated Carbon (combat diarrhea, blood cleansing): used internally, they can play an important role in combating diarrhea and purifying the blood. Clay lines the intestine (like a gastric dressing), allowing good minerals, nutrients and vitamins (of which Clay is also a very good natural source) to pass. Activated Carbon also acts by imprisoning all the body’s toxins including Gluten. However, it must be taken very regularly in the case of diarrhea linked to food intolerances such as Gluten and Lactose intolerance. Caution is advised for those who commonly suffer from constipation, as Clay and Activated Carbon can lead to constipation in high doses. In addition, White and Green Clay, as well as Activated Carbon, are effective in cleansing the blood and the skin. Clay can also be used externally to combat dry and dehydrated skin caused by Gluten, as well as for removing pimples; Clay is very effective for cleansing the skin of all toxins.

- Spirulina (powerful source of minerals, trace elements and vitamins): contains all the essential minerals and nutrients. It is an extremely rich alga – containing iron, calcium, phosphor, magnesium, beta-carotene (provitamin A), numerous B-group vitamins… – that helps to compensate for all the potential deficiencies brought about by food intolerance. Spirulina can play a very important role in Gluten intolerance, because malabsorption can lead to numerous deficiencies in minerals, vitamins and trace elements. Spirulina also provides very strong protection of the immune system as well as the healthy functioning of the digestive organs. Caution is advised, however, as Spirulina can have a laxative effect in high doses. (Find out more in the article on Spirulina).

- Maca (restoration of hormonal balance, energy, osteoporosis): combats osteoporosis and restores energy. Maca is not only a well-known energizing and aphrodisiac plant; it is also effective in combating osteoporosis and muscle weakness due to its rich content in minerals such as calcium. In addition, while Gluten can disturb the balance of the hormonal system in the medium term, Maca is particularly powerful in reestablishing its healthy functioning. (See the article on Maca).

- Ginseng and Rhodiola (energy, nervous balance, sleep): restores healthy nervous balance and vitality, and combats depression. These two plants are considered to be adaptogens, i.e. they help the body to adapt to different forms of stress, such as fatigue linked to Gluten intolerance. Ginseng has been recognized for centuries, whereas Rhodiola was discovered more recently by the Russians (during the Cold War). The two plants are very effective in combination for restoring normal sleep and combating stress and depression. Ginseng is also effective against diabetes and cholesterol, which can be caused by food intolerance or overconsumption of fats. (See the articles on Ginseng and Rhodiola).

- Ashwagandha (sleep, stress, neurological problems): Ashwagandha is a very effective plant for those with sleep problems linked to diet (e.g. Gluten intolerance), and for those who are suffering from stress, tension or insomnia. It is well-known that diet impacts on stress and vice versa; Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic (Indian) plant with a strong reputation for restoring energy to convalescents. In addition, the plant is known to combat Alzheimer’s disease and all neurological diseases. The effects of Ashwagandha are close to those of Ginseng, giving rise to its nickname “Indian Ginseng”. (See the article on Ashwagandha).

- Royal Jelly (vitamins, minerals, powerful energy): in conjunction with Spirulina, the well-known Royal Jelly provides numerous vitamins, minerals, proteins… It is the number 1 remedy (along with Ginseng) in the case of general weakness of the body, and it is recommended in combination with Ginseng or Spirulina for restoring energy. (See the article on Royal Jelly for more information).

- Echinacea (protection of the immune system, winter illnesses): is a major medicinal plant for stimulating the immune system, and for those with chronic respiratory infections, chronic coughs, throat infections or recurrent flu. It is one of the best plants for the immune system, helping to fortify the body and to keep it healthy during winter. (See the article on Echinacea).

- Aloe Vera (skin protection, reinforcement of the immune system): for those who suffer constantly from constipation, Aloe Vera juice is the number 1 remedy. It is also an excellent means of reinforcing the immune system, and used externally, Aloe Vera is effective in combating all kinds of skin problems (dry skin, eczema…). (See the article on Aloe Vera).

