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mikehall117

Surprise Benefits Of Going gluten-free

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OK, I saw this on another forum and thought it was a great idea. Going gluten-free was an incredible experience for me, although at the time I didn't know that Gluten was the reason for my troubles. There were just so many benefits that I had not expected and I thought I'd share them with you. I'd love to know if anyone else discovered any hidden surprises after going gluten-free, be they small changes or major life-changing events.

When I 'accidentally' went gluten free when I switched to a low carb lifestyle to try and lose weight I found the following additional benefits:

No more migraines :)

My dermatitis cleared up

No more bloating and wind

No more muscle cramps during the night

No more mouth ulcers

I slept better and didn't have nightmares

My bowel movements were as regular as German clockwork

I had a HUGE boost of energy

I found that I could exercise and for the first time ever I actually enjoyed it!

I built muscle

I started to look fantastic and girls were all over me <_<

I could think clearly and quickly - I actually found I was really smart and not stupid and lazy as all my teachers thought

I was able to do my job better and got promoted

My new found energy and confidence drove me to apply for, and get, a new executive job in the city paying more money than I could have imagined!

And then I met my wife :D

All this happened in just two years. Sadly I didn't know it was due to cutting gluten and I started to relapse back into my old ways when I came off the low-carb lifestyle and then depression set in. However since finding this forum and discovering the true cause I am slowly rediscovering myself again. Today I am feeling better than I have for many years.

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Congratulations, that is a terrific story and inspiring. I also found many more benefits going gluten-free than I ever imagined. I don't think people really believe all the symptoms that cleared up going gluten-free. I know my dr doesn't. But I don't care what anyone thinks, life is good! Right?

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How awesome for you, Mike! :D

I was also surprised at what cleared up and changed for the better after going gluten-free:

Fewer, less intense migraines (these were the reason I went gluten-free, so that's more plain old hapiness than surprise)

Minor joint pain only in the actually injured joints, rather than superbad bodywide

Improved balance

No more tingly feeling in feet and hands

No more anxiety or snappishness

Sound sleeping with zero vivid dreams or nightmares (so vivd they felt real, almost every night)

No need for naps

Clearer thinking

No chest pain, heart palpitations, or breathing difficulties

No preggo-looking pooch

Feel like I'm getting my mojo back

Eating less and more interested in healthy foods

Can accomplish more in an evening or on the weekend (just doing one task, like laundry, used to be a major accomplishment, usually ending in a nap)

I used to think I'd never have enough energy to start up or maintain a relationship, but now I'm thinking I could definitely strike up a conversation and go on from there. :)

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I've been gluten free 9 months and have seen some benefits, but not as many as those above have. I think to really see all the benefits I need to go dairy free as well.

But--

More energy, less sleeping in in the morning. Used to be I couldn't get out of bed till 9 am, well after my husband had to go work and we have three kids. Now I can get out of bed at 7:30.

I sleep better at night.

My psoriasis has improved; the only times it flares up (that i can tell) are when I eat oranges or dairy.

I plan my meals better and the nutrition of our family's meals has improved overall.

I snack less.

While I don't think I've lost a lot of weight, people keep telling me I have. Probably have lost some bloating from the gluten.

Menstrual periods are much less painful. Again, this is most noticeable when I don't eat dairy, but giving up gluten has helped some too.

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I can ditto most of the above things, but I have had an astounding thing happen to me. My diabetes seems to be dissapearing. Before the gluten-free diet, my blood suagars were way to high - 200 to 300 morning levels! My AIC was 13.5, which is incedibly high. Now, on half the meds, my am blood sugars run around 70 - consistently. I forgot to take my pill last night, and this am it was 74. Soon, I will half the meds again and see what happens. I eat the same amount of carbs as I did before, and way more sweets. I don't understand it, but I am happy!

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I am extremely new here, but for me so far i have noticed....no more bloating or gas, and at the time-of-the-month...no PMS!! no bloating and cramps...Yeah!!!

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Surpise! Suprise! Surpise! (Gomer Pyle quote dates me, but I am proud/lucky to be here). Mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma when she was 6 years younger than I am. She had a number of gluten-intolerance like symptoms.

My Old Country Doctor thought I was a Celiac when I was a weaned infant.

"Grew out of it" -the myth and baseless hope. Once a Celiac or intolerant, always so. (To paraphrase C.S. Lewis's, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.)

I was lucky to be raised on a farm with fresh produce and fruit and a mother who canned and froze a lot. That carried on in my adult eating, cooking, and purchasing habits. If I had become a fast-food junkie, I would very likely not be here to write this.

