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Shades of Grey Surrounding Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

“Most people who have celiac disease are also gluten sensitive.  Many people who are gluten sensitive are likely to develop celiac disease with continued gluten exposure (depending on their genetic markers)”. 

  -Rodney Ford, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterologist, New Zealand

WHAT?!?!    Did I hear that correctly?  A bold and new statement to be sure. 

Based on his observations dealing with both celiac disease (CD) and non celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), Dr. Rodney Ford writes in a recent article this unprecedented statement about those suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).   He goes on to say that separating CD from other gluten-illnesses is flawed thinking.   He also brings in to question the various testing methodologies that diagnose CD, and if not you are NCGS.

Dr. Ford concludes, from his 35 years of clinical experience, that with time and continued gluten ingestion, some people who are considered NCGS will develop CD.  Both groups have impressively similar symptoms, both are harmed by gluten and both disease states (symptoms) seem to be indistinguishable from each other without blood tests or endoscopy.

Dr. Ford recommends that both groups avoid gluten completely.  And, to also strictly avoid cross–contamination.   In his new book “The Gluten Syndrome” he describes his concepts of gluten and the harm it causes.

A slightly new twist to the idea that people who have NCGS are probably alright to have a little bit of gluten.  you may now consider erroring on the safe side and avoid gluten completely.  A tall order, but perhaps already adhered to by many who suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of gluten-sensitivity.

Medical research is still in the infant stages of understanding celiac disease and  gluten related disorders.  This is one expert’s opinion, who also poses some very daunting unanswered questions around CD and NCGS, till now, separate diseases.  He encourages the medical community, researchers, and support groups to work together toward unraveling the truth.

The choice is yours, listen to your gut!!

Whitehouse05
If one is diagnosed with CD but does not have any symptoms, should they go GF? If they did go GF & accidentally ingest gluten, would symptoms then occur? My family has dealt with other food allergies and the best way to deal with them is to consume them somewhat regulatory, in small portions. We worry going 100% GF would cause severe reactions down the road.
Jan
Very good question. There are people diagnosed with CD that don't have symptoms and that's harder to convince them to go on a GF diet. I would be interested to know if your diagnosis included an intestinal biopsy. If you were diagnosed only from the blood test, I would absolutely go on a GF diet. A blood test only determines who needs to have a biopsy. If you did have a biopsy and there isn't any damage to your villi I would understand not wanting to go GF.... more
Very good question. There are people diagnosed with CD that don't have symptoms and that's harder to convince them to go on a GF diet. I would be interested to know if your diagnosis included an intestinal biopsy. If you were diagnosed only from the blood test, I would absolutely go on a GF diet. A blood test only determines who needs to have a biopsy. If you did have a biopsy and there isn't any damage to your villi I would understand not wanting to go GF. The gold standard right now from physicians is that everyone diagnosed with CD go on a total GF diet. Untreated CD (consuming gluten) can have severe long-term effects for people with CD, including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc. I recommend reviewing this article on the GFP website: http://www.glutenfreedomproject.com/celiac-disease/what-celiac-disease less