Gluten Intolerance

Clear, supportive gluten intolerance advice

Eliminating wheat and gluten may seem another fussy fad-diet to those blissfully free of symptoms, but the bloating, gut discomfort and brain-fog symptoms experienced by some people is very real, whether diagnosed with Coeliac Disease or just gluten intolerant.

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Gluten free

Modern wheat has changed from the crops eaten by earlier generations. We now have complex hybrids of the wheat grain, bred to contain higher levels of gluten, which is a very complex protein to digest.  Approximately 50% of patients with Irritable Bowel Disease appear to have gluten sensitivity.  If gluten immune reactivity is not properly identified and addressed in these patients, their clinical condition is not likely to improve.

Gluten-related Disorders is the consensus term agreed by a panel of 16 physicians from seven countries for conditions triggered by gluten.  It is now accepted that reactions to gluten are not limited to Coeliac Disease, and ‘Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity’ though hotly debated in the media, has become a recognised condition.  Whilst sharing similar symptoms, these gluten-related disorders are in fact quite distinct and have been placed into 3 categories;

  • Wheat allergy (which produces a fairly swift reaction just from contact)
  • Gluten sensitivity (Immune-mediated, producing a slower reaction of intolerance)
  • Coeliac disease (Autoimmune; including dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia)

Next Generation Gluten Testing

Due to the limitations of the UK’s gluten tests, I use Cyrex Laboratories in the United States, which offers the next generation of gluten testing.  Wheat, Barley and Rye proteins are complex and the varieties used commercially in foods express up to 100 distinct proteins, the majority of which are gliadins and glutenins.  The immune system can also react to multiple other fractions of wheat, not just the gliadin/glutenin peptides.  Cyrex measure 8 different IgA and IgG gliadin antibodies that the immune system can make, as well as multiple other fractions of wheat and glutenin, as well as 8 different transglutaminases.

This is far more comprehensive than any tests available here in the UK, enhancing both the sensitivity and specificity for gluten reactions, and can be used to detect ‘silent coeliac disease’ or its overlap with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  If your test here in the UK came back as negative, but you still have symptoms, consider investigation with a Cyrex test.

Cyrex Lab also offer a cross-reactivity panel, using the same blood draw, to see if any cross-reacting proteins from other foods in your diet are perpetuating the immune reaction initiated by the gluten peptides.  Cross reactivity from other dietary proteins can explain why some Coeliac patients find a gluten free diet fails to fully resolve their symptoms.  If indicated, the elimination of cross-reacting proteins, like casein – a protein in milk – can bring about real improvement for a Coeliac patient.

To find out more about how we can help investigate and support gluten-influenced health issues, please contact us and book an initial appointment.

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