Here is the conclusion of our article from last month’s newsletter.
It takes less than a gram per day of gliadin, which is less than 2 percent of a single ounce, to cause a reaction. Consequently, the only way to alleviate the symptoms of celiac disease is the total elimination of all grains and foods containing gluten, like pastas, breads, sauces, cakes, pies, and crackers. This can be a daunting task, as much of the American and western diets are essentially based on the gluten cereals. The cereal grains that contain gluten include wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt, and kamut. Also note there is some controversy as to whether or not oats have an effect on celiac disease. Findings are inconclusive; however many times oats are stored in the same facility as wheat and flour, so there is the possibility of trace amounts of wheat gluten found in oats.
Wheat isn’t just found in grain products. Wheat flour is used as a filler in cold cuts and deli meats, used to dust frozen vegetables, and is used as a thickener for soy sauce and many pharmaceutical medications use gluten as a filler or a binding agent. It is a common additive in soups, packaged products, and even found in sausages. It is important to keep in mind that if you have celiac disease, there is a risk every time you buy a packaged food. It is recommended that whole and unrefined foods are purchased and cooked to avoid any possibility of consuming a food containing hidden wheat gluten.
Going to a restaurant can be challenging for those with celiac disease or wheat sensitivities, since wheat products make up much of most restaurants’ menus. Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and if there is any doubt, don’t order it. Some restaurants, such as the Italian chain Carabbas, have a gluten free menu, and Budweiser even makes a beer from a gluten free grain called sorghum.
This may all seem very upsetting to those who like breads and pastas, but there are alternatives. There are many companies that make 100 percent wheat and gluten free pasta, bread, muffins, and other “wheat-type” items. A popular wheat-pasta alternative is rice pasta, which is a delicious change of pace for those even without gluten sensitivity. Also, a great way of circumventing all of this confusion is to buy and eat whole, unrefined, non-gluten grains, like brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and many others. Not only are these grains all 100 percent gluten free, but you can make amazing pilafs and simple, tasty dishes that are quick and easy. The gluten free grains tend to cook quicker and are easier to digest then the gluten grains.
Celiac Disease Induces Mal-Absorption of the Following Nutrients
• Vitamins B1, B6, B12, Folic Acid, A, D, E, K
• Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Screening For Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
The testing for celiac disease is somewhat obscure, but the “gold standard” is an intestinal biopsy. This biopsy examines to see if the villi, which are tiny finger- like protrusions in the walls of the small intestine that aid in nutrient absorption, have flattened and shriveled. Other testing includes the IgG ELISA test, which is a simple blood test that measures immune reactions mediated by the IgG antibody, and the very expensive and sophisticated IgA anti-endomysium test. It is recommended and encouraged to get some sort of testing done if you have any of the related symptoms listed here.
There is, however, a blood test called the IgA Anti- Tissue Transglutaminase Test, or tTG for short, and also known as the TGA ELISA or Celiac Antibody Profile. This test measures anti-transglutaminase IgA antibodies in human serum, and a positive test means that a positive diagnosis for celiac disease is very likely. According to studies in the USA and in Europe, this test is as accurate as the IgA antiendomysium test, but is much less expensive.
The importance of getting tested cannot be understated, even if obvious symptoms are not presented. Undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can increase one’s risk for abdominal cancer, lymphoma, and other diseases such as diabetes, especially if ones close relative has been diagnosed with celiac disease. A popular television personality was interviewed recently and she spoke about a more than ten-year struggle to find the source of her symptoms, and it wasn’t until a positive diagnosis for celiac disease, when she eliminated wheat gluten from her diet, that she was able to find relief. Because of the prevalence of gluten sensitivities and celiac disease that commonly goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it is recommended that everyone have an IgG ELISA general food allergen panel done in addition to an anti-gliadin tTg test. These tests along with a food diary and a symptom scorecard can greatly assist a health care practitioner or nutrition consultant fine tune a non-allergic diet for the patient.
Remember, the only cure for celiac disease is strict avoidance.
Article obtained from Michael Joseph, HHC, AADP
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