gluten cycle

Dr Peter Osborne of The Gluten Free Society discusses nine top ways to deal with ongoing gas, bloating and constipation.

According to Dr. Osborne, many patients who have changed to a gluten free diet report that they feel much better but still have digestive problems (gas, bloating, and constipation).  He comments:

This is a common scenario for people who have gone on a gluten free diet.  Partly because their GI tracts have not fully recovered from years of gluten induced damage, and partly because they need to make additional dietary adjustments.  Here is what you need to look at and address first:

1. Vegetables

Make sure that you are consuming adequate quantities of vegetables.  The fiber can serve to regulate bowel movements, but one of the most important aspect of vegetables is that the fiber is converted into a compound called Short Chain Fatty Acids.  These fats are the direct fuel source for the cells in your colon. Remember that raw is not always better.  Some raw vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) are harder to digest and can create gas and bloating.

2. Get the dairy out.

Milk, cheese, butter, etc.  Lactose, the sugar found in dairy is very hard to digest and can create gas, bloating, weight gain, congestion, and constipation.  I frequently have patients avoid dairy for the first 6 months when starting a gluten free diet.

3. Avoid gluten free substitutes for bread, pasta, and cereal.

Many of these products are GMO and loaded with sugar.  Additionally, these products commonly contain gluten proteins from corn, rice, and sorghum that perpetuate gastrointestinal inflammation and alter the friendly bacteria concentrations in the gut.

4. Consider eliminating FODMAPS.

These foods can be hard to digest for many.  A list of these foods can be found on the Stanford Hospital website here.

5. Check gut health

Have your doctor rule out bacterial, yeast, or parasite problems (lab testing).  Often times the presence of these micro organisms can perpetuate digestive problems unless identified and treated.

6. Avoid long periods of sitting.

Chronic sitting affects the nerves that communicate to your GI tract and are a very common cause of constipation.  Take lots of walking breaks if you have a desk job.  Make sure you schedule time for exercise and daily movement.

7.  Relax when you eat.

Eating under stress actually shuts down the GI tract and stifles digestion.  If you are in the habit of eating on the go, inhaling your food, or eating your lunch while working, stop and make time for the meal.  Although it might not sound like much, making this very simple change can have a huge impact on your quality of digestion and nutrition.

8. Consider digestive enzyme supplements

Consider the fact that you may have sustained some level of permanent damage from years of gluten exposure.  Some of my patients require the use of digestive enzyme supplements on an ongoing basis because the damage to the pancreas or intestines led to a reduced ability to produce digestive enzymes naturally.  Remember that when your food does not get digested adequately, it putrefies (rots) in your intestines.  This can create a host of digestive disturbances.  Gas, bloating, bacterial abnormalities, and constipation to name a few.

9.  Use a probiotic supplement.

Gluten, GMO foods, and sugar have all been shown to disrupt the friendly bacteria in the intestines.  This is one of the most common problems I see in my clinic.  I recommend that you take at least 50 billion CFU per day to start.  Many over the counter probiotics don’t contain a high enough dose to do much good.  I recommend using Biotic Defense.  I formulated this product based on my 14 years of experience helping people with gluten issues.

And for more tips from the Gluten Free Society click on the banner below.