I have been reading a very interesting book by Dr. Stephen Wangen, the gluten-free doctor, Healthier Without Wheat and I have found the book to be rather fascinating. I wrote recently on Fighting Fatigue about how Celiac Disease can be misdiagnosed as ME/CFS but I never realized that Celiac Disease is only one type of gluten intolerance. You don’t have to have Celiac Disease to have an intolerance to gluten-containing products.
While reading this book I have discovered that many of the symptoms that we suffer from with ME/CFS are also common symptoms that people who have a gluten intolerance suffer from. Here are some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance in adults:
- Abdominal pain
- Headaches, including migraines
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Mental fogginess
- Anemia (iron or B12 deficiency)
- Frequent illness
- Itchy skin
- Low bone density
How many of the above symptoms can us ME/CFS patients say we have? I can check off most of these.
Emotional symptoms experienced by gluten intolerance include:
It just amazes me by reading this book how much I can relate to the examples he includes from patients who have suffered from gluten intolerance and/or Celiac Disease. The more I read the more convinced I become that I need to try an elimination diet to see if I notice an improvement in any of my symptoms. I have thought about doing this many times before but I have never followed through with it because I love products that contain gluten, particularly bread. Wheat bread is my favorite and I eat sandwiches almost every day for lunch using wheat bread. It is going to be a hard habit to break but it will be worth it if I start to feel better.
Here is an excerpt from Healthier Without Wheat on gluten intolerance:
Many people, probably many millions of people, have a non-celiac form of gluten intolerance and experience one or more of these problems (see the list of symptoms I wrote above). Because the conditions associated wtih non-celiac gluten intolerance have more than one potential cause, and because so little research has been done on non-celiac forms of gluten intolerance, it is difficult to say how often these symptoms are caused by a gluten intolerance. It is possible that gluten intolerance is the cause far more often than most people currently suspect. Recent studies estimate that non-celiac forms of gluten intolerance are approximately 30 times more common than celiac disease and may affect up to 15% of the world’s population.
I’m not a physician, nor do I tend to make this post sound like ME/CFS is caused by gluten intolerance. I am just wondering if maybe my particular situation couldn’t be helped by cutting out gluten products. I am going to finish this book, do a little more research, and go shopping for some gluten-free food items to see if after a few months I notice an improvement in symptoms. It’s worth a shot and what’s the worst that can happen?
Have any of you ever cut out gluten and noticed your symptoms improving? Let me know!