Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
By Sarah Axtell, ND • December 27, 2016
Both Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are becoming more prominent these days. This is likely due to over-consumption of wheat, which is now genetically modified to have a higher concentration of gluten. It also may be due to early introduction of wheat to an infant’s diet.
Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder and is associated with adaptive immune responses. Clinically, it tends to be more severe than gluten sensitivity and is assocoiated with increased intestinal permeability (ie. inflamed, damaged gut mucosa).
Gluten sensitivity can present with the same symptoms as celiac disease, ranging from gastrointestinal distress, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. Many people find that they thrive on a gluten-free diet yet they do not have positive lab tests, specifically antibodies to gluten. This accounts for more than 10% of the population, presenting with symptoms similar to Celiac but with negative lab tests.
This study evaluated the differences in immune response and associated intestinal permeability between Celiac and gluten sensitivity. They are separate entities with different intestinal mucosal responses. Celiac disease was associated with increased intestinal permeability while gluten sensitivity was not.
The good news is is that the gut can be healed. While celiac patients will always need to avoid gluten, gluten sensitive individuals may be able to tolerate minimal-moderate amounts of gluten after abstaining from it for awhile and then engaging in a gut-repair program. In both cases, the gut can be repaired. We have highly effective therapies to repair the intestinal mucosa to improve digestion and absorption of essential nutrients.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.