Celiac disease Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity:
New Test Detects Condition Responsible for Common Health Concerns
Celiac disease is one of the most sinister and insidious of food allergies. It is estimated that as many as 3 million people in the US may have diagnosed with the disease, and countless more, at least 97 percent, go undiagnosed and untreated 1 It should also be noted that as many as 30 million Americans or 10 percent of the American population have some kind of sensitivity to wheat or wheat gluten 2 Studies have shown that celiac disease is most prevalent in Ireland, Finland, and northern Italy. It is truly a pandemic of the 21st century, so much so that the Italian government has recently considered having all children under the age of six tested for celiac disease. 3
Celiac disease (also known as CD or celiac spruce) is a permanent genetic syndrome of the small intestine caused by an extreme allergic reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat and wheat derivatives. It is the gluten sub-fraction gliadin that attacks the lining of the small intestine causing cellular deterioration. This then leads to the chronic inflammation of the small bowel, which results in poor absorption of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. This chain reaction of events can cause a great deal of damage to not just the digestive system, but also the entire body, including the nervous system and the vital organs.4
Some of the symptoms and conditions associated with celiac disease are: depression, overweight/underweight, rashes, diarrhea or constipation, abnormal elevation of liver enzymes, neuropathy, osteoporosis, diabetes, increased prevalence of auto-immune diseases, abdominal cancer, and thyroid conditions. It is important to note that some individuals with celiac disease will have very minor GI symptoms. Some health authorities state that clinical depression is the most commonly presenting symptom of undiagnosed celiac disease.3
This article will address a new celiac disease test available here as well as explain the recommended dietary changes one needs to undertake if the test results are returned as positive.
It takes less than a gram per day of gliadin, which is less than 2 percent of a single ounce, to cause a reaction.6 Consequently, the only way to alleviate the symptoms of celiac disease is the total elimination of all grains and foods containing gluten, like pastas, breads, sauces, cakes, pies and crackers. This can be a daunting task, as much of the American and western diets are essentially based on the gluten cereals. The cereal grains that contain gluten include: Wheat, Barley, Rye, Triticale, Spelt, and Kamut. Also not there is some controversy as to whether or not oats have an effect on celiac disease. Findings are inconclusive: however, many times oats are stored in the same facility as wheat and flour, so there is the possibility of trace amounts of wheat gluten found in oats.7
Wheat isn’t just found in grain products. Wheat flour is used as a filler in cold cuts and deli meats, used to dust frozen vegetables, and is used as a thickener for soy sauce and many pharmaceutical medications use gluten as a filler or a binding agent. It is a common additive in soups, packaged products, and even found in sausages. It is important to keep in mind that if you have celiac disease, there is a risk every time you buy a packaged food.8 It is recommended that whole and unrefined foods are purchased and cooked to avoid any possibility of consuming a food containing hidden wheat gluten.
Going to a restaurant can be challenging for those with celiac disease or wheat sensitivities, since wheat products make up much of most restaurants’ menus. Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and if there is any doubt, don’t order it. Some restaurants, such as the Italian chain Carrabbas, have a gluten free menu, and Budweiser even makes a beer from a gluten free grain called sorgham.
This may all seem very upsetting to those who like breads and pastas, but there are alternatives. There are many companies that make 100 percent wheat and gluten free pasta, bread, muffins, and other “wheat-type” items. A popular wheat-pasta alternative is rice pasta, which is a delicious change of pace for those even without gluten sensitivity. Also, a great way of circumventing all this confusion is to buy and eat whole, unrefined, non-gluten grains, like brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and many others. Not only are these grains all 100 percent gluten free, but also you can make amazing pilafs and simple, tasty dishes that are quick and easy. The gluten free grains tend to cook quicker and are easier to digest than the gluten grains.
Screening For Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
The testing for celiac disease is somewhat obscure, but the “gold standard” is an intestinal biopsy. This biopsy examines to see if the villi, which are tiny fingerlike protrusions in the walls of the small intestine that aid in nutrient absorption, have flattened and shriveled. Other testing includes the IgG ELISA test, which is a simple blood test that measures immune reactions mediated by the IgG antibody, and the very expensive and sophisticated IgA anti-endromysium test. It is recommended and encouraged to get some sort of testing done if you have of the related symptoms listed here.9
There is, however, a blood test called the IgA Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase Test, or tTG for short, and also known as the TGA ELISA or Celiac Antibody Profile. This test measures anti-transglutaminase IgA antibodies in human serum, and a positive test means that a positive diagnosis for celiac disease is very likely. According to studies in the USA and Europe, this test is as accurate as the IgA anti-endomysium test, but is much less expensive.10 This test is now available here.
