what’s the difference between gluten and fructan intolerances
The health and wellness world is intensely interested in food intolerances at the moment. However, interest doesn’t always equate to accuracy.
On the contrary, there are times when layman’s research can lead to a misdiagnosis and solutions that don’t address the root of the problem. Gluten and fructan intolerances are an area where this confusion can easily take place.
what is gluten?
Gluten is a catch-all category for a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It plays an important role as a glue that helps foods maintain their shape.
In most cases, gluten is broken down by digestive enzymes, or it passes harmlessly through the digestive system. Occasionally, individuals have an autoimmune response to gluten called celiac disease, which could relate to poor lining quality on the wall of the small intestines.
what are fructans and galactans?
Fructans and galactans are long carbohydrate chains. They typically consist of between 3 and 9 carbohydrate molecules. These are called oligosaccharides, with either a fructose molecule or a galactose molecule attached, leading to the name fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) or galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), respectively.
As is the case with gluten, these carbohydrates are difficult to digest. They tend to pass into the small intestines, where they ferment, leading to a variety of unpleasant (though generally not dangerous) symptoms.
misdiagnosing gluten intolerances
Gluten intolerances are a common diagnosis, especially for those who are self-diagnosing. Its symptoms are familiar experiences for many individuals after eating grain products. Many assume that an intolerant reaction indicates an inability to digest the gluten present in their systems.
However, if you don’t have a formal celiac diagnosis, there is a very good chance that this is incorrect. The real problem may have to do with an inability to digest fructans (which are commonly found in wheat along with garlic, onion, leeks, apricots, and other fruits and veggies).
This is good news for anyone who thinks they have a gluten intolerance, as celiac disease is an immune system response — which means it’s an allergy and is potentially dangerous. In comparison, an intolerance simply implies that the body can’t break down food properly due to a lack of certain enzymes. In this case, that could be something like Alpha Galactosidase, a key enzyme in breaking down fructans and galactans.
using fibractase forte to address a fructan intolerance
If you suspect that you have a gluten intolerance, it’s important to officially diagnose that fact, as it relates to your immune system and can be dangerous. However, if you find that you aren’t particularly sensitive to gluten, you may want to consider the fact that you have a fructan intolerance.
If that may be the case, you can try intoleran’s digestive enzyme supplement specifically designed to help those with an intolerance to fructans and galactans. fibractase forte is safe to use, even if you aren’t sure if you have an intolerance.
Simply ingest a dose before consuming grains, legumes, or cruciferous vegetables, and see if your symptoms improve after the fact. If that’s the case, chances are your body is perfectly fine with gluten. Instead, focus on managing your intake of fructans and galactans by eating certain foods in moderation and occasionally using fibractase forte to control the intolerant symptoms.