Eating anything when you have a gluten allergy or intolerance requires careful thought. But, even the most cautious eaters can accidentally ingest gluten, in what’s known as getting “glutened.”
Research has shown that people on a gluten-free diet are unintentionally exposed to gluten on a fairly regular basis. One study of 105 people with celiac disease found that 91% of study participants were exposed to gluten a few times a year, and 63% didn’t realize they were exposed until they developed symptoms.
The symptoms of getting glutened can vary and include things like brain fog, diarrhea, constipation, headache, rash, weakness, joint pain, swelling, vomiting, and fatigue. The diarrhea and constipation are due to inflammation in the small intestine, and when your small intestine is compromised, it can impair your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients, leading to things like fogginess and fatigue, explains Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., dietitian and author of The Little Book of Game-Changers.
If you’ve been glutened, there are some steps you can take that may help. And, while they’re not as effective as avoiding gluten entirely, they should be able to do at least something to ease your pain.