In the last few years, it seems the popularity of “going gluten free” has absolutely exploded. Everyone from celebrities to athletes to neighborhood moms swear by a gluten-free diet. They say it makes them feel healthier, have more energy, and lose or maintain their weight. Part of the rise in the “gluten-free diet” is due to popularity, but some of it is medicinal. Many people have lived their entire lives feeling less than great, but never knowing why. Recent technologies have allowed doctors to treat patients for gluten allergies or even mild sensitivity.
Unfortunately, going gluten free isn’t as easy as simply not eating bread (not that giving up bread is easy!). A gluten-free lifestyle requires a lot of practice, patience and knowledge. Gluten is so ingrained in our culture that it shows up in almost everything—as a thickener in sauces and soups, as a filler in lunchmeat, and even in sunscreens and lotions. Gluten has also made its way into medications. Here are the benefits of using gluten-free medicines.
Won’t Aggravate Gluten Sensitivity
This is probably the most obvious benefit of a gluten-free allergy medication. If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, taking medicine that has added gluten won’t help. While it might treat one allergy, it will make things even worse for the other. Plus, many people don’t even realize they are allergic to gluten or have gluten sensitivity. They could be taking medicine with gluten and not knowing what’s making them feel sick.
Helps with Inflammation
In addition to making your stomach hurt, gluten can actually increase inflammation in other parts of your body. If you have an injury, or even just a zit, eating gluten can make that redness and inflammation even worse. Avoiding even trace amounts can get your body back to normal.
Headaches are already a common problem for people with colds, allergies or the flu. A medicine with gluten can make it even worse. Too much gluten, even for people without an allergy or sensitivity, can make your head hurt. There’s no need to add to the problem with a medicine that uses grains as fillers. Use a gluten-free medication, instead.
Lessens Arthritis Pain
Like celiac’s disease, which is made worse by consuming gluten, arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system doesn’t recognize the different between real and perceived threats, and attacks otherwise healthy tissue in response. Since our bodies don’t fully digest the protein in the gluten in many of today’s foods, a body with an autoimmune disease might end up attacking the body when that person eats gluten. Taking a medicine with gluten in it to ease arthritis pain might not actually help at all.
Better for Kids
Some researchers believe that too much gluten isn’t good for kids. Some studies and parents have said that cutting gluten out of their child’s diet has helped with behavioral issues caused by autism. Not that gluten causes autism, but it could help with symptoms like tantrums, impaired speech and poor eye contact. Studies haven’t been conclusive, but it could be worth trying if you have a child with autism.
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