Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to go to the Affiliates section in my disclaimer.
We have arrived at the final article of this series about why your adverse symptoms and conditions may still be manifesting even after you removed gluten from your diet.
As a reminder, here are the 4 keys reasons we have talked about as to why your symptoms may still be manifesting:
- You are unknowingly ingesting gluten (Click here for article)
- You have additional food or food additive allergies (Click here for article)
- You have additional food or food additive sensitivities or intolerances (Click here for article)
- There are factors other than food that are contributing
In this final article, we will dive into reasons that may not have to do with food. Many factors can contribute to bothersome and sometimes debilitating conditions and some key ones are:
- Infections or dysbiosis
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Prescriptive or over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- Chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals
Infections and Dysbiosis
Infections can be caused by numerous factors including parasites, candida overgrowth, viruses, fungal or yeast infections, and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). When many think of an infection, they associate it with obvious and easily detectable symptoms. However, some internal infections can cause the same symptoms (e.g., fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, headache, etc.) as many other conditions.
The importance of gut microbiome balance cannot be overstated. The balance of good and bad bacteria is essential to our health. Illness and disease can result when our gut microbiome is unbalanced (dysbiosis). You would have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the increasing prevalence of discussions about and promotion of probiotics. Probiotics and cultured and fermented foods and drink are key in ensuring a healthy gut microbiome.
According to recent research findings, the human microbiome “contribute metabolic functions, protect against pathogens, educate the immune system, and, through these basic functions, affect directly or indirectly most of our physiologic functions.”
How to identify Infections or Dysbiosis: Besides having symptoms that are potential clues, testing is the best way to confirm if you have an infection or dysbiosis. The comprehensive stool analysis is a key test that can measure beneficial bacteria levels, good and bad microbes present, intestinal immune function status, inflammation markers, and various infections and pathogenic microorganisms.
Nutritional deficiencies can trigger a number of problematic symptoms and can lead to more severe health problems. Adverse symptoms vary based on the deficient nutrient. Even if you have a very healthy diet, many factors contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
- The foods we eat may be devoid of nutrients due to how they are processed, prepared, and cooked.
- Foods contain harmful chemicals, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics (animal protein), are genetically modified, and may be grown in nutrient deficient soils.
- You may not be absorbing nutrients in the foods you eat. This could be due to having a leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability), having low stomach acid, not producing enough or any bile (especially for those who have had their gallbladder removed), not producing enough digestive enzymes, missing the intrinsic factor that supports B-12 absorption, and other possibilities.
Consuming a nutrient dense diet and taking nutritional supplements is important to specifically combat a nutritional deficiency. At the same time, however, it is essential to determine and address the root cause of the deficiency.
How to identify nutritional deficiencies: Testing is the best way to confirm nutritional deficiencies. Some key nutrient level tests are Ferritin (measures iron stores), the methylmalonic acid (gold standard for B12 deficiency), and the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test (measures Vitamin D). Those are just some and you can certainly have more done. Additional testing can be done to have an even broader view to indicate potential nutritional deficiencies. The functional medical community believe these tests to be extremely useful: The metabolic analysis or organic acid tests. Click here and here for more information about these tests. I have had all of this testing done and took action according to the results. This enabled me to overcome deficiencies, reverse adverse symptoms, and reduce my risk to conditions that can be caused by deficiencies.
Stress can be a root cause of unfavorable symptoms. Stress alone can trigger an autoimmune condition to flare. Stress contributes to inflammation in the body, which is linked to a multitude of illnesses. It weakens the immune system, worsens risk factors for cardiovascular and heart disease, contributes to weight gain and digestive disorders, intensifies pain, and much more.
Stress can be in the form of physical, emotional, or relational hurts and trauma in addition to being self-induced through negative perceptions and thought patterns. When you have adverse signs and symptoms, it is important to look back at what may have occurred or observe what is currently happening in your life. You may uncover that you have gone through an unusually stressful event or combination of troublesome happenings. Maybe you are hanging around negative people and in destructive situations that are influencing you detrimentally. It is important not to underestimate the significant impact that stress can have on your health.
Prescriptive or OTC Medications
Prescriptive and OTC medications may cause adverse side effects that you may not be recognizing as a reaction associated with them. This could be from the active ingredient(s) in the item or from the numerous inactive or other ingredients such as colorings, binders, fillers, preservatives, and other many time undesirable excipients in medications.
If you are having unusual symptoms, especially if you have started a new prescription, ask you pharmacist to provide you all the ingredients in your medication. In addition, also seek out what interactions your medication may have with foods, nutritional supplements, and other medications.
Although your doctor and pharmacist should be looking out for you, you know yourself the best. It is truly up to you to know what you are taking and anything that may be interacting negatively with your diet and other items you may be consuming. This informationshould be made very clear to your doctor and pharmacist so they can be as informed about you as possible when prescribing and providing you medications. You would be surprised at how many people have adverse reactions or get quite ill by medication interactions or side effects.
For OTC medications, read all the ingredients and discuss them with your pharmacist to see if you should have any concern with interactions. Read more about and search for interaction content here.
Chemicals, Toxins, & Heavy Metals
It is no menial matter that harsh chemicals, toxins, and heavy metals heavily burden our body and create toxic overload. We are certainly bombarded with harmful chemicals and other harmful substances in and on our food and our personal care items (e.g., cosmetics, lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste, etc.), along with toxins in our home and outside environment, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.
In recent years, I am sure you have noticed more and more about detoxification and cleansing. This is not a fad or trendy aspect for people making money. We are incredibly overloaded with harmful substances and toxins from the foods we eat, to the fluoride and chlorine in our water supply, to what we put on our skin, to our surroundings, to even the negative influences around us and negativity in our own thought life, and more. Going through a detoxification process or program at least a couple times per year is essential to supporting our body’s ability to surface and release accumulated toxins.
Various testing is also available to determine specific toxins that may be build up within your body. There is much more detail to detoxification and testing for toxic overload that can be mentioned here. Bottom line is that it is important you realize that many adverse symptoms can be a result of your body being overburdened with toxins and not having the ability to detoxify them without special intervention. Many are in a state of toxic overload and do not even realize it.
I hope you have found this 4 article series about adverse symptoms that may not have to do with gluten valuable to you. I have researched and been through each one of these reasons for myself to uncover the underlying causes I had been manifesting various problematic symptoms over the years. Stick with it long enough and you will find the reasons and experience relief.
I would love your comments, feedback, hearing about your experiences, and welcome all questions.
- How to Improve Your Gut Microbiome in a Day. DrNorthrup.com website. http://www.drnorthrup.com/how-to-improve-your-gut-microbiome-in-a-day/.
- How Your Microbiome Controls Your Health. Mercola.com website. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/17/human-microbiome.aspx.
- Shreiner AB, Kao JY, Young VB. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69–75. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290017/.
- Vitamin B2/Riboflavin Benefits, Sources, and Deficiency. Draxe.com website. https://draxe.com/vitamin-b2/.
- What Kind of Leaky Gut Test Should You Take? Draxe.com website. https://draxe.com/leaky-gut-test/.