The prevalence of gluten intolerance and sensitivity is on the rise. Although testing has largely remained the same, we see more non-Celiac diagnosed people avoiding gluten and wheat and seemingly curing some of their ailments. While we have identified those suffering from disease directly associated with Gluten, i.e. Celiac Disease, there is still much we don’t understand. We hear about “gluten sensitivity” all the time but could it just be a myth or a trend? Is this a ploy by the gluten-free industry to get us as consumers to buy their product? While the industry has capitalized on this population, I still believe gluten, wheat, and even dairy products can have detrimental effects on health. Let’s look at how those undiagnosed with Celiac Disease can still be affected by wheat and gluten.
There are two proteins associated with gluten, found in the wheat seed. These are gliadin and glutenins. Gliadins have four “types,” known as alpha, beta, gamma, and omega. Wheat also contains proteins that bind to sugar and proteins involved in cellular communication. When wheat is ingested and broken down, an enzyme called transglutaminase (tTG) helps. When this happens, two more proteins are formed and lumped into a category called gluteomorphins. The problem lies in the fact that Celiac disease is characterized only by the detection of the alpha form of gliadin and only transglutaminase #2. Of course, we know there are four gliadins and multiple transglutaminase. We also know that people do often react to these other gliadins, gluteomorphins and transglutaminase, as some of which are found in the skin and brain. This may be the preliminary explanation of why symptoms of Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can be so widespread. Statistics reveal that fifty percent of new patients diagnosed with Celiac disease do not have gastrointestinal symptoms. Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity have been associated with disease affecting multiple body regions including the central nervous system, the endocrine system, bones, skin, and even the peripheral nerves.
With better testing comes better understanding of the human body. The ever-changing nature of agriculture, and wheat in particular (another topic), coincides with the prevalence of Celiac and non-Celiac conditions. Food sensitivity testing is an easy way to assess if any of these foods are potential problems. The ALCAT panel is a blood test done by our doctors at Performance Spine and Sports Medicine that tests over 300 potential allergenic foods, food additives, molds, herbs, and even environmental chemicals. Knowing if your food is contributing to your health, or lack thereof, is the foundation of your personal healthcare.
For more information or to schedule a consultation for the ALCAT food sensitivity test, please call our office at 609-588-8600. We serve the greater Mercer County area including: Lawrenceville, Hamilton, Princeton, West Windsor and Princeton Junction. We are conveniently located 1.5 miles south of the Quaker Bridge Mall on Quaker Bridge Road (cross street Village Rd.)