Gluten Withdrawal

What is Gluten Withdrawal?

Gluten belongs to the category of proteins consisting of glutenin and gliadin. It is found in wheat, rye, barley, bread, pasta, cereals, beer, cakes, cookies, etc. It helps in providing nourishment to the grains during germination and later it is responsible for the gluey consistency and elasticity of the dough.

However, it is possible to get addicted to gluten. When gluten is broken down, they form peptides called gluten exorphins, Opioid receptors in the brain are activated by them. It can also reach the brain by entering the blood stream as it increases permeability into the intestine, hence causing an addiction. Thus, the brain gets used to its presence and cannot cope with a sudden absence of gluten. The reaction of the brain and body in such a situation is known as gluten withdrawal.

Gluten Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Strong cravings for wheat
  • Mental fogginess
  • Fatigue
  • Constant hunger
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Rashes, acne skin allergy breakouts
  • Weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Sleepiness
  • Memory lapses


  • Lab tests must be done to know what is affecting the patient
  • Medical screening reveals the amount of proteins consumed over a period of time
  • Thorough enquiry into the medial background reveals whether it is a case of intolerance or dependence
  • Consultation may reveal the hidden reasons for the dependence on gluten


  • Consult a doctor in case a pattern of dependence is observed
  • Try to substitute gluten sources with alternative food products
  • Substitution of the food products should be done in small quantities to allow the person to get accustomed to the change


  • Body must be hydrated at all times as gluten withdrawal causes a lot of fluid loss
  • Salt must be consumed to make up for the loss of urinary salts (helps to combat light headedness)
  • Probiotics help to get rid of the bloating and constipation
  • Magnesium supplements should be taken to help with problems like high blood sugar, muscle cramps, osteoporosis, etc.
  • To compensate for the rapid weight loss patient must consume omega 3 fatty acids

How long does it take for gluten to detox?

It takes about 3-4 months for the body to detox from gluten. However, the time taken is also dependent on a number of other factors such as dehydration, constipation, supplements taken and the treatment process. Withdrawal symptoms may arise soon, but they may subside within 24-48 hours if proper care is taken.

Leave a Reply