Gluten Symptoms: Do They Vary with Amount?

I’ve always wondered if there is a difference in severity of symptoms based on the amount of gluten ingested. Like, if I ever dared to eat a roll or a whole slice of pizza or something, would I get the same symptoms with the same severity as if I accidentally ingested a tiny bit of contaminated food?

So to answer this question, I think the next time I get some accidental contamination I’ll test it out.¬†(Here’s where my year as a Beta Tester for a video software company comes in handy – or gets me in trouble… The curiosity of wondering “what if I do THIS….” is a great trait for that job, but may be getting me in trouble here….)

But if I’m already “doing the time” (suffering from gluten symptoms that I didn’t purposely ingest) I may as well “do the crime” (do this test and eat, like, a plate of “real” pasta or sandwich or something – yikes!! I get freaked out by the mere thought!). But it usually takes me two weeks to feel remotely normal. And that’s only ingesting what I assume is a small amount of gluten from the cross-contaminations I’ve had,¬†since I’ve never intentionally eatten gluten since going gluten free. (Honestly, if you had told me three years ago that I would be able to have this much resolve, that you really couldn’t PAY me to eat gluten now because it makes me feel so hideous, I never would have believed you!!!)

But if I have to pay with gluten symptoms for two weeks, maybe I’ll test it out and eat some serious gluten and see if the symptoms get noticably worse.

Unless I chicken out.
Which is entirely possible.

What do you think? Have you ever tried this test? Have you found that symptoms worsen with amount of gluten ingested? I’d love to know if you’ve already gone through this….

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6 Responses to “Gluten Symptoms: Do They Vary with Amount?”

  1. Jenn 12/11/2012 at 1:29 PM #

    I have been gluten free for about 3 years (celiacs) and I am not even tempted to test if I can get away with gluten once and a while. The times I have be accidentially exposed, remind me how crappy I felt pre-diagnosis. I have found that while my symptoms are lessened than they used to be, I react to many more things. Example- I used to be able to take a hot dog off a bun and eat it, not anymore. I no longer get completely lethargic from exposure, but I still get achy, foggy, a headache, tired and my stomach is bad for a few days.

    It is easy to forget that the reason we are getting a reaction is that the gluten is basically attacking our intestens (so?). My step mother always comments that what if we slowly introduced it back to my life (and my toddler son who has celiacs too) that maybe we wouldn’t show symptons. I have a hard time getting her to understand, that even if we had no symptoms, it is still doing damage to our system.

    Until the government mandates product notices about gluten, we are stuck working harder to make sure we are not exposed. I found a great tool called Scan Avert that scans the barcodes of foods to warn you of an allery realted ingredients (not just gluten). That program is how I found out that we can’t have most products with carmel color. The owner of the app is working on including medications too.

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  2. Jomar 07/19/2012 at 1:21 AM #

    In the time frame from 1990 to 1994 I had many struggles with numerous symptoms. Then in 1994 I was at my weakest point in life emotionally, physically and mentally. At that time I was a patient at Mayo Clinic for 8 days for testing (the only testing they did was lab work in my 8 days), basically found nothing. I was told I needed to see a psychiatrist while I was at the clinic, who told me I might be bringing on ill feelings with my thoughts, I was also sent to listen a 4 hour session on how to live with IBS which is what the doctor diagnosed me with.

    The doctor suggestions were to go home and live with pain the best I can with over the counter pain meds and possibly see a psychiatrist on a regular basis. I was living with so much pain and weakness and several other things for the next few years. Life was really becoming a challenge.

    Finally in July of 2005 I got a diagnosis, one which consists of Fibromyalgia, Celiac disease, Thyroid disease, severe malnutrition, severe anemia, high blood pressure, restless leg syndrome, and boarder line diabetic. You see I had a big bouquet of diseases!

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  3. Cindy 07/13/2012 at 2:23 PM #

    Do not do it!! I have been “clean” for over a year now until my sweet husband wanted to make us fried pickles. I commented on how good they were and ate a ton and within an hour as i was hunched over the toilet in a violent flashback, I realized he used the wrong flour!
    I have had “baby” reactions from cross contamination – i.e. not washing my hands after making a sandwich for my boys and then eating chips myself – and it is no where near as bad as the real deal.
    thanks for your helpful posts!

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  4. Little Cindy Lou Who 07/10/2012 at 3:58 PM #

    I too have had celiac diagnosed for 4 years now. I won’t try this test out for you, but have thought the same thing many times… Since I’m already sick, I may as well… and then reality strikes and I realize that I really don’t want to die, not yet anyway… I personally feel like there is so much misinformation that it is all to easy to get glutenated when going out to eat, and yes sometimes in my own home. Some say they have celiac and then tell the wait staff in a restaurant that celiac means they can’t have bread, and then someone like me comes in and asks for my food to be made on seperate equipment and they look at me like I’m crazy and say “no”, another lady was just in here and she had the same thing, but she had food made on the same table as the bread. I a in pain right at this moment from going to a mexican restaurant for lunch. Im getting ready to go on vacation and am so scared of what this may bring. My children have to hear me grumble constantly about how my stomach hurts and why mommy is constipated or having violent diarhea. I am so careful what goes into my mouth, but it never seems to be enough, somehow, I end end with gluten in me, recently my step-daughter who only lives with us part time forgot and used my butter to spread her bread and then double dip. I knew I should not be angry with her, but I missed two days of work and was in tears for 48 hours until I could move out of the fetal position long enough to run to the bathroom a few times. I don’t think she will make that mistake again, so I forgive and move on… The Dr. says I have IBS as well as chronic fissures (which are causing pain and constant rectal bleeding), feeling overwhelmed and slightly depressed over this right now. Thanks for letting me vent.

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  5. Steve Waxman 04/28/2012 at 1:21 AM #


    I have been ill for over 4 years with (what I now know are symptoms of Lactose Intolerance and Celiac disease. Three days ago i committed myself to a gluten-free and minimum dairy-product consumption. (During my illness I had chronic kidney failure, severe abdominal distress and three periods of delirium).

    I am a retired research physical chemist, who inherently is intrigued by research investigations; however, knowing how I felt during those four years and particularly the terror associated with being delirious, I absolutely would discourage you from this experiment.

    It is up to the large conglomerates screwing with farm products to do these investigations, have their methods of analysis vetted by a panel of independent scientists, and their results verified by the same panel.

    We cannot trust the conglomerates to police themselves; with the influence they have on Washington (and I believe in a centralized government), I believe that left alone to set standards the two groups would give in to lobbyists and other influential people.

    I haven’t felt this angry since becoming aware of prejudice in 1955 (my awareness) and the involvement in the antiwar protests in Viet Nam.

    We learned in the 60s and 70s that the general public can make a significant difference if you establish the problems coherently, and propose methods to rectify the problems.

    Although I retired two years ago, having been so rudely introduced to the methods of ignoring the health of the consumer, I am prepared to reenter the fight. What is needed are passionate
    intelligent volunteers to carry the concerns to the grassroots.

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    • noi 05/13/2012 at 9:56 PM #

      I totally agree with you Steve!! We have to band together and let the government and manufacturers know that we need real answers and regulations!

      And don’t worry, I haven’t tried this experiment yet. I’m too chicken! I know what happens when I accidentally ingest gluten (as I did, somehow, last night with a GF home cooked meal.. it’s must’ve gotten contaminated and just THAT is making me feel just awful, awful, AWFUL today!). So I’m still FAR too wary to actually take even a bite of gluten to see if the symptoms worsen.

      But what do you think we can do to get more people behind regulations for Gluten Free products? I’m a bit brian fogged tonight and can’t think of anything…

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