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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Heart Palpitations/ Tachycardia
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Has anyone else experienced tachycardia or heart palpitations after going gluten-free?

For several years now (3-5) I've gotten very occasional (like maybe a few times a month) heart palps, but since the middle of October (right around the time I challenged with gluten and then went gluten-free for good) they became much more frequent. I notice them anywhere from a couple of times to ten times a day.

I had pretty strong tachycardia last night while I was eating dinner (no gluten), so not sure if it's related to diet or what. Most of the time I notice it I'm lying down or relaxed in some way, so I don't think it can be stress-related.

I'm wearing a cardiac event recorder right now, so hopefully the doc will find something...

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I've been getting them when I get glutened but that's about it. Is it possible you have cc issues of some sort or are being glutened somewhere?

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Do oyou have any bloating or gas while you experience these episodes?

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Has anyone else experienced tachycardia or heart palpitations after going gluten-free?

For several years now (3-5) I've gotten very occasional (like maybe a few times a month) heart palps, but since the middle of October (right around the time I challenged with gluten and then went gluten-free for good) they became much more frequent. I notice them anywhere from a couple of times to ten times a day.

I had pretty strong tachycardia last night while I was eating dinner (no gluten), so not sure if it's related to diet or what. Most of the time I notice it I'm lying down or relaxed in some way, so I don't think it can be stress-related.

I'm wearing a cardiac event recorder right now, so hopefully the doc will find something...

I get palpitations (but not fast enough to call it tachycardia) whenever I eat cane sugar, which is one of my diagnosed (IgG mediated) allergens. I also get a little nauseaus when I eat cane sugar. All my other allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, egg, vanill and nutmeg) cause gut pain, bloating and diarrhea or constipation. Cane sugar is the only one that causes palpitations. I can eat any other kind of natural sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, agave, beet sugar, honey, etc.) but nothing derived from cane sugar (molasses, sucanat, splenda, brown sugar) without getting those palpitations for at least 48 hours after ingestion. My ND says he's seen several people with cane sugar allergy as well as me.

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I don't think I'm getting glutened anywhere because I'm pretty careful. I don't even have gluten foods in the house at all, and I'm pretty careful when I go out. It's possible I may be reacting to a different food (like sugar), so I'll try to pay attention to see if any particular food correlates with the tachy.

Mushroom, I don't generally get bloated during the palps, but once or twice I've actually gotten a stomach-ache after a palp episode ended. This happened the other night, but I didn't connect the two since it was right after I ate dinner. The palpitations, generally, happen at night/evening and mostly when I'm lying down or at rest.

There may be no connection to diet, but I wanted to throw it out there to you guys.

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Low B1(thiamin) can cause those symptoms, along with folic acid deficiency, or iron deficiency.

Have you had any blood panels run recently?

It's fine to supplement the B vitamins and folic acid..(and maybe a good idea because gluten-free foods aren't fortified with vitamins like gluten foods), but you shouldn't supplement iron unless you know you're anemic.

My resting pulse is always above 100, and raises sometimes, so I know it can be alarming. I'm hoping I'll settle down once I'm healed enough to start absorbing nutrients.

Good luck to you!

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Mine seem to have started since I went gluten free as well, but I am pretty sure they are diet related because I only get them if I am bloated or gassy. I am taking a fish oil pill with vitamin D and it seems to help. I do think it is strange that this started after I went gluten free. I am trying to cut out alot of the suger out of my diet and I noticed yesterday that after lunch my heart was racing for a while and I did have some sugar with my meal. Never had that before either. Mushroom, why do you ask if peeptoad is experiencing gas with the pals? Do you have an idea of what it may be?

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I don't think I'm getting glutened anywhere because I'm pretty careful. I don't even have gluten foods in the house at all, and I'm pretty careful when I go out. It's possible I may be reacting to a different food (like sugar), so I'll try to pay attention to see if any particular food correlates with the tachy.

Mushroom, I don't generally get bloated during the palps, but once or twice I've actually gotten a stomach-ache after a palp episode ended. This happened the other night, but I didn't connect the two since it was right after I ate dinner. The palpitations, generally, happen at night/evening and mostly when I'm lying down or at rest.

