After today's show on traveling with food allergies and from some of the questions and comments I received, I know that many of you are still wondering how you can determine if you fall into one of the categories of sensitivity, intolerance, allergy and auto-immune celiac disease.
This article Dr. Osborne posted a few months ago is a great way to begin the assessment. I hope you find it helpful in uncovering if wheat and gluten are behind the symptoms you are experiencing in your everyday life.
February 12, 2012
Gluten Sensitivity Intolerance Self Test
Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Disease
The proper tools must be used to accurately diagnose gluten sensitivity. This is where a lot of people and doctors get confused. Traditionally lab testing is only designed to diagnose celiac disease. Remember that celiac disease is only one medical condition caused by gluten. Many people have other diseases caused by gluten. If you doctor uses a test to diagnosed celiac disease on you and it comes back negative, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have gluten sensitivity. The intestinal biopsy and serum blood tests are examples of inaccurate medical tests for gluten sensitivity. Genetic testing offers the greatest degree of accuracy and when combined with a patient’s history and examination a diagnosis can be made early and accurately. Gluten Free Society offers genetic testingand educational services about gluten.
Gluten Free Diet is Not a Trend
Because going on a gluten free takes a great deal of education and commitment, it is recommended that proper testing be performed to identify whether the diet is right for you. Remember going gluten free is not a trendy diet; it is a permanent lifestyle that should be taken very seriously as even small amounts of gluten exposure can cause problems. To accurately diagnose gluten sensitivity, the right lab test must be used.
Genetic testing is the gold standard for diagnosing gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately, many doctors still use antiquated and inaccurate tests. Examples of these include
- Anti-gliadin antibodies – this is a blood test that measures for antibodies to one of the types of gluten found in wheat. It is not very comprehensive and often times gives false negative results.
- Anti-tissue transglutaminase – this test is only specific for celiac disease and also has a tendency to come back falsely negative.
- Intestinal Biopsy – this test is also only specific for celiac disease and comes back with a lot of false negatives.
Genetic testing is available here<<<
Am I Gluten Intolerant?
Some people feel so much better after going gluten free, that they forgo any testing and just stick to the diet. Some people need a black and white answer – Am I gluten sensitive or not? Without a solid answer, they have trouble justifying the diet and usually cheat on a frequent basis. The problem with cheating is that gluten can cause damage to the body in very small amounts (20 ppm). The best way to get this black and white answer is to have genetic testing performed. If you cannot afford to have genetic testing performed, the following is a quick self test that you can use to help determine whether or not you are gluten sensitive.
Take The Quiz…
Gluten Sensitivity Self Test:
Check the symptoms you are experiencing.
- Craving baked goods (cake, cookies, brownies)
- Craving high sugar foods
- Frequent intestinal bloating or gas especially after eating
- IBS – irritable bowel syndrome
- Acid reflux – GERD (aka heartburn)
- Frequent nausea and or vomiting
- Difficulty gaining weight (children under the growth curve)
- Iron deficiency anemia
Head &Nervous System Symptoms:
- Frequent headaches
- Sinus congestion
- Migraine Headaches
- Poor memory
- Difficulty recalling words
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD
- Suffer with frequent vertigo (dizziness)
- Irrational irritability
- Mood swings
- Restless leg syndrome
- Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s
Muscle and Joint Symptoms
- Frequent joint pains with or without activity
- Chronic muscle aches
- Migrating joint pain (without injury)
- Frequent muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
- Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
- Diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis (RA, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s)
- Bone pain
- Growing pains
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Inability to lose weight
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- History of miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
- Menstrual problems – PMS
- Thyroid disease
- Diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia
- Diagnosis of Diabetes (type I or type II)
- PCOS (polycystic ovary disease)
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Chronic respiratory infections
- Vaginal, oral, or nail bed yeast infections
- Fever blisters or mouth ulcers
- Skin rash
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis**
Other Internal Diseases/Problems:
- Gall bladder problems
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Non alcoholic fatty liver
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Platelet disorders
- If you checked 1 to 3 items, you should be genetically tested for gluten sensitivity
- If you checked 4 or more items, you are most likely gluten sensitive. Genetic testing is still recommended to confirm the need for a permanent diet change.
- If you checked any red item you are most likely gluten sensitive. You should be genetically tested for gluten sensitivity immediately. Remember that recent research has discovered that ignoring gluten sensitivity leads to early death by 20 years or more.
**Dermatitis herpetiformis is a skin condition known to be caused by gluten. If you have been diagnosed with this disease, you are gluten sensitive.
I hope that you find this self-test helpful. As I have mentioned several times, there are several reasons for everyone to avoid wheat, to reduce gluten and to avoid most commercially produced gluten-free foods.
While I have found that many folks are actually allergic to wheat rather than gluten, there are also many who find gluten intolerable. So take the test, follow Dr. Osborne's suggestions and find out where you fall on the sensitivity/allergy/celiac disease continuum.
Remember getting the info is an important step in gaining or regaining better health. Once we know what the underlying problem really is, we can take steps to change our picture of health. Everyone deserves to feel vibrant and healthy!