1 in 3 May Be Gluten Sensitive. Could It Be You?

eating bread and gluten sensitivityCurrent research is revealing an epidemic of gluten sensitivity – an immune reaction to the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats.

1 out of every 3 people – up to 40% of the population – may be gluten sensitive.

Chances are, you are at risk.  In fact, you may already be affected without realizing it.

Only a fraction of those effected will ever have full blown Celiac Disease.  Others have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and their health can be seriously impacted.  [Just to be clear, for this conversation Gluten Sensitivity is the broader term refering to both Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.]

If you are sensitive to gluten, a serious amount of damage may occur in your body long before there are visible symptoms.  This damage won’t necessarily be limited to your digestive system.  Some of it may not be reversible.  The insidious nature of gluten is that the damage often occurs silently and goes unrecognized for a very long time.

So before you reach for that next piece of bread, please listen up.  Here is some important information about Gluten Sensitivity and your own potential susceptibility.

Research has shown:

  • As many as 30% – 40% of all Americans may be gluten sensitive.
  • 50% of high risk populations (as defined in #7 below) may be gluten sensitive.
  • 1 in 225 have a severe form of gluten sensitivity causing the intestinal disease called Celiac Sprue or Celiac Disease.  Most physicians still think that Celiac Disease is rare, but this is simply not the case.

Could that 1 in 3 people be you?

More Important Facts about Gluten Sensitivity

1. Conventionally trained physicians only recognize Celiac Disease, the most serious form of Gluten Sensitivity.  And Celiac Disease is only diagnosed after there is serious damage to the small intestine.  Therefore, your primary care physician or gastroenterologist will be of little or no help to you whatsoever if you have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

2. 10 – 25% of North Americans (28 – 70 million people) have elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in a blood sample, but don’t exhibit visible damage in the small intestine.  Translation:  Anti-gliadin anti-bodies are an indicator of gluten sensitivity.  These people had a blood test taken and also underwent a small bowel biopsy to check for Celiac Disease.

Despite the elevated anti-gliadin antibodies, these people are routinely told by their doctors that they don’t have Celiac Disease and that they can continue eating gluten.  But now research shows that a portion of these people had Latent Celiac Disease.  They went on to develop active Celiac Disease because they followed their physician’s advice and continued to eat gluten.

3. Many people who test positive for anti-gliadin antibodies will never test positive for Celiac Disease, but they still may have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and develop an array of health problems.

4. The absence of anti-gliadin antibodies in the blood does not indicate an absence of Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease, especially in the early stages or mild forms of the disease.

5. The genes that appear to be associated with gluten sensitivity (all DQ genes except DQ 4,4) are common and occur in 60 – 70 % of the population.

6. A small bowel biopsy can rule out Celiac Disease (although sometimes it is wrong), but not necessarily Gluten Sensitivity.

7. According to researcher Dr. Kenneth Fine, M. D., certain populations are at greater risk for developing gluten sensitivity.  Gluten Sensitivity may occur in 1 out of every 2 people with these conditions:

  • Microscopic colitis
  • Relatives of gluten-sensitive individuals
  • Gluten-sensitive individuals 1 year after treatment
  • Chronic diarrhea of unknown origin
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Autoimmune liver disease
  • Other causes of chronic liver disease
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Diabetes mellitus, type 1
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Psoriasis
  • Any autoimmune syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Asthma
  • AIDS
  • Osteoporosis
  • Iron deficiency
  • Short stature in children
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Mothers of kids with neural tube defects
  • Female infertility
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Depression
  • Alcoholism
  • Autism
  • ADHD/ADD

8. The connection between Celiac Disease and neurological disorders is well accepted.  Evidence is now accumulating that neurological and neuromuscular disease may also be associated with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.  It may even occur alone without the manifestations of intestinal symptoms.

Some of the common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include fatigue, depression, joint aches, bone pain, abdominal and bowel complaints (gas, bloating, cramping, pain, irritable bowel, diarrhea), neurological complaints, headaches, and others.  But remember, damage can be silently occurring for years without any symptoms at all.

