Is It Celiac Disease (CD) or Is It Non-Gluten Sensitivity: The Big Debate

Today, as research continues into the field called “the spectrum of gluten-related disorders”, a new study offering diagnostic markers in blood work that points to actual data indicating that there is indeed a syndrome called Nonceliac Gluten Intolerance or Gluten Sensitivity (GS). (J Clin Gastroenterol 2011;00000-000)

In this study, specific IgG antibody markers, which is how part of the body’s immune system reacts to proteins that it perceives as a threat to the body, are produced and begin attacking the “foreign proteins”/gluten. These can be measured in serum blood work. In this study, there were IgG markers to gluten, showing an inflammatory response to gluten, but different than those seen in celiac disease. Symptoms of this disorder, GS, include both intestinal symptoms and outside the the gut symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, brain fog, tiredness, eczema/skin rashes, headache, joint/muscle pain, numbness in limbs, depression, anemias, mild colitis.

The above symptoms present fairly quickly after ingesting gluten and go away quickly after gluten withdrawal, which is a classic picture of 24- to 72 hours delayed allergy/intolerance to a food. Symptoms like this also occur when people have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, so it has been difficult up to now for physicians to properly diagnose exactly what is going on in the body, since the symptom overlap.

People who fall into this catorgory have often been relegated to “no person diagnostic” land, because distinctions between wheat allergy, celiac disease and GS have not been able to be made by most gastroenterologists and when intestinal biopsies have been done, they have normal mucosa. This is one of just a few studies suggestive that GS is a specific functional disease with real symptoms and immune dysregluation, psychological symptoms, and neurological damage.

In my practice, I have seen many people come in with a physician’s summary that they do not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, be tested fully with either a comprehensive IgG panel (exposure) or Alcat panel (innate immune system) and have these panel light up with major reactivity. More sound studies are definitely needed, but in my opinion, why not either test or not guess, go off gluten completely along with any dairy (a close molecular cousin to gluten) for 3 complete months, keep a symptom journal, reintroduce for two weeks and see what happens.

In my professional opinion, due to Alcat testing, Cyrex testing, and Diagnos-Techs testing, along with many regular IgG panels that are easily done by most labs, including Qwest with your family physician, I have concluded that 98% of people have a problem with gluten and do much better on many levels of body and mind when eliminated. Don’t be a victim of the “we don’t have enough conclusive double blind studies to say yes or no to you”. Be proactive and let your body do the talking and the diagnosing. Better yet, get some of the newest, state of the art testing done today from Alcat, Cyrex or serums, especially genetic testing: HLA-DQ2 and/or HLA-DQ8. To learn about all things gluten, body and mind, The Gluten Summit is your one stop shop .

Here, 29 world experts help learn the comprehensive aspects to what is going on with gluten, how to diagnos and manage it in ways that you will see results. May people go “gluten free”, but really are not gluten free, and then claim it didn’t work for them. There is more to this than going off bread and pasta.

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