Gluten intolerance is often mistaken for celiac disease, but they’re actually very separate conditions. Celiac disease is a severe autoimmune disease and tends to be more damaging than gluten intolerance, which doesn’t affect the digestive tract.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance are less severe than celiac disease, and at the moment, doctors and scientists know much less about the condition. When people with a gluten intolerance eat foods that contain gluten, they may experience a certain combination of symptoms in the hours that follow.
The symptoms of gluten sensitivity or intolerance that we know of so far are as follows:
1. Diarrhea and constipation
Symptoms of gluten intolerance can include constipation, fatigue, headaches, and nausea. People who have gluten intolerance say that regular instances of diarrhea and constipation are common symptoms.
If you occasionally have such digestive issues, that’s completely normal, but experiencing them on most days can indicate an underlying condition.
Another very common symptom that people report in cases of gluten intolerance is bloating. Bloating refers to the feeling of a full stomach that tends to be uncomfortable and lasting. It’s common also to feel a build-up of gas.
Over-eating is the most common reason for bloating, but it can happen for a number of different reasons. In people with gluten intolerance, the feeling of bloating can occur very regularly, and it’s not necessarily related to the amount of food they eat.
3. Abdominal pain
Similarly, several different causes can lead to abdominal pain. It doesn’t always relate to gluten intolerance, but again, people reporting gluten intolerance often note experiencing abdominal pain frequently and without another obvious reason.
It may come hand-in-hand with constipation and diarrhoea.
Fatigue is another symptom that people may find hard to identify, as it can have a lot of different causes, many of which aren’t related to any medical condition. People with gluten intolerance may have persistent feelings of tiredness that prevent them from functioning at their best throughout the day.
People with gluten intolerance can also experience nausea, especially after eating a meal containing a large amount of gluten-heavy foods. Nausea can have many causes, but if it often occurs after eating gluten, it can be a sign of gluten intolerance.
Experiencing regular headaches is another symptom that can occur in people with gluten intolerance. Headaches are a common symptom that can crop up randomly in day-to-day life, but they’re usually accompanied by a combination of the symptoms listed in this video in people with gluten sensitivity.
7. Other symptoms
People with gluten intolerance may experience several other symptoms on a regular basis, though these are less common, and we don’t know so much about why they’re caused. These symptoms include joint and muscle pain, depression or anxiety, confusion, severe abdominal pain, and anaemia, a lack of iron in the body.
Natural remedies for gluten sensitivity
If you know that you have a gluten sensitivity, and you avoid gluten for that reason, you’ll probably find that no matter how careful you are, you will fall prey to accidental gluten ingestion at least once in your lifetime.
Of course, the best natural remedy for gluten sensitivity will always be to avoid gluten altogether, but if you’ve already eaten a gluten-based food, stay tuned for fourteen home remedies you can try for accidental gluten ingestion that will ease your pain.
1. Activated Charcoal
With gluten intolerance, activated charcoal ought to be a staple in your kitchen cupboards. It’s often used medicinally to absorb ingested poisons, but in this case, it also helps to reduce bloating and gas.
Charcoal has been a stomach aid in Mexico since the pre-Hispanic cultures, albeit in the form of burnt corn tortillas. Luckily, you don’t need to burn your foods to benefit from activated charcoal today.
You should note that activated charcoal’s absorption powers are so great, it can render certain medications less effective, so speak to your doctor before you give it a go. Similarly, constipation is a common side effect of activated charcoal, which may work well for you if your gluten consumption leads to diarrhoea.
2. Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are a common remedy for accidental gluten ingestion, as they appear to provide relief from bloating and gas for many thanks to their ability to speed up the gluten-elimination process. This means that they work well for people who suffer from constipation as a result of gluten ingestion.
There are plenty of natural sources of digestive enzymes, including honey, mangoes, papaya, bananas, and avocados. You can also take digestive enzymes as a supplement if you think it’s easier to manage your intake this way.
3. Flush with Water
Drinking plenty of water helps to flush any toxins or unnatural fluids that have accumulated in your digestive system. Additionally, consuming gluten can lead to an array of symptoms, which water may help alleviate, including brain fog, diarrhea, fatigue, constipation, headaches, and dizziness.
Gas and bloating are two other common symptoms of gluten intolerance, as we already know, and a combination of warm water with ginger and lemon may help. Coconut water, high in electrolytes, may help to speed up the body’s recovery after glucose exposure.
Fasting after accidental gluten ingestion has been shown to help greatly. This doesn’t mean starving yourself and going hungry – you just need to take some time to give your digestive system a break.