I hope this research makes you stand up and take notice. There is a serious epidemic of Gluten Sensitivity taking place and you or your family may be effected.  The good news is that there is a way to screen for Gluten Sensitivity

Screening for Gluten Sensitivity

I’m passionate about this topic because I have suffered from the effects of undiagnosed Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

At the time, I was experiencing intense neuropathy symptoms and digestive complaints. My blood work for Celiac Disease was negative, but an intestinal biopsy showed a mild form of Microscopic Colitis.  My online research uncovered a link between Microscopic Colitis and Gluten Sensitivity.  Following the clues, I discovered EnteroLab, which specializes in alternative testing for Gluten Sensitivity.

“EnteroLab is a registered and fully accredited clinical laboratory specializing in the analysis of intestinal specimens for food sensitivities (reactions by the immune system to common proteins in the diet) that cause a variety of symptoms and diseases. One particular area of our focus relates to intestinal conditions caused by immune reactivity to a protein called gluten which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Recent research in our laboratory indicates that immune sensitivity to gluten is exceedingly common, present in 30-40% of all Americans. Although these reactions can cause malnutrition, growth failure in children, osteoporosis, many autoimmune diseases (including colitis, diabetes, arthritis, and many others), most of the affected individuals are unaware they have it because there have been no sensitive tests capable of diagnosis.”

Granted, this is alternative testing and you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to obtain it.  Your conventional doctor might not be receptive to alternative testing.   I was fortunate to meet a large number of people online who have done this testing, removed gluten from their diet, and experienced clear improvements.  Results speak to me.

In my case, the EnteroLab stool testing revealed Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.  In addition, the genetic testing I requested revealed a dual set of DQ1 genes, which, according to Fine’s research, indicate a greater risk for gluten neurological and skin disorders in addition to overall gluten sensitivity.

A gluten-free diet wasn’t a magic wand for me, however, it did improve my symptoms dramatically, and some symptoms resolved fully. Three years later, a standard blood test also indicated elevated anti-gliadin anti-bodies for the first time, confirming, to some extent, the results of the alternative testing.

This is not a commercial for Enterolab and it’s not an affiliate link by any means.  Enterolab is the only lab I’m aware of that does stool testing for the whole spectrum of gluten sensitivity rather than Celiac Disease alone.  If you know of others, I would love to hear about them.

The main point is that you or someone you know may be gluten sensitive and have no clue about it.

Your digestive distress may not seem so bad.  But then your health may start slipping downhill gradually.  You may never associate your health problems with eating wheat and other gluten-containing grains, which are ubiquitous in our culture.  Or you may have an autoimmune disease, but no one ever told you about the connection between gluten sensitivity and autoimmune diseases.  A gluten-free diet may not make your autoimmune disease go away, but it might greatly improve some of your symptoms.

Given recent research indicating that 1 in 3 people may be gluten sensitive, doesn’t it make sense to screen for gluten sensitivity?  It could save you and your children from significant health troubles.

Do you eat wheat and other gluten-containing grains everyday?  Are you aware of the potential dangers of eating gluten containing foods?

Note:  I’m not a doctor and this article is not intended as medical advice.  I’m only reporting research and my own experience.

If you liked this article, please share the link by using the share button below.  And, I would love to hear from you in the comments.  Thanks so much for your support!  Sandra

Comments

  1. says

    My son-in-law has suffered from undiagnosed joint and muscle pain for the last several years. At just 33 years old he has to use to cane and has a hard time playing with his kids. He has had every test and scan and scope known to medical science, all of which have drawn a blank.

    Now he is on a gluten-free diet and has been for a few weeks. It is too early to tell if this will help him but your post is very timely. I’m sending it along to my daughter.

