Understanding Gluten Intolerance

Gluten is a protein in grass-type grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It gives food a stretchiness and stickiness and it’s in much of what Americans eat. It’s in the obvious things like bread, pasta and crackers but it’s also in sauces, medications, lipstick, imitation crabmeat and other items not normally associated with grains. Unfortunately more and more people are finding their body might not tolerate gluten products very well. Gluten intolerance can run a whole range in severity from minor symptoms when a person eats grain-based foods to Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents the gastrointestinal system from properly absorbing nutrients.

Normally, people can tolerate these proteins, but if you have Celiac disease they cause the gaps between the cells in the small intestine to open too wide and allow toxins and gluten fragments into the bloodstream. These particles are seen as alien invaders by the body, and are therefore attacked.

The normal small intestine features small hair like projections along its length known as villi which increase the surface area and therefore assist in the absorption of the nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. The autoimmune response causes so much damage to these villi (in some cases flattening them entirely) that they are no longer effective. Changing over to a gluten free diet will allow your body to repair itself, and your health will improve tremendously.

Gluten intolerance can be diagnosed with a blood test, antibody screening or biopsy. Many people simply take gluten out of their diet for a month to see if it alleviates symptoms.

Gluten Free Supplements
The following is a list of some of the gluten free supplements available at Performance Nutrition: Forzagen Protein, Intek Protein, all Irwin Naturals products, MRM Proteins, NOW Foods proteins, most NOW Foods vitamins and supplements.

Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.