Beyond Celiac


Beyond Celiac: Glutenin and Others Destroying the Body
Celiac disease is well known to be a disease of the intestinal tract where certain individuals cannot tolerate wheat or flour products.  Severe abdominal inflammation, pain and bleeding can progress to the point where a person is hospitalized or may need surgery to cut out damaged sections of dysfunctional intestines.  Imagine when eating becomes an enemy.  No longer can a Celiac individual dine at restaurants or at a friend’s house without significant fear of debilitating pain.  Celiac’s are special people with special dietary disabilities.
How is this diagnosed? A celiac will typically present with pale skin, anemic, mal nourished, abdominal tenderness and distention, and sometimes neurologic symptoms.  Traditional medicine relies on the antibody test for Secretory IgA or Transglutaminase IgA/ IgM screening.  If found to be present, a biopsy of the small intestine tissue is performed.  Celiac is confirmed only if destroyed intestinal cells are found to be consistent for the disorder. 
The prevalence of celiac disease is suspected to be 1 in 100 in the present population.  Why is this?  The types of wheat derivatives have changed over the years.  The wheat we ate as children is no longer part of our food chain in the U.S.  Our wheat has been chemically altered and genetically modified.  Frankly, our bodies have not had the chance to adapt to the change in the food chain, so inflammation is rampant.
The inflammation is not limited to the intestinal tract.  Non-GI forms of celiac have been identified.  These can be frightening: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, learning disorders, movement disorders, wasting diseases, ALS-like (Lou Gehrig’s) neurologic conditions, Multiple Sclerosis- like conditions, dementias, and many more have been described. Some particularly sensitive autoimmune individuals can experience increased symptoms, drug-resistant symptoms, and accumulation of additional autoimmune conditions when wheat/flour intolerance is a factor.
How can we find the hidden forms of wheat reactions?  Rather than testing only two or three parameters for celiac, we now have the ability to screen 24 markers related to gluten/gliadin/glutenin sensitivity.  Cyrex Labs (www.cyrexlabs.com) currently has the most comprehensive and most cost effective screening available.
How do you know if you have a problem with wheat/flour sensitivity?  One simple at home test is to completely eliminate all wheat and flour from the diet for two weeks and record the results.  In the absence of the trigger, a person will have relief of chronic symptoms.   Upon ingesting wheat/flour after a 2 week fast, the symptoms will likely return with a vengeance.  If your child has sensitivity, ADD/ADHD or other emotional reactions can be monitored in cases where the trigger is direct.  Confirmation of the sensitivity will be made upon a simple serum (blood) test through Cyrex labs.  For those who cannot handle needles, a salivary test can be used for a simple screening.
Identifying whether the condition is genetic (HLA-DQ) or acquired begins the process of recovery.  Reducing the immune response will go a long way to dropping the inflammatory reaction.  Less inflammation equals less pain. Genetically passed on traits can plaque many generations in a family. Managing the dietary choices and utilizing nutritional supplements containing DPP IV enzymes can eliminate the previously debilitating effects of gluten/gliadin/glutenin.
Does this sound like you?  Do the at home elimination challenge for two weeks.  If you find relief, see me for some simple blood tests to identify the exact trigger.  You can be healthy through nutritional science.

March 2011

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