Gluten Intolerance, PMS, Infertility, and Miscarriage

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Once in awhile, a couple of months into treatment, a patient will say “remind me why I’m not eating bread?” As part of the fertility diet, we generally recommend minimizing inflammatory foods, one of which is gluten. Many of our patients find that after a period of eliminating gluten, re-introduction of it into the diet leads to a marked increase in fatigue, brain fog, a feeling of heaviness, bloating, gas, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, and much more.  Although research has only recently begun, it is estimated that 8%-40% of the population has a sensitivity to gluten.  

A recent article discusses how Dr. Vikki Petersen, Certified Clinical Nutritionist and author of “The Gluten Effect,” points out the correlation between gluten intolerance and hormone balance. According to Dr. Petersen, one of the effects of gluten intolerance is adrenal fatigue. The adrenals help to maintain balance of hormones such as DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone – all of which are needed to prevent conditions such as PMS, infertility, and miscarriage. But when the adrenals are in over-drive, the body has to prioritize between regulating these sex hormones and diverting much needed energy into physiological processes for basic survival, such as regulation of blood pressure and blood glucose levels.  

It may be challenging to try to keep minimizing your gluten intake this holiday season but here are a couple of tips:

1. Udi’s gluten-free bread can be found in the frozen foods section at many health food grocers and has a very nice consistency – not as dense as most gluten-free breads. It would work great as a substitute in your stuffing recipe.

2. The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook: Whole Foods Recipes for Personal and Planetary Health by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre has 440 pages filled with gluten-free and dairy free recipes. There’s even a recipe for gingerbread cut-out cookies.