ALL my doctors over the years pooh-poohed the idea that my lengthening list of weird complaints might relate to that orginal diagnosis, and whether correct or not, it indicated weird digestive issues that may still be causing problems. It is called the 'Great Pretender' with good reason.

I have since found out that I have as much human nutrition in formal courses as most MD's, and that the typical GP had less that 20 minutes on the then 'rare' condition called Celiac Sprue. As you acquire complaints, you look hyperchondraic and a little mad (although the mental performance issue is a real symptom, too).

Even GI specialists can fall short treating possible Celiac/intolerants as you can read in another forum.

I tested negative for the blood antigens in 2002. Then a brother with unresponsive BPD found great relief on gluten-free, and pointed out the test meant almost nothing. So I suggested gluten-free to my GP, who saw no harm in trying, and gave up gluten in October 2008. (A lot easier now that in the '80's or '90's). My doc was amazed at my 120/75 BP on the visit 6 months later, white coat fever included.

Over a dozen complaints most minor, some interferring in my functioning enough to scare my wife, and some immediately life threatening, have ceased to be issues.

One big toe remains more numb that it should be indicating possible irreversible nerve damage. My sleep apnea also remains, though less severe and I sleep a lot better. Although I dropped my hypertension by 40 mm HG in Sys & Diastolic to 114/70 in weekly averages after three months, it is now spiking up like it does with accidental gluten challenges. Maybe soy, casein, corn, or other intolerance is an issue causing inflammation. For me, my BP remains a work in progress.

Poor nutrition is a side effect of these gluten intolerance and Celiac DIsease. A LOT of my symptoms were vitamin and mineral deficiency related a byproduct of a badly functioning small intestine. Remember you have a damaged intestinal tract in the very location where most water-soluble vitamins, anti-oxidants and most elements are absorbed. It will be months to years for it to recover and may never become as effective as a non-gluten sensitive person's is. Also, we all lose absorptive function in the gut as we age, (which likely explains a large portion of the 2.5 time higher diagnosis of gluten sensitive and Celiac in older patients and why mine began to pop out all over in the last 10 years, in spite of more than adequate nutrition). Good nutrition and supplements will be even more important for you than it is for the average person of the same age.

In the mean time, I feel 30 years younger. I am glad you feel much better too. A lot like not hitting your head on the brick wall anymore, right? You may or may not be crazy, but your sudden loss of symptoms is very likley real and NOT evidence either for or against your sanity, based on a multitude of others' similar experiences, and the physiology and biochemistry involved.

Of couse it's happening in your mind, but why does that mean it isn't real? (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). :)

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No more Restless Leg Syndrome!!! YEAH!!! It was getting to the point where my family couldn't even sit on the couch with me at night to watch TV. I couldn't hold my legs still. And forget about a movie or concert....it was toture. I am much happier now. :)

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What a fantastic account BrianMc, very uplifting. I have been misdiagnosed for 26 years and I thought that was a long time! I keep having to pinch myself - surely I'm not imagining all this!

Even if I am having a psychosomatic response it is as a direct result of something very real, very tangible and very physical. I feel happier. I feel relaxed. I feel like life is worth living.

However I do feel angry and I do feel regret. I regret my lost childhood spent ill and unhappy. I feel angry at my miserable teenage years trapped in my bed with chronic anaemia and too weak to stand. I am angry that I underachieved and failed exam after exam because I couldn't stay alert or recall anything. I am angry that I have been plagued with the most miserable migraine headaches and dermatitis for 15 years. I hate the fact I got terrible suicidal depression on several occasions as an adult. Above all I am angry that every doctor, counsellor, specialist, therapist and every other 'ist' I saw didn't spot this.

But this is a happy thread. :) I am just so delighted to finally be figuring this out and to have a doctor who is taking this very seriously. I am thankful for the two years I spent 'accidentally' gluten free back in 2003 - 2005 where I turned around my whole life and achieved more than I had done in any period of my life before. Ok, so I spent the next 4 years trying to work out why the fantastic life I had seemed to be slipping away and why I was feeling weak and ill again, but now I have found the root cause, and boy is the rest of my life is going to be good!

And it's precisely because of the people on this forum, sharing their stories and listening to mine, that I have finally found the answer. It may not sound like much, but all those people who have taken the time, to find a few minutes to share their stories and to write on here, have potentially made an incalculable positive impact to my life and the lives others.

