3 Steps to Recover After Getting Glutened

June 5th, 2015

If you are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease you know all too well about accidentally ingesting gluten — otherwise known as getting “glutened.”

The outward manifestation of getting glutened may be different for everyone, and can cause a variety of symptoms such as brain fog, diarrhea, constipation, headache, rash, weakness, joint pain, swelling, vomiting, and fatigue. However, inside your gut the effects are essentially the same; gluten is wreaking havoc. Gluten causes inflammation and damage to the intestines. Ridding yourself of this inflammatory protein, reducing inflammation and healing your gut from the damage are essential to recovering as quickly as possible.

Follow these 3 steps to recover after getting glutened:

 

1. Get the gluten out of your system.

The more quickly you can get the gluten out of your system, the better you’ll feel. These three things will help you do that promptly and effectively:

Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes help speed up the breakdown and absorption of macronutrients. Be sure to take an enzyme that includes dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-IV), which helps break down gluten specifically. In fact, I recommend that those with celiac and gluten intolerance take enzymes with DPP-IV when dining out.

Binding agents. Activated charcoal and bentonite clay bind toxins and help reduce gas and bloating. It’s best to increase water intake when taking either of these to avoid constipation, which will only delay healing.

Hydration. Fluids will help flush your system and keep you hydrated if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea. In addition to regular water, you can try coconut water, which contains electrolytes that may have been lost through vomiting or diarrhea.

 

2. Decrease inflammation.

Inflammation occurs naturally in our body when there has been an insult or injury to it. Decreasing this inflammation is essential to healing your gut. These three things will help you reduce inflammation quickly:

Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils, flax and chia seeds are full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. I recommend 1-2 grams of omega-3 oils daily. You can go up to 4 grams a day for a week after accidental gluten ingestion.

Ginger has high levels of gingerol, which gives it a natural spicy flavor and acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. It also has potent anti-nausea properties and can ease stomach cramping. I like to drink warm ginger tea as a comforting, anti-inflammatory beverage.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family that contains the active ingredient curcumin, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. My anti-inflammatory smoothie with turmeric is a great drink to help you quickly recover from getting glutened.

 

3. Heal your gut.

Nearly 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Having a healthy gut is crucial for optimal health. The six things below will help you heal your gut.

Probiotics. Routinely, I recommend taking a highly concentrated probiotic (25-100 billion units) a day. I advise my patients to “double-up” on their probiotic dose for a week after a gluten exposure.

L-Glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid that is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by gluten. I recommend 3-5 grams a day for a week after exposure.

Slippery elm. Slippery elm contains mucilage, which stimulates nerve endings in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to increase its secretion of mucus. Mucus forms a barrier in the gut to protect it and promote healing.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). DGL is an herb that’s been used for more than 3,000 years in the treatment of digestive issues, including ulcers and indigestion. DGL also supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the GI tract.

Marshmallow root is a multipurpose supplement that can be used for respiratory or digestive relief. Like slippery elm, it contains mucilage, which eases the inflammation in the stomach lining, heals ulcers, and treats both diarrhea and constipation by creating a protective lining on the digestive tract.

Bone broth is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract that may get disrupted by being glutened.

Once you realize that you have been glutened, implement this three-step approach as soon as possible. If you are not seeing any improvement in your symptoms after three days or you’re getting worse. I would advise you to follow up with your physician.

 

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  • bethallen

    HI Dr. Amy, I’m wondering if you have a post of how you would adapt this for a child? Also if you have specific digestive enzymes, probiotics and fish oil you would recommend for kids. I have some I use, but would love to know your thoughts!

  • Deborah McGlynn

    Dear Dr. Meyers,

    I found your article extremely helpful for myself and my fourteen year old daughter as we both have Celiac Disease. I have two questions:

    1. Do you have any natural remedy advice on controlling the itching and blisters of Dermatitis Herpetifomis from being glutened?

    2. Donyou know where I could find the specific form of digestive enzymes, marshmallow root, licorice, bentonite clay, turmeric, slippery elm, L-Glutamine, coconut water and probiotics you describe above from a reputable source online?

    With Sincerest Regards,

    Deborah

    • Hi Deborah,

      I would recommend setting up a consultation with me or my registered dietitian to get more tailored advice for dermatitis herpetiformis. As far as the supplements, we have an online store with many of those supplements that we recommend: http://store.amymyersmd.com

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