(NaturalNews) Many people with a gluten intolerance or allergy are baffled when they adopt a gluten-free lifestyle and still experience symptoms of food allergies, symptoms that may have initially gone away once gluten was out of their diet. Sometimes people attribute these feelings of upset stomach, headache, or other symptoms to accidentally consuming small amounts of gluten. Perhaps they had food allergy tests done previously and gave up anything they were allergic to or discovered that gluten was the only thing that their body did not like. The possibility of developing a new allergy to something their body previously tolerated does not occur to them. What people do not realize is that a gluten intolerance can actually lead to new food allergies later in life.
Leaky gut syndrome
Eating gluten before people realize they are allergic can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. The intestinal wall has several important jobs, including keeping undesirable food particles out of the bloodstream and identifying whether an approaching molecule is a friend or foe. Immune system cells along the intestines distinguish beneficial molecules like food particles or bacteria from unwanted bacteria or molecules that irritate the immune system. An unhealthy gut wall allows molecules that should not cross into the bloodstream to leak through. Intestines in a poor state of health may also be unable to tolerate substances like food proteins that it previously recognized as beneficial molecules. A compromised gut may identify food particles as an unwelcome invader and initiate an immune response, thus causing an allergic reaction that had not occurred when the intestines were healthy.
So what does this have to do with gluten?
People whose bodies cannot tolerate gluten experience an inflammatory response when they consume the protein. Chronic stress causes a breakdown in the lining of the intestines, leading to holes in the walls of the intestine that let substances leak through that should be kept out. Antibiotics can contribute to leaky gut syndrome by killing off the helpful bacteria in the gut, thereby allowing bad bacteria to grow in place of the good stuff.
Delayed food allergies
A gluten intolerance frequently results in various delayed food allergies thanks to a leaky gut. The premature crossing of food antigens into the bloodstream eventually leads to an overexposure of the antigens. The immune system then reacts to these food antigens whereas it tolerated them before. Someone may eat a food and then later experience symptoms that they do not connect to the trigger food because the reaction is delayed and eating the food had never been an issue.
Immediate allergies are easier to spot because symptoms occur quickly. Delayed allergies may cause symptoms that occur days or even hours later, thus compounding the problem of identifying the new food a person's body may suddenly be unable to tolerate. Eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet can help the intestinal wall to heal, but the new food allergies will not always go away. However, it is possible that some allergies can be overcome by healing the gut.
Testing and diets
People who suspect new food allergies have two basic choices. New allergy tests can reveal what foods are now problematic. Multiple pathway food allergy testing is useful in recognizing delayed food allergy triggers.
Another option is to try an elimination diet. A person removes all foods from their diet that could be a problem and remains on this completely suspect-food-free diet until all symptoms disappear. One suspect food at a time is reintroduced to the diet until the one or ones causing the symptoms is identified.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.