â€œ30% of the American population has the genes for Celiac Diseaseâ€ according to the National Institutes of Health and The University of Chicago, Celiac Disease Center. So why is everyone under the wrong impression that Celiac Disease affects only 1% of the population?
The 1% belief is one of many, many, many pieces of misinformation floating around and leaving millions susceptible to disease in the process. Besides being an outdated number, it is also referring to the number of people officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease (as of over a decade ago), not the millions of ticking time bombs walking around today with mystery ailments that they are not connecting to gluten. Those ailments include inability to lose weight, infertility, impotence, MS, cancer, diabetes, depression, and hundreds more scientifically linked to gluten.
As Celiac awareness began to rise, web sites went up and slogans were built around that â€œ1 in 133â€ number and now everyone has gone with it. This has created a situation that is nothing short of dangerous and harmful.
Letâ€™s look at two more hard facts:
- â€œ97% of Americans estimated to have Celiac Disease are not diagnosedâ€1.
- â€œCeliac Disease has over 300 known symptomsâ€1. (part of what makes it hard to diagnose)
That means there are a LOT of people walking around feeling sick, tired, depressed, along with 300 other known disorders and they are not making the connection to gluten because they think Celiac Disease is â€œso rareâ€. Itâ€™s not rare at all. In fact: “Celiac Disease is one of the most common lifelong disorders in both Europe and the U.S.”2
Another major problem is that the current medical standard for testing and diagnosing; it is completely flawed and fails the patient MOST of the time. That is another topic entirely and covered in another article, but it does add to the misinformation of how many people are affected by gluten and Celiac Disease.
One more thing to consider: at the last medical symposium for Celiac Disease, scientists agreed that there needs to be a new medical term universally used for people who react to gluten negatively but do not have the specific genes for Celiac Disease. â€œReact negativelyâ€ means upon consumption of gluten their body creates harmful antibodies and deadly inflammation. These people are now being referred to as Â NCGS (non-Celiac gluten sensitive) and the harm to them by gluten can be as bad and sometimes even worse than for those who are officially Celiacs with studies3 making that another indisputable fact.
Gluten is easier to replace than it seems. Quinoa, buckwheat, and other seeds and grains make it easy â€“ it just takes a little research. Consider it a fun culinary exploration. But whatever you do, donâ€™t buy into the 1% number; it is just plain wrong. Black and white, scientifically, medically known wrong. Get genetically tested for Celiac Disease (not blood or biopsy, genetically tested) and if that is negative, then test for antibodies showing a non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. You want to prevent, not react after triggering this auto-immune disorder that has no cure.
Most importantly: get your information from someone who is eating, breathing, living gluten & Celiac Disease every day, someone who is researching hard facts. Do not listen to part time bloggers and irresponsible doctors who are reading flawed information online and then recycling it.
1National Institutes of Health and University of Chicago, Celiac Disease Center,12.12.2011
2New England Journal of Medicine, 06.19.2003,348;25
3American Journal of Gastroenterology:11.01.2011.doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.487