1) Hydrate–Ridding yourself of wheat involves diuresis, or fluid loss. This is due to the loss of the gliadin protein that causes sodium retention, as well as resolving inflammation previously triggered by gliadin-derived peptides, intact gliadin, and wheat germ agglutinin. Urine, for instance, should always be nearly clear, not a dark, concentrated yellow.
2) Use some salt–e.g., sea salt or other mineral-containing salt to compensate for the loss of urinary salt. Salt, along with water, addresses the common lightheadedness symptoms.
3) Take a probiotic–e.g., 50 billion CFUs or more per day containing mixed species of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. This accelerates the conversion to healthy bowel flora off the disruptive effects of this potent bowel toxin called wheat. This addresses the common bloating and constipation, usually within 24 hours of initiation. This should be necessary for no more than 4 to 8 weeks. (If symptoms such as heartburn or bloating return when probiotics are stopped, this suggests that there is something else wrong, such as failed cholecystekinin signaling to the pancreas, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, hypochlorhydria, etc. that requires a formal assessment.) Among the best: VSL3, Garden of Life, and Renew Life brands.
4) Supplement magnesium–Magnesium deficiency is widespread and is associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, higher blood sugar, muscle cramps, and heart rhythm disorders. For unclear reasons, these phenomena are magnified during wheat withdrawal. Magnesium supplementation can thereby have some dramatic benefits during wheat withdrawal. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements are better as laxatives than as sources of absorbable magnesium. Among the best: magnesium malate at a dose of 1200 mg two or three times per day (weight of the magnesium + malate, not just “elemental” magnesium). Source Naturals makes a great preparation.
5) Supplement omega-3 fatty acids–There are plenty of reasons to supplement omega-3 fatty acids to make up for our aversion to consuming the brains of land animals and only occasional reliance on seafood. But during wheat withdrawal, weight loss proceeds at a rapid clip for most people, a process that involves massive mobilization of fatty acids into the bloodstream (evidenced on a cholesterol panel as higher triglycerides). Omega-3 fatty acids partially protect us from the adverse effects of this flood of fatty acids, as it activates the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, that helps clear them from the bloodstream. I advocate an EPA + DHA intake of 3000 mg per day (the dose of omega-3 fatty acids, not of fish oil). The best fish oil is in the liquid triglyceride form, not the common ethyl ester capsules, as the triglyceride form is better absorbed (particularly the DHA). My favorite brands because of meticulous production techniques: Ascenta NutraSea and Nordic Naturals.
6) Supplement iodine–The average person is marginally deficient in iodine, particularly in people who avoid use of iodized salt. Ironically, the more you avoid processed foods (as we do with wheat elimination, given wheat’s ubiquity), the less iodized salt you get. Avid exercisers also are more iodine deficient than average, given iodine loss via sweat. This has gotten so bad that I have actually found many people with goiters (enlarged thyroid glands). Even a modest lack of iodine leads to lower output of thyroid hormone (especially T4), resulting in mild hypothyroidism that impairs weight loss, can make fatigue worse, increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride values, and even increase cardiovascular risk. Iodine is an essential trace mineral: everyone needs it (though people with a history of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or thyroid nodules will have to be extra careful; I’d like to say consult your doctor, which is true if you have a doctor knowledgeable about iodine, which is less than 1% of my colleagues). I advise patients to supplement iodine as inexpensive drops, capsules, or kelp tablets (dried seaweed) to provide 500 mcg iodine per day.
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