    • says

      Bob,

      I’m so sad to hear about your son-in-law’s troubles. It’s really tough when such significant health problems strike at an early age. I want to encourage your son-in-law and daughter not to give up hope. I hope it’s not the case for him, but I know it can sometimes take quite a few years to diagnose rare diseases in the U. S. It’s not easy, but if you are able to keep an inquisitive spirit, the pieces of the puzzle seem to come together eventually.

      I wish your son-in-law well with his gluten-free trial. I can say without a doubt that gluten causes joint and muscle pain for me. Eliminating it has clear and dramatic effects. But there can be other causes for joint and muscle pain including a whole range of foods. I’ve read that about 1/3 of people with arthritis symptoms are reactive to nightshades. Gluten also cross-reacts with several other foods like other members of the grass family, milk, etc. Eliminating gluten alone does wonders for some people; but other people need to eliminate additional foods. And, of course, food may not be the cause or the trigger, but it’s certainly worth consideration.

      I know going gluten-free is not easy and I applaud your son-in-law’s willingness. It seems it’s worth a good trial given the extent of his symptoms. I’m wishing him the best.

  2. says

    I don’t have these problems myself, but I know others who do. Another interesting aspect of the research data indicates that children who are breastfed have less likelihood of the sensitivity, or they develop it later in life. Part of that all-purpose immune system boost moms pass along.

    Any lab with CLIA certification should be able to do gluten-sensitivity tests (not just for celiac disease) from a blood draw. There are 200,000 of them in the US alone. The CPT code is 83516. While stool and saliva testing are available also, many labs don’t offer them. Those labs that do are too often (my opinion only – call off the lawyers) in it for the big $$$.

    It’s divergent from the point of your article, Sandra, but this does make me think about restrictions in access to medical care, and profits made from people’s fears. Unlike stool & saliva testing, blood draws usually require some sort of orders, unless it’s just a finger-poke like for cholesterol or blood sugar level. I suppose it’s true some doctors in other regions aren’t all that into food sensitivity testing. I can only speak for the ones in my neighborhood. My colleagues are up for anything that might help patients. Blood is the standard medium for medical testing, and all labs concentrate on that because it’s done by machine and is usually the most comprehensive and accurate. A blood draw at an Urgent Care costs $20-25, and the gluten sensitivity panels with reflex, an addl. $11-15. Nobody should be paying more than forty bucks total for the testing part.

    The big cost variable is what a practitioner charges for office visits, discussing your results and writing an order for the draw. That can range anywhere from free at health-fairs and state or county-sponsored screening events, to thousands if your only access to care is at the emergency room of a hospital. I guess what I’m saying is that I wish it were simpler for average people to navigate the health-care delivery system, but it won’t happen while care is subject to market forces.

    • says

      Hi Mike,

      You raise some good points here and I’m glad you brought them to the table.

      Thanks for the information you’ve provided to help others get the right testing for gluten sensitivity. You are right that any certified lab can do a test for anti-gliadin antibodies and the other markers that are used in conventional medicine for the diagnosis of Celiac Disease. The problem is that the absence of anti-gliadin antibodies does not mean the absence of gluten sensitivity. There’s even a percentage of people with full blown Celiac Disease that don’t have anti-gliadin antibodies. And the presence of anti-gliadin antibodies is not accepted in conventional medicine as an indicator of gluten sensitivity and it may not be in every case. In my own situation, I was gluten sensitive for a full 3 or 4 years before a conventional medical test showed elevated anti-gliadin antibodies.

      I understand your concern about stool and saliva testing. It’s become an alternative trend, and there are probably plenty of less than reliable labs out there trying to make big bucks. We can definitely agree to disagree on this! I have used both stool and saliva testing successfully, however I will only use reliable labs that I have investigated. The argument for stool testing for gluten sensitivity is that research shows that IgA antibodies appear in the stool of those with gluten sensitivity long before antibodies appear in the blood stream. Therefore, you can screen for gluten sensitivity early, long before it causes serious damage.

