Your Plan Of Action – The Natural Approach
- Watch carefully for food triggers.
- Keep a note of your different symptoms and whether they are connected to foods containing gluten.
- You may need a more personalised approach with your diet and using supplements to restore balance. This should always be carried out under the supervision of a nutritionist
Best Test Options: Gluten Sensitivity
Difference Between Coeliac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
Coeliac Disease is an immune response to the protein gluten contains in certain grains which end up damaging the lining of the small intestines, flattening it down so that it is harder for the body to absorb nutrients from food.
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease can include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, mouth ulcers, anaemia, skin problems like psoriasis and weight loss but not everyone gets the same symptoms.
The test for Coeliac Disease is straightforward as it is a simple blood test which checks for antibodies to gluten and also tissue transglutaminase and endomysial antibodies. Having a positive result overall on these markers on the blood test gives an accuracy of 99% that you have Coeliac disease and it is not always necessary nowadays to go on to have a small intestine biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
If you think you might have Coeliac Disease you need to be tested before you start eliminating gluten from your diet otherwise the test can give a false negative reading just because you have stopped eating gluten and your body will not be producing the antibodies that are picked up on the blood test.
Over the last few years there has been recognition that a person can be sensitive to gluten but not have full-blown Coeliac disease. So, you might have symptoms that are similar to those experienced in Coeliac Disease but antibodies in the blood are negative and it does not cause damage to the small intestines. When this is the case you might still benefit greatly from a gluten-free diet seeing dramatic improvements to your digestive symptoms and your sense of health and wellbeing in general.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include not only gastrointestinal ones like bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhoea, constipation but also tiredness, lethargy, migraines, headaches and joint pains.
Research is suggesting that gluten sensitivity is extremely common and could affect up to 10% of people compared to 1% for Coeliac Disease.
I will mention wheat allergy briefly just to make clear the difference between a wheat allergy, Coeliac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity.
A wheat allergy is the type of classic allergy where you would have an IgE antibody reaction to one of the proteins in wheat as measured on a blood test. Symptoms can include nausea, bloating, hives and also breathing difficulties. And like other IgE reactions to other foods such as peanuts and shellfish it can cause a life-threatening anaphylactic allergic response.
When a person has a wheat allergy they only have to eliminate wheat from their diet not other grains such as rye and barley (which someone with Coeliac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity would have to eliminate).
Can Nutrition Help?
If you suspect you might be gluten sensitive, it is important that you are tested before you start removing specific foods.
Then if you need to remove gluten, it is important that you have good meal plans so that your diet does not become too restricted as you don’t want to end up with nutrient deficiencies.
Nutrients For Gluten Sensitivity
Certain nutrients can be extremely helpful if you have been restricting your diet to make sure that you don’t become deficient.
We can recommend what you need to take so that your supplement programme can be personalised depending on your symptoms.
The best test to do is a Gluten Sensitivity Test. This test can differentiate between having Coeliac Disease and being gluten sensitive depending on which markers are positive and which are negative.
Your nutritionist will then work out a diet that takes into account your results.
Where To Start?
Make sure you are eating well and watch for trigger foods in your diet. If you would like personalised advice on what to do next then request a consultation with one of our qualified nutritionists.