Coeliac Disease & Gluten SensitivityTreating gluten illness, naturally
Coeliac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are two seperate issues, although people accidentally use them interchangably. Celiac disease is a significant medical condition of the small intestine, that causes a range of debilitating symptoms & increases the risk of some cancers.
Gluten sensitivity can also cause a number of distressing symptoms, just like celiac disease, however these people lack the antibodies & intestinal damage that those with celiac experience.
Let’s discuss the differences & how we determine which is which…
Working out which is which..
There are a few testing options available to assess for celiac/coeliac disease, including a blood test, a gene test and a small bowel biopsy. Doctors have told me that the blood test has a high rate of inaccuracy (false negatives/positives) & that a biopsy is most accurate. As for gluten sensitivity, it’s often a process of elimination – you have symptoms but are negative for celiac.
I prefer accuracy, and for this reason I generally perform a Bio-Compatibility Test – this tests gluten foods as well as 500 items in total.
People are born pre-disposed to developing celiac disease – most often with gene HLA DQ2 or DQ8. Approximately 1 in every 30 people with the gene will become celiac. From a naturopathic point of view, we see celiac onset follow a heavy viral or immune burden, like EBV/gladular fever. Celiac disease is when the protein in wheat (gluten) reacts in the small intestine, causing inflammation & the atrophy of villi (the lining in the intestine that allows us to absorb nutrients).
In gluten sensitivity/intolerance, people are still reacting to the protein gluten. They experience very similar symptoms to celiac disease (without villi atrophy), but also have broader symptoms, beyond the digestive track. Common reactions include:
- joint pains
- headache, foggy mind
- aching/numbness in legs/arms/fingers
- low immunity, mouth ulcers
- hormonal/adrenal issues
- fatigue that can be extreme
Testing Options for Celiac & Gluten Issues
Tests include antibody screen, celiac profile, and celiac gene screen, if results are positive.
Order Allergy or Intolerance Tests Online
Some tests can be ordered online, without consultation.