Gluten sensitivity can present as a wide array of symptoms, often mistaken for other health issues. Not only can gluten cause multiple health problems, but gluten is a poor source of nutrition overall. Gluten sensitivity is NOT the same as Celiac disease or a wheat allergy. They are all gluten related disorders, but act differently in the body.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that presents a very distinct digestive pathology, that those with gluten sensitivity do not have. A wheat allergy is an actual allergy diagnosed by an allergist, causing some symptoms like gluten sensitivity, but with other more common allergy symptoms as well.
Gluten and leaky gut
Even if you do not suffer from a typical "gluten sensitivity" it would be wrong to conclude that gluten is "safe". It's not a healthy food. Gluten stimulates an immune reaction in the gut, that is impossible to tell if/when symptoms will present. Gluten is a known offender in stimulating Leaky Gut Syndrome. The lining of the gut should be composed of tightly packed epithelial cells, that selectively allow certain things to pass and while limiting the passage of others.
In the case of gluten, when it comes into contact with the intestinal cells, a substance called zonulin is produced that disrupts the tight junctions of the lining of the intestinal tract. This causes food and proteins to be absorbed into the blood stream stimulating an immune response and causing all types of funky symptoms. Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, gluten is an inflammation inducing food and should be avoided. Read more about leaky gut here.
Identifying gluten sensitivity
Lab tests are available to identify a gluten sensitivity. If you decide to test, make sure that it is a detailed panel covering ALL the many variations of the gluten proteins.
Another way to determine gluten sensitivity is to take part in a dietary challenge test.
However, a sneaky little disorder called SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) can mimic gluten intolerance and should be excluded through something called a "potato test". To exclude SIBO as the culprit of distress, a dietary challenge is necessary.
Sneaky Sources of gluten
It may not be immediately apparent what is a source of gluten and what is not. Items such as those below, all have gluten in them:
To help support digestive health when dealing with a gluten intolerance/sensitivity Cincinnati Health Institute has the highest quality supplements.