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Hi, I'm new to this forum, and also new to the world of being "gluten free". For the past year or so, I have been having issues with my stomach, but have ignored it for the most part. I am an avid weight lifter, and although I have added a lot of strength over the past 2 years, I have not been able to put on much weight (I am currently 5'11" and 144 lbs.). Last summer, I only managed to put on 4 lbs. in 3 months after eating a 4500 cal./day diet of very healthy foods. Recently, I have begun to think that there is more to my problems than just being a "hard-gainer". I was going to the bathroom more and more frequently, and often it was loose stool. I did some research, and went gluten free 3 weeks ago. I felt better right away, and the frequency of loose stools lessened; however, I had some issues yesterday and I did not have any gluten. I have a couple questions. First, when going gluten free, do symptoms stop immediately for most people, or did most of you have issues for the first few weeks, even when not eating gluten? Also, did many of you gain weight after adopting a gluten-free diet? I hope that if it is a gluten issue, I can put on some weight because I will finally be absorbing nutrients. Thank you for your time.

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Hi and welcome! I'm new to this, too, so I'll share my experience.

I've been gluten-free for about 5-1/2 weeks now. I was experiencing rapid weight loss, but not abdominal pain. I was also experiencing fatigue and difficulty concentrating, but I didn't realize they were diet-related. I was also having the DH (dermatitis herpetiformis) rash on my elbows and aphthous ulcers.

When I first went gluten-free, I felt GREAT--like, better than I've felt in 10 years. After a couple of weeks of this, I started to notice that I was "reacting" to things that I was eating as though I'd been eating gluten. And not just reacting a little bit, but a lot. I'd get tired, weak, headache-y. I even got obvious stomach pain for the first time. This happens hit and miss. I'd say two days out of three I'll be on top of the world, feeling like I have sun in my veins, taking the steps two at a time, and then on the third day, I'll get a slight headache and then a wiped out feeling after a meal. Three to five hours later, I'm lucky if I'm not just sitting in the same place, trying to rouse myself from my sleepy feelings.

I've continued to lose weight since going gluten-free, but at a much slower rate. I must be making some impact.

I, too, have wondered if there's some type of "detox" period.

If I had to guess, I'd say that I am now reacting to even small amounts of gluten (cross contamination), because my reactions seem to happen in response to processed foods. if I stick with fresh or minimally processed foods (meat, fruit, veg, organic canned veg, etc.), I don't get these reactions at all. It's only when I eat things like Lays chips (that are supposed to be gluten-free) or margarine (supposed to be gluten-free) or Baker's packaged processed coconut (supposed to be gluten-free) that I get these reactions. The other possibility is that going gluten-free has unmasked another intolerance of some kind.

So, as much as I hate it, I'm sticking with simple foods for the time being. I really can't take any chances unless it's late at night and I'm about to go to bed, anyway.

About your weight training / "hardgainer" question: I really don't know, but I'm very curious about this as well. I'm 34 (female) and was always a superskinny kid and teen, the skinniest in my class (though average height). When I was about 14, I started going to the gym with my brother, and I responded well to weight training. I got much stronger, but not very bulky. All the gym rats said that I built muscle a little differently than others, even other females...I could always do a lot of reps near my max, wherever it happened to be. My dad, too. Now, my 6-year-old son looks like a carbon copy of me as a child, and it turns out he has celiac disease. He is thin, floppy, weak, and has mild gross motor delays. His muscles are so scrawny that his ped thought he might have muscular dystrophy. Orthopedist checked him out and said no, just hypotonia, weakness and a few compensating muscle contractures (opposite of hypotonia)...thinks it might all be from the Celiac. Wants to see him after 3 months on the gluten-free diet.

Now I wonder whether the Celiac was interfering with muscular development all along. If you know training science, then you know about fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, right? Well, I've even wondered if, in my case, Celiac somehow interfered with my fast-twitch muscles but not so much the slow twitch ones. Aren't fast-twitch muscles the bulk-building ones? And aren't slow-twitch muscles slower to tire (thus explaining being able to have a lot of stamina / reps near my max)?

This is just me thinking, so may be really far off base. I'm quite curious, though, because I'd like to know if my son has a chance of catching up on his muscular development as he grows.

If it's any encouragement to you, much of the muscle I built as a teen did stay on my frame. If I hadn't lifted weights, I imagine I'd be pretty scrawny now. I'm looking forward to getting back into mild weightlifting...but something about having three boys under the age of 7 is making that difficult!

Sorry for the length - April

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Most celiacs are also lactose intolerant too. And many are permanently intolerant of casein (read an article that something like 50% of celiacs are also casein intolerant).

But here's a great article that is new to celiac.com that explains why there can be some ongoing issues after starting a gluten-free diet.


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Hi --

I'm fairly new to all this, but I sure haven't read of too many people who have had immediate improvement of their symptoms upon going gluten-free and that was it. Lots of people have rocky spells for some weeks or even months.

I had some improvement immediately, which then stalled. Then 2-3 weeks later I had a big problem, like my body was finally getting rid of all the traces of gluten mucking up my system or something. Then it was steady improvement.

Except ... 2-3 weeks after giving up soy, I had the same experience!

You may be on the same sort of time table as me :lol: In which case, you will do better all the time, except when you are accidentally glutened.

I do recommend keeping a food diary, at least for awhile. Then you can see if you are reacting to something else.

April, you make me wonder if my intolerances were what was keeping me from developing any noticeable muscles no matter what the weight training...

McDougall diet (low fat vegan) since 6/00

Gluten free since 1/6/07

Soy free and completely casein and egg free since 2/15/07

Yeast free, on and off, since 3/1/07 -- I can't notice any difference one way or the other

Enterolab results -- 2/15/07

Fecal Antigliladin IgA 140 (Normal Range <10 units)

Fecal Antitissue Transglutaminase IgA 50 (Normal Range <10 units)

Quantitative Microscopic Fecal Fat Score 517 (Normal Range <300 units)

Fecal anti-casein (cow's milk) IgA antibody 127 (Normal Range <10 units)

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0501

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 06xx

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 1,1 (subtype 5,6)

Fecal anti-ovalbumin (chicken egg) IgA antibody 11 (Normal range <10 units)

Fecal Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae (dietary yeast) IgA 11 (Normal range <10 units)

Fecal Anti-Soy IgA 119 (Normal Range < 10 units)

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I had a similar experience to other posters...first I felt great, then I began feeling kind of bad again...but after about a year I felt good all of the time.

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NancyM's article is good as are the other links.

I wish I had just gone gluten-free and dairy/casein free when I started.

it's been almost 2 years for me...and now since dairy and casein, soy free I think I just 'might have nailed it' it takes time.

the whole gluten-free to start is hard enough but in the end, you'll most likely be like the rest of us and have to give up the others in time anyway.

good luck.


Judy in Southern CA

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