Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease: Not Just a Fad

Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and other food allergies are becoming more and more popular in society today.  Many patients are encouraged to participate in a gluten free diet in our office, but we are not alone in these recommendations. Research is indicating that a variety of conditions from neurological disorders, hormonal imbalance, digestive problems, autoimmune conditions, and other metabolic issues can be associated with gluten intolerance, or sensitivity.
The Journal, BMC Medicine wrote in February 2012, “A decade ago celiac disease was considered extremely rare outside Europe and, therefore, was almost completely ignored by health care professionals. In only 10 years, key milestones have moved celiac disease from obscurity into the popular spotlight worldwide. Now we are observing another interesting phenomenon that is generating great confusion among health care professionals. The number of individuals embracing a gluten-free diet (GFD) appears much higher than the projected number of celiac disease patients… This trend is supported by the notion that, along with celiac disease, other conditions related to the ingestion of gluten have emerged as health care concerns.”
In our office, we recommend two steps to determine if your symptoms are associated with gluten sensitivity. The first option is an elimination diet. An elimination diet removes gluten containing foods from the diet for at least 30 days, looking for symptomatic improvements. Following the 30 day gluten elimination diet, patients are encouraged to reintroduce gluten in order to see if the symptoms return or not. Many times, the reintroduction of gluten causes a flare up of the improved symptoms, indicating a possible correlation between gluten and the patients symptoms.
The second option for identifying gluten sensitivity comes through blood tests. In our office, we recommend wheat and gluten sensitivity testing though Cyrex Labs. These blood tests evaluate twenty-four different ways that wheat and gluten derived particles can stimulate an immune response in the body. Many times this is the faster, most accurate way to identify a gluten problem.
Are your symptoms related to gluten? Have you ever tried a gluten free diet but are still not sure if gluten is contributing to your symptoms? Contact our office and let us help you identify the cause of your symptoms.
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