Functional Specialist

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Gluten Related Disorders fall under the umbrella of essentially two primary entities.  

  1. Celiac disease
  2. Non-celiac gluten related disorders- This would include gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy and others.

Why do I treat and have information on Gluten disorders? Well, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation out in the public arena as to whether gluten is a real issue that can affect our health. I will show you that gluten is in fact a real problem is today's society and is associated with a whole host of health conditions. In additional to my certification in Functional Medicine, I also am certified as a Gluten Practitioner. Which means, I have additional education and training in caring for those with all types of gluten conditions including celiac disease. 

To date, much of the research has been done on celiac disease. However, more recently there have been ongoing research on gluten sensitivity, especially since it's prevalence as a health problem is greater than that of celiac disease. 

Why is gluten such a problem today?

First of all, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. These grains have been around for centuries ever since we have been making bread products and using these grains as a food staple. What you have to understand is that even though man has been eating these foods, today we are overburdened with chemicals and toxins in our food, ground, water and air we breath which was not present 100 years ago. And up until recently, research has demonstrated that our body's are not equipped to properly breakdown the gluten protein into its smallest absorbable particles which are amino acids. This means that we do not have the proper enzymes or in sufficient quantities to do this job. Thus, what happens is that these "chunks" of gluten proteins are not able to pass through the intestines into the blood stream which results in inflammation and digestion issues for you and I. If this remains and becomes chronic, then it can lead to Leaky Gut in which the undigested gluten peptides (protein chunks) can leak out beyond the intestinal tract, into the blood and cause systemic inflammation in the tissues or organs wherever it settles in or where you may already be predisposed too. Gluten can also cross the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation leading to many neurologic/brain conditions.

So how does one know if they have a problem with gluten?

The primary problem with gluten (wheat, barley and rye) is that for most people it causes inflammation which one may or may not realize is happening. So, if you have any other health conditions or beginning to feel fatigued or maybe brain fog, going on a gluten elimination diet for at least 21 days would be appropriate to see for yourself how you feel after. 

If you sense that there are more troublesome issues such as intestinal problems, malabsorption, anxiety or depression, then maybe consult with your doctor before going on a 21 day elimination diet. Or, you can get tested to see if you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The first one is a skin prick test. The later two are blood tests. If you'd like additional information on the tests, please feel free to contact our office.

Are there tests for gluten sensitivity?

In my opinion, there is only one test to evaluate if you are sensitive to gluten (Array 3 by Cyrex Labs). It is a blood test that looks at 12 different markers for gluten to see if your blood develops antibodies against gluten. This test is not typically available in traditional medical clinics. You can contact us and we can send you out the test kits. 

Most medical clinics, if they think gluten is an issue they will most likely only be able to run blood tests for celiac disease. And if this comes back negative, then they will tell you that you have no celiac disease but cannot tell you if have gluten sensitivity.

What treatments are there for gluten disorders?

The only treatment to date for any gluten related disorder is to completely eliminate gluten all together, permanently. There are nutritional supplements to be taken only if one unknowingly ate food containing gluten. These are not to be taken in lieu of a strict Gluten Free Diet!

Are there other foods that I can react to like gluten?

Yes. One of the other problems with gluten is that it has a similar molecular structure to other foods. Such as corn, rice, eggs, milk, etc. If your body is reactive to these foods, you will elicit an immune response and can lead to intestinal and systemic inflammation. Array 4 from Cyrex labs tests for 22 different foods known to mimic gluten sensitivity.

Gluten Disorders

Tests for Gluten Sensitivity:

- Cyrex Array 3

- Cyrex Array 4