What are Gluten Related Disorders?
There has been a tremendous increase in individuals on a gluten-free diet. This boom in gluten-free eating occurred for many reasons. The prevalence of celiac disease has increased considerably, as have autoimmune diseases and allergies of all kinds. This includes Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn's and wheat allergies, in which a gluten free diet is required. At the same time, there has a dieting craze to avoid all carbohydrates in order to lose weight. This may explain why many individuals now wrongly believed that eating a gluten free diet will assist in weight loss. Going gluten free has also become more mainstream because of the significant number of individuals who identify as being gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, but do not have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Gluten can affect one's health in multiple ways. These health concerns lie within the spectrum of gluten related disorders.
Understanding the spectrum of gluten-related disorders
Recent research has expanded our understanding of gluten sensitivity in the past 30 years. At one time, it was believed that the only form of gluten sensitivity was celiac disease. Now it gluten sensitivity is understood as an umbrella.
On one end is celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system wrongly identifies gluten as being a foreign and dangerous substance. The immune system then leads an attack on the small bowel, damaging the villi in the small intestine. Celiac disease can cause great discomfort in the abdomen, as well as malabsorption and numerous other symptoms and conditions including infertility, dermatitis herpetiformis, and depression.
Another form of gluten sensitivity is Gluten Ataxia. Most individuals who have gluten ataxia also have celiac disease, but some do not. This is when the immune system attacks gluten and instead of a gastrointestinal response found in classical celiacs, there is a neurological response. Causing difficulties in balance and coordination, which can become severe enough to prevent the individual from walking or even seeing clearly.The outcomes of some studies of gluten ataxia have led some has lead some researchers to define gluten sensitivity as a neurological disease.
Is a classical food allergy that can affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory tract. Wheat allergy “is an immune IgE- mediated reaction to gliadins found in wheat but not rye, barley, or oats” (www.aacc.org). It is an adverse autoimmune response to gluten.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
Some individuals feel that gluten causes abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, or other clinical symptoms similar to celiac disease, but test negative for celiac disease or a wheat allergy. They can be identified as having a non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) when gluten is removed from their diet, and the symptoms go away within a few days or weeks and return when gluten is reintroduced. Like allergies, food intolerances and autoimmune disorders, the prevalence of NCGS is increasing. NSGS is a new disorder and research has yet to determining the causes and effects of NCGS, it is believed that it is an intolerance to gluten. Unlike celiac disease or a wheat allergy, it is not an autoimmune response to gluten. Rather, gluten has become toxic to the body. Some doctors still do not recognise NCGS, although recent research validates its existence. Many researchers such as Alessio Fasano are working at identifying a biomarker and a ways to test for NCGS.
(Image from The Spectrum of Wheat Sensitivity)
When it comes to learning about the potential effects of gluten on the body, there is still a lot to learn. Some doctors are not aware of the most recent research about gluten sensitivity and gluten-related disorders. Other doctors are not familiar with symptoms of celiac disease that are neurological in nature and do not involve the gastrointestinal tract.
Kay’s Naturals is dedicated to providing healthy, protein rich, and low-sugar gluten free snacks and cereals. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals, visit our website!