Gluten Intolerance and Stress

Vikki Petersen, D.C., C.C.N.

Gluten intolerance, be it celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, creates a lot of stress on the body. Through malabsorption, inflammation and a host of other damaging factors, it is no wonder that the stress gland itself would be similarly affected.

The stress glands are designed to help us adapt successfully to life’s stressors and do so in many ways.

Do you find yourself in a situation where you need to move quickly? This gland will increase your heart rate and bring more blood to your muscles with the result of making you faster and stronger.Feeling stressed? This gland will produce hormones to help you deal with that stress so that it seems less overwhelming.

Is your immune system under attack? This gland will increase your immune potential to allow you to better “fight off” the infectious agent.

Are you in menopause and your ovaries have slowed down to a crawl, but you still need to produce hormones to keep your heart healthy, your mind sharp and your bones strong? This gland does the job.

Feeling tired?  This gland will produce extra adrenaline to give you a boost.

Do you want to burn the calories you take in so that you won’t gain weight? This gland will do that too.

Does it all sound too good to be true? Not at all – Let me introduce you to your adrenal glands. They’re not very big, they sit on top of your kidneys and they are VERY busy performing a lot of vital functions for you.

Would you like to know if yours are functioning optimally? Take the self-test below:

Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Malfunction

If you have 3 or more of these symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

  • Fatigue
  • Interruption of sleep
  • Difficulty awakening in the morning
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Weight gain that is resistant to diet or exercise
  • Frequent infections
  • Fertility problems
  • PMS
  • Poor concentration/memory
  • Migraines
  • Depression/mood swings
  • Low blood sugar
  • Allergies
  • Light headedness/ fainting
  • Asthma
  • Skin conditions
  • Thyroid imbalances

What does adrenal fatigue have to do with gluten intolerance? The adrenal glands are very sensitive to blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is unstable it puts a lot of stress on the adrenal glands and they’re unable to do their many jobs effectively.

When an individual suffers from gluten intolerance they concurrently malabsorb some critical nutrients, thereby causing blood sugar instability. If a gluten intolerant individual is still consuming gluten it will definitely result in erratic blood sugar since gluten is acting as a toxin, not a food.

Blood sugar instability can result in symptoms such as craving sugar, salt, simple carbohydrates, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, irritability, light-headedness, and more.

With stressed adrenal glands the body has to make a decision. It’s the same decision you make when you have too many things to do but not enough energy to do them all.  How do you prioritize? You take the most critical tasks and do them, leaving the others undone.

Similarly the adrenal glands, when overstressed, are unable to do all the vital activities for which they are designed. Think about it: the adrenal glands make adrenaline to provide good energy, they support your immune system to successfully fight off infections, they work in tandem with the thyroid, they dictate your metabolic rate so that you maintain an ideal weight, they make precursor sex hormones so that you have a stable mood and hormonal balance, they make natural anti-inflammatories and natural antihistamines – and that’s not even a complete list!

Where does this leave us? With a host of possible symptoms and one key root cause! This is very significant because many people are suffering from adrenal fatigue due to blood sugar instability caused by gluten intolerance.

When a person discovers their gluten intolerance and removes it from their diet, one of two things may happen. They feel fantastic and all their symptoms are resolved or, they feel much better but are still suffering from some problems. It’s to this latter group that I am speaking. Sometimes when patients’ symptoms are not completely resolved, they are convinced that they have more food sensitivities or they are somehow stumbling onto some hidden gluten in their diet. While it’s important to do one’s due diligence in this regard, too often adrenal fatigue is found to be a culprit of these lingering symptoms.

The good news is that adrenal fatigue is not difficult to handle. It is a drug-free, surgery-free program that is entirely natural.

One does need to find a clinician who is familiar with diagnosing and treating this condition as well as properly interpreting the specialized lab tests that exist to assess their status. With some properly implemented nutritional and lifestyle changes, you’ll be on your way to healthy adrenal glands.

By the way, did I mention that one of the adrenal glands’ jobs is anti-aging? They are well worth taking care of for that reason alone!

Please let me know if I can answer any questions or help you to find a clinician to assist you in determining if this is a problem for you. HealthNOW Medical Center is a destination clinic that treats patients from across the country and internationally. We are here to help!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

One Reply to “Gluten Intolerance and Stress”

  1. I do experience fatigue,interruption of sleep, joint and muscle aches and poor concentration. I’ve been on a gluten free diet for four years and diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 25 years ago. I take warfarin and cardizem for afib since 2005 when I had a heart attack.

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