      Of course, this is all cutting edge and the research is still underway. But as we know it takes many years for research to be fully validated and enter into the medical system. For example, it took ten years for the research on the connection between stomach ulcers and h pylori to be accepted. In the meantime, the researchers Marshall and Warren were ridiculed by their colleagues. But eventually they received the Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine.

      Oh, please don’t get me going on the health care system! I agree with your analysis and with your conclusion.

  3. says

    I’ve gone through many, many tests over the past six months, including the blood test for celiac disease. That one came back negative, but my new doctor, who ordered it, is not totally convinced there isn’t a problem. He said to consider myself gluten-sensitive and keep gluten out of my diet as much as possible. It kills me sometimes, because I love baking and traditional baked goods (i.e., made with high-quality wheat flour), and do not care for the taste of things made with non-gluten flours. But there is no doubt I feel better when I don’t eat wheat.

    • says

      Meg,

      Being in tune with our own body is the best test of all, isn’t it! I’m so glad you mentioned this. I’m sorry you have had to give up so much of the enjoyment that comes from bake and eating traditional breads. Its’ not easy to let go of eating gluten at all! I fully understand why people don’t necessarily want to give it a try. At the same time, I’m glad your doctor is so open-minded and that a gluten-free diet is helping you. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. says

    If you are part of a family of four, chances are at least one of you is gluten sensitive. ~ I’m not sure that this is a true statement, Sandra.

    Like many health conditions, our genes play a role in allergies and sensitivities. Even if 30% of Americans are affected, it doesn’t mean that 30 % of EACH family is affected. :D

  5. says

    Hi Sandra,

    My sister’s long time boyfriend has a severe gluten allergy and it’s very debilitating. He suffers from severe stomach aches and diarrhea if we’re not really careful during meal preparation or when eating out.
    We have drastically reduced the amount of gluten in our household because my kids decided to follow a Paleo Diet. Even though we didn’t have any health issues, we noticed good some differences.
    Thanks for the great info. Loving blessings!

    • says

      Andrea,

      I’m so sorry for your friend’s troubles. Thanks for relaying your experience reducing gluten in your household. Gluten is not easy to digest even for healthy people so I’m not surprised. These days wheat is genetically modified to have even more gluten. It may have been the staff of life at one point in history but now it seems more like the glue of life for many of us. Be well!

  6. says

    Sandra, I had a friend who diagnosed her gluten-sensitivity herself and that’s the first time I started to hear about gluten-free diets. I have never tried it. I don’t *think* I eat too much gluten in my mostly natural foods, raw foods, diet but I do like an occasional piece of bread. And I simply feel a bit too full after eating bread but I don’t think – *think* – I have sensitivity. I hope that your problems are behind you now that you know your own reaction to gluten.
    And may I just say that you have GOT to stick to this banner. It’s BRILLIANT. Lotus, right? The ultimate yoga flower. Hugs for your brilliance and taste, Sandra.

    • says

      Hi Farnoosh,

      Thanks for telling us about your friend. Unless we have full blown Celiac Disease, most of us will have to figure this out for ourselves.

      Gluten is very difficult to digest so that’s probably why you feel full after eating it. Some nutritionists don’t recommend wheat as a staple food for anyone. I too would enjoy an occasional piece of bread if I could!!!! There’s no problem having it occasionally if you’re not gluten sensitive. One of the problems in our packaged food culture is that gluten is used as an ingredient in so many products and is called by different names. For example, anything with malt will have gluten. Being on a raw foods diet probably protects you have that to a great degree if not completely.

      Thanks for the feedback on the header. Lotus, that’s right. I love this one too and, of course, the symbolism is perfect. My era of changing my design every week seems to have come to a close, although I still get itches! I would prefer a white lotus though so I might make that adjustment if I find a good one.

      Thanks for your comment. So nice to see you!

      • says

        Sandra, what happened to our pretty lotus? ;)!
        Thank you for all the information on gluten. I came back to see the reply and noticed you have gone black. Is this the final layout?
        Ok, I am going to think twice now before eating more bread…. probably for the best anyway!

