Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gluten Sensitivity Causes Frequent Canker Sores

Do you get frequent canker sores in your mouth? Have you tried changing your mouthwash and toothpaste, or taking vitamins and minerals to no avail? Well, don't give up! It turns out that frequent canker sores may be a sign of gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.

Even if you don't get the classic digestive symptoms of Celiac Disease, and you don't think that you have a gluten problem, gluten can affect your body in many ways that you may be unaware of. It can cause skin rashes, depression, foggy-head thinking, lethargy, canker sores, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and of course the classic digestive problems which are often misdiagnosed as IBS.

If you suspect that gluten may be causing your mouth sores, the simplest thing to do is stop eating gluten for 2 to 3 weeks and see if things get better. And remember, gluten is not just wheat. Gluten includes all wheat products, barley, rye, malt, and other grains. Gluten can be hidden in sauces and marinades. Soy sauce contains wheat (but Tamari is gluten-free). Beer also contains gluten.  For the complete lowdown on gluten, visit sites like When you stop eating gluten to test your sensitivity, you must stop eating it completely (no cheating), or the test will not give you a valid result.

If you suspect that you may have Celiac Disease, you doctor can order a blood test. However, the blood test is not always accurate. If you have low levels of serum IGA in your blood, the Celiac test will not return accurate results (nor will any IGA-based blood test). Some doctors may want to do a biopsy of your colon or intestines -- but that is not always accurate, either. In that case, a website called allows you to do a genetic test (collected via cheek swab), which will tell you whether you have the genetic markers for gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease.

In recent years, the medical community has begun to realize that gluten causes more problems for people than anyone had previously suspected. Fortunately, there are more readily available gluten-free packaged foods than ever before. If your regular supermarket doesn't carry a good selection, go to your local health food store, or health-oriented supermarket such as Whole Foods. Trader Joe's carries a number of gluten-free selections, and even offers a list of their gluten-free products.