Although digestive complaints are a common warning sign, they are not the only symptom of a gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Intolerances can show up in many shapes and forms – from our skin to our energy levels, even our mood!! Here are some of the most common symptoms:

Mood Changes

Many studies have linked the consumption of gluten to low mood, depression, anxiety and other emotional symptoms. As you now know, gluten can lead to leaky gut. When we experience intestinal permeability, it disrupts our ability to absorb certain nutrients that all are essential to maintain our brain health, including the regulation of our nervous system and mood. Not to mention ‘coming down’ from that gluten ‘high’ from the gluteomorphin effect mentioned above.

Skin Reactions

Skin reactions are often exterior inflammatory responses to something going on deeper in our body. Many people with gluten intolerance/sensitivity also report having skin issues, like dermatitis,  eczema, psoriasis, acne, chronic dry skin, hives and alopecia areata. Although it depends on the person and only a professional can offer customized testing and protocols (like we do at TMB), many find relief by following a gluten free diet.


Food sensitivities in general, including gluten sensitivities are known to cause headaches and migraines. One particular study showed that up to 56% of participants who were diagnosed with migraine headaches also had a corresponding gluten sensitivity. In the same study, those who eliminated gluten from their diet and adopted gluten-free alternatives reported that their headaches dissolved.

Fatigue & Low Energy

Story time…. Did you know that Dr. Bhat used to suffer with symptoms not knowing she had an underlying gluten intolerance? Her friends joked she had narcolepsy, because she was often so tired that she would fall asleep anywhere and everywhere. It turns out, in her case, gluten was the culprit!

Brain Fog

Gluten contains gluteomorphins, which can cause the same effects as opiates like morphine in some people. Cue cognitive issues. Gluteomorphins provide a route directly to the brain which activates our glial cells, amplifying the inflammatory cascade, leading to things like brain fog, bad memory and poor concentration.

Joint Pain

An inflammatory immune response in our body can make it’s way to the joints, causing on-going swelling, pain and discomfort. Eliminating gluten and other common inflammatory trigger foods (dairy, corn, soy, sugar, and alcohol) from your diet is a great starting point to see if the pain subsides. These may be your triggers if you get treatment, feel great, then a day later or two, the same ache is back again (with no seemingly movement-related explanation!)

TMB TIP: Our FIIX visits where we use acupuncture and fascial release, can help target inflammation in the fascia and get you on a path to a pain-free body!

The Big Q:
How Do You KNOW If You Have An Intolerance?

If you think you might have an intolerance to gluten, the next question is, how do you know for sure? There are a few options:


You can DIY an elimination diet for 30 days. This involves cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, corn, egg, soy and then reintroducing each separately.


You can work alongside our health coach who will provide a customized plan and support for 30 days and teach you proper re-introduction strategies.


Enroll in our FUNC MED programs and get customized test results to get a full picture of your gut health.

A few of the ways we test for gluten intolerance:

1) Leaky Gut (zonulin and gut dysbiosis)
2) Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity marker: Anti-Gliadin IgA
3) Digestive Capacity


dr shalini bhatThis article is excerpted from our weekly TMB Magazine — an exclusive subscriber only publication that is packed with all sorts of in-depth latest study breakdowns, functional medicine insights and wisdom from Dr. Bhat and her team.

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