By now you've probably met someone (and maybe this includes you) who abstains from eating gluten because it makes him or her feel bloated, constipated or tired. Gluten is the sticky protein found in wheat and other grains, including rye, spelt, kamut and barley. It is often included in foods to make them fluffy, chewy or thicker. When I consume gluten, I instantly feel tired, bloated and my bowels get sluggish. And this happens in a matter of 20 minutes. I rarely consume anything that contains gluten (including wheat pasta, bread and baked goods) but if I do, I take Natural Factors Gluten Relief to help support my digestion. "Gluten Relief is specially formulated with a balanced blend of the enzymes needed for complete digestion of difficult-to-digest foods, especially cereal grains and milk products, which contain carbohydrate, protein, gluten, and casein. Supporting the break down of these foods can help ease digestive complaints and lighten the load on the digestive system, improving energy levels and vitality, reducing disease risk, and optimizing health and wellness (Natural Factors)."
I found this great infographic that outlines the basic facts of gluten and how it stresses the body:
If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity, I suggest getting tested through a health care provider or by eliminating gluten from your diet for 3-6 months. If you decide to take the latter route, journal how you feel during that time: do you feel more alert, less tired, regular and less bloated? This might be a result of having eliminated gluten. After 6 months, reintroduce gluten into your diet and make note of any symptoms you might have. If you experience a return of old symptoms, like feelings of fatigue, bloating or constipation, or the onset of entirely new symptoms, like migraines or eczema within 48 hours of eating gluten, it is likely you have a gluten sensitivity.