Is there any merit to going gluten free? I have been interested in this question having discovered this year that I have a positive genetic marker for coeliac disease.  This has prompted further research with in this area which can be confusing.

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COELIAC DISEASE.

Is not an allergy to gluten, it is defined as a serious auto-immune condition resulting in the body attacking the gut wall.  This damage impairs absorption of nutrients and can cause severe nutritional deficiency.  Treatment requires total elimination of all gluten from the diet to enable the gut to repair and stay healthy.

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NON-COELIAC GLUTEN INTOLERANCE.

Is starting to become a recognised problem.  It is defined by a number of symptoms occurring as a result of consuming gluten, but no damage is caused to the gut wall. Some health experts believe that those with gluten sensitivity can go on to develop other health problems outside of the digestive system. The mechanism of this problem is not yet fully understood.  It is also not conclusive that gluten that is causing the problem as there are other proteins in wheat that the body may be reacting too.  

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GENETIC FACTORS.

If a genetic test discovers a positive marker for coeliac disease this doesn’t mean you have the disease, nor does it mean you will ever have it. Environmental factors have the ability to switch the gene “on” so it’s always worth investigating this result further especially if you are experiencing digestive problems.

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WHEN TO SEE YOUR GP.

If you experience any digestive problems or unusual symptoms, whether you suspect gluten is the issue or not, discuss this with your GP.  They can advise on the best dietary approach of further testing or may decide to refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist.

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LOOK AT YOUR DIET.

Eating the same types of foods all day every day is never a good thing.  This goes for foods containing gluten. Try and record your food intake for a few days and see how many times a day you consume gluten containing foods it may be more than you think.