Volume 3, Issue 34
September 9, 2010
Has your doctor said you don't have a gluten allergy — but you're still sick?
If you have an unexplained health problem, it's quite possible you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. When I suggest this to many of my patients, I often hear, "But my gluten antibody test came back negative." However, just because this test says there's not a problem doesn't mean it's accurate.
The gluten antibody test detects antibodies for gliadin, a protein found in gluten. If your blood levels are high, then there's a greater likelihood that you have a gluten allergy. And that it is the cause of your disease.
We are discovering, though, that this test doesn't always detect gluten allergies. In fact, if you have a normal result on the test, your condition may still be the result of a gluten allergy. I've seen many patients who had a negative blood test cure their diseases by simply following a gluten-free diet.
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Now a startling study published just a few months ago is validating my observations. And I hope that doctors and patients alike pay attention to it. The results of this study imply that there are an awful lot of people out there who are sensitive to gluten, but who have negative antibody tests.
The researchers in this study learned about the lack of accuracy with the antibody tests by studying a group of children with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition that primarily causesÿ intestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and cramps. But can also cause a multitude of other symptoms such as rashes, joint pains, muscle cramps, fatigue, moodiness, and many other symptoms. Celiac disease is an extreme sensitivity to gluten. Take gluten out of the diet, and symptoms go away.
The researchers looked at a group of 166 children with known celiac disease. They first confirmed the diagnosis in all of them by taking an actual biopsy of the intestines. So there was no doubt about the accuracy of the diagnosis in these children.
Then they checked to see how many of them had a positive anti-gliadin antibody test. If the test was accurate, they should have seen positives in 100% of the tests. But that's not what happened. Instead they found that 56 of them (33.7%) had normal anti-gliadin antibody levels. The authors noted that even when these children ate gluten, they still did not show excessive levels of the antibodies. So for many children — and adults as well — simply measuring antibodies to gluten is not enough to determine if you have an allergy. Up to one-third of all people with gluten sensitivity will have normal antibody levels.
This study is vitally important because there so many different symptoms that gluten can cause. If this study is accurate, we have to realize that there are many people suffering from all kinds of conditions because they're still eating gluten. And simply avoiding gluten could cure their horrible symptoms.
Most doctors just rely on the gluten antibody tests to decide whether or not gluten is the cause of symptoms and diseases. But now we know that this is just not an accurate way to go. The best way to determine if gluten is the culprit is to go on a gluten-free diet for at least four weeks. Then see if the symptoms get better. If they show any improvement at all, then stay on the diet for a minimum of three months to see the full effect.
If you know you're sensitive to gluten, Advanced Bionutritionals has a product that will help you digest the protein when you accidently eat a little while eating out or at a friend's home. If you'd like more information about Gluten Sensitivity Formula, simply follow this link.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
REF: Caristo E, Tognato E, Di Dio G, Rapa A, Fonio P. Increasing prevalence of celiac children with negative serum antigliadin antibodies. Minerva Pediatr. 2010 Apr;62(2):119-23.
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