Testing for Gluten Sensitivity vs Testing for Celiac’s Disease

Celiac’s disease by definition is damage to the intestinal mucosa villi caused by a single specific gluten/gliadin found in wheat. (Note: this test does not include the other 11 proteins in the wheat nor other grains which contain gluten/gliadins.)  The symptoms are limited to intestinal disturbances that are noticed by the patient. The diagnosis is confirmed by a DNA test that the patient has a gene that predisposed them to be reactive to the specific gliadin and two biopsy tests of intestine. The damage is permanent and patients live on a wheat free diet. This disease has been known of for decades.

Gluten Sensitivity is a newly confirmed immune system reaction to many gluten/gliadins and the patient does not have a predisposed genetic factor like in Celiac’s Disease. It is not limited to wheat and can be reactive to gluten/gliadin in any grain, As well, the reaction can be to dairy proteins that can cross-react with the gluten/gliadin receptors on cells causing the same immune system response. Also, there are some nuts, nightshade plants, beans and instant coffee that can be cross reactive. The specific foods that a patient is sensitive (immune reactive) is unique to that individual. There is new testing for the many of these known foods.(See Cyrex Labs Array 4).

A person with Celiac’s Disease is considered ‘gluten sensitive’. Yet, It is possible that a person with Celiac’s disease is also sensitive to gluten/gliadins in other grains and they have been exacerbating their condition because they have been eating those grains or cross-reactive foods. Remember that Celiac’s disease has a genetic component to be reactive to gluten/gliadin in wheat whereas gluten sensitivity can be reactive to any of the grains, cow’s dairy and other cross-reactive food proteins. Recently the mainstream medical community labelled the later patients as being ‘Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive’.

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