Say No to Gluten (Part 3)

This is the final post in our Say No to Gluten series (Read Part 1 and 2 here).

Say No to Gluten

How do I know if I am sensitive to gluten?

There are a number of things you can do to test if you have a gluten sensitivity:

  1. Elimination Diet

This is where you eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel. But, for this test to work you MUST eliminate ALL (that’s 100%) of gluten from your diet–no exceptions, not a single crumb.

Then after the elimination period is up, try reintroducing gluten. Eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad/sub-optimal/have any sort of reaction at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. It will also teach you about the impact gluten has on your body.

  1. Medical Testing

There are gluten sensitivity/celiac disease tests that are available through your doctor (or through referrals). These tests help to identify the different forms of allergy/sensitivity to gluten:

  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
  • IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
  • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
  • Total IgA antibodies
  • HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic susceptibility).
  • Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive)

But remember – like when testing for an autoimmune disease, any elevation of antibodies is significant and worth trying gluten elimination. Doctors may consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be “false positives”, meaning the test looks positive but really aren’t significant. However, positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity, full-blown celiac disease, and other autoimmune diseases.

Without sounding too extreme – wheat and other gluten containing grains really should be avoided at all costs for us suffering from autoimmune diseases. And trust us, after a while, you don’t feel like you are missing out – and there are plenty of yummy grain-free recipes out there!

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