There may be no connection to diet, but I wanted to throw it out there to you guys.

My heart rate increased a bit after I started taking thyroid supplements, but I had a very low heart rate and needed to increase that. However, I wsa scared that feeling my heart 'pounding' was a sign of overdose until I read an article about heart palpitations at night. If you don't feel your heart during the day, but only feel a 'pounding' sensation in bed, you may not have palpitations. Most people feel the pounding more intensely when lying in bed. This is expected in that the mattress serves as a sounding board. The mattress reflects back toward the person the vibrations from blood that is more forcefully ejected from the large chamber up against the inner lining of the aorta. I found that I didn't notice my heart beat so much if I lay on my right side.

However, if you should feel your heart beat more during the day time, especially when you're sitting at rest, then you may need to tell your doctor to check for hyperthyroid signs. Most people feel their heartbeat more intensely after exercise. So if you feel your heart beat often during the day or even suspect your heart is 'racing' (very rapid beats or tachycardia), then you certainly should get that checked out.

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I believe that the heart palpitations and tachycardia (and sometimes atrial fibrillation) are caused by pressure on / irritation of the vagus nerve. This has been a problem for me for more than 30 years and is definitely food related, and for me it is associated with bloating and gassiness as well. I have several trigger foods for it in addition to gluten (corn is even worse than gluten), and it does occur when lying down most often -- the contents of the abdomen move around when we change positions and can put pressure on the heart and on the lungs, sometimes causing shortness of breath and increase in the bloating feeling. I used to get vasovagal syncope (sudden drop in blood pressure and fainting) from this pressure, but now I just get the a-fib, with associated runs of tachycardia and elevated blood pressure. It can be most disconcerting. It is definitely connnected to food and digestion, but hard to find anyone to deal with it because the cardios don't want to talk about digestion and the gastros don't want to talk about heart problems and there is no one out there to put the whole picture together. It gets very frustrating.

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Awesome info mushroom. Since mine happens mainly at night when I'm lying down after the largest meal of the day for me typically (dinner), then it wouldn't surpise me if food was part of the issue in my case. Since going gluten free I really haven't gotten bloated though...

Bubba's Mom, I do (or did) have an iron deficiency, so that also could be a factor. I'm currently taking iron three times a day with vitamin C to boost my ferritin because it's been persistently low. At the last blood draw it was finally rising though.

burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

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burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

peeptoad, you should get a copy of your hormone results from your doctor. Some doctors (and labs) still use the old outdated ranges in hormone testing/results which alllowed for a much greater range. Find out what your results and ranges were and let us know. :)

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I used to get palpitations all the time before going gluten free...i was also beginning to become anxious and I remember thinking my great was gonna blow at times...i also had muscle spasms all over...after going gluten-free all of that went away other than the occasional spasm. But recently I have been getting bad muscle spasms just under the heart right below the rib cage..they are happening basically most of the day every day. At first I thought they were palpitations but I would feel my pulse and it was always normal while the spasms were happening. Do you think yours could be spasms as well?

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burdee, I've asked my doctor about my thyroid a number of times now. My standard labs (TSH, T4) are in the normal range, but I've heard that some people can have issues even testing "normal" with the thyroid. For some reason my doctor is resistant to do any further testing in this area, although she's having me undergo tests for everything else under the sun. I've asked her three times about my thyroid to no avail. I can't understand it...

Not many docs are fluent in 'thyroid'. Some use the outdated TSH normal range. Now endocrinologists recommend that only TSH between .3 and 3.0 or even .25 and 2.5 is considered normal. Also you can have 'normal TSH' (whatever scale is used) and 'normal range' T4, but still have low T3 (the hormone that actually controls metabolism, etc.). T4 is just a 'prohormone' which is useless until it drops a molecule and becomes T3. However, some people don't easily convert T3 to T4. So T4 can be 'normal', while someone has hypothyroid symptoms. Also, if you have gluten intolerance, you could also have Hashimoto's thyroiditis (low thyroid function). With Hashimoto's, all your other thyroid tests (TSH, free t4, free t3) can be normal, but you have high (Hashimoto's) antibodies. The other tests won't be abnormal until those antibodies have damaged your thyroid enough to decrease normal function, but who wants to wait that long? Obviously most doctors. SIGH

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Here are my thyroid labs from November (range):

free T4: 0.90 (0.58-1.64)

TSH: 0.89 (0.34-5.60)

Thyroid peroxidase AB: 15 (<35)

total T3: 1.34 (0.87-1.78)

...didn't realize I had gotten my T3 checked already. I now remember specifically asking my doctor about the free T3 and she won't run that test for some reason (maybe my insurance won't cover it?).

