Dr. David Clark, DC -Dallas, TX- helps you avoid the terrible mistake of thinking that Celiac disease is the same thing as gluten sensitivity.
I going to explain the difference between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. Celiac Disease is one kind of gluten sensitivity. It is not the only kind of gluten sensitivity.
The reason I'm bringing this point up is, I see 30 to 50 people a month that tell me,
"Oh, I've been tested for gluten, my doctor said I don't have Celiac, so I’m fine."
And what that tells me is the doctor does not understand Celiac disease. So let me give you an explanation.
Gluten is a protein that's found in wheat and barley and rye---but that's just the beginning.
Gluten is not the only part of wheat that can cause an immune system reaction. G
There's wheat germ agglutinin...it's associated with severe joint pains.
You could have a reaction to gliadin. You could even have a reaction to the different isomers of gliadin (Alpha, Gamma, Omega--something we can get into another time.)
Gluten sensitivity is when you have an immune system reaction to ANY part of wheat:
- Wheat germ agglutinin
- gliadin and it's subunites
When this sensitivity leads to an autoimmune attack on your small intestine, now we're getting into this thing called Celiac Disease.
The supposed "Gold Standard" for diagnosis of Celiac Disease is small intestine biopsy---but even this has major flaws. Basically you must have villous atrophy and lymphoycte infiltration.
But--just so you know, there's research to show, very convincingly, that a lot of people with positive "celiac" antibody tests (anti-endomysial antibodies, anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies) DO NOT have a positive small intestine biopsy.
So the biopsy is not useful in my opinion. However, when you go to see your medical doctor or the gastroenterologist they'll order an anti-endomysial antibodies or tissue transglutaminase antibodies.
You could have a variety of symptoms, maybe even some GI symptoms like:
- weight loss
- blood in the stool
Or, you could be seeing a doctor because you have infertility problems or you've got joint pain, seizures, migraines....or any other symtpoms that could be related to gluten sensitivity, and the doctor will typically order anti-endomysial antibodies or tissue transglutaminase antibodies to determine if you have Celiac disease.
And if these two tests are negative, the doctor tells you don't have Celiac disease and so you don't have a gluten problem.
That's one test; it's not the only test. The results of that anti-endomysial antibody test, if it's negative, DOES NOT mean that you don't have a problem with gluten.
Because --remember the glutenin, the gliadin isomers, the wheat germ agglutinnin-- you could have a problem with any of those things--be GLUTEN SENSITIVE and not have Celiac Disease.
I hope that's making sense. I see a lot of people that were tested for Celiac disease five years ago, two years ago...and been told they don't have a problem with gluten and so they keep on eating it. And it destroys their health.
These are people with a variety of autoimmune conditions that have led to infertility, Hashimoto's, Multiple Sclerosis....and they've been tested in the past and told that they don't have a problem, and that is just absolutely not accurate.
Now, the best way to get tested for gluten sensitivity is from a lab called Cyrex Labs, it's currently the best way to find out.
However, I'm goint to save you some time and money....
Go 100% gluten-free. And not just for a couple weeks and see if you feel better. Do it forever and ever, amen.
Many people have an opiate peptide problem with gluten...which means when they eat gluten it turns into an opiate like heroin (gluteomorphin, to be exact) and so they become addicted to it...they crave it...it makes them feel "good."
These people tend to have a little harder time of getting off of gluten. They go through literal withdrawals like a junkie....maybe 5 to 10 days of headaches, irritability, constipation, diarrhea.
Save your money on testing, just go gluten-free. There's no biological reason for you to eat gluten anyway.
Please don't think, that if you've been tested and your doctor has told you, "Well, you don't have Celiac Disease" that you don't have a gluten problem. That could be a terrible mistake.
As far as testin, the best thing to do is to get comprehensive testing for all the different components of wheat (wheat germ agglutinnin, glutenin, gliadin isomers). Of course, you've got to find a doctor who understands that, someone who'll be able to do it for you, or you could just go gluten-free forever anyway. I would be surprised if you didn't feel somewhat better.
Going gluten-free may not be the thing that totally turns your life around but you'd be surprised. I get emails every month with people saying, "I went gluten-free and my life has totally changed. I feel so much better." That's greal.
The takeaway is:
Celiac is one type of gluten sensitivity, not the only type.
So you've got to make sure you get correctly tested and find a doctor who understands that.
© 2012 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
THE PLACE FOR ANSWERS™
Dr. David Clark, DC
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist