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What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.

When flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins form long, stringy molecules that trap the gas bubbles produced by yeast, allowing bread to rise.

When bread is baked, the gluten proteins help it to keep its shape.

Gluten is not harmful to most people. However, for people with celiac disease, gluten can cause serious health problems.

When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine.

This can lead to problems with absorption of nutrients from food and can eventually lead to malnutrition.

Did you know that gluten intolerance has become a very common problem in the diet of millions of people in the US?

In fact, the prevalence of gluten intolerance in the US has been estimated to be about 18 million. That’s about 6% of the population.

That number is expected to increase in the future as well. According to a recent survey of the population, about 1 in every 6 people say that they have some form of gluten intolerance.

What’s even more surprising is the fact that there’s a lot of people who are not even aware that they are gluten intolerant.

This article is a comprehensive guide that will help you understand what a gluten intolerance is. It will explain what gluten is, what a gluten intolerance is, and how it is diagnosed.

It will also provide information on how gluten intolerance affects the body and how to treat it.


What Is Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a condition in which the body is unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

People with gluten intolerance may experience a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headache, fatigue, and an itchy rash.

In severe cases, gluten intolerance can lead to malnutrition.  There is no cure for gluten intolerance, but the condition can be managed by avoiding foods that contain gluten.



What Are the Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance?

There are a variety of symptoms that can be associated with gluten intolerance.
These can range from mild to severe and can even be life-threatening.

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog

However, gluten intolerance can also lead to more serious conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, and even cancer.

If you think you may be gluten intolerant, it is important to see a doctor or allergist for testing.


How To Treat Gluten Intolerance?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is also found in many processed foods. People with gluten intolerance have a difficult time digesting gluten.

There is no cure for gluten intolerance, but there are ways to manage the condition. The best way to treat gluten intolerance is to avoid eating foods that contain gluten.

This can be difficult, but there are many gluten-free options available now.

There are also medications that can help to reduce the symptoms of gluten intolerance.


How To Cure Gluten Intolerance?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to cure gluten intolerance will vary from person to person.

However, there are a few general tips that may help you find relief from your symptoms.

First, it is important to get rid of all sources of gluten from your diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley. You may also need to avoid foods that have been processed in a facility that also processes wheat, as they can be contaminated with gluten.

Second, you may need to take supplements to help your body heal from the damage that gluten has done. This can include vitamins and minerals, as well as probiotics and enzymes.

Third, it is important to support your liver and digestive system. This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding alcohol and other toxins.



How To Prevent Gluten Intolerance?

The best way to prevent gluten intolerance may vary from person to person.

However, some general tips that may help include:

  • Avoiding processed and refined foods, as these often contain high levels of gluten.
  • Eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Limiting your intake of dairy and red meat.
  • Choosing gluten-free options when available.
  • Speaking to a doctor or nutritionist if you have any concerns.


Is There a Gluten Free Diet Plan?


A gluten free diet plan can help you avoid these problems by avoiding foods that contain gluten. There are a number of different gluten free diet plans available, so you can find one that fits your needs and lifestyle.


How to Diagnose Gluten Intolerance

There are a few ways to diagnose gluten intolerance. The most common way is to do a blood test. This test looks for antibodies to gluten in your blood. If you have these antibodies, it means you’re intolerant to gluten.

Another way to diagnose gluten intolerance is to do a biopsy of your small intestine. This is where most of the damage from gluten intolerance occurs. If you have damage to your small intestine, it’s likely you’re intolerant to gluten.

The best way to diagnose gluten intolerance is to work with a doctor who specializes in this area. They can help you figure out which tests are best for you and interpret the results.

If you suspect that you may be gluten intolerant, it is important to see a doctor or allergist to get tested.

Gluten intolerance can be a serious condition, and it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can avoid gluten and stay healthy.


Gluten Free Diet Foods


A gluten free diet is one that does not include the protein gluten.

For people with celiac disease, a gluten free diet is essential. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the consumption of gluten.

When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine.

This can lead to a host of problems, including malnutrition, since the small intestine is not able to absorb nutrients from food properly.

There are a number of gluten free diet foods available, and the list is growing all the time. Many grains are naturally gluten free, including rice, corn, and quinoa.

There are also a number of gluten free flours that can be used in baking, such as almond flour and coconut flour. And there are many prepared foods now available that are gluten free, including breads, pastas, and even desserts.

So, there are plenty of options for people who need to follow a gluten free diet.



A gluten intolerance occurs when a person’s immune system reacts negatively to gluten.

This can cause a variety of symptoms and health issues.

We hope you learned a little more about the topic of gluten intolerance by reading this blog post.

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Deetlefs.

Dr Eduan prides himself on his ability to help his patients to the best of his ability by embracing good listening skills, effective communication, compassion and knowledge and skill honed during years of private gastroenterology practice.

Dr Deetlefs has admitting rights and performs endoscopies at both Mediclinic Milnerton and Life Vincent Pallotti Hospitals.

Services include consultations for gastrointestinal and liver related diseases with a specific interest in inflammatory bowel disease and iron deficiency anemia caused by obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.

If you would like to book an appointment with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist or would simply like more information on a particular GI topic, don’t hesitate to use our online booking form or call Dr. Deetlefs at 021 551 8678.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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© Dr. Eduan Deetlefs, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Cape Town

Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.