Don’t Forget Your Vitamins!

Apologies for not writing in here for so long. I have no excuse other than laziness!

It’s been seven months since my NCGS diagnosis and my symptoms have pretty much abated. I haven’t had a mouth ulcer since I last had Guinness in March which is bloody amazing considering I used to get one at least once a fortnight. My stomach aches are also mainly a thing of the past, and my energy has sky rocketed. I sleep better and I can face doing a HIIT workout when I come home from work. So yay!

An unforeseen side effect of being gluten free, however, is that wheat is fortified with vitamins, particularly B vitamins. A couple of months ago, I started getting a tingling sensation in the roof of my mouth. Google told me it was something called Burning Mouth Syndrome, which sounds horrendous. And it was horrible; some days I would have no problems with it, and other days it would prevent me from eating anything acidic – which sucked, because I live for acidic tasting food. After 6 weeks of this, I went to my doctor who didn’t seem overly concerned; I’d had all my bloods taken back in December when I was tested for coeliac disease, and all was ok. She told me the Burning Mouth Syndrome could be a symptom of vitamin deficiency, and to pick up a multivitamin that said A-Z. This was 3 weeks ago. Last week I went to my dentist who also reiterated that it could be a vitamin deficiency, but if it didn’t go away within the next week then he’d refer me to the dental hospital.

Lo and behold, 2 weeks after I started taking my multivitamins, I haven’t had any tingling in my hard palate since. It’s been over a week now with no signs or symptoms and I’m bloody ecstatic as it was horrible.

It just goes to show that cutting something major out of your diet is a big thing; without my fortified cereals, I was missing a big chunk of my daily vitamins, and over time this built up and culminated in that horrible burning mouth sensation.

You may have seen the Twitter spat between a big part of the gluten free community and Duncan Bannatyne yesterday. I also got involved; I couldn’t help it. Turns out he’s lost ‘belly fat’ because he’s cut crappy foods out of his diet, not because he’s shunning gluten (and I bet he doesn’t have to worry about cross contamination!). With my experience of being deficient in whatever vitamin it was, I find this a bit of a dangerous message. There is absolutely no need to cut gluten out of your diet if your body can handle it. By cutting out wheat you are also cutting out so many nutrients! Yes, cut out the cakes and the biscuits and the pies, but a sandwich will not hurt you! And like my experiences above, it may cause more harm than good.

Also, for most people with coeliac disease and maybe NCGS, weight loss/’cutting belly fat’ will not happen. I managed to put a few pounds on despite no change in my diet. Why? Because gluten was no longer acting like a laxative on me. For those with CD, as your intestines heal, so does their ability to absorb nutrients and thus more calories.

The main thing that worries me about ‘celebrities’ telling those with no problems with gluten to cut it out is that a lot of those people won’t switch to a naturally GF diet; they’ll switch to ‘Free From’ foods, a lot of which are packed with sugar and fat (because gluten is beautiful and rice flour is no true replacement). It also risks turning it into a fad diet as seen in the US, where waiters and waitresses disparage GF customers and don’t take their claims seriously. I don’t want to risk cross contamination because Jenny over there thought it would be fun to give it a go.

I genuinely don’t care if people give up gluten despite having no problems with it (though I do question their sanity!), but don’t act like it’s a cure all. What worked for Duncan will not work for others, and it risks the safety of those who have very real problems with it when people inevitably stop taking us seriously.

Here endeth my rant! Have a great weekend everybody,
Nikki xxx

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