        • says

          Hi Farnoosh,

          That’s impermanence! You turn around for one minute and I’ve already made another change. Since you know me fairly well by now, you probably know this isn’t neceesarily permanent either, although I really do love the simplicity of this theme. I’m just trying out something radically different and this is the first step. I could use the lotus with this theme too, but it would mean making changes to all the link colors, which would take some time. So I don’t know where I will go with this or if I will return to my former theme with the full lotus. Of course, I appreciate and respect your feedback greatly. At the same time, I need to do something wild now and then. :)

          I don’t want to make you paranoid about gluten! Gluten is hard to digest even if you are not sensitive, but it won’t cause damage in that case so I don’t want you to worry. I don’t know how prevalent gluten sensitivity is in your culture, either. It may not be as common. Those are beautiful vegan dishes you’ve presented on your blog. I’m glad you enjoy the vegan approach to eating.

  7. says

    I love bread, pasta & pizza, but when I eat them I often feel too full and bloated (and my husband feels the same). We’re both OK with oats, though, and if I bake the bread or pizza I find them more easy to digest, so I guess it’s more a fact of processed food vs. homemade.
    I’m experimenting with other flours in my baking though, and I find that you can get wonderful results for cakes, savoury tarts and cookies.
    I didn’t know that so many people could have problems with gluten…amazing.

    • says

      Hi Cristina,

      I think your experience illustrates that gluten is very difficult to digest even by people with a fairly healthy digestive system. Oats have the least amount of gluten of these 4 main gluten-grains. That’s an interesting observation about the difference between home-baked and processed foods.

      I think you’re smart to experiment with other flours so you have a balance of grains in your diet rather than wheat as the main focus. I always appreciate the gluten-free recipes on your site!

      Thanks for your thoughts. They’re interesting observations.

    • says

      Hi Joyce,

      My pleasure. It would be wonderful to be able to prevent gluten intolerance and other auto-immune diseases. They are perplexing indeed.

  8. says

    Hi Sandra.

    Thanks for posting a good article to make people more aware of gluten intolerances. I have an interest in this area as I was diagnosed with coeliac disease about 2 years ago. It is interesting that I suffered from stomach pains and cramps for the last 16 years before I was eventually tested for coeliac disease.

    It was actually the fact that I had not been able to gain any weight over the last few years that it was suggested I be tested. They did blood tests and then confirmed by biopsy.

    Although it is often difficult to find food when I eat out, living gluten free by cooking my own meals and buying fresh unprocessed foods is quite easy most of the time. And I have noticed a definite overall improvement in my health and well-being.

    • says

      Oh goodness, David, I’m so sorry you suffered so long before finding out. Thanks for telling us your story. This is a good case in point because the testing at Enterolab would most likely have been able to tell you that you are gluten sensitive long before the villi are damaged and you have full blown Celiac Disease.

      I’m glad you find living gluten free relatively easy. Generally, I agree once you get it down. Initially, as you know, there is a learning curve because gluten is hidden in so many products. I’m glad you feel better! Thanks so much for your comment.

  9. says

    Hi Sandra, my mother is gluten sensitive and feels a lot better when she avoids it. I thought I might have it too but I had blood tests that were supposedly 99% accurate that ruled it out. Now I am reading your post and maybe that is not the case. Since I have muscle aches of undetermined origin and a family history of arthritis and autoimmune diseases I will keep that in mind.

    I found most of my stomach issues went away when I got off an unnecessary medication and switched my multivitamin of all things. I’ve been eating less grains not because of gluten but because they tend to make my blood sugar swing.

    • says

      Hi Jennifer,

      As you probably already know, you won’t necessarily have the genes for gluten sensitivity even though your mother does. However, anyone with a relative with gluten sensitivity is at a higher risk. If your tests were done by a conventional doctor, then almost always the results will only tell you if you have full blown Celiac Disease. According to the research, you could still have silent or latent Celiac Disease or you could have Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. And, if I understand correctly, if you do have the genes, they could be activated at any point in your life. Even if you have a negative blood test now, there’s no absolute guarantee that Gluten Sensitivity might not occur at another point in your life.

