Gluten is a protein found in grains. Research has shown that the gluten that is in grains of wheat, barley, rye, and oats (to a lesser degree) is toxic to many individuals. While gluten is essential for the make-up of these 4 grains, our bodies do not need it. Is it healthful? The protein in today's wheat is poorly digested and can be harmful. An estimated 95% of prepared foods on the grocery shelves contain the toxic forms of gluten.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is an immune response to gluten that can happen to anyone. This type of response is not inherited like Celiac Disease. Rather, it involves a normal response to the abnormal appearance of gluten in the body.
Health problems result from eating too much gluten in the diet (overload) and/ or the development of a common condition called "Leaky Gut Syndrome." Mild problems include fatigue and anxiety. However, if the overload of gluten or the intestinal "leakiness" is prolonged, gluten can wreak havoc with consequences like migraine, arthritis, and ADHD.
Celiac Disease is an inherited susceptibility to physical and mental harm from eating gluten. Once triggered, an auto-immune response causes inflammation and damage to vital tissues lining the small intestine, which in turn, results in failure to absorb nutrients in food. Various degrees of damage may occur at any time and at any age.
In the majority of people born with the susceptibility, there are few telltale signs, so that most of us are not aware that we carry this genetic capability to make auto-immune antibodies. Left untreated, active Celiac Disease can lead to serious health consequences. Making the connection to Celiac Disease may be difficult, unless there are classic problems like abdominal bloating, pain, heartburn, or diarrhea.
This section details the many different and seemingly unrelated effects that can be caused by gluten damage. The GlutenFreeWorks Symptom Guide identifies manifestations in an easy to access format.
Diagnosis starts with a high degree of suspicion, meaning the doctor needs to look for symptoms based on an accurate health history and a complete physical examination. Testing begins with bloodwork looking for the presence of 1) auto-immune antibodies that are produced against our own cells because of gluten and 2) specific antibodies that are directed against gluten itself.
The essential treatment for Celiac Disease and other gluten sensitive disorders is a gluten-free diet. More than this, here you can learn the following six key elements for better management as advanced by the National Institutes for Health:
- Consultation with a skilled dietitian
- Education about celiac disease
- Lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet
- Identification and treatment of nutritional deficiencies and other manifestations
- Access to an advocacy group
- Continuous long-term follow-up by a multidisciplinary team