What Happens to Your Body When You Go Gluten Free

gluten free diet

To quote Strong Sad from the early 2000’s web cartoon “Homestar Runner” – gluten is an “oft-misunderstood plant protein.” Found in wheat, primarily, gluten gives bread its texture and doesn’t cause the average person any problems at all (unless you like it so much that you eat more bread than is healthy). 

Unfortunately, for around 1% of the country, proteins derived from gluten can be mistaken for invaders by the body’s immune system. Detected in the gut during digestion, the immune system attacks the gluten proteins, and the gut tissues into which they are being digested. This is an “auto-immune” attack, in which the body is basically unable to stop the immune system from attacking what it sees as “invaders.” The formal name for this condition is called “Celiac Disease”, and its symptoms are no joke. 

There is some evidence and anecdotal reports that suggest there are other people with varying degrees of sensitivities. We can’t speak to the wide array of conditions in this class, which may or may not exist. Still, it is generally accepted that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not widespread, even though an estimated 30% of Americans limit their gluten intake because they believe they fall into this camp. 

But let’s say you do have celiac disease. What happens then? Well, the symptoms are surprisingly diverse. These start with the digestive system and can include diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Then there are the secondary effects. Because the immune disease attacks the gut, it affects the affected individual’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients efficiently. Weight loss, skin problems, fatigue, and a general “failure to thrive” have been identified in celiac disease. 

If you think you have celiac disease, it’s important that a physician test you. Current tests are 98% accurate, so you won’t have to wonder if you have the disease or not. Your doctor can tell you for sure. If you have celiac disease, you should avoid all gluten sources, even items you might not know that contain it, like soy sauce. You should also follow your doctor’s medication recommendations, which could be very diverse, depending on your condition’s severity. 

For the rest of you, gluten isn’t probably causing you any problems, but you might be part of the nebulous non-celiac gluten sensitive camp that we’re learning more about every day. If you are in this camp, you likely suffer from any of this basket of symptoms, included but not limited to: Depression, joint pain, any of the digestive maladies described with Celiac disease, skin problems, and headaches. 

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, and gluten proves to be at the root of your problem, then you may reasonably hope for at least partial relief of your symptoms. As stated previously, people with celiac disease should avoid gluten altogether. But if you think you are sensitive to it, then you may want to limit your consumption. 

Fortunately, for these people, some supplements can be taken to aid in the digestion of gluten. These won’t be enough to reverse the symptoms of a full-in celiac patient, but you may be happy with them if you think yourself sensitive. These include some of these great products:

Any of these will give your digestive system a bit extra of the materials it needs to efficiently digest gluten proteins, before they can cause you any of the terrible symptoms described above.

Kids’ Supplements for Back to School

back to school supplements

It’s back to school time for the kids, and whatever that looks like for your family – in person or virtual learning – you’ll want to make sure your child is getting all the help they need to be successful. That means nutritious meals and high quality supplements to fill in the gaps, but that’s not all. Here’s what you need to know about healthy back to school habits. 

Healthy Back to School Habits

When we refer to our health in terms of going back to school, we’re not just talking about trying to avoid getting sick (although that’s important too). We want to focus on whole body health, so that our children can perform at the very top of their capabilities. Here are some ways to help them do that.

  1. Make Breakfast a Priority – Making time to sit down and eat a well-rounded healthy breakfast is important. Children are more alert and do better in school if their bellies are full of good food. Grabbing a granola bar while running out the door is not ideal, and will leave their tummies grumbling (and minds wandering) hours before lunchtime. Try to incorporate a protein, whole grain, and a serving of dairy and fruit in each meal if possible. For some great breakfast recipes ideas, check out this link
  2. Get Enough Sleep – Set a good bedtime routine so that your child gets enough sleep each night before they have to get up in the morning for school. For a list of sleep guidelines broken down by age, check this link. Keep in mind that most school age children need between nine and 12 hours of sleep each night, so if they have an early wake up call, an early bedtime is vital.  
  3. Age Appropriate Supplements – School age children require different levels of vitamins and minerals in their diets. These nutrients are essential to their growth and a strong immune system, so a high-quality, age appropriate supplements are key. Here are some of our favorites:
  4. Limit Stress – Growing up is stressful, so do your best to take a load off your child’s shoulders. You might be surprised at how simple routines can help curb stress for school age children. For example; help your child get organized for school the night before so they aren’t rushing in the morning. Do this by encouraging them to lay out their school clothes the night before. Also, make sure homework is done before dinner and all school supplies (including a mask and hand sanitizer) are packed up and ready to go when they leave  in the morning. When kids don’t have to stress about the little things, they can focus more on the big picture – learning!

 

Starting the school year off in a healthy way can mean success for your student this year. Help them take charge of their education and enjoy watching them flourish! Good luck!

First Aid Tips for Minor Wounds

first aid tips

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself, and for your family, is to learn proper first aid tips, so that you’re prepared if there is ever an accident. Oftentimes, people don’t follow proper first aid tips leading to infections and complications with otherwise minor wounds. We have some quick tips to help you avoid that.

What are Minor Wounds?

Knowing the difference between a minor wound, and one that needs medical attention is the first in our important list of first aid tips. Minor wounds can be treated at home with over the counter medications, but need to be kept clean and cared for properly, or they could become infectious. Examples of minor wounds include:

  • Scrapes that stop bleeding when pressure is applied
  • Surface burns that are not blistered and peeling
  • Sunburns that are red and sore, but the skin is not blistered
  • Rashes that are not accompanied by a high fever
  • Bug bites or stings that do not spread or get worse over time
  • Bruises on the legs or arms due to bumping or falling

First Aid Tips for Minor Wounds 

Minor wounds need to be taken seriously and cared for properly so they don’t become more serious. Follow these simple first aid tips to make sure your minor wound is being properly cared for.

  • Wash your hands before you treat any type of wound. 
  • If bleeding, stop the blood by applying gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. You may need to elevate the affected area.
  • Gently clean the wound with water and get rid of any debris that may be in the wound.
  • Use a topical antiseptic, such as Argentyn 23 First Aid Gel by Natural Immunogenics to soothe the pain and prevent infection. 
  • Cover the wound with a clean bandage and change it often to prevent infection.
  • When possible, leave the wound open to the air for short periods of time.

When to See a Doctor

If you think your wound may be more serious than you can handle at home, it’s always a good idea to seek medical treatment. Here are some easy ways to tell if you need to see a doctor right away.

  • The bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes, and doesn’t stop when pressure is applied.
  • The wound is on the head or abdomen and you are having other physical side effects such as vomiting or dizziness.
  • If you notice any signs of infection, that includes redness, swelling or pus coming from the wound, or if you suddenly develop a fever.
  • If the wound was inflicted by a wild animal.
  • If the wound is deeper than ½ an inch into the skin.

Minor wounds are easy to treat with these simple first aid tips, but be vigilant about your health! Minor wounds can be serious if not treated properly and kept clean. Good luck!