      The tests done at Enterolab will generally be able to tell you if you have Gluten Sensitivity (of either type) long before the villi are damaged or you have Celiac Disease. There seems to be a higher association between Gluten Sensitivity and AutoImmune Diseases. Autoimmune Diseases run in my family too. I suspect there is a genetic link.

      There’s a lot of medications that can contribute to stomach problems and it sounds like you found your cause. Although it would be interesting to see if your meditation or multivitamin had gluten, you seem to be eating gluten anyway so it doesn’t seem like stopping the medication alone would have made a difference if it was a gluten issue.

      I hope you never have to deal with gluten sensitivity and you are able to uncover and resolve the cause of your muscle aches!

  10. says

    Hi Sandra,

    I’m not super familiar with gluten sensitivity, so thanks for the article. I just know that I have sensitive allergies and eczema, which is an autoimmune disorder. Do you think these might be related to gluten?

    • says

      Hi Lynn,

      Wheat / gluten is one of the most common allergens so it could be a trigger for eczema. Apparently, when it comes to eczema everyone’s triggers are different, but the most common allergens are the most likely culprit(s). These include dairy, wheat (gluten), soy, eggs, shellfish, nuts, citrus, tomatoes, chocolate and yeast. The only way to know if and which foods trigger your eczema in particular is to do an elimination diet. You probably have a sense of at least some of the foods that are problematic for you already.

      I’ve also heard that some people with eczema have had good luck with a histamine restricted diet (www.urticaria.thunderworksinc.com/pages/lowhistamine.htm) and others have had success with the Failsafe Diet (failsafediet.wordpress.com/), which is low in salicylates, amines, and glutamates.

      As far as allergies go, it seems there are genetic and environmental factors. So it seems very unlikely that gluten would be the only factor. However, if you are gluten sensitive, it’s another burden on your immune system so it seems it would helpful to know and follow a gluten free diet if you are.

      I wish it were more simple!

  11. says

    Thanks so much for your informative article Sandra. I have been tested and I was relieved to find that I did not have a gluten sensitivity.

    I am deeply saddened that Americans are willing to allow the health care service providers to operate with little government regulation or none at all, reap huge profits, and deny those who need service from getting it based on the almighty dollar.

    I give thanks every day after living in 3 states I turned my back on America where the deluded masses still dream the American dream and buy into capitalist propaganda.

    I chose to live in Canada where no citizen is denied health care services just because they cannot afford to pay for them. I live in one of the “have” provinces where we pay monthly health care premiums to ensure that those living in “:have not” provinces get the medical testing and care they need. I consider each premium I pay to be an expression of compassion that manifests in universal access to health care for all citizens.

    • says

      Hi timethief,

      I agree with your sentiments about health care. I too feel it’s inhumane to allow people to go without healthcare. Of course, that is the case is many parts of the world, but it doesn’t seem compassionate in so called “developed” countries. It inspires me to see your positive attitude toward paying your premium and your aspiration for everyone to have access to healthcare.

      Thank goodness you aren’t sensitive to gluten!

  12. says

    I’ve been amazed by how many people I know cut gluten from their diet and eliminated issues that had been plaguing them.

    They had been to doctors and nobody seemed to have a clue, but they tested cutting gluten from their diets and viola … presto chango.

    • says

      J. D.

      The anecdotal evidence is mounting up, isn’t it? I’m glad you mentioned that. I underscores for me the fact that we each need to take responsibility for our own health. Doctors don’t always have all the answers.

