Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gluten Sensitivity Info

There are 3 kinds of sensitivities.

There is wheat allergy, which really isn't gluten related at all, and then there is celiac disease, and gluten intolerance.

I can't be sure that all of the info here is entirely correct, since so many different sources tell you a different thing, but here is my conclusion from all the research I've done.

Wheat allergy:

Basically you are allergic to wheat. Fortunately, it may not be permanent, and could go away after awhile. Children with wheat allergy have been known to outgrow the allergy.

Celiac disease:

Celiac disease is kind of an allergy, but to gluten rather than the actual wheat. Unfortunately, it's permanent. Once you have it, you will always have it. The longer you let it go, the worse it gets.
When an allergen is present in the body, the immune system releases the IgE antibody.
The gluten damages the small intestine, creating holes in the lining and damaging the villi hairs, which are needed to soak up nutrients from your food.
The short story, you slowly starve.
The longer story:
Since so much damage is being done to your small intestine, and you are unable to get the vitamins and minerals you need into your body, you begin to starve. Symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

Iron deficiency (also a type of anemia)
Joint and muscle problems
headaches and migraines
depression and anxiety
sleeping disorders
intestinal problems (use your imagination)

Some of the symptoms of anemia are:

Excessive sleepiness/ tiredness
shortness of breath
dizziness (such as after squatting down or bending over for a few seconds)
inability to concentrate or focus

Anemia is when you are deficient in nutrients, and your body is no longer producing the proper amount of red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. Less red blood cells equals less oxygen, and your brain is unable to function properly.

If you have celiac disease, and you are eating gluten, taking doses of iron and other vitamins are going to do you no good. Your body simply cannot absorb it. Actually, that's a good way to tell if you have celiac! If your body responds positively to increased amounts of supplements, than you can be pretty sure you don't have celiac. You just weren't eating enough good food.
But if the problems persist then you know something is keeping your body from absorbing the proper amount of nutrients, and that only leads to one thing!

Also keep in mind that if you have celiac disease, the symptoms vary from person to person. You may only have 1 or 2 symptoms, or you may have them all. They may be very severe forms of the symptoms for one person, or very mild for another.

In other words, just because you are not suffering too badly doesn't mean you don't have it. And if you do have it, it could become worse over time, even deadly.

Did you know that in order to be tested for celiac, you have to have gluten in your system? The test is performed by checking for the IgE antibodies. In order for the IgE antibodies to be present, gluten has to be present. If you have not been eating gluten, and you want to get tested, be prepared to eat a bunch of gluten for a couple of weeks before hand!

Either that, or get tested before you start your diet.

Celiac is inherited, passed down the line from person to person. Maybe you've discovered you have celiac, but don't know of anyone in your family who has ever had it. In that case, it's possible that someone in your family did have it, and didn't know it. Is someone in your family prone to migraines? It could be celiac! Maybe someone in your family tends to be rather tired, they could have celiac and not know it too. It doesn't have to be your immediate family, it could be a great grandparent or someone like that. Either way, it got to you from somewhere in your family!
Sometimes people can have the disease but not suffer the symptoms, until something happens, such as a very stressful time. Celiac has been known to kick in at very stressful times, which is often the case with adults.


Gluten intolerance:

I can't tell you much about it, except that the symptoms are pretty much identical to celiac, but I am under the impression that your body does not treat it like an allergy, and so the immune system does not release the IgE antibody. As far as I know, doctors have been unable to determine why gluten attacks the small intestine of those who are not technically allergic.

You may test negative for celiac, but still be gluten intolerant, which is, by the way, impossible to get a proper test for, because there are no IgE antibodies to test for. The only way you can know if you are intolerant is to experiment until you know gluten is causing the problems.

Strange isn't it?

It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have some sort of gluten sensitivity, even if they don't know it. That's a lot! Might it have something to do with the way traditional wheat has been genetically altered? Not nearly as many people suffered from it in the old days! In fact, many who are gluten intolerant can handle small amounts of spelt, which is an old fashioned wheat!