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Dare I Ask - Could Dairy Be A Problem Too?

6 posts in this topic


I posted this yesterday but visiting the board again today I think I sort of hijacked someone else's thread :rolleyes:

I'm very new to gluten-free living and have been gluten-free for only a few weeks. By the 2nd day I felt a big improvement - no more D or rushing to the toilet after eating. I began to think that this was wonderful. However, over the last couple of weeks I'm not feeling so good again. My stomach's nowhere near as bad as before gluten-free, but it seems more sensitive somehow - I've had an increase in going to toilet again (although no urgency) and an increase in wind and I've also felt very tired again over the last week and back ache.

I think what I want to share and ask for comments is this - I'm not sure whether my tiredness, back ache, bloating is due to being glutened or just whether I'd feel tired anyway (I am kinda busy most of the time)

Any thoughts please?

I've just thought as I've read over my message - for years I've had back ache and noticed that it was always worse on days when I felt very tired and used to say this to my husband - there's no apparant reason for my back to ache, has this been due to gluten do you think?

Thanks, Deb


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I'm pretty new to this, too. I've been doing it almost 6 months but I will try to help. For me, the tiredness relates to gluten, I think. If I'm being very careful and eating only what I know is safe, I can get by on 6 or 7 hours of sleep. At one point, I was getting take-out at a supposedly safe place and noticed I was needing more sleep and needing a nap. At first, I thought I was just doing too much and needed to rest but then I stopped eating there and I'm back again to not needing as much sleep.

I would think the increase in bathroom use, gas, and bloating are due to something you are eating. If you are being as strict as possible about the gluten, you could try giving up dairy and see if that helps.


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I gave up dairy two days ago because I got my Enterolab results back.

It's the saddest thing I've ever had to do.

But. I've noticed that I'm not feeling quite as bloated, and I look forward to a week or two from now to see if there's really any huge difference.

About the's been three months for me gluten-free. And I am still exhausted most of the time. And I have the whole back ache thing which I'd never, ever had before. It's weird and it hurts and I don't like it. I notice it's not as bad if I'm doing my back exercises, but mostly I'm too slack to do those.

Unfortunately, there's really no telling what your body is responding to. The problem with gluten is that it takes a while to get out of your system, there's a lot of it hidden that you'd never think of, and your body could just be detoxing yourself. give it some more time, but I do know that a lot of people who go gluten-free also have a high sensitivity to dairy - especially right away.

Good luck!



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Dairy very well could be a problem in you have damaged intestines.

Soy could also be a problem if you eat that.

Gluten, soy and dairy can all cause intestinal damage (doesn't mean they will for everyone).

It would probably be best to go off of dairy for 2-6 months and see if you feel better. Then you could reintroduce it and see if you feel worse again. You would need to keep a food diary/journal since an intolerance reaction could take 2 days to appear.

I'm going to include something my doctor gave me for allergy/intolerances.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a problem created by a disordered immune system. Normally, the immune system, or body’s military team, is designed to attack disease-causing germs such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, however, the immune system gets “confused”, and begins attacking harmless proteins such as those breathed in the air [pollens, mold spores, etc.] or ingested [proteins in our foods]. We call such a reaction an allergy. Allergy symptoms are many and diverse; the most commonly recognized being itching of eyes and nose, runny or stuffy nose and sinuses (“hay fever”), difficulty breathing or asthma, and rashes such as hives or eczema. Not as commonly appreciated is that these immune system reactions can also cause many other symptoms such as; headaches, especially migraines, fatigue, sore throat, arthritis or joint pains, stomach distress, colitis, gall bladder attacks, etc. Even such disorders as epilepsy, spontaneous miscarriages, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, high blood pressure, etc., may have an allergic basis.

You might say, “I feel fine nearly all the time; why should I check for allergies. While it may not be necessary, many individuals discover that they are able to enjoy even better quality of life when they avoid their “problem foods”.

How does one know which foods are “problem foods”? That can be a difficult question. Fortunately, several tests can be useful. One measures the amount of immunoglobulin G present in the blood which is specific to a certain food, another measures the amount of immunoglobulin E. Other tests check for concentrations of antigen:antibody complexes, or look for swelling in white blood cells. The test most frequently useful is that which measures the concentration of the immunoglobulin G, or “IgG”.

