Could I Still Have Gluten Sensitivity Without Intestinal Problems?

by Candi
(New Hampshire)

About six months ago, I started having problems with my muscles--weakness, burning, aching, etc. It got so bad that all I could do is lie on my sofa all day and in my bed at night. I had been working out at the gym on an elliptical machine for an hour every day and had to stop because my muscles couldn't handle it anymore. I had done that for years.

After a few months, my symptoms just disappeared on their own, but they came back a few months later with less severity (no burning and I am able to walk around more than before). But, I still had achey muscles and little endurance. During that time, I had many blood tests. I had my electrolyte levels, Vitamin D levels, iron levels, etc. checked. Everything was fine. I have never had digestive problems and don't now.

BUT--because my mother is sensitive to gluten (gives her a bad cough), I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. Four weeks later and I feel a lot better. My muscles don't ache anywhere near as much as before and I'm sleeping better and have a lot more energy during the day.

Here is my question: How is it that I could have problems with my muscles related to gluten and not have any problems with my digestion? I would think that there would be some indication of malabsorption in some of my blood tests. Or is that incorrect thinking? Can you explain how gluten can affect muscles without any signs of malabsorption? Or is malabsorption not always diagnosed via blood tests?

I'm not ready to say that gluten is the cause of my muscle problems yet because my symptoms went away before and I wasn't living without gluten then. I also am afraid that eliminating it for too long can make me sensitive to gluten if I really wasn't before. I guess that's my second question. Is it possible to make oneself sensitive to gluten by eliminating it for a long period of time?

Thank you!


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You are overthinking this...
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Hi Candi,

It seems like you are overthinking this problem. First of all, you have proof in your own family that gluten doesn't have to cause digestive problems for gluten to be a problem. Your mom gets a bad cough when she eats it, so she avoids it. She probably doesn't need 'proof of malabsorption' from a doctor does she?

Next, a 'classic' condition that a dermatologist will diagnose Celiac Disease without any further testing required is a skin condition called Dermatitis Herpetiformis. It's a unique rash and a doctor will need no 'evidence of malabsorption' or any digestive complaints whatsoever to give a diagnosis of full blown Celiac.

And that is only the start. Gluten is INFLAMMATORY in all people all of the time. The only difference is the degree of inflammation that it triggers in you and how you react to it. You get fatigue and muscle aches, some people get a nasty skin, others get Lupus and others get digestive complaints. The fact that such a high number of people DON'T get digestive complaints and the fact that that is what doctors look for, means that it takes, on average, 10 years for someone to get a diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Those without Celiac Disease and who have Non Celiac Gluten Intolerance will likely never get diagnosed because there IS NO test for it!

Next, you do NOT become sensitive to gluten because you avoid it any more than you become sensitive to cigarette smoke because you avoid it. Gluten is BAD for you and if you have a reaction after you've been off of it for a while, it's because your body is reacting as it SHOULD react to gluten. For instance, if you were a smoker and you've stopped coughing when you smoke would you continue to smoke because you know that if you stop that when you start again, you'll begin coughing? Of course not, that's because you know that coughing is the NORMAL reaction and not-coughing is an abnormal reaction from the cells in your trachea designed to protect you becoming so damaged that they don't react any more.

It's the same way with gluten. If you react to gluten after you've been off of it for a while, it's because you ALWAYS react- you've just damaged your immune system so bad when you are eating gluten that it can't react any more.

So, you can keep looking for answers, but why when you've already found it. Gluten is almost completely found only in processed foods that are bad for you and you have no good reason to eat anyway. So, why the hesitation? Stop eating gluten and be healthy...

Kerri Knox RN Immune Health Queen

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune System Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Immune System
Side Effects

Thank you!
by: Candi

Thank you for your reply. My mom actually does have digestive problems sometimes, but she wasn't sure if the gluten is cause of them last time I talked to her. Funny thing is, i just got an email from her today saying that she accidentally ate some regular pasta and she had awful pains in her stomach. So, I guess she does get affected by gluten that way.

Thank you for all your help. I appreciate it!

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