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I can ditto most of the above things, but I have had an astounding thing happen to me. My diabetes seems to be dissapearing. Before the gluten-free diet, my blood suagars were way to high - 200 to 300 morning levels! My AIC was 13.5, which is incedibly high. Now, on half the meds, my am blood sugars run around 70 - consistently. I forgot to take my pill last night, and this am it was 74. Soon, I will half the meds again and see what happens. I eat the same amount of carbs as I did before, and way more sweets. I don't understand it, but I am happy!

Ranger, I can relate! I have been a type one diabetic for thirty-six years, and was diagnosed with celiac four years ago. I have always had fairly tight control, but after going gluten-free I could really notice changes - - my blood sugar now rarely if ever spikes up inexplicably and I have no more strange readings that I cannot trace to anything I've eaten or done. I also notice that when I am accidentally glutened, my BS skyrockets. :angry:

Gluten is just one bad thing.....not just for celiacs and the intolerants!

Hey......wouldn't that make a great band name? Appearing live at the Skydome for two shows, Celiac and the Intolerants!

:rolleyes:

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Wow, where to start. There have been so many positive effects. A lot of these come back almost immediately if I accidentally get into gluten.

Joint/bone/muscle aches diminished by 80% within a few weeks of going gluten free. I had previously been given the catch all diagnosis of fibromyalgia for all of my pain.

Lost 15 lbs - so far.

No longer feel lethargic all the time.

Migraines/headaches dimininshed.

No more foggy brain feeling.

I don't look like I take steroids anymore- no more puffy, drugged look.

No more numb fingers & toes, for the most part.

No more BP medication

No more depression.

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For me, I was surprised at how good I felt after eliminating gluten. I guess I didn't realize how bad I had felt all my life. I didn't know what it felt like to feel good (if that makes sense).

For my son, I was surprised at how fast he grew! The doctor said that a 5 pound weight gain in one year would be excellent. He has now gained 13 pounds and it's been a little over one year.

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I have been tested for Celiacs a few times over the past 5 years or so while trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with my stomach. The tests always came back negative and I left it at that. I just recently decided to try going gluten-free (about 4 days ago) and I noticed the difference IMMEDIATELY! It was only then that I realized how much pain I had been in before.

My boyfriend thought I was over-reacting when I told him I felt like a new person (I could fit in my clothes again!) he said it had only been one day and that wasn't long enough. Over the next couple days everything seemed to tighten up. It was probably just the difference in not being bloated all the time but I swear...even the skin around my neck feels tighter. I'm excited to see more changes and to learn more about the allergy. I had no clue bad dreams were reaction...I've had them (very vivid and very strange) for as long as I can remember. It's all very interesting, I can't stop researching!!

One more thing, (sort of off the subject) after reading all your posts I start to question whether or not my dad had an allergy. He passed away 2 years ago after suffering with Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes, but his blood sugar was VERY hard to control. We used to sort of blame him, saying he would forget his shot, or eat something he shouldn't. Then he became hospitalized for a while, where he was on a strict schedule - food/shots administered by nurses on time all the time, and it was still out of whack. We thought maybe it was the MS doing it but now I wonder...

Anyway, you guys are all great. Thanks so much for all the info!

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I am a woman in Texas (a flight attendant) who is in the battle of a lifetime with Celiac, also Dermatitis Herpetiformis with my skin.

I would love some help/advice/coaching from someone. I have absolutely no idea what things are good to eat and what things are bad. Sure, I know not to eat wheat, oats and barley (bread), but so many things have these in them - what to do?

I will give you a brief description of what I am like now. I was 135 lbs. last year, and I am 168 pounds now. I have a very large, tight stomach and gas. I also think I have a severe case of IBS. I have alternating constipation and "almost" diarrhea. I have fatigue, headaches, brain fog, aches and pains, and obviously osteoporosis. (I fell down my stairs in January and shattered my ankle. It was a horrible break - a trimalleolar fracture.) I can eat just a little bit and then my stomach feels full, tight and bloated even though I am still hungry! I look like I take steroids and feel fat and round. Will I ever get my slim stomach back again?

For the past 4 years, I have had a skin condition with blistering that the Dermatologist thought it was dermatitis. Now I have been told that it is Dermatitis Herpetiformis. It is the absolutely worse stinging than I have ever had without being bitten. It is a maddening itch, scabbbing, itching, scabbing....on and on.