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Here are my thyroid labs from November (range):

free T4: 0.90 (0.58-1.64)

TSH: 0.89 (0.34-5.60)

Thyroid peroxidase AB: 15 (<35)

total T3: 1.34 (0.87-1.78)

...didn't realize I had gotten my T3 checked already. I now remember specifically asking my doctor about the free T3 and she won't run that test for some reason (maybe my insurance won't cover it?).

The TSH range is wider than recommended, but your TSH is still normal. Also all the other test results are in the normal ranges used by the lab. So the doc probably won't request more tests.

Perhaps you should reconsider original idea about palpitations being caused by food intolerance/allergies. Besides my cane sugar reaction, I also can get heart palpitations if I consume much caffeine from coffee, tea or soda pop.

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I believe that the heart palpitations and tachycardia (and sometimes atrial fibrillation) are caused by pressure on / irritation of the vagus nerve. This has been a problem for me for more than 30 years and is definitely food related, and for me it is associated with bloating and gassiness as well. I have several trigger foods for it in addition to gluten (corn is even worse than gluten), and it does occur when lying down most often -- the contents of the abdomen move around when we change positions and can put pressure on the heart and on the lungs, sometimes causing shortness of breath and increase in the bloating feeling. I used to get vasovagal syncope (sudden drop in blood pressure and fainting) from this pressure, but now I just get the a-fib, with associated runs of tachycardia and elevated blood pressure. It can be most disconcerting. It is definitely connnected to food and digestion, but hard to find anyone to deal with it because the cardios don't want to talk about digestion and the gastros don't want to talk about heart problems and there is no one out there to put the whole picture together. It gets very frustrating.

Thank you for this information, Mushroom. It describes very well what I also experience. I have had SVT's (supraventricular tachycardia) since I was 13 years old (now 65). I have also experienced the exact frustration you speak of with doctors (the gastros and the heart specialists). Just last night I had the problem when I went to bed so I got up and sat in my easy chair and watched TV until 2 a.m. Everytime I would lie down I would get heart palpitations. I had a lot of upper gas (also have a hiatal hernia so I suppose this doesn't help either). A friend

who has heart palpitations also has the same problem.

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The TSH range is wider than recommended, but your TSH is still normal. Also all the other test results are in the normal ranges used by the lab. So the doc probably won't request more tests.

Perhaps you should reconsider original idea about palpitations being caused by food intolerance/allergies. Besides my cane sugar reaction, I also can get heart palpitations if I consume much caffeine from coffee, tea or soda pop.

Thanks burdee. If nothing informative comes from the event recorder I'm wearing, then I'll look into food intolerances. I got a little hung up on my thyroid because the nurse practitioner I saw a couple of months ago said it felt enlarged on palpation. That's why I asked my doctor for more tests. They were supposed to ultrasound, but that didn't happen either.

I don't drink soda or tea and only 1-2 cups of coffee/day and I don't notice an increase right after the coffee, so not sure caffeine is an issue. The palps are also worse at night and the coffee I only drink in the morning.

If the palpations are for sure benign (and it looks like it's moving in that direction), then I can live with them, but it would be nice to know...

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I get palpitations (but not fast enough to call it tachycardia) whenever I eat cane sugar, which is one of my diagnosed (IgG mediated) allergens. I also get a little nauseaus when I eat cane sugar. All my other allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, egg, vanill and nutmeg) cause gut pain, bloating and diarrhea or constipation. Cane sugar is the only one that causes palpitations. I can eat any other kind of natural sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, agave, beet sugar, honey, etc.) but nothing derived from cane sugar (molasses, sucanat, splenda, brown sugar) without getting those palpitations for at least 48 hours after ingestion. My ND says he's seen several people with cane sugar allergy as well as me.

