Below is a link for a description of gluten sensitivity and a nice list of conditions known to be linked to celiac and silent celiac.Gluten Sensitivity Quick Facts-PDFGluten Sensitivity Quick Facts - Rich Text Format
Gluten Sensitivity Quick Facts
Daniel Schlenger, DC, DACNB
Gluten Sensitivity is the broad category and includes both celiac and non-celiac forms. Celiac Disease (CD) is therefore a small subset of Gluten Sensitivity (GS).
Gluten Sensitivity refers to all those who have negative health consequences from dietary gluten. See the list that starts on page 3 for conditions frequently related to GS. Gluten Sensitivity is a genetic condition and the effect is lifelong meaning you won’t grow out of it.
The celiac disease form of gluten sensitivity consists of physical changes and damage to the small intestine and is likely to include one or more of the multitude of chronic related conditions that occur outside the intestines from systemic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Celiac Disease can present with or without obvious intestinal symptoms even though an intestinal biopsy would show malformations either way. Only about 1 in 8 people with intestinal damage from CD have intestinal symptoms. The treatment is a gluten-free diet (GFD) along with supplements such as anti-oxidants and probiotics.
Non-celiac GS includes the same likelihood as a celiac patient of developing one or more of the multitude of chronic and inflammatory conditions outside the intestines and autoimmune and/or neurological disorders without abdominal symptoms and without celiac-type small intestine pathology. Most often the only sign of gluten sensitivity is the onset of an autoimmune or neurological disorder. Treatment is the same as the celiac gluten sensitive form and that is a gluten-free diet (GFD) and supplements.
Research is ongoing but some authorities estimate that as many as 50% of the North American population are affected by gluten sensitivity in one form or another and most of these are non-celiac GS.
In spite of the life-threatening nature of GS, it remains grossly under diagnosed in all forms even in the classic celiac form that affects about 1 in 100 in the US. Doctors of all kinds routinely miss even celiac patients with obvious intestinal signs. This is true in spite of the fact that genetic and lab testing has improved greatly in the past several years. A person can be reliably tested for celiac and non-celiac GS predispositions.
If one first degree relative of yours is GS you should consider yourself GS as well. For example, if a parent is celiac, the kids should all be gluten free. If one child is diagnosed with celiac disease, both parents and all the rest of the kids should be gluten free.
All forms of GS are immune and inflammatory responses to dietary gluten. GS is not an allergy so do not refer to GS as a wheat allergy. A person can have a wheat allergy but GS is something entirely different. Gluten is a grain protein and is found in highest quantities in the family of grains that includes wheat, rye and barley (WRB). Gluten is a combination of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin and glutenin are extensively cross-linked in nature so most references are to this gluten complex instead of the most biologically-active component gliadin. Gliadin is difficult if not impossible for the GS person to digest.
A reliable indicator that a person will benefit from a gluten free diet (GFD) is one of the clinical conditions listed below plus a positive genetic test. Ultimately a person will have to go GF for many weeks to months and observe health patterns (symptoms and appropriate testing) to know if he or she is gluten sensitive. We use Enterolab for the genetic test. Lab testing can also help with a GS diagnosis. Cyrex Labs currently tests for 24 different reactions to wheat proteins. They also test for reactions to other foods such as oats, corn, sorghum, potatoes, coffee and other likely candidates for foods that are keeping you from healing. Standard medical practice, if they bother to check for gluten reactions at all, is to check for just two antibodies and remain totally oblivious to the other 40 or so that could be important for you. Therefore a negative typical blood test that only checks for tTG or EM antibodies does NOT rule out celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Most gluten-related conditions respond favorably to a truly GFD. A low gluten diet is not an effective treatment for gluten-related conditions. Even minute amounts of gluten a few times a year will perpetuate the condition(s). Gluten is not an essential nutrient so the only negative aspect of a GFD is convenience. It only feels like an essential nutrient because of the addictive nature of gluten. Portions of the gluten protein (exorphins) bind to opiate receptors in the brain like opium or heroin so some withdrawal is expected once a person truly goes gluten free. The addiction should not be underestimated. If any other agent in our diet caused so much misery and death, it would cause a social uproar and legislation would be enacted to limit its use.
To be gluten free, a person will have to learn to read labels and reread labels and watch for hidden sources of gluten and gluten contamination. Rice is a low gliadin food is considered safe for most people as long as they are not contaminated with wheat, barley or rye in transport, processing or packaging. Oats and corn contain significantly high gliadin percentages so can be a problem food for about half of GS people. Oats is almost always contaminated with wheat gluten so is always suspect.
For lab and/or genetic testing contact us at silverstatechiro.com or OVitaminPro.com. You will pay the lab directly and we do not add additional charges for our help. This Quick Facts publication is also available for a free download from these sources.
Dangerous Grains by Braly is an excellent resource as well. It was published in 2002 so some things have become dated especially in the genetics and diagnosis descriptions. I still recommend reading this book. I want to stress that a quick genetic test is extremely valuable in sorting out this gluten issue for you and your loved ones.
Below is a partial list of conditions or diseases that have been scientifically or clinically linked to gluten sensitivity. Any of these listed conditions or any chronic inflammatory or auto-immune reaction is a good enough reason to suspect gluten sensitivity and warrants the simple, one-time genetic test ($149). Which condition or conditions that show up will vary greatly from person to person even with a similar genetic profile. Some conditions will also vary during your lifetime. A current or past history of any of these will warrant testing.
Gluten Sensitivity Watch List
Abdominal bloating and/or distension
Abdominal pain and/or cramping
Acquired hypertrichosis lanuginosa
ADD and ADHD
Alzheimer's Disease and/or Dementia
Anemia or Low iron
Aphthous stomatitis (canker sores)
Appetite Disorder (increase or decrease)
Atypical mole syndrome
Auto-immune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s)
Bipolar disorder (Manic depression)
Bone or joint pains
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chronic muscle or joint pain or stiffness
Congenital giant nevus
Cravings for sweets, bread, carbohydrates
Diabetes - Juvenile or Adult Onset
Difficulty digesting dairy products
Difficulty in relaxing or chronic tension
Drowsiness after eating
Edema (puffy swollen legs)
Erythema elevatum dilantum
Esophageal metaplasia (Barrett’s esophagus)
Esophageal reflux (GERD)
Gastric reflux and digestive complaints
Generalized acquired cutis laxa
Heartburn after pasta, pizza or pastry
Hereditary angioneurotic edema
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Linear IgA Bulbous Dermatosis
Liver abnormalities – elevated enzymes
Malabsorption problems - Malnutrition
Metabolic syndrome - Syndrome X
Muscle cramps and spasms
Nausea and vomiting
Necrolytic migratory erythema
Oral Lichen planus
Pale, bulky, greasy and/or smelly stools
Parkinson’s D or Parkisonian Syndromes
PMS symptoms/hormonal imbalances
Premature gray hair
Recurrent Febrile Infections
Restless Leg Syndrome
Skin problems or rashes of unexplained origin
Tendency to over-consume alcohol