Chances are if you’ve accidentally consumed gluten and you’re dealing with the symptoms that follow, it’s not like you’ll actually be craving more food at that time, so fasting may just come naturally.
Stomach aches are a common side effect of gluten ingestion, so it may help to focus on methods of soothing your pains. We suggest starting with ginger, which has been proven to be a more effective anti-nausea agent than several pharmaceuticals. Plus, it’s also known to be one of the best natural foods for the treatment of gastritis.
Ginger tea is a popular remedy, and it’s super simple to make. Just chop a thumb-sized piece of ginger and add it to a mug of boiling hot water. By the time the water has cooled enough for you to drink, the ginger will have brewed for long enough to disperse the good stuff into your drink.
If ginger tea isn’t your thing, or you can’t stand the taste of raw ginger, you can also take ginger in concentrated capsule form. Given ginger’s potent anti-nausea effects, if you’re prone to travel sickness, pop a pill before starting on your journey and you should find that it also helps immensely.
6. Herbal Infusions
Although they’re not a cure-all, if you’re experiencing digestive issues, these teas could help settle your upset stomach. Chamomile tea is a good option – it can relieve stomach cramps, motion sickness, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal gas.
This plant contains chemicals called flavonoids, nutrients that give chamomile its medicinal properties. Peppermint leaf tea contains essential oils menthol, menthone, and limonene, and is used medicinally for nausea, menstrual cramps, abdominal gas, and bloating.
Turmeric is a very effective intestinal antiseptic and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory herb to help heal the gut from food intolerances – like gluten sensitivity. Many people find that taking a bit of turmeric helps to speed up the healing process.
But skip the curry, as the easiest way to consume the doses of turmeric that will help you the fastest is to simply pop a turmeric supplement.
Another known anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids speed up your body’s internal processes, helping you to utilize the nutrients you digest promptly and getting rid of the unwanted elements that you may have ingested. Essentially, this means that if you’ve eaten gluten in the last 24 hours, omega-3 will help you to expel it quicker.
The best sources of omega-3 are fish, nuts, and plant oils, but you can also find omega-3 or fish oil capsules that do the same job.
Inflammation and toxins, such as gluten if you’re intolerant, are known to alter the balance of gut bacteria. And supplementing with probiotics has been shown to restore such balance. Ideally, you will want to consume probiotics daily. Kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi are all common, healthy probiotics that will help you to get over your uncomfortable symptoms faster.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to alleviate a whole host of stomach dilemmas, and gluten ingestion is definitely one of them. This enzyme-rich vinegar aids digestion, inflammation, and fights constipation. Plus, while not a probiotic itself, it does encourage the growth of good bacteria.
It's a good idea to dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water, then drink it all in one. It doesn’t have the most pleasant of tastes, but many people swear by it as a remedy for their gluten-related tummy issues.
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your bloodstream. It’s also a vital nutrient that helps your intestines to build and repair.
This makes it incredibly handy if you have accidentally ingested gluten, and can work even better for you if your gluten ingestion is also accompanied by diarrhea. Chicken, fish, cabbage, spinach, dairy products, tofu, lentils, and beans are all natural sources of L-glutamine.
12. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root is a traditional staple of alternative medicine for digestive issues. The root of the marshmallow plant is particularly rich in mucilage and gets extremely gooey when wet.
This quality makes it particularly valuable for coating and protecting irritated mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract. In this way, it’s thought to help repair your gut’s lining and reduce inflammation and gas as a result of gluten ingestion.
13. Light Workout
Depending on the severity of symptoms, a light workout that will stimulate blood circulation can help with gluten recovery. The proper circulation of blood helps to transport oxygen and nutrients to organs and muscles – something that’s essential when you’re recovering from a gluten-related slip-up.
Dynamic stretching is a good regimen for anyone recovering from gluten ingestion and involves moving a muscle in and out of the stretched position in a controlled and repeated manner. Examples of dynamic exercises include arm circles, front lunges, jumping jacks, high knees, and side lunges. The key is to keep it simple – major exercise when you’re poorly will just make you feel worse.
Of course, the best way to stay happy and healthy if you have gluten sensitivity is to eat right. Any known foods that cause the slightest of allergic reactions are best avoided, and you should also try to stay away from those that might counteract your body’s attempts of eliminating gluten, such as dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, and gluten-free grains.
If you’re struggling to deal with your gluten intolerance alone, or you suspect that you might be gluten sensitive, the best thing to do is pay your doctor a visit. They can help with any treatments and support for managing your symptoms going forward.