  13. says

    I was just recently diagnosed with Coeliac’s diease. I’ve had very bad stomach pains and lots of other pain in my abdominal area for a long time. I was on the internet surfing and came across this site, which really provided me with some helpful information. I just wanted to say thank you. I’ve been on a strict gluten free diet now for 1 year and I have been feeling wonderful. I have also been going to some gluten free parties and have made a new circle of friends by buying gluten free products from one of the local health food stores. The food isn’t inexpensive so I always keep my eye out for deals or search online for the best prices. Anyway, thanks again for all the info. I just put this in my favorites.

  14. says

    Thanks for the great article and the link to the lab. I’ve never noticed an obvious discomfort or issues after eating many of those grains and breads so perhaps it isn’t a major issue for me. However, across the past 5 years I’ve increasingly had problems with psoriasis which is an inflammatory disease so I’m always open to hearing about factors that may aggravate it. In addition, I’ve seen a number of other inflammatory processes going on that aren’t ideal.

    Any thoughts on what type of doctor might be most open to testing and the best way to bring up the topic to get a positive result – testing? Allergist?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Todd,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      I have a very good friend who has psoriasis, which is an auto-immune disease if I understand correctly. He had a positive test for gluten sensitivity on the Enterolab test, which he took before the psoriasis erupted when his troubles first began with digestive and colon problems. From what I’ve read, psoriasis can be triggered by a range of foods and trigger foods will be different depending upon the individual. My friend can still have psoriasis outbreaks even when he’s on a gluten free diet. That doesn’t mean that gluten isn’t a part of the puzzle for him, but it’s just one of the pieces. He’s gotten the best results following the Ayurvedic Pitta diet, which addresses inflammation. It’s primarily a vegan diet. We’re all different though and need to find our own solutions. If you think food is triggering your problems, an elimination diet might be helpful.

      It seems like there is a close connection between gluten sensitivity and autoimmune diseases. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to take the Enterolab tests for gluten sensitivity. You just review the different panels they offer, decide which one you want to take, and they will send you the test kit. There’s nothing complex to interpret about the results and there is a FAQ About Results page on their website.

      When it comes to selecting a doctor, it depends on what type of outcome you are looking for. As I said above, you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to take this particular test. I’m not sure what the standard doctor would be for psoriasis. I guess it would an allergist. I think connecting with a good conventional medical doctor can be a good thing because conventional tests can also be very revealing.

      There are medical doctors who specialize in Integrative Medicine or Clinical Ecology if you would like an allopathic doctor with a natural bent. Naturopaths have quite extensive medical training and offer a natural approach, but they aren’t licensed medical doctors. Practitioners in these last three categories offer a range of alternative testing that isn’t available from standard medical doctors.

      As you probably already know, in some people psoriasis is connected with arthritis and colon problems. I hope that’s not the case for you, but since you seem to notice other inflammatory problems occurring it seems to be good to stay observant.

      Whatever path you choose, I wish you healing and good health.

  15. Thalia Farshchian says

    Can you direct me to the research you found stating “1 in 3 people are sensitive to gluten”?

    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Thalia,

      This is what I said in my article: “1 out of every 3 people – up to 40% of the population – may be gluten sensitive.” I realize the title of my article may be confusing and I’ll update that. This is based on research done by Board Certified Gastroenteroligst, Dr. Kenneth Fine, which he mentions on the FAQ page at Enterolab. You can see a list of his published research in his Curriculum Vitae. You would have to contact Enterolab to get the research references. Here’s a link to an article that lists some of the key researchers on gluten sensitivity: Top Celiac Researcher Speaks Out About Gluten Sensitivity.

      Thanks for your question. Be well!

  16. says

    Hi Sandra,
    I have met you before many a times at Prolific Living, but this is the first time I’m visiting you on your blog. And this particular post caught my attention as I too mentioned about it in my post on the five most healthy foods. I do agree with you that more and more people are affected with gluten insensitivity but few are able to detect. My mom is allergic to certain foods and I have a suspicion that it may be the gluten. It may be well worth it to get it diagnosed…
    Thank you for raising this point and writing it in such detail.

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