- Omega-3 (cardiovascular system, autoimmune diseases, anti-inflammatory, combating cholesterol): those with food intolerances (such as Gluten intolerance) very often have deficiencies in essential fatty acids, particularly the famous Omega-3. However, Omega-3 fatty acids are the key to healthy blood pressure regulation, preventing the formation of clots in the blood vessels, as well as helping to combat autoimmune diseases and prevent inflammation, notably in the intestine: Omega-3 acids are reputed to combat inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Omega-3 acids are also very effective for combating bad cholesterol. (See more information on Omega-3).

- Probiotics: several strains are effective for combating food intolerance, but probiotics are not really sufficient for combating Gluten intolerance because the consumption of Gluten is generally too high. Even if you only eat one biscuit and 5 slices of bread a day, probiotics will not be effective enough to repair the intestinal problems. Beware of commercial scams on probiotics which are often very expensive.

- Semi-fasting/Eating less: one additional solution for combating Gluten intolerance is to reduce the quantity of food consumed per day (both Gluten-containing and Gluten-free), the goal being to allow the intestine and the digestive organs time to rest so that they can rebuild themselves naturally. The body needs rest in order to repair itself (digestion demands a lot of energy), and “semi-fasting” consists of eating more lightly and in lower quantities. Favor potatoes-based foods and lots of fruit and vegetables (particularly vegetables juices) during this period. Avoid foods that take a long time to digest.

Gluten: What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an intolerance for Gluten, and is an autoimmune disease: the body perceives Gluten as a foreign element and thus tries to defend itself against it. The problem is that in defending itself, the body paradoxically attacks itself. The body’s effort in fighting against Gluten greatly weakens the intestine, causing inflammation and making the intestinal walls much more fragile. This can lead to various reactions such as “Leaky gut syndrome” (bacteria and viruses pass more easily into the body and the intestinal barrier no longer fulfills its protective role) and/or “Irritable bowel syndrome” (which is most often characterized by frequent diarrhea).

This can also lead to malabsorption, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and it weakens the entire immune system (the intestine being the key to a healthy immune system). This is why Gluten can lead to such a broad variety of complications; diarrhea and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms because the body completely rejects the waste and toxins produced in this “war against Gluten“. When the body can no longer reject it, Gluten spreads through the blood and accumulates throughout the body (causing joint pain, cramp, muscle weakness, fatigue, dry skin, eczema…) In addition, the liver is forced to work 10 times harder in order to deal with the toxins that are created, all the while receiving less of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for its healthy functioning. In this way, the whole body is weakened.

In the medium/long term, “Celiac Disease” can have very serious health consequences and can affect the whole body, even going as far as intestinal cancer and the creation of lymphoma (several scientific studies have proven this), as well as the onset of numerous chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic cough, chronic fatigue, arthritis and other joint and muscle problems. Since every person reacts differently, the consequences vary; however, they can pose a very serious health risk, which is why a correct analysis of the symptoms related to Gluten intolerance (or other food intolerances such as intolerance to Lactose and other dairy products, which is also very common) is vital.

Gluten: Where is it found?

Main foods containing Gluten: Gluten is present in many cereals (wheat, oats, barley, rye), cakes, biscuits, desserts, breads, pizza, crepes, hamburgers, pasta, corn flakes and cereals, numerous flour-based foods, crackers, pretzels…
Secondary sources of Gluten: beer, some pastries, some sauces (soya…), sausages (make sure to check the label)…
Tips for (partly) inhibiting Gluten: Grilling breads and pastries helps to inhibit (only in part) Gluten’s effects. It should be noted that it is the inside of the bread, and not the crust, that contains the most Gluten; thus it is possible to remove the inside and eat the crusts, or to grill the bread, although this solution should only be used as a last recourse – the best is to avoid all foods containing Gluten.

Gluten: How to treat food intolerance?

The first thing that those with Gluten intolerance should do is to avoid Gluten as much as possible (Gluten-free diet). The problem is that this is not always possible in today’s lifestyle. Moreover, the body and organs, especially those concerned with digestion (such as the intestine, stomach and liver), are often weakened and saturated with Gluten: it is thus important to be able to remove it from the system. It is also important to clean the organs, joints and body of all their impurities (including the Gluten already present in the body), while reinforcing the body and the immune system, which is itself weakened by food intolerance. With Gluten intolerance it is our own body that, perceiving Gluten as an intruder, attacks us. Moreover, when our body defends itself, it produces a variety of toxins, weakening the immune system which is permanently on call. This is why medicinal plants are very important in creating an effective Gluten-free diet, as well as for deep cleansing and effective reinforcement of the body.

