What is gluten? Gluten is a protein which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Other grains, like oat and spelt, as well as processed foods can contain gluten as well without being labeled as such. The properties of gluten are what hold the bread and cake together. However, these same properties are what interfere with the breakdown and absorption of other nutrients. The undigested gluten can trigger your immune system and affect the intestines, which in turn can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other systems that are gastrointestinal related. Gluten Intolerance vs. Celiac Disease A medical history along with clinical tests can diagnose celiac disease and/or wheat allergy. Blood tests for Celiac disease measure the amount of particular autoantibodies in the blood, specifically the IgA class and IgG class. These autoantibodies are produced as part of the immune response. A tissue biopsy of the small intestine is performed to confirm a diagnosis. Although there is a definite classification of Celiac disease, those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity is relatively poorly understood. This leaves gluten sensitivity a very troublesome diagnosis to make. Certain criteria need to be met before gluten sensitivity can be confirmed. The spectrum of conditions that arise with gluten sensitivity is rather broad and includes everything from energy to brain function. Daniel Leffler, M.D., a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School states that “Gluten is fairly indigestible in all people.” He also estimates that half of the 60 million people in the U.S. who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome are probably sensitive to gluten. Will a gluten-free diet work for you? First, for the serological testing, you must currently be on a gluten containing diet for the tests to be accurate because the antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives as threatening. If there is no gluten in the diet, then there is no response that can be measured. If Celiac is confirmed by a biopsy of the small intestine, then a lifelong commitment of a gluten-free diet must be made. Those who think they have gluten sensitivity should try cutting gluten out of the diet for a week or so and see if they feel better. However, there is nothing essentially healthier about a gluten-free diet. Dee Sandquist, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association describes that “Much of the gluten-free products can be unhealthy and junk due to the added sugar and fat to stimulate the texture and satisfying fluffiness that gluten imparts.” These products are also found to have less Iron and Vitamins B and D in them as well. In general, due to the previous information, when...
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About Dr. Bentley
Dr. Ryan Bentley has dedicated his personal and professional life to providing the truth, that he has learned, both to physicians and the general public with regards health, healing, and faith. Dr. Bentley takes pleasure in speaking nationally, helping patients, researching, studying truth, and writing.