I spent the day wondering what was wrong with me. I've had heart palputations before but today had them off and on almost all day which was not "normal" and very unsettling. I got on here to see what others had to say. I'm new at eating gluten free and am taking iron and Vit D. The iron is causing some issues so I was taking Citrucel, says it's gluten free, and 60 calories per tablespoon. Tried the sugar free which contains aspartame. Didn't think about it containing the same thing as Crystal Light which I also react to but not as bad as today. Reading the posts made me realize what the sugar free was. Hopefully this feeling will go away soon.

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I used to get tachycardia before going gluten free. When my heart would return to normal it would also skip beats from time to time and it felt like it was compressing extra hard at times. I've had that only once in the 9 months after ending life with gluten. My blood pressure and resting pulse have also dropped a lot.

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Though I'm not diagnosed Celiac, I used to have palpitations. After reading an article by Dr. Gott I began taking vitamin B12 and haven't had them since. There aren't enough B vitamins in a multi to regulate your levels with this symptom (according to the article). Would be worth trying. It really helps to improve your energy levels as well.

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I still get palps and what the doctors think is svt after going gluten-free. I'm hoping it'll calm down. Mine seem to be hormone related. I'll try b12 - anything is better than palps!

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I've been having issues in the past two weeks with tachycardia/chest pressure. Mine was caused by my potassium dropping to a very low level because of a diuretic I took for three days. So no more diuretic and the doc put me on RX potassium.

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From what I have been reading in the last couple of days, it is important to keep all your electrolytes (minerals) in balance to keep the heart functioning properly. That means keeping sufficient levels of magnesium in balance with potassium levels, and possibly adding some taurine too. It is a complex thing - you can't really throw just some potassium at the problem and hope to get into proper balance..

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From what I have been reading in the last couple of days, it is important to keep all your electrolytes (minerals) in balance to keep the heart functioning properly. That means keeping sufficient levels of magnesium in balance with potassium levels, and possibly adding some taurine too. It is a complex thing - you can't really throw just some potassium at the problem and hope to get into proper balance..

I wish I could get someone to listen to me on that one. I originally went to the doc to see about doing something for the horrible fluid retention I have been having for the past 6 months. I agreed to try a diuretic since I was desprate for some relief. She told me it could drop my potassium levels and was scheduled for blood work in a week. I made it three days when I started having pretty severe symptoms. My potassium dropped to 3.0 (3.9-5.1) so they had me stop the diuretic and had me take 10 of 10 meq tablets of potassium over a 12 hr period then 2/day since. I had my blood work rechecked Friday and it went up to 3.5(3.6-5.1). Still low so they told me to take another 4 tablets then resume my 2/day and go back in a week for recheck. I'll be out of town so I can't get it checked until next Wednesday. It's been a mess, so has my stomach and of course I'm swelling again.

I had initally inquired if magnesium would help my legs and I was told yes, but was not recommended to take it. I was told it would be dangerous to take it unsupervised because of an article she had read. I replied that there is a lot of scare tactics out there. I had my magnesuim level checked at the same time the potassium and it was 1.9 (1.8-2.5). I'm not sure what I need to do from here. I'm frustrated to say the least and I still don't have an answer to my my swelling issue. I ended up missing two days of work last week because of all of this. I'm still having intermittent tachycardic episoded also.

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I wish I could get someone to listen to me on that one. I originally went to the doc to see about doing something for the horrible fluid retention I have been having for the past 6 months. I agreed to try a diuretic since I was desprate for some relief. She told me it could drop my potassium levels and was scheduled for blood work in a week. I made it three days when I started having pretty severe symptoms. My potassium dropped to 3.0 (3.9-5.1) so they had me stop the diuretic and had me take 10 of 10 meq tablets of potassium over a 12 hr period then 2/day since. I had my blood work rechecked Friday and it went up to 3.5(3.6-5.1). Still low so they told me to take another 4 tablets then resume my 2/day and go back in a week for recheck. I'll be out of town so I can't get it checked until next Wednesday. It's been a mess, so has my stomach and of course I'm swelling again.