Mainly, I want to get rid of the bloated belly. Please, if anyone has any advice, share it with me. I am absolutely not overeating. I am spacing very small meals throughout the day, and still the bloating continues. I have had a Gynecological checkup and all is well.

Thank you for all of your help!

Jan Hall

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I would love some help/advice/coaching from someone. I have absolutely no idea what things are good to eat and what things are bad. Sure, I know not to eat wheat, oats and barley (bread), but so many things have these in them - what to do?

Mainly, I want to get rid of the bloated belly. Please, if anyone has any advice, share it with me. I am absolutely not overeating. I am spacing very small meals throughout the day, and still the bloating continues. I have had a Gynecological checkup and all is well.

Thank you for all of your help!

Jan Hall

Hi Jan and welcome :) you've come to a great place for information and encouragement.

at this point the best thing you can do is eat "simple": rice, potato, meats, eggs, nuts (if you aren't allergic), fruits and vegetables, use salt and pepper for spicing (unless you are TOTALLY confident that the spices are gluten free....McCormicks tends to be a brand most of us are comfortable with)

the main thing is to get the gluten out of your diet. I would also suggest stopping dairy for the first while, many of us have problems digesting the casein and/or lactose in dairy. Dairy is also a known "bloater" if you are sensitive.

here's a link to safe and unsafe foods that may help you with deciding what you can or cannot eat. also it's important to read labels, there are hidden sources of gluten everywhere (gosh almost sounds like a conspiracy :lol: ) the ones that first come to mind are soy sauce, vinegar, fake crab (we had sushi tonite, it's on my mind :rolleyes: ) processed meats, actually processed foods in general!

Suggest you don't indulge in too many "gluten free" processed foods either; until you get a handle on your sensitivity it would be best to eat clean and then add in foods one at a time to see if you react to them (celiacs often discover associated sensitivities that reveal themselves as the pain from the gluten "poisoning" begins to disappear)

Lastly, if you live with people who are not gluten free make sure you get your own containers of butter, jam, peanut butter, mayonnaise and a toaster, it may seem extreme but cross contamination (cc) can be a real problem and it's generally easier to just get your own stuff.

back to the thread topic, for me the benefits have been mostly neurological (I didn't get gut symptoms until this past fall):

disappearance of:

anxiety

depression

mood swings

PMS

walking into things (I used to get the worst bruises that I could never figure out where they came from)

my fingers haven't "tingled" in a while, nor have they lost feeling

foot cramps

sore joints (especially hip flexors and my shoulder joints)

plus a reduction in:

migraines (classic and optical)

bloating

insomnia

just in general I feel so much better going gluten free!

great thread, thanks for starting it!

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I've only been on the diet for the past month, but even now there have been some obvious improvements.

- I don't feel like total crap after I eat, and if I do get a bit of an ache, it tends to go away much faster, less resorting to gallons of ginger tea.

- My pants are swimming on me! Just a year ago I could barely squeeze into some of them, and now even a size 4 is a little big. I think its not so much drastic weight loss as I'm suddenly not bloated all the time!

- I've been less anxious and had less mood swings. they're not gone, but it had been a stressful time in my life, so I can't blame gluten for everything

- I think i'm slowly starting to sleep better, have less twitches, feeling drunk/high when I know I havn't been drinking.

I probably do have some hidden gluten/CC problems, but as long as I don't deliberately drink a beer or eat wheat, I'm comparatively great! Over time things can only get better

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Ok, I have one thing that I haven't seen anyone else mention:

My whole life I had tiny bumps on the back of my arms, on my thighs and on my butt. (Are we allowed to say "butt" here?) I hated those bumps and was jealous of other women's smooth skin. Well, guess what? After a few gluten-free months, the bumps went away. Yay!

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I'll just list my favorite here.

I had CDH - chronic daily headache - for over a year.

CDH is just what it sounds like a 24/7 headache.

To try to get rid of it, i went without ALL pain meds for 10 months. no aspirin, no NSAIDs, no caffeine, no triptans, nothing for the CDH or my migraines (a whole 'nother problem)

no gluten, no CDH! and my migraines are tremendously better too!!

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Ok, I have one thing that I haven't seen anyone else mention:

My whole life I had tiny bumps on the back of my arms, on my thighs and on my butt. (Are we allowed to say "butt" here?) I hated those bumps and was jealous of other women's smooth skin. Well, guess what? After a few gluten-free months, the bumps went away. Yay!

Pele! I have those bumps too!! I've only been gluten-free for about a week but I've noticed my skin is less dry so I hope they go away eventually for me too!!

