Signs that Your Child has Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten sensitivity affects about 15 percent of the United States population. Some doctors believe that between 30 to 50 percent of people worldwide have a gluten sensitivity. The problem is that some people only have signs or symptoms of the sensitivity, while others will have antibodies in the blood that are caused by the immune response. If you think that your child has a gluten sensitivity, here are some of the most common indications to look for.
Skin rashes for children are common, and in many cases the cause is undiscernible. If you notice that your child is getting a rash within a 36 hour period of eating gluten, this could be the body challenging the gluten. Many times, skin that is red,itchy, or peeling, is eczema. Eczema is normally caused by an intolerance to food, or a chemical that is touching the skin.
Any digestive issues like bloating, gas, or constipation are a good sign that there is something wrong within the body. This is because the body is being challenged to try to break down the gluten. Many people who have a gluten sensitivity will have digestive issues until they eliminate gluten from their diet. When they completely cut out gluten, they become much better.
Brain Fog and Fatigue
When the body is not able to process gluten, the gluten is essentially able to gum up the body and creates a glue like residue that lines the digestive tract. This glue like residue will block the intake of nutrients, which the body needs for both mental and physical energy. The body will also use a lot of energy up trying to deal with this invader.
Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Dark circles can be a sign of a food sensitivity. Over time, the body becomes worn down by constantly fighting the foods that it cannot digest. This taxes the adrenal glands, and slows downs the proper absorption of other nutrients. Both can lead to the dark circles that can appear under the eyes.
Frequent Colds and Flu
If the colon and small intestine become gummed with the gluten that cannot be digested, the body is not able to create the amount of flora that it needs to break down other foods. If you add in the adrenal glands not working at their best, then your child’s immune system will end up being damaged. This will make them more susceptible to colds and flus.
Runny Nose That Does Not Clear Up
Many times, the body will try to discharge the mucus build up as it is going on. The mucus can be from the nondigested gluten, along with the other not so great foods that are in your child’s diet.
Dizziness and Loss of Balance
A gluten sensitivity can lead to inflammation within the nervous system. This inflammation can lead to symptoms like dizziness, loss of balance, and tingling in fingers and toes.
Headaches and Joint Pain
There are a lot of reasons for ongoing headaches and joint pain. Any inflammation that happens within the nervous system will usually lead to these problems, as the body will heat up trying to deal with the irritants. This lowers the amount of water in the body, and can trigger both headaches and joint pain.
Many children that have a gluten sensitivity will show their diet problems in their behaviors. Mood swings are a good sign that your child is having problems with their diet. Also, the onset of anxiety or depression can be a side effect of a gluten sensitivity. In some children, ADD has been linked to a gluten sensitivity. So, you may want to think about testing your child for a food sensitivity, if your child has any of these issues. If it is a food based problem, it is simpler to fix by eliminating gluten, than years of using medication.
So Why is Gluten Intolerance so Widespread?
There are many different theories about gluten sensitivities and intolerances. The main idea that is believed to be the cause of gluten sensitivities and intolerance is that our digestive tracts have started to degenerate from the vastly improper diets that most people around the world have.
The highly processed foods that many people eat on a day-to-day basis have been shown to destroy the digestive system’s integrity and wear down the tissues within the system. Another issue is that the soil is also being degenerated from over usage. This has led healthy foods to lose many important micro-organisms, and nutrients.
How Do You Test For Gluten Sensitivity?
The best option to find out if your child has a problem with gluten is to do an elimination diet. This means that you will cut out gluten from their diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks, and then add the gluten back in slowly and watch for any symptoms from before. As gluten is a type of protein, it could take months or years to be fully removed from the body. This means that the longer that you and your child can wait to add the gluten back into their diet, the better the results will be.
How Do To Your Treat a Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Intolerance?
The simplest way is to eliminate gluten 100 percent from the diet. This means no gluten at all. In some cases the trace amounts of gluten that are found in medications and supplements, or from cross-contamination are just enough to cause a reaction in the body.
The 80/20 rule, or “not eating gluten at home, and eat gluten when you are out” is a huge misconception. For people with a gluten sensitivity, eating gluten even once a month can raise their risk of death by over 600 percent, as found by one study in 2001.
Having a child with a gluten sensitivity can be hard, as your child is able to take some of what they eat on a daily basis into their own hands. Children that are school age may not want to have their diet changed. Many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis have gluten in them. Even though there are gluten free options on the market, most do not have the same taste as the foods they are trying to copy.
The first thing that you need to do is to learn how to read labels, and make good choices about what you have in the house for both meals and snacks. The next step is to look into your child’s school. You will need a letter from your doctor that your child needs gluten-free options from the school’s cafeteria, so they will stock gluten-free options. Teachers and coaches should also be informed about your child’s dietary needs, so they can help create a safe environment for your child.
The earlier that you are able to teach your child about what foods are safe and what they should avoid is the best option. Reading labels is harder to teach, as there are many types of ingredients that would classify as gluten, which are hard for a child to remember. However, the main ones should be learned as soon as you know what they are, and that your child is able to read ingredients listed on labels. Learning how to speak up and ask if there is gluten in the food they order in a restaurant is another important skill that your child needs to develop. They will need to do this so they will be safe in their daily life.
The best option to be able to help your child with school and other events, where there may not be a gluten-free option, is to provide them with food. People that eat a gluten-free diet are the masters at carrying foods and snacks everywhere that they go. You can use an insulated bag that is easy to carry and is appealing to your child, to make this food carrying easier. There are a lot of different designs and sizes, but a book bag style is great for children. Make sure that the bag always has at least one main dish, and a handful of snacks. This helps lower the temptation for your child to eat unsafe foods.