The Existence of Gluten Sensitivity
Gluten sensitivity has been a hot topic for a couple of years. Some doctors believe that every symptom under the sun is a result of gluten sensitivity for one reason or another. Other doctors are on the opposite end of the spectrum and believe that gluten sensitivity is a fictional condition, developed for wealthy white women. Whether it is politics, religion, the best way to raise children, or even how to manage your health related symptoms, one thing for sure is that everyone has an opinion, and if you do not agree with them, you are obviously wrong.
In clinical practice, I find food sensitivities to be a common problem among patients that have symptoms as a result of non-traumatic conditions. Statistically speaking, gluten sensitivity is the most common food sensitivity that I find though. Gluten sensitivity it is the most investigated food sensitivity among scientist and researchers, so it is also more likely to be discussed in the main stream media. Dr. Rob D’Aquila, a prominent Chiropractor that practices Applied Kinesiology from New York, estimates that roughly 50% of his patient’s conditions stem from the foods they eat, and I would say that my practice follows a pretty close trend. Foods can certainly aggravate a person’s symptoms, or be the saving grace that they were looking for.
Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms
In our practice, we see patients with a variety of health concerns. The majority of these patients have seen their primary care physician, have attempted to address their symptoms with the traditional prescription medications, or in some cases, had surgery to attempt to repair their problems. Traditional, western medicine works wonders with a variety of conditions, yet falls short for a variety of others. The list of symptoms in the medical research that has been associated with gluten sensitivity comes in at over 250 diagnosed conditions. The most common symptoms that are seen in practice include: hypothyroidism, autoimmune conditions, gastritis, weight loss problems, learning disabilities (including ADD/ADHD, and dyslexia), fibromyalgia, chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, candida (yeast infections), sleep problems, autism, skin rashes (including eczema and psoriasis), fatigue, elevated cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), asthma, headaches, depression, anxiety, digestive complaints, abdominal pain, tremors, and movement disorders.
That is a long list, but those are only the most common symptoms that have shown a clinical correlation to gluten sensitivity.
Gluten Sensitivity Testing
There are two main ways to determine if a patient has a gluten sensitivity, or a sensitivity to any other food. The most cost effective way is to perform an elimination diet. This basically means that you remove from the diet all forms of the food that you are potentially sensitive to, and look for symptomatic improvement. After doing this for three to four weeks, you then reintroduce the potentially offensive food back into the diet. Once the food is reintroduced, symptoms are monitored, looking to see if they are exacerbated, or return. This process is repeated multiple times to ensure that the potential food sensitivity truly is the offending culprit, and that the ebb and flow of symptoms were not running their natural course.
The second way for testing gluten sensitivity is through medical testing. Medical tests vary from doctor to doctor. Some physicians prefer to test for gluten sensitivity through blood tests, while others evaluate genetic predisposition through HLA-DQ typing. Swabbing the inside of the cheek, collecting stool samples, and performing a skin prick test are also options for assessing gluten sensitivity with an individual. Each test has its advantages, as well as certain shortcomings. Generally speaking, when performing laboratory tests for gluten sensitivity, we recommend testing through blood, and have found consistent results with Cyrex Labs.
Gluten Sensitivity – The Cause of Your Symptoms?
Gluten sensitivity is a complex topic. Determining the cause of an individual’s presenting symptoms can be a challenging task for any physician. According to PubMed, which comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books, there are over 250 diagnosed conditions that have been associated with gluten. Some of these symptoms are directly related to Celiac Disease, while others are specifically mentioned to demonstrate a correlation with gluten sensitivity. Do you have symptoms that leave your doctor scratching his head? Have you tried medications, supplements, herbs, and other treatments without success? Patients that answer yes to one (or both) of these questions are often encouraged to remove gluten from their diet, while awaiting the results of gluten sensitivity testing.
Gluten sensitivity fits the mold as a fad diet to some, media worthy buzz words for others, yet is classified as a lifesaver and symptom reliever to many individuals that have been unable to find solace with other procedures. Do you suffer from gluten sensitivity or want to found out more? Check out our Gluten Sensitivity Series on YouTube, or contact our office directly to find out what to do next.