Depending in which type of testing is performed, the significant levels will be listed differently. If RAST testing is done, [e.g. Serolab], usually the important foods will have counts greater than 3,000 (or _____). If ELISA testing is done, [e.g. US Biotek], levels greater than “No Reaction” are usually considered relevant.

However, laboratories can make mistakes. Therefore it advisable to experiment with the “problem” foods to see if they actually do produce any problems.

The preferred method is called “elimination diet and challenge testing”. It means strictly avoiding any food which is on the “problem list” (shows an elevated level of antibodies) for about 3 weeks [at least 2 weeks]. Then testing or “challenging” each food one time only, beginning with those foods having the lowest positive [but significant] reaction. Do not eat the tested food again until all problem foods have been tested. The next food is tested after 3 days, (or 24 hours after any reaction has subsided--whichever is first). The amount of the test food is usually not critical. Any amount from 1 tablespoon to 1 quart is acceptable. Other “safe” foods may be eaten at he same meal as the test food.

Observe carefully for any symptoms, especially within the first hour, 6-8 hours after ingestion, and 24 hours after the test meal. It is wise to keep a diary or journal, so you can recall what specific symptoms were experienced, and how long it was after the test meal until they occurred. It is sometimes helpful if a family member also is observing for any personality changes or other objective symptoms.

A typical reaction to a problem food might be as follows. The “problem food” [cheese, for example] is eaten for breakfast at 8:00 am. Half an hour later, you notice some sniffling and sneezing. An hour later, you feel jittery, shaky inside. Four hours after breakfast slight nausea is noted. Seven hours after the test meal [3:00 PM], you get a headache. This continues, gradually worsening, the rest of the day. The following morning you awaken feeling very tired, exhausted. As you drag out of bed, you notice that your joints feel stiff and a little sore. They gradually “limber up” as the day progresses, but you feel tired throughout the entire day. The following morning you awaken beginning to feel more like your normal self. Just eating one problem food once could cause this 48-hour ordeal.

After all problem foods have been tested, decide which ones caused symptoms worse than the trouble of trying to avoid the causative foods. Ideally, one strictly avoids all those foods for a period of 4 to 6 months, after which they are each tested again. The goal is to assist the body in “forgetting” those foods are “problem foods” so they may be safely eaten again. This may take some time, but can be worthwhile.

Another method of dealing with allergy foods is to eat them only occasionally. Eating a problem food at intervals of 4 days or more frequently minimizes the symptoms produced. This can be easier than strictly avoiding the food, though the immune system may not “forget” to “fight” a food that is eaten intermittently. The “bottom line” rule of thumb is to be no stricter about your diet than you need to be in order to feel as good as it is possible for you to feel.

If you would like a more thorough explanation of this topic, please consult one of several excellent books that are available.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks for your replies and thanks Andrea for the info - I've printed it off to show my husband as it may help him to understand why I get so tired!

This really is a mine-field isn't it? I will keep reading around and I'm sure that I'll try to go dairy free but I just cannot face that right now, still adjusting to gluten-free diet :(

Best wishes to you all, Deb :)


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I'm pretty much zonked most of the day and I'm 5 months in. I think it will take a bit longer, and also a balance of vitamins and getting enough rest and exercise. It's not easy, but I've had glimmers of energy for a full day now and then and it's a good incentive to keep going :)

I have a problem with dairy too, much longer than I've problems with wheat and yeast.


