So you visit your GP and tell him you feel fantastic on your new eating regime. When pressed you exclaim that you have found the Paleo Diet and are now avoiding grains and therefore gluten as well as dairy, processed food and sugar. There is no arguing against the processed foods and sugar (the dairy debate is one for another day!) but why give up gluten if you are not coeliac he/she asks?
You explain you had issues with gluten but tests show you are not coeliac. Your doctor is not on board! This is a very common issue. The patient knows that gluten and grains in general play havoc on their digestive system but because they are not TESTING positive for coeliac markers their doctor is not willing to recommend a gluten free diet.
What exactly is the difference between coeliac disease and gluten intolerance?
It is possible to test negative for coeliac disease but to still display signs of gluten intolerance.
While coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes immune specific inflammation of the intestines and can therefore be detected on blood testing, gluten intolerance cannot be tested for.
While coeliac disease does involve an immune response to the protein in gluten, gluten sensitivity affects the immune system in different ways.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is any immune response which involves the immune system. Classic markers are Immunoglobulin-E (IgEs). These are blood borne molecules which attach themselves to mast cells (an immune cell) which release histamine. Histamine causes symptoms of an allergy such as skin rashes, hay fever, asthma etc.
Severe food intolerances can cause immediate effects on the gastrointestinal tract or cause swelling in the nose or throat.
Not all allergens are IgE specific. Some are IgG based which do not exert an immediate reaction, but are more long reaching symptoms and can take up to three days to appear. They are sometimes referred to as intolerances.
In the case of gluten sensitivity there is immune responses present, although there does not appear to be any damage to intestinal walls.
Inflammation will develop however which increases chances of developing chronic disease.
There are many reasons for intolerances to develop:
• Immune imbalances leading to hyper-sensitivity of the immune system
• Immune dysregulation stemming from gastro-intestinal system dysfunction.
Coeliac and Gluten Sensitivity have very similar symptoms:
• Abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence
• Diarrhoea, constipation
Of course a Paleo approach will help if you do have issues around gluten as it naturally eliminates all grains and therefore gluten. This will greatly improve your gut health and promote healing.
If you want to do more research in this area I really recommend the Gluten Summit. Check it out here http://theglutensummit.com/
If you feel you have issues around gluten or grains in general and want support eliminating and healing your gut contact me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0877184523