The importance of getting tested cannot be understated, even if obvious symptoms are not presented. Undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can increase one’s risk for abdominal cancer, lymphoma, and other diseases such as diabetes, especially if one close relative has been diagnosed with celiac disease.11 A popular television personality was interviewed recently and she spoke about a more than ten-year struggle to find the source of her symptoms, and it wasn’t until a positive diagnosis for celiac disease, when she eliminated wheat gluten from her diet, that she was able to find relief.12 Because of the
Prevalence of gluten sensitivities and celiac disease that commonly goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it is recommended that everyone have an IgG ELISA general food allergen panel done in addition to an anit-gliadin tTg test. These tests along with a food diary and a symptom scorecard can greatly assist a health care practitioner or nutrition consultant fine-tune a non-allergic diet for the patient. Remember, the only cure for celiac disease is strict avoiodance.13
Reliable testing is the first stop to identifying if wheat is the culprit behind ones symptoms. A new celiac test known as the IgA Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase Test (tTG) or Celiac Antibody Profile is now available here. The results of this test can be very enlightening and can help solve the mystery behind a variety of health concerns. If celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is detected, implementing lifestyle changes can have dramatic improvements in health.
Commonly Reported Symptoms Presented with Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Allergy and Sensitivity
Ø Chronic Depression (some authorities say this is the most common presenting symptom of celiac disease, especially if the patient hasn’t responded well to medication or other treatments)
Ø Abnormal elevation of liver enzymes of unknown cause
Ø Permanent teeth with horizontal grooves and chalky whiteness
Ø Chronic nerve disease of unknown cause (such as ataxia and peripheral neuropathy)
Ø Osteoporosis in women not responding to conventional therapies
Ø Repeated low-impact bone fractures
Ø Intestinal Cancers
Ø Insulin Dependent Diabetes
Ø Thyroid disease, over and under active
Ø Short statue in children
Ø Down Syndrome in children
Ø Chronic or recurring respiratory tract problems like ear infections and sinusitis
Ø Chronic fatigue caused by malabsorbtion of nutrients
Ø Chronic fatigue syndrome
Ø Mouth ulcers/canker sores
Ø Anemia, including iron, folic acid, B12 and B6 deficiency anemia
Ø Unintended weight loss
Ø Chronic diarrhea
Ø Abdominal bleeding
Ø Crohn’s disease
Ø ADD/ADHD and behavioral problems in children
Celiac Disease Induces Mal-Absorption of the Following Nutrients
- Vitamins B1, B6, B12, Folic Acid, A, D, E, K,
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Statistics on the Prevalence of Celiac Disease14
- 1 in 167 supposedly healthy school children
- 1 in 111 healthy asymptomatic adults
- 1 in 39 adults with celiac disease are positively diagnosed
Among those reported with * 1 in 40 children
gastrointestinal symptoms: * 1 in 30 adults
According to a study * 19 out of 20 cases go undetected
Published in the Lancet: and untreated
* 1 in 250 Italians
* 1 in 122 Irish
* 1 in 85 Finnish
Prevalence in * 1 in 70 Sardinians
Ethnicities: * 1 in 18 Algerian Saharawi refugee children
Among those with a parent,
Grandparent, or sibling * 1 in 11
Diagnosed with celiac disease
1. Celiac Disease Statistics Jefferson Adams Published 6/26/06; Celiac Disease facts and figures, University of Chicago Celiac Center.
2. James Braly MD & Patrick Holford. Hidden Food Allergies. Basic Health Publications, Inc. 2006.
3. Jefferson University Hospitals Division of gastroenterology and hepatology NIH Publication No. 98—4269. April 1998.
4. James Braly MD Food Allergy Relief. 2000.
5. James Braly MD & Patrick Holford, Hidden Food Allergies, Basic Health Publication, Inc. 2006; Canadian Celiac Association “Celiac Disease” Dr Mohsin Rashid.
6. James Braly MD & Patrick Holford, Hidden Food Allergies. Basic Health Publication, Inc. 2006
7. James Braly MD & Ron Hoggan MA. Dangerous Grains. Avery, 2002.
8. Dr James Braly’s Food Allergy and Nutrition Revolution 1992; Canadian Celiac Association “Celiac Disease” Dr. Mohsin Rashid.
9. James Braly MD & Patrick Holford. Hidden Food Allergies. Basic Health Publication, Inc. 2006; James Braly MD. Food Allergy relief. 2002.
10. James Braly MD & Patrick Holford. Hidden Food Allergies. Basic Health Publication, Inc. 2006; James Braly MD. Food Allergy relief. James Braly MD 2000.
11. Jefferson University Hospital Division of Gastroenterology and hepatology NIH Publication No. 98-4269 April 1998; James Braly MD & Ron Hoggan MA Dangerous Grains. Avery 2002; James Braly MD & Patrick Holford. Hidden Food Allergies. 2006
12. Daily News. “The View’ co-host- Elizabeth Hasselbeck dishes on celiac disease in the ‘ G Free Diet” by Elosie Parker, Daily News staff writer 5/4/09.
13. Canadian Celiac Association “Celiac Disease” Dr. Mohsin Rashid; James Braly MD & Ron Hoggan MA. Dangerous Grains. Avery 2002.
14. Celiac Disease facts and figures, University of Chicago Celiac Center, James Braly MD & Patrick Holford. Hidden Food Allergies, Basic Health Publications, Inc. 2006; Celiac Disease Statistic Jefferson Adams Published 6/26/06; Jefferson University Hospitals Division of gastroenterology and hepatology NIH Publication No 98-4269 April 1998.