One of the main points of this post is to shed light on the far reaching, well beyond simply gastrointestinal focused celiac or non-celiac, affects gluten can have on the body. One of the most common responses we hear is that I was tested for celiac or a gluten allergy and I was negative, so I’m green lighted. I’ll often follow that up with asking if they were tested for an allergy or sensitivity and often find most people don’t know the difference.
On that front it comes down to the type of anti-bodies being measured in your blood, with IgE (immunoglobulin E) being for an allergy and IgG & IgA being tested for sensitivity. The allergy is generally more of an immediate reaction, whereas the more prevalent food sensitivity can cause a reaction days later. This makes it all the more difficult to isolate and address.
In those that have tested for some degree of gluten sensitivity, we will then often find that only one or two aspects of the gluten molecule was measured. Unfortunately, this molecule is a complex beast and a sensitivity reaction can occur in response to various components of it; from the three forms of transglutaminase (often implicated/indicative of auto-immunity), to not simply checking the traditionally measured gliadin anti-body, but also the various forms of it (alpha, omega, gamma). And don’t forget glutenin as well. I bring all of this up not to confuse or overwhelm, but to illustrate how many different potential immune modulating and inflammatory hazards lurk in that gluten that you may or may not be clear to consume, due incomplete testing.
The lab we use to offer one of the most comprehensive, yet practical view of potential reactivity to the wide range of gluten’s components is the Cyrex Array 3: Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity screen. This has proven quite helpful for providing explanations, along with assisting patients understand that the gluten they are consuming is not benign, rather truly causing measurable destruction to their health.
However, as we discussed in the post, gluten can cause issues even when levels of measured reactants test normal. We’ve observed this frequently. Patients who have been told gluten is not an issue, resolve things like heartburn, brain fog, anxiety, depression, joint pain, bloating, sluggish thyroid symptoms; simply by diligently eliminating gluten and repairing the damage left in it’s wake.
So it comes back to the old cost/benefit analysis. If you can avoid it (and in today’s world sensitive to gluten allergies and sensitivities, you can), is it worth the risk? Is it worth the risk when our one body clearly has a problem handling this hybridized molecule, with some, possibly everybody completely lacking the enzyme to fully digest it in the first place?
No guarantees. The best we can do is to be open, and continue to learn. Based off of this knowledge, we apply in our daily practices in order to tilt the scales of quantity and quality of life in our favor. To myself and many others, avoiding this problematic, misunderstood (leading to underdiagnosis and unnecessary suffering) molecule makes logical sense. Even if you do not feel any obvious outward effects. Science has shown the silent destruction it can cause within.
As always, we will go deeper and into other aspects of this topic in the near future, but for now, just know this complex molecule appears to have ample cons to outweigh the minimal pros (the pros having nothing to do with health) including manipulating us by stimulating the mood and behavior modulating opioid receptors in the brain.
No thank you.