Gluten: How to detect intolerance?

To detect a food intolerance such as Gluten intolerance (also known as Celiac disease, which some consider to be an allergy to Gluten), all you need to do is remove all foods containing Gluten from your diet for 2 weeks, and live normally. If after 2 weeks symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, dry skin, pimples… disappear, you know that you are Gluten intolerant. Given that the symptoms of intolerance vary greatly between different people, it is helpful to be able to determine which ones you have before commencing a Gluten-free treatment. Be aware, however, that you may also have other intolerances, such as Lactose intolerance, which is very common. Furthermore, those with an intolerance to lactose, milk, cheese and other dairy products can present symptoms that are very similar to those of Gluten intolerance (diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, coughing, otitis…) In such cases it is necessary to conduct three tests: one week without dairy products, one week without Gluten, one week with neither dairy nor Gluten. Such a procedure may seem long, but it is absolutely necessary in order to be able to decide on treatment, and above all to understand where the problem is coming from.

Gluten: Cross-allergies

Beware of cross-allergies such as Lactose intolerance, which can lead to Gluten intolerance or vice versa (very common due to the weakening of the intestine). The symptoms of Lactose intolerance are similar to those of Gluten intolerance. The method of treatment is the same => remove all dairy products, and Gluten-containing products, and reinforce the body with the medicinal plants mentioned above. The real problem is that the intestine is weakened and thus can no longer fulfil its role of assimilation, which can lead to deficiencies. Some of the other most common food allergies are allergy to eggs (very common) and peanuts.

Gluten: More information

Genetics also plays a part in food intolerance. For example, in Europe where many dairy and wheat-based products are consumed, tolerance to these foods is high, while in Africa there is hardly any tolerance. However, even for those without Gluten or Lactose intolerance, it is recommended not to consume too much of them, because they can have consequences on the body and on general health. At heart we are still hunter-gatherers, given that for thousands of years, our ancestors ate nothing but meat, fish, plants, fruits and vegetables. It is only in the past 50 years that intensive agriculture has arrived (along with the emergence of numerous wheat-based and dairy products…) along with all the problems we face today in relation to general health and well-being. Our intestine, our organs, our bodies… are not well-adapted to these new kinds of foods, and require other elements in order to be nourished and to be in good form… we cannot lie to our bodies forever! In fact, medicinal plants are much better adapted to the body than most genetically modified foods that are consumed today.

Gluten: Mr Ginseng’s Opinion

In the past I suffered from numerous problems linked to Gluten and to food intolerances in general. It took me some time to understand that problems such as recurrent tonsillitis, mononucleosis, continuous diarrhea, dry skin, eczema and joint pains were directly linked to my diet, which did not suit my body in the least! Many chronic illnesses are linked to food intolerance, such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, fibromyalgia, arthritis, as well as cancer… Therefore it is important to change to a Gluten-free diet!

For my part, since I changed my diet, my body has truly been thanking me! I no longer need to break the bank to go and see a doctor who tells me I have “irritable bowel syndrome“, that my problem is in my head – “It’s stress!” – and that the only thing I can do is “relax”. If the bowel is irritated, it is not only because of stress, even though 95% of consultations with a gastroenterologist conclude with “you have irritable bowel syndrome, it’s linked to stress“. It is not in your head, and the REMEDY does exist! It consists of completely removing all Gluten-based products (and milk- and lactose-based products for those with allergies) from your diet.

Today, since my change in diet, coupled with an appropriate use of medicinal plants, I am in excellent health: my digestion is normal, I no longer have bloating or stomach pains, I am in much better fitness, more active and naturally have a very healthy immune system. Many medicinal plants have helped me along the way, including those mentioned above. This article is the result of many years of research undertaken in order to overcome the problem of Gluten and Lactose intolerance. If I have been able to do it, anyone can – it is just a question of motivation and of really taking your health in your hands! I know it can be hard, but the key to good health and well-being is to work at it, researching our food intolerances and allergies, and harnessing the power of medicinal plants (which are far too often underestimated!). Good luck to all! Mr Ginseng (for more information on medicinal plants: About Mr Ginseng).

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