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I am sleeping better

My RLS is much milder

My gas and bloating is gone even though constipation isn't

I've lost 5 lbs I didn't need

I have more energy

My depressed mood is mostly gone except for flare-ups under bad situations (teenage son, scary talk of layoffs at work)

My constipation went away for a few days after I'd been gluten free for a couple of weeks, but its back

skin is less itchy

nasal allergies are better

eczema in ears mostly gone

I love the gluten-free diet!!

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I was VERY sick when I went gluten-free, so it took a long time for me to notice any unexpected side effects. After getting to where I could work, not pass out in the shower, and actually have a discernable blood pressure, I started gaining weight, I'm (thankfully) 40 lbs heavier now. I'd say the coolest unexpected side effect is two-fold, my seasonal allergies have virtually dissappeared, and I never get colds anymore. When a flu bug or something is going around at work, I still get it, but everyone else will be out for three days while I just sneeze for a couple days and am fine. HUGE change, I used to be out 2 or 3 days 4 or 5 times a year from contagious illness. I also have had a big improvement in axiety I didn't even know I had. That and my girly parts are a great deal more generous than they used to be, something my boyfriend couldn't be happier about.

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Pele! I have those bumps too!! I've only been gluten-free for about a week but I've noticed my skin is less dry so I hope they go away eventually for me too!!

weird... my mom, brother and i all have those and our doctor said there was nothing that could be done and it was just something people have. my mom and brother are awating their celiac test results. i hope mine go away! i hate those!

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Congratulations! I also discovered I was gluten intolerant by going on a low-carb diet, specifically South Beach. The first time, I thought my feeling great was a coincidence, but after gaining the weight back, and going on it a second time, the light bulb went off. I've been offically gluten free for 1 year, 5 months.

I've had lots of great benefits, some I expected, some I didn't

-Pollen allergies have significantly improved. I'm not off my meds yet, but I can actually go outside now, as long as I take my zyrtec.

-Need less sleep. I went from sleeping 10-12 to a more normal 7-9, thought truthfully, I function best at 9

-Build muscle easier. I could never build muscle before. My core is stronger, and my waist is smaller than it has ever been, even though I weigh more than I did as a teen.

-Dark circles under my eyes are gone

-Hair growth--I had the start of a widow's peak, but now my hairline is back to how it was when I was younger

-More energy I can now hold a job AND keep up with housework, rather than choosing one or the other.

And this one will probably make people think I'm crazy, but I swear it's true. I used to have really, really flat feet, and now I have nice arches. I first noticed it last August. I was watching T.V barefooted, and looking at my feet, and I was literally "Why is my foot so curved when I'm not pointing my toes?", and I realized, "OMG that's my arch!"

My digestive symptoms aren't 100% normal yet, but that's okay. I am able to fully function in life!

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Ok, I have one thing that I haven't seen anyone else mention:

My whole life I had tiny bumps on the back of my arms, on my thighs and on my butt. (Are we allowed to say "butt" here?) I hated those bumps and was jealous of other women's smooth skin. Well, guess what? After a few gluten-free months, the bumps went away. Yay!

YES YES YES!!!! I am in love with my arms. I feel them all the time and I can't believe that they are MINE!!!! They used to be everywhere on the backs of my arms and on the first warm day when I wore a short sleeve shirt, I noticed it. I was thrilled! My 4 year old son, who has tested negative on his bloodwork (but I think he has a gluten intolerance too) has them so bad all over his arms and legs. He's scheduled to go back to his pediatrician in May for a weight check, and I really think I am going to ask if I can try him on a gluten-free diet, just to see what happens.

In addition to that:

I am regular for the first time in my life, no more constipation.

I am not gassy anymore.

I am not bloated.

I don't get disgustingly full after every meal, only to be hungry an hour later.

I only get canker sores now when I've accidentally ingested gluten.

I am more focused at work.

I sleep better.

I don't have joint pain anymore.

My minute per mile average when I go running went from over 12:00 per mile to about 10:30 or so! The last time I ran was around the time of my diagnosis, and I didn't start up again until March, wow! What a difference!

And finally, the biggie: I've lost almost 30 lbs! I went from a snug size 14 to a 6 (and even a 4 in a couple of instances!!). I can get into all of my pre-pregnancy work suits again! YAY!!

I still get frustrated at times, like the other day when my coworkers celebrated a birthday at Olive Garden and I could only eat salad. However, the benefits so outweigh the risks, that on more than one occasion I've said that my diagnosis has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.

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