1

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Recurring headcolds; linked to gluten cheats??

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 31, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I'm looking for some insight because my googling is not leading me to any clear explanation. Previously I've boasted about how awesome my immune system has been since starting paleo, not catching any of the bugs that have gone around, no colds or anything. Recently my luck seems to have run out. I keep getting these awful headcolds. They take a day or two to get full-blown and only last another day or so after that. Nasal drip, pain in my ears & throat, all around stuffy feeling from the neck up. I was thinking that maybe I've developed a gluten intolerance because it seems to always coincide with a cheat; this week's sickness possibly brought on by the few beers I drank Monday night (I could not for the life of me remember eating anything non-paleo in the last week or two but then remembered the beer this morning). I've read that many people do develop a gluten sensitivity after being on paleo for a while, but from what I've read, that typically manifests itself with digestive symptoms (which I have also had to varying degrees when I cheat). Does anyone have any insight on whether this congestion & accompanying symptoms are actually caused by something I'm eating or is it that I'm just getting sick (and maybe need to evaluate any nutrition gaps in my diet)?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Agreed. Same goes for other sensitivities. When I was vegan I didn't know I was dairy sensitive, only that I wasn't always congested. When I added dairy back I had extreme congestion and eczema issues. I was sensitive already, but only when I added it back realized how sensitive. Same goes for gluten. I knew I had problems, but didn't realize how severely ill I'd get eating a tiny bit of it until I got rid of it for a while.

4cf0a5157f0aa5fda6facbfff5efd19d

(20)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:38 PM

"Congestion that forms in your ears is the result of increased histamine production in the soft tissues around the ear. Ear congestion may also occur from nasal inflammation. During a gluten allergy, your sinus cavities swell, cutting off the ability to drain mucus through your nose. This reaction often causes mucus to back up and become trapped in your sinuses, placing pressure on the inner-ear."

4cf0a5157f0aa5fda6facbfff5efd19d

(20)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:38 PM

Just found this info on Livestrong.com: "Gluten may trigger an exaggerated immune system response that causes the production of histamine in the sinus cavity. When gluten enters the body, the immune system mistakes the protein for an intruding substance. It reacts to gluten the same way it would to an infectious organism, such as a bacteria or a virus. Antibodies are created to attack the gluten, which trigger white blood cells to produce histamine. Histamine helps protect the body from infection, but in high quantities it causes swelling, irritation and inflammation."

4cf0a5157f0aa5fda6facbfff5efd19d

(20)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:35 PM

No, I've never been tested. I bought myself a Vitamin D supplement a month or two ago because my desk job keeps me from getting as much sunshine as I should, but I haven't been great about remembering to take it. I'll definitely get back on track with that, hopefully it'll help!

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4 Answers

6
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:16 PM

You DO NOT develop a gluten sensitivity. You become more aware of it.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 31, 2012
at 06:21 PM

Agreed. Same goes for other sensitivities. When I was vegan I didn't know I was dairy sensitive, only that I wasn't always congested. When I added dairy back I had extreme congestion and eczema issues. I was sensitive already, but only when I added it back realized how sensitive. Same goes for gluten. I knew I had problems, but didn't realize how severely ill I'd get eating a tiny bit of it until I got rid of it for a while.

1
4cf0a5157f0aa5fda6facbfff5efd19d

on May 31, 2012
at 01:40 PM

I just found this info on Livestrong.com: "Gluten may trigger an exaggerated immune system response that causes the production of histamine in the sinus cavity. When gluten enters the body, the immune system mistakes the protein for an intruding substance. It reacts to gluten the same way it would to an infectious organism, such as a bacteria or a virus. Antibodies are created to attack the gluten, which trigger white blood cells to produce histamine. Histamine helps protect the body from infection, but in high quantities it causes swelling, irritation and inflammation. Congestion that forms in your ears is the result of increased histamine production in the soft tissues around the ear. Ear congestion may also occur from nasal inflammation. During a gluten allergy, your sinus cavities swell, cutting off the ability to drain mucus through your nose. This reaction often causes mucus to back up and become trapped in your sinuses, placing pressure on the inner-ear."

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 31, 2012
at 05:14 PM

Try an elimination diet.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:17 PM

Have you had your Vitamin D level tested? I stopped getting sick regularly when I keep my level in the 60-80 ng/ml range.

4cf0a5157f0aa5fda6facbfff5efd19d

(20)

on May 31, 2012
at 01:35 PM

No, I've never been tested. I bought myself a Vitamin D supplement a month or two ago because my desk job keeps me from getting as much sunshine as I should, but I haven't been great about remembering to take it. I'll definitely get back on track with that, hopefully it'll help!

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