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    • For those of you who get this, how long did it last? I am going on 3 months now, glutening 2 months ago.  Popping zofran in the morning and I feel pretty dizzy and queasy the first half of the day. No, I am not pregnant. I also get flu like aches and accelerated heart rate after eating. 
    • That's how he makes his money... of course you will not get them to agree that the tests are bogus! Same with all these " miracle" supplements that claim to " digest" gluten.  If you call them, , of course they are going to say they work! "We only embrace tests that have endured rigorous scientific evaluations. So far, these tests have received no evidence-based support. Enterolab has never successfully published anything on the accuracy of stool tests (nor have any other stool test manufacturers, to our knowledge) making it difficult to confirm the research results. Because of this, we must make our decisions based on what hasbeen published; Harvard, UCSD, and the American College of Gastroenterology all agree that stool tests are simply not sensitive or specific enough methods in screening for celiac disease. We can say therefore with confidence that the test currently being used by these labs is not good enough. In fact, while it is true that about 40% of people with proven gluten sensitivity have elevated AGA-IgG, it is also true that about 15-25% of the healthy individuals who have absolutely nothing wrong also have elevated AGA-IgG. Hence, about 60% of gluten sensitive people do not have elevated AGA-IgG (making the test not sensitive enough); and about 20% of normal, non-gluten sensitive people have elevated AGA-IgG for no apparent reason (making the test not specific enough)."    
    • Hi Gemini, My birthday is in June, so I'm a Gemini too---and I do agree with some of your good points.  I had written that one could EITHER try Dr. Fine's stool sample testing, where his EnteroLab looks for elevated numbers of IgA antibodies to various food proteins (gluten, milk proteins, soy proteins, yeast proteins, etc.), OR one could just avoid eating or drinking or touching suspect food proteins, for at least a month (3 months is better), and see whether AVOIDING eating and touching such proteins causes improvement or not, in one's symptoms and lab test results. I urge you (and anyone else who wonders about this) to speak by phone, with people working at Dr. Fine's EnteroLab,  and state your objections to them, and see what their replies might be. Here's their phone number: 972-686-6869. I called Dr. Fine's Enterolab, and the folks I spoke with there, were nice enough to reply to any questions that I had, including one lady (I believe she was a nurse) there telling me about the "IgA deficiency" blood test called "total secretory IgA", which one can do first, to see whether it pays to try EnteroLab's stool sample testing! From what I understand, Dr. Fine doesn't try to distinguish between Celiac and non-Celiac forms of gluten "sensitivity". This is because although Celiac Disease is VERY serious, it is the "tip of the gluten-sensitive iceberg", meaning, that higher percentages of gluten-sensitive folks are NON-Celiac gluten-sensitive folks, who can also have major health problems, but the non-Celiac folks have "villi" that are sub-microscopically damaged, and thus, this sub-microscopic villi damage cannot be seen under the microscope--but it's there! And, Dr. Fine's point, is that in both Celiac and non-Celiac types of gluten sensitivity, the cure is the same: AVOID GLUTEN! Dr. Fine doesn't use the term "gluten intolerance", because newer uses of the word "intolerance" refers to NON-PROTEIN intolerances, such as "lactose/milk sugar intolerance" (lactose/milk sugar is a carbohydrate, not a protein), and intolerances are not related to one's immune system, while gluten "sensitivity" and other "sensitivities" ARE related to one's immune system, with ingestion (eating or drinking the offending proteins) causing one's immune system to cause the production of antibodies to those proteins that one is "sensitive" to. Many years ago, a friend of my husband, went to a local doc who told my husband's friend to try avoiding gluten. My husband's friend, without being biopsied, went off gluten, and has become well, ever since that day long ago. Some years ago, both my husband and I did Dr. Fine's "EnteroLab" stool sample testing, for gluten sensitivity. My husband came out positive, and I came out negative. My husband has avoided gluten, ever since then, and I try to do so also, to avoid tempting him to cheat, and he has avoided getting colds, etc., the way he used to, before he stopped eating glutenous foods. And, there is much disagreement (I know, because I'm a retired nurse, and I've been a patient now and then) between doctors, about gluten sensitivity, and about anything medical. So, I've learned to be wary of the terms "valid medical institutions" and "valid medical professionals". What may seem valid today, might be disproved tomorrow, and what might not seem valid today, may be shown to be valid tomorrow. Medicine is always in flux, thankfully. If not, medicine would be "dogma". If you call and speak with Dr. Kenneth Fine (M.D., gastroenterologist, "sensitive" to many food proteins himself, including gluten, but not "Celiac") &/or to the folks working at his Enterolab, please let us know what their replies are, to your objections to his lab's work. In the meantime, let's both try to keep an open mind. Sincerely, Carol Sidofsky (wife of gluten-sensitive non-Celiac hubby, and I'm a retired RN/nurse)
    • Where do you live? I was going to go to Cleveland but just got an appointment with Celiac Center in Boston. 5 hour drive next month. Hoping it is worth the trip. Might be worth looking into.   I just educated a lab on DGP yesterday. They just brought a celiac panel in house and i saw they were using gliadin. I think they are running my sample on the old test in-house and sending it out for DGP to see what happens.     
    • Me too, I am not a member of Medscape.    Is this the article?  I goggled the topic and filtered using "news".  (Hope it works!) Celiac Disease in Children: Experts Clarify Diagnosis and Management Recommendations   Here is what I liked.....a gluten sniffing dog for helping kids to remain dietary compliant!   Count me in!  
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