I had initally inquired if magnesium would help my legs and I was told yes, but was not recommended to take it. I was told it would be dangerous to take it unsupervised because of an article she had read. I replied that there is a lot of scare tactics out there. I had my magnesuim level checked at the same time the potassium and it was 1.9 (1.8-2.5). I'm not sure what I need to do from here. I'm frustrated to say the least and I still don't have an answer to my my swelling issue. I ended up missing two days of work last week because of all of this. I'm still having intermittent tachycardic episoded also.

I am sorry you are going through this, Roda, and unfortunately I don't have any solid answers for you because I am trying to learn about it myself :( I have been taking diuretics for the last 30 years, but for most of that time they were potassium-sparing diuretics, meaning I did not have to supplement potassium. Then they started switching me back and forth between potassium sparing and potassium leaching and somewhere along the way I got mixed up if I was supposed to be supplementing or not, and I ended up in atriall fibrillation because my potassium levels dropped too low. And even if your blood levels show okay, what is available to the cells can be too low. I ended back up in the hospital, I told them I had not been able to get gluten free potassium and I had been gulping bananas all weekend and they said my potssium was sfine and that was not the problem. The next morning, they said I was low in potassium :rolleyes: Now in all this, nobody every mentioned Magnesium to me and this is something I explored with a nutritionist, and frankly she gave me so many supplements that they made me nauseous and I really couldn't handle taking them all. So I just took the ones that seemed to make sense. Now, I am on another forum for afibbers, and they are repeating the preaching of what my nutrionist told me :unsure: So I just sat here and swallowed a multimineral, a magnesium tab, a potassium, a taurine, two D3's, a zinc, and then rewarded myself with dark chocolate-covered preserved ginger so that I wouldn't feel ill. :o Because I am trying to keep myself from going into afib.... I also get calf cramping when I am low in magnesium and cannot seem to absorb the minerals from my food even though I am pretty sure that by now my gut is no longer a leaky one, just not healed back to the level it should be. I also still take digestive enzymes because I don't think my pancreas has fully recovered either.

I am a salutory lesson to peeps who take celiac disease lightly, who think it might be okay to cheat (I never did that, I have never cheated) and that it is not something to be particularly concerned about.

I am left in the position of knowing I should supplement magnesium and potassium, but not knowing at what levels, and no-one would be willing to monitor my levels to the degree necessary for me to find out how to do it.

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    • Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease.  They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD.  You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal".  Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today.  Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free.  It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac.  I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis.  I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows?  Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South.  I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not.  I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!
    • I don't know what you drank or where.... so here are a few thoughts. - sure, a dive bar might have dirty glasses and serve a cocktail in a beer glass?  But a nice reminder place, with a dishwasher, should be fine.  If it's a sketchy place, Stick to wine, then it's served in wine glasses that aren't used for beer or bottled ciders in the bottle.   - ciders on tap might, just a slight chance, have an issue.  Because of beer on tap, mixed up lines, etc. - you may have a problem with alcohol - you may have issues with The  high sugar content of the drink.  I know I have similar issues if I drink serveral ciders of extra sugary brands - are you positive it was a gluten-free drink?  Not this " redds Apple" pretending to be a cider - it's beer with apple flavor.  Or one of those " gluten removed " beers?  
    • Hi Stephanie, I'm also from the UK, I've found this site more helpful than anything we have!  As already mentioned above, in my experience it could depend on what and where you were drinking. Gluten free food and drink isn't always (not usually) 100% gluten free as you may know, maybe you have become more sensitive to even a trace of gluten that is probably in gluten free food/drink. Is it possible you have a problem with corn, particularly high fructose corn syrup that is in a lot of alcoholic drinks? This was a big problem for me and the only alcoholic drinks I can tolerate are William Chase vodka and gin. I contacted the company last year and all their drinks are 100% gluten and corn free, made the old fashioned way with no additives, so maybe try their products if you like the occasional drink and see how you get on. If you drink out, not many pubs sell their products but I know Wetherspoons do and smaller wine bars may too. l was never a spirit drinker but I must say their products are absolutely lovely! Very easy on a compromised gut too considering it's alcohol. I second the suggestion on seeing a natural health practitioner. I've recently started seeing a medical herbalist, as I've got nowhere with my now many food intolerances since going gluten free last year and I've noticed a difference in my health already. 
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