Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is There A Connection Between Gluten Allergies And Chronic Fatigue?

Is There A Connection Between Gluten Allergies And Chronic Fatigue?
(written by Guest: Amanda Tradwick)

The connection between allergies to gluten and chronic fatigue syndrome is suspected but still not widely studied. Because many of the symptoms overlap—especially digestive issues, mouth sores, overwhelming fatigue and narcolepsy---it is possible that you may have Celiac’s Disease (severe allergies to gluten) and be misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is also possible that these two conditions are indeed related and that dealing with the gluten sensitivity may alleviate some of the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue.

It appears that people who develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome usually have weakened adrenal glands. Because people with weakened adrenal glands also are vulnerable to allergies and other conditions related to weakened immune systems, the connection between gluten sensitivities and Chronic Fatigue is very possible. Is one condition causal? We aren’t sure, but we do know that a high percentage of the people who are diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease (gluten sensitivities) also are diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

In some cases, people (with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) who were not diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease saw improvements in health after they cut gluten out of their diets. Is this because the gluten was exacerbating the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, or was this because gluten can trigger an immune system response n people who are gluten sensitive but who don’t actually have Celiac’s Disease? The scientific world isn’t sure what link exists between these conditions, but there is enough overlap to call attention to the possibility of a connection.

Why Not Try Going Gluten Free?

Whichever, the case, it’s wise to address the possibility of gluten sensitivity if you have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This can be accomplished through adherence to an elimination diet and careful record keeping. Many people find that their symptoms improve when they eat gluten-free. Even if eating gluten-free doesn’t eliminate all of your Chronic Fatigue symptoms, the improvement is sure to be welcomed.

What If Going Gluten Free Doesn’t Help?

Unfortunately, not everyone who goes gluten-free feels better. Some medial experts speculate that the switch to a gluten-free diet hasn’t been tried long enough to see if the results will come; others say that the condition came on because of gluten allergies, but the condition won’t go away just because you take gluten out of your diet. Think of heart disease; you may have developed heart disease because of an unhealthy diet, but changing your diet will only help your heart health somewhat. It won’t completely reverse the effects of years of eating a heart-unhealthy diet.

If you try going gluten-free, commit to trying it for a good three months before you decide if the change in diet has helped you or not. Keep good records and commit to a completely gluten-free diet so you won’t have any question in your mind as to whether the dietary change worked or not. It’s tough to go gluten-free, but once you get used to cooking and eating this way, it will become easier as you find substitutions for old favorites and get used to the new recipes.

About the author:

Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for She has a Bachelor's degrees from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on college grants for single mothers and school grants for adults.

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