Could gluten consumption be causing you fertility problems? Such a huge debate about gluten these days. Some say that gluten is the devil of all food products and others say that all of this gluten sensitivity talk is being blown out of proportion. Regardless of which way you lean on this subject the fact remains that many people not only feel bad when they consume gluten but an alarmingly drastic increase in the number of people that are reporting increased inflammation and hormonal disturbance when consuming gluten containing foods are making headlines across the country.
New gluten free dedicated blogs, cookbooks, and food companies are popping up everywhere you turn these days. Many stores now carry whole sections of dedicated gluten free products and more and more restaurants are taking note of this trend and adding gluten free friendly items to their menus. But the big question still remains....is gluten bad for you and does it affect fertility or is this just another food fad that people are jumping in on?
Well I can speak from personal experience and know that I am one of those people that have made the discovery that gluten plays into the hands of inflammation and hormonal disturbance in my own body. When I was 16 years old I had so many health problems that my dad finally sent me to a Naturopath and I was put on an allergy elimination diet and then retested and found out that I had an extreme gluten intolerance.
Being so young I chose to avoid the instructions I was given to avoid gluten and continued on with my normal diet. It wasn't until I got older and my health problems increased dramatically that I finally revisited this previously diagnosed intolerance. Now that I have been gluten free for some time now and when I mistakenly or stubbornly consume gluten I get quickly reminded of this intolerance with immediate swelling of the joints, instant headaches, bloating, and hormones so out of whack that it takes me a full cycle to recover. Needless to say I don't make that mistake very often!
So what is gluten exactly? Gluten is a protein found in some grains especially wheat, barley, and rye. It is also often found in many unsuspected foods such as sauces, baked goods, cereals, breads, soups, salad dressings, candy, etc. Gluten forms an almost glue like consistency which makes it great for baking but this glue like protein called gliadin is what gives people so much trouble. There have been multiple studies showing the harmful effects of gluten in people with and without Celiac Disease. Unable to digest this gluten when it enters the stomach the body views it as a foreign invader and starts to attack setting off in some an auto immune condition.
A study published on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ reported that many women with infertility, even those who had been through several rounds of IVF, went on to conceive after adopting a gluten free diet and this has also been reported to reduce the risk of miscarriage in many women.
Nobody really knows the exact connection between infertility and gluten but there seems to be many as gluten causes such a broad range of complications from gastrointestinal, to hormonal imbalance, to mal-absorption issues resulting in iron and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
I have done many many in-office case studies involving my clients that have come to me specifically for infertility and the results seen with a gluten free diet. Of course I am not blaming gluten entirely but I do see that it definitely has a negative impact on their fertility success and when removed from the diet even just the quality of my clients health alone has increased not to mention hormones become balanced and fertility increases. I have had many clients with painful heavy periods and severe PMS symptoms including acne, sleep issues, mood swings, headaches, and more, report to me that after going gluten free for 1-2 months time their periods have normalized, cramps no longer affect them, duration of cycle normalizes, and PMS symptoms diminish or disappear.
I won't sugar coat things and tell you that going gluten free is going to be easy but I will tell you that I will bet you feel a whole lot better, energy will increase, digestion will improve, weight may drop, skin clears up, and hormones begin to regain balance over time. Removing gluten from the diet does not create changes overnight and can sometimes take months to years to fully clear out of body but with every month you are gluten free you will start to see gradual if not major changes.
The easiest way to begin going gluten free is to become a label reader, Like I said earlier gluten is hidden in so many things that you would never even imagine. Start surfing the Internet for gluten free blogs....there are soooo many good ones out there. One of my favorites is www.ElanasPantry.com and not only will you find recipes but also suggestions for ingredient swaps and even where to buy the ingredients. Remember that it takes some getting used to as textures will be a bit different and it takes a bit of work to start learning how to cook and bake with these new ingredients but well worth it in the results you will feel and see.
Watch out for all of those "gluten free" prepackaged and processed foods you find in stores. Some of them are worse than the original gluten variety. Often times when a company removes something they substitute something far worse. Your best bet is to become familiar with cooking and baking these new foods yourself so that you know exactly what you are getting. Homemade is always best!!
Give a gluten free diet a try for 30 days and let me know what changes you experience. Remember I love feedback and communication with my readers. And we always love when you share our blogs on your facebook, pinterest or other social media so that we can all help spread good health. Sharing is caring ;)
As always......In good health and happiness,