Gluten Sensitivity Part Two — What You Need to Do About It

Are you one of the 40% of adults whose sys­tem is sen­si­tive to gluten, the pro­tein found in wheat and sim­i­lar grains?

Part 1 of my arti­cle on gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty symp­toms cov­ered the basics. Check it out if you need to review it.

The key con­clu­sion of that arti­cle is that the best test for gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty is an elim­i­na­tion diet.  You wipe gluten-con­tain­ing foods out of your diet for a peri­od of two weeks or more, and see how your symp­toms respond.  Peo­ple with gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty symp­toms will begin to feel an improve­ment.

Today’s arti­cle takes the next step: what to do if you’ve deter­mined that you are sen­si­tive to gluten.

What To Do If You Have Gluten Sensitivity

Most impor­tant is to con­tin­ue to elim­i­nate all sources of gluten from your diet.  Grains that con­tain gluten include

  • Wheat
  • Bar­ley
  • Rye
  • Kamut
  • Spelt

Be aware that almost any prod­uct that’s made from flour — unless it’s specif­i­cal­ly labeled “gluten-free” — is like­ly to con­tain one or more of these grains.  That means

  • Bread
  • Pas­ta
  • Crack­ers
  • Muffins
  • Cakes and cook­ies (and my favorites – brown­ies)

Oth­er foods can con­tain hid­den wheat too, like

  • Soy sauce
  • Creamy soups (thick­ened with starch), and the always pop­u­lar
  • Choco­late chip cook­ie dough ice cream

You’ve got to check the labels of any pre­pared foods.

If your sys­tem is sen­si­tive to gluten, you’ll begin to feel an improve­ment with­in a few weeks of a gluten-free diet.  For many peo­ple, elim­i­nat­ing gluten is the only step you need to take.

What About a Super-Serious Case?

Some peo­ple with a long-stand­ing prob­lem have wrecked the lin­ing of their intesti­nal tract.  Even though sen­si­tiv­i­ty to gluten was the orig­i­nal cause of the prob­lem, sim­ply elim­i­nat­ing it isn’t enough to restore diges­tive tract health.

If you have a more seri­ous con­di­tion, there are four oth­er steps you might need to take:

1. Soothe the irri­ta­tion of the intesti­nal lin­ing

The time-test­ed rem­e­dy for this is aloe juice.

2. Make it eas­i­er for your diges­tive tract to process food

If you have gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty or oth­er food aller­gies, your intes­tine may be absorb­ing large mol­e­cules before they’ve been bro­ken down into their con­stituent parts.  Using diges­tive enzyme sup­ple­ments will help break down these mol­e­cules to a safe­ly absorbable size. Here’s a link to a high qual­i­ty diges­tive enzyme prod­uct, Digestzymes, avail­able from Moss Nutri­tion.  You need to enter my name — Ronald Lavine, DC — when order­ing from their site.

3. Restore ben­e­fi­cial gut flo­ra

One of the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary recent devel­op­ments in med­i­cine is the emerg­ing appre­ci­a­tion for the health-pro­mot­ing role of friend­ly gut bac­te­ria. Sad­ly, even as we learn how impor­tant a bal­anced inter­nal ecosys­tem is, we con­tin­ue to wreck it with too many antibi­otics, processed foods, obses­sive con­cern with clean­li­ness, and oth­er aspects of mod­ern life.

One part of the solu­tion is pro­bi­ot­ic sup­ple­ments.  Most pro­bi­otics use microor­gan­isms found in fer­ment­ing milk. (Aci­dophilus any­one?)  That gives you only a small sliv­er of the rich vari­ety of species liv­ing in a healthy gut.

My favored approach is to use a prod­uct cul­tured from the actu­al microor­gan­isms that grow in the human diges­tive tract.

4. Elim­i­nate foods that can cross-react with gluten

Some foods con­tain pro­teins that bear a fam­i­ly resem­blance to gluten.  If your sys­tem is eas­i­ly pro­voked to a height­ened aller­gic response, you might have a neg­a­tive reac­tion to these foods too.

Com­mon foods that cross-react with gluten include:

  • Ama­ranth
  • Buck­wheat
  • Corn
  • Mil­let
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Tapi­o­ca
  • Teff
  • Choco­late
  • Cof­fee
  • Milk and Cheese
  • Egg
  • Hemp
  • Pota­to
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Yeast

Grant­ed, it would be a chal­lenge to con­struct a diet to elim­i­nate all of these foods.  But you may only be sen­si­tive to a few. Test to see which chal­lenge your diges­tive chem­istry by pick­ing one poten­tial offend­er, elim­i­nat­ing it from your diet for 2–3 weeks, and gaug­ing your response.  Then you’ll dis­cov­er for your­self what the major cul­prits are.

Tak­en togeth­er, these four steps will be of enor­mous ben­e­fit to some­one with even the most stub­born case of gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

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One’s man’s sto­ry — gluten sen­si­tiv­i­ty part 3


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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One Response to Gluten Sensitivity Part Two — What You Need to Do About It

  1. George W. Blomme says:

    Good use­ful arti­cle

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