There is a lot of misinformation and lack of information on Celiac. Contrary to popular belief (of the very few people who have even heard the word Celiac/Coeliac), gluten sensitivity and Celiac are not one and the same. Gluten sensitivity is a genetic predisposition and can trigger any one of over 200 conditions including thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, osteoporosis, neurological problems, depression, Hashimotos…. Celiac is just one of over 200 possible conditions, which is why so many Celiacs suffer from so many different conditions and why there is a lot of cross-mis-diagnoses (yes, I know itâ€™s not a word, but it should be since it happens daily) with people who suffer from the common list of symptoms.
TESTING FOR GLUTEN SENSITIVITY:
If you have any of the symptoms, the first thing to try is remove all gluten from your diet and see if the symptoms subside within 2-3 weeks. If they do, then it is time to go for proper testing. Unfortunately, you will need to endure some discomfort by continuing to eat gluten at this point so that the tests can detect particular elements specific to Celiac.
Ask your doctor to run a tTG (transglutaminase) blood test. The result will give you a pretty good idea but it is not 100% conclusive. If your doctor says the test results show the antibodies commonly found with gluten intolerance, immediately get a referral and go to a gastrointestinal specialist. The old gold standard used to be a biopsy, but this is not 100% efficient (kind of like testing for dust in one tiny spot of your entire house; just because there was no dust there doesn’t mean there isn’t dust in other areas of the house – and this is why so many Celiacs test negative at first and continue to go on suffering and their health deteriorating). The new gold standard for testing is called HLA-DQ typing – this is what you want to ask your doctor for.
Please note: testing needs to be done while you are still consuming gluten (for the antibodies to be present and tested).
When testing for Celiac, doctors normally test for IgE and IgG, but there are actually three other antibodies that can be created by Celiacs: IgA, IgM, IgD >> to ensure accuracy make sure your doctor is testing for all possible antibodies as different people will create different ones. …this may be very frustrating to hear (after all, who wants to become their own doctor), but unfortunately it is a must since current standards are very rarely thorough.
Often I hear naturopaths suggesting people to simply stop eating gluten for a few weeks if they feel better to permanently maintain that diet. The fact is if they are a Celiac, they will feel better. However from my point of view I feel it is crucial to be sure via scientific testing and here is why:
1) Celiac is a much more serious condition than a simple allergy and it is a lifelong condition once triggered. Wouldnâ€™t anyone want to be absolutely sure before engaging in a lifelong diet restriction that means a complete change in lifestyle?
2) There is a world of difference between choosing to avoid gluten in order to enjoy a more pure diet and having to avoid even the minutest amount of gluten in order to not trigger physical issues. Traveling, eating out, even eating a friendâ€™s house will become a very different affair if you are avoiding gluten as a personal choice rather than a serious medical condition.
3) There are particular deficiencies someone with Celiac usually suffers, particularly when newly diagnosed and having eaten gluten up to that point, and may require specific supplements to replenish and restore their health. (always refer to a certified professional who is up to date with Celiac Disease â€“ a standard certified nutritionist may not be familiar with the particulars of gluten intolerance)
4) If you are confirmed as a Celiac, your gastroenterologist should follow you for the first year and make sure your health is in order and you need to work with a specialized diet not only to avoid gluten but to restore nutrients and minerals that you have inevitably become very out of balance with.
5) If it ISNâ€™T Celiac, there may be a more serious condition developing and this needs to be found and addressed as quickly as possible. Even if the 2 week self-test of removing gluten from your diet makes you feel better, it doesnâ€™t necessarily mean you have Celiac. It could mean the lighter diet simply wasnâ€™t as difficult to digest and provided the illusion of improved health. It is vital to be certain.
>>> By not testing and allowing dangerous antibodies to be created in your body, (which can happen from very tiny amounts of gluten and which can happen without outward symptoms) you are exposing yourself to the very high risks of over 200 diseases, some of which are irreversible; this shouldn’t be taken lightly and testing is an absolute necessity for your overall health.