Celiac Testing: Should You Be tested?
Celiac testing is the best way to determine if you suffer from celiac disease. A study was conducted at the Monash University Eastern Health Clinical School along with the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia studied 144 participants who believed they suffered from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Of the 144 participants, 44 percent of them had adopted a gluten-free diet on their own, with no medical supervision, while 69 percent had not been tested for celiac disease. The problem with changing your diet to eliminate gluten without celiac testing is because it can be very difficult to determine what effects, if any, the protein has on an individual if they have already eliminated it from their system.
Researchers also found that 72 percent of the participants did not actually suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Of those who did not, 24 percent did not experience relief from their gastrointestinal issues after eliminating gluten. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can mimic those of a wheat allergy. In another 62 percent, doctors could not rule out celiac disease. For these reasons, the best thing to do is celiac testing to ensure you receive the proper treatment for the proper ailment.
The Effects of Celiac Disease on the NEM Stress Response
What is the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM and how is it affected by gluten?
The NEM stress response is a network of organs and systems that are involved in the body’s overall response to stress – whether mental, physical or emotional in nature. This network is organized into six circuits: the metabolic, the hormonal, the cardionomic, the neuro-affective, the inflammatory and the detoxification responses.
If you have celiac disease, what will happen is that when you eat foods containing gluten, such as certain types of grains like wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, barley and semolina, you will experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, skin problems, brain fog and fatigue, among others.
Gluten is composed of glutenin and giladin, and when it is being digested, it is broken down into these two components by digestive enzymes. This specific type of digestive enzyme is also responsible for maintaining the microvilli in the gut – hair-like protrusions on the intestinal walls that absorb nutrients from food.
As the glutenin and giladin travel down the gastrointestinal tract, they reach the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) where they are assessed for threat.
For those with celiac disease, the components are seen by the system as a threat and the GALT then secretes antibodies to attack the proteins. These antibodies also attack the enzyme that breaks down the gluten as well. In some cases, they can even attack other organs, such as the brain or skin, triggering another autoimmune condition.
At this point, the integrity of the microvilli structure begins to weaken since the enzyme that maintains it has been attacked. The intestinal lining forms openings, causing a leaky gut.
With a leaky gut, substances such as food particles, bacteria and toxins can escape into the bloodstream, where they are seen as a threat by the immune system. The immune system launches an attack, causing inflammation. Though inflammation in a healthy person is a good thing in so much as it neutralizes threats, when it becomes chronic, as is the case with leaky gut and celiac disease, it can really damage health.
The constantly switched-on inflammatory response of the NEM system spills over onto other circuits. The adrenal glands have to work overtime trying to suppress the immune system and bring down inflammation, possibly triggering adrenal fatigue and exhaustion.
If you have celiac disease, it is of utmost important to get nutritional coaching to bring your system back in balance. This will greatly aid recovery from imbalances of the NEM stress response as well. Below are some considerations for celiac testing.
You will need to be quite vigilant at first as gluten is not limited to breads and grains, it’s also added to other types of processed foods, supplements, health and beauty products, and medications. But with time, you will get the hang of it and live a much healthier life.
Why You Should Consider Celiac Testing Or A Gluten Sensitivity Test
Ultimately you should never try to diagnose yourself with a gluten issue, or anything else for that matter, without talking to a doctor. If you think you might have a problem with gluten, talk to your doctor about getting celiac testing in order to avoid future complications. If you are still wondering whether you should make an appointment, Mount Sinai Hospital’s Dr. Gina Sam, Director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center, suggests three symptoms that raise red flags:
- Family history – If you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with celiac, even if you do not have any symptoms of the disease, you should still get tested.
- Chronic gastrointestinal symptoms – recurring or severe diarrhea, distended abdomen, bloating, or significant weight loss can be symptoms of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or irritable bowel syndrome. Talk to your doctor to pinpoint what is causing the problems so you can find relief.
- Certain nutrient deficiencies – celiac disease, when it goes untreated, can damage the intestine and block the absorption of certain nutrients, especially iron, folate, and vitamin B12. If you are deficient in any of these nutrients, it is vital that you be tested for celiac before more damage occurs.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
If I have a sensitivity will that go away as the adrenals heal?
Generally speaking, sensitivities to things should improve when the adrenals improve. Each person is specific.
Thank you for your thorough knowledge of AFS. No doctor I am aware has a clue. I believe it is epidemic in our country.