Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body’s own immune system reacts to a special collection of protein called gluten. It leads to intestinal wall damage along with digestive issues.
Commonly it presents as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, malabsorption, weight loss. Some people may even develop a classic rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. An individual can develop celiac disease at any age.
Mostly commonly it occurs in individuals with a genetic predisposition (positive HLA DQ8 or DQ2) and affects approximately 1% of the population.
Gluten is a collection of proteins found in many common grains including wheat, rye, barley to name a few.
Who should get tested for celiac disease?
Person’s suffering from chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption, IBS, SIBO.
What are the tests?
Initial testing can be done with a blood test for elevated antibodies to the presence of gluten in the system.
If positive it’s recommended to get an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and small bowel biopsy for confirmational testing.
Some individuals may need or want to get HLA DQ8 and DQ2 testing. If the results are negative it is very unlikely that individual would suffer from celiac disease.
What are the treatments?
Eating a gluten free diet. This can be a challenge for many as those who strive towards a gluten free diet will continue work on avoiding cross contamination. Many common foods and prepared foods still have gluten in them. In addition, if an individual suffers from chronic abdominal issues related to celiac disease other underlying problems may still play a factor including dysbiosis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and other causes of malabsorption.
In some cases those for those who try to go gluten free they still persist with gastrointestinal symptoms and have elevated antibodies to gluten. In these cases other treatment approaches may need to be initiated by a specialist.
New research is seeking out forms of endopeptidases, gluten-sequestering polymers, probiotics, tight junction modulators, and HLA alleles DQ2 and DQ8 blockers, and transglutiminase inhibitors. All currently being studies in clinical trials.*
Need some more help? Interested in a gluten free diet, trying to go gluten free but not see improvement, suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, and or maldigestion. Reach out to Uplift Health MD at www.uplifthealthmd.com and book an integrative consult.
*source American Family Physician, vol 106, Number 1. July 2022.