Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gluten Sensitivities Vs. Celiac Disease

I decided to revisit the idea of going with a gluten free diet for my teenage son who has been having chronic digestive problems since June of this year. I had him tested for celiac disease and it came back normal. I have been reading about people who tested negative too but decided to go gluten free anyway and found out that was the cause of their health problems. I have to admit I really dread making the switch. I live in a small rural town and getting gluten free products will be a nightmare. As it is, I am going to about 5 different stores to get my son's enzymes, probiotics, rice milk products, rice chips and etc. If gluten is taken out of the mix, I am not sure what I will do. I guess if worse comes to worse, I can order gluten free products off the internet and have them shipped. I don't know what people did in the pre internet days!

My friend's daughter worked as a nanny for a woman who's child was autistic. The mom had to cook everything from scratch and the little girl was on a gluten free, dairy free diet. My friend's daughter was hired because the mom knew she would have to spend quite a bit of time preparing food and so needed an extra hand with her girl. I already have had a taste of what the time requirement will be just with the diet restrictions we have already made. The gluten free diet will definitely be a huge challenge.

I was trying to understand the complexities of testing for gluten and it turns out that it is not gluten but a molecule called gliadin that is the culprit. This can be found in some gluten containing foods but not all. Rice, corn, buckwheat and millet have gluten in them but not gliadin and so are considered safe to eat. Another thing I found out is that people may not have tested positive to celiac but have high levels of the igG-gliadin antibody. Studies have shown that when these people went on a gluten free diet, many of their symptoms improved or went away totally. A lot of labs used to test for this antibody but because they thought it was of little significance, they don't anymore. I have to do some investigation to see if my son was specifically tested for this antibody and what the results were.

About 1 out of 150 people may be gluten intolerant. I think that number is huge. I am noticing that the grocery stores are carrying more gluten free products, however one still has to be careful because gluten free does not necessarily mean gliadin free. My son's health is on the line here and so I am willing to try anything and perhaps going gliadin free will be the answer.


Catherine said...

Oh, what a nightmare! I really feel for you. I do think more gluten free products are beginning to appear in the supermarkets, but obviously not enough. Anyone with a food intollerance or allergy has a real problem. I have to be so careful with my son and his peanut allergy.

BetteJo said...

Oh man! To be able to just grab something to eat and not worry! It has to be a nightmare like Catherine said, so much time, research, and preparation. Then of course, once you find what you need - you want to make it taste good. Ugh.
Wishing you luck with this!!

palette48 said...

Yes, Catherine and Bettejo,

It is going to be very difficult to make the switch. My son is hungry all the time and I am scrambling to find things he can have. I am going to have to make a gradual changeover as it is going to take some time to find everything and get my gluten free recipes in order.

Diana said...

Good luck to you . . . actually, if the gf diet makes your son feel better, it might not be as difficult as you expect; the trade off (for me, anyway) is a no-brainer! Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and keeping a stock of gf protein bars and other non-perishable quickies is a big help. But, yeah -- sometimes I just yearn for an old fashioned baloney sandwich on white bread. Sigh.

palette48 said...


Thanks for visiting my site. Yes, I hope it will get easier but for now, I am just trying to learn what to avoid. Not sure this will help my son but it's worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

Have you checked into specific enzymes to break down gluten? They have done wonders with some autistic children according to some testimonials! I am trying them now to see if it helps me with gluten/dairy diet! Good luck!