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Gluten Sensitivity Quick Facts

Gluten Sensitivity Quick Facts

This article is designed to give the basics of the gluten issue without much explanation.

Two forms emerge from people with gluten sensitivity, Celiac Disease and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Celiac disease consists of higher probability of abdominal symptoms, physical changes to the small intestine and a multitude of chronic conditions outside the intestines from systemic inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity includes the same multitude of chronic and inflammatory conditions outside the intestines and autoimmune disorders without obvious abdominal symptoms and without physical changes to the small intestine.

In spite of the life threatening nature of celiac disease and even though it can be verified by biopsy and blood antibodies in 1:100 Americans it remains grossly under diagnosed.
Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Syndrome is diagnosed by intestinal antibodies, genetic testing and clinical picture that is a person's history and also family history. Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity affects somewhere between 1 and 30 and 1 in 3 depending on which researcher you talk to. Despite the life threatening complications and relative commonality, Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Syndrome is rarely diagnosed.

Genetic testing has improved greatly in the past several years. A person can be reliably tested for Celiac and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity predispositions.

Celiac and Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are both an inflammatory response to gluten. Gluten is a combination of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is considered to be the most biologically active, that is it is the most difficult to digest and most reactive in our bodies. Our body makes anti-bodies to gliadin primarily in the small intestine. Some of these anti-bodies get into the blood stream where they can be isolated by blood testing. Most gluten sensitive people will have a negative blood test but more often a positive stool test for the antibody. A negative blood test or even a negative stool test does not automatically rule out gluten sensitivity. The most reliable indicators 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 months and observe health patterns (symptoms and appropriate testing) to know if he or she is gluten sensitive.

Gluten Sensitivity in both forms is a life-long condition. The only treatment is elimination of gluten from the diet. Most gluten-related conditions respond to a truly GFD. Gluten or gliadin 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 bind to opiate receptors in the brain like opium, heroin or cocaine so some withdrawal is expected once a person truly goes gluten free. The addiction is powerful and 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.

Gluten is an integral component to wheat, barley and rye. It is also found in many other foods so to be gluten free, a person will have to learn to read labels and watch for hidden sources of gluten and gluten contamination. Rice and oats are considered safe foods for most people as long as they are not contaminated with wheat, barley or rye in transport, processing or packaging. Most commercial oats are contaminated unless grown and processed apart from wheat, rye &barley completely.

Below is a list of conditions or diseases that have been scientifically 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 testing. 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 past history of any of these will warrant testing. If you wish to do some of your own research you can go to pubmed.com and search celiac with any of the following.

    Abdominal bloating and/or distension
    Abdominal pain and/or cramping
    Acquired hypertrichosis lanuginosa
    ADD and ADHD
    Addison's Disease
    Allergic rhinitis
    Alopecia Areata
    ALS
    Anemia or Low iron
    Anxiety
    Aphthous stomatitis (canker sores)
    Arthritis
    Asthma
    Ataxia
    Atypical mole syndrome
    Autism
    Auto-immune conditions
    Auto-immune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's)
    Back pain
    Behavioral difficulties
    Behavioral problems in children
    Behget's Disease
    Bell's Palsy
    Bipolar disorder (Manic depression)
    Bone or joint pains
    Bowel cancer
    Brachial neuritis
    Bursitis
    Cancer
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Chronic muscle or joint pain or stiffness
    Congenital giant nervus
    Cravings for sweets, bread, carbohydrates
    Crohn's Disease
    Cutaneous Vasculitis
    Depression
    Dermatitis herpetiformis
    Dermatomyocitis
    Diabetes (Type 1 or 2)
    Difficulty digesting dairy products
    Difficulty in relaxing or chronic tension
    Drowsiness after eating
    Dysautonomia
    Eczema
    Edema (puffy swollen legs)
    Erythema elevatum dilantum
    Erythema nodosum
    Esophageal metaplasia (Barrett's esophagus)
    Failure to thrive
    Fatigue (chronic)
    Fibromyalgia
    Flatulence
    Gastric reflux and digestive complaints
    Generalized aquired cutis laxa
    Headache
    Heart Disease
    Heartburn after pasta, pizza or pastry
    Hereditary angioneurotic edema
    Herpetiformis dermatitis
    Huntington's
    Ichthiosiform dermatosis
    Iron-deficient anemia
    Iron-overload
    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    Lactose intolerance
    Learning difficulties
    Linear IgA Bulbous Dermatosis
    Liver abnormalities - elevated enzymes
    Lupus
    Malabsorption problems
    Malnutrition
    Metabolic syndrome
    Mineral deficiency
    Mood swings
    Multiple sclerosis
    Muscle cramps and spasms
    Myopathy
    Nausea and vomiting
    Necrolytic migratory erythema
    Obesity
    Oral Lichen planus
    Osteopenia
    Osteoporosis
    Pale, bulky, greasy and/or smelly stools
    Parkinson's
    Pellagra
    Peripheral neuropathy
    PMS symptoms/hormonal imbalances
    Poor appetite
    Porphyria
    Psoriasis
    Psychological disorders
    Pyoderma gangrenosum
    Rashes of unexplained origin
    Regional enteritis
    Resistant hypothyroidism
    Rheumatoid arthritis
    Schizophrenia
    Sciatica
    Seizures/epilepsy
    Short stature
    Sjögren's syndrome
    Skin problems of unexplained origin
    Syndrome X
    Tendency to over-consume alcohol
    Tinnitis
    Ulcerative colitis
    Urticaria (Hives)
    Vitiligo
    Weight gain