Eliminating Wheat from your Diet

eliminating heat

For several years, I suffered from various symptoms for which my doctor could find no solution.  Although my low ferritin or iron stores level explained my chronic fatigue and low energy, the supplements prescribed did not help boost the level, but it did make me constipated.  I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac since none of my symptoms could be reasonably explained or alleviated. Eliminating wheat from my diet changed everything.

My Results From Eliminating Wheat

Ferritin or Iron Stores

The primary change was the ferritin or iron stores results.  The normal range is between 80 and 300.  In 2007 my ferritin level was 9, extremely low.  By adding more iron to my diet I was able to get it up to a whopping 18.  I then discovered a wheat allergy that was preventing my body from absorbing iron from my diet or supplements.  Two months after eliminating wheat from my diet, my ferritin or iron stores result was up to 42, one year later up to 63, and four years later to a normal level of 100.

Asthma Symptoms

A second major change was the disappearance of my asthma symptoms.  At my last visit to my respirologist, he was amazed at how my pulmonary function tests were completely normal.  I didn’t tell him about the wheat-free diet until after he expressed his surprise at my results.  He was skeptical of the fact that a naturopath figured out my problem, but agreed I should continue to avoid wheat.

Choleserol Level and Weight

Another healthy change is the difference between my before and after cholesterol results that went from slightly high at 545 to a mid normal range of 315.  My weight had also been creeping up over the years hitting 140 pounds before the wheat elimination.  I dropped 5 pounds within 6 weeks of eliminating the wheat and currently weigh in at 130 pounds four years later. Satisfied with my current weight, the biggest bonus to the weight loss has been the loss of flab and excess fat around my middle.

Arthritis, Ovarian Cysts, Uterine Fibroids

I have experienced similar positive results with arthritis symptoms which were getting worse every year until I eliminated wheat.  I currently suffer from very minimal arthritis symptoms. Although I have not had repeat ultrasounds or chest x-rays to see if the ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and lung hyperventilation are no longer present, the symptoms associated with those three conditions have disappeared.

Further Investigation Needed

My white blood cell and platelet counts still remain low, results I have been aware of for many years.  Having worked in the field of laboratory medicine for thirty years, I had many opportunities to test my blood.  I have always suspected some form of autoimmune action within my body; someday I may investigate this suspicion.

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Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

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For the past year or so I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy level and suffer from constant “brain fog”.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long and get distracted very easily.  Most people I complain to shrug and laugh saying “its just age” As just turned 50, I find that hard to swallow. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Getting Started

A complete physical from my family doctor revealed my iron stores or ferritin levels were very low. As a result, I was put on an iron supplement.  My ferritin level is climbing back up, but still has a long way to go to “normal” levels.  My hormone levels are within the normal range; so I am classified as perimenopausal.  It was suggested by two different doctors that I am suffering from depression.

I also found that hard to believe, so I started digging deeper.

Naturopaths can Help

I found a naturopath online and went to see her.  Although I had to pay for this visit (my health insurance does not cover naturopathic treatments) it was well worth it.  She listened to my “story” and set up a plan. 

She suggested testing for food allergies and/or sensitivities, again at my own expense. The options were to eliminate foods from my diet to see if I felt different/better (which could take months or even years) or a blood test.   I agreed to the blood test and received results within two weeks.

Blood Test Results

I am allergic to asparagus and wheat protein.   Now asparagus is pretty easy to eliminate from my diet, but wheat?  Wheat is in everything!  Luckily I am not allergic to gluten as many others are so my diet isn’t quite as restricted. Most grocery stores sell gluten-free products these days.  I can eat barley, oats, corn, rice, rye, etc. so have switched my pastas and breads to these grains. 

The bonus is, since I quit eating wheat, I have lost approximately ten pounds (most of which I notice has come off my middle) and my cholesterol level has gone down from slightly high to the mid normal range.

Further Investigation

This naturopath referred me to a second one who is also an MD and so can order blood tests etc.  He suggested that although my thyroid test results were normal I may suffer from hypothyroidism. (low thyroid function)  My other symptoms of low blood pressure, fatigue, and the fact that I always feel cold fit this theory.  He suggested treatment with dried thyroid. Although I gave it some consideration, I decided to wait to see if my rising ferritin level and absence of wheat in my diet would make me feel better.  In the meantime, I went to a thyroid specialist who has suggested testing my saliva for adrenal gland function,  stools for dairy and egg sensitivities, and my blood for further thyroid function tests.  

These tests are in progress, stay tuned!

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