Clues to Gluten Sensitivity
By Melinda Beck for the Wall Street Journal
Lisa Rayburn felt dizzy, bloated and exhausted. Wynn Avocette suffered migraines and body aches. Stephanie Meade’s 4-year-old daughter had constipation and threw temper tantrums.
All three tested negative for celiac disease, a severe intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. But after their doctors ruled out other causes, all three adults did their own research and cut gluten—and saw the symptoms subside. (Read full story on WSJ.com)
Dr. Denninghoff’s Commentary:
Gluten sensitivity is an important health topic because our understanding of gluten-related illness is changing. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains, very common in the standard American diet. Gluten intolerance is more common than previously thought and can cause many different symptoms, including gastrointestinal and neurological problems.
“Celiac Disease” is the most serious form, resulting in intestinal damage and poor nutrient absorption. Diagnosis is made by intestinal biopsy or lab tests (looking for an immune response to gluten.)
Positive (abnormal) tests mean you should avoid gluten. There are numerous resources for locating “gluten-free” recipes, including our very own website:
The bad news is that people can be gluten sensitive (intolerant), but have no abnormal lab tests. This means they can be ill with gluten-related symptoms, but without an identifiable cause.
Strict gluten avoidance (gluten-free diet) can help those who suffer with continued symptoms yet have normal lab results.
Gluten sensitivity may affect as much as 6% of the U.S. population, while wheat allergy and true cases Celiac disease affect about 1% of the American citizenry.
What can you do?
Start with the understanding that a “negative” lab test is not a guarantee of no illness, especially in this case. Then, utilize a food journal. (Write down everything you eat & drink). Study food labels and choose “gluten free” foods.
Expect to hear more on this challenging, yet increasingly common problem.