According to the Canadian Celiac Association, “Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. Although statistics are not readily available, it is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease.”
There are a lot of people who may not be diagnosable in terms of having celiac disease, but still know that when they eat gluten, they experience an array of symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity was officially defined in 2011 at the 11th International Celiac Disease Symposium. Unlike what happens with a wheat allergy (diagnosed via a positive IgE antibody blood test) or celiac disease (diagnosed via a positive blood test and biopsy), with gluten sensitivity there isn’t a full-blown immune response going on. But a gluten-free diet is just as transformative for those who are affected.
Symptoms of all three conditions are remarkably similar. Here are the symptoms of gluten sensitivity as presented at the symposium:
- Abdominal pain
- Eczema or rash
- Foggy mind
- Numbness in legs, arms, or fingers
- Joint pain
(These are listed in order of frequency that the symptom is seen.)
Once celiac disease and wheat allergy have been ruled out, eliminate gluten from the diet. Within a few days or weeks, symptoms should dissipate. In fact, the increased quality of life can be overwhelming. My son has gluten sensitivity and removing gluten from his diet has made such a huge different for his skin and digestion.
It is nice that research is finally supporting what so many clinicians have seen in their practices for years.
This post originally appeared on the Rooted blog at http://blog.rootedinhealth.ca/index.php/2012/06/celiac-vs-gluten-sensitivity/ and was adapted and reprinted with permission.
Kerri Fullerton, ND, is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Barrie, Ontario. Kerri is dedicated to providing healthcare in a simple yet profound way. She is an encouraging voice to teach simple healthcare to those who wish to achieve, attain and sustain personal health goals. She opened her own practice, Rooted, in 2004, where her office is a place of comfort and serenity.