What to Do When You Suspect Gluten Intolerance? by Lisa Snow

lisa-snowWith the holidays coming, we’re all about to be surrounded by cookies, cakes, pies, and other potentially gluten-containing foods.  What can you do if you suspect you may have a problem with gluten?

Start by recognizing that many of the foods you already like are gluten-free.  For example: all fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, brown rice, wild rice, and many other foods are inherently gluten-free.  So just know that the foods with a gluten-free label (such as GF pastas) are only a tiny percentage of all the wonderful GF food options out there.

Next, do yourself a favor and don’t go on a completely gluten-free diet just yet.  Why would someone like me who has been happily gluten-free for many years give this advice?  Once you change your whole diet to GF, the tests for celiac disease and other health conditions are no longer accurate!  There are several different diseases that can cause people to have problems with gluten, and it’s crucial to find out which one you have before overhauling your diet.  If a patient goes on a gluten-free diet and is never able to obtain a correct diagnosis, they won’t receive appropriate treatment and may have much more significant health problems later in life.  Finally, talk to your doctor about these tests:

1) IgG food allergy blood test – this tells you if the wheat and gluten reactions are an allergy.  It also lets you know if there are other foods you are allergic to, even if you’re asymptomatic right now.  Insurance may or may not cover the IgG test, but it’s very important and well worth the out of pocket expense.

2) Celiac testing – for most patients, it is not necessary to have an intestinal biopsy; sometimes just a saliva test is enough.  Ask your doctor which specific tests he or she recommends.  Insurance usually does cover Celiac testing.  It’s very important to know if you have true Celiac disease vs. a wheat allergy, because people with Celiac will not absorb nutrients from any food properly while they are still eating wheat.  This can lead to major nutrient deficiencies and even to osteoporosis for some people.

3) Heavy metals urine test with a chelation “challenge” immediately before – High levels of toxic metals like mercury, lead, arsenic, etc. don’t cause gluten intolerance, but many food allergy and food intolerance patients also have heavy metal toxicity, so it’s important to check for this. The “challenge” before the test may not have to be an IV.  Chelation pills are perfectly fine for many people, so ask your doctor what makes the most sense in your situation.

4) Genetic testing for Mold Illness – if you’ve ever had a mold exposure at home or at work, that can be a huge complicating factor for food sensitivities.  If you’ve never been exposed to mold this test might not be necessary.  Mold Illness is completely different from Mold Allergy – different cause, different symptoms, different treatment, etc.  So even if you don’t have an allergy to mold, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Mold Illness.  This test is especially important for people who have a family history of chemical sensitivity, environmental illness, EMF sensitivity, asthma, etc.

Although holistic allergy approaches like acupuncture, EFT, and NAET are powerful and very beneficial, however, you should wait to use any of these treatments for your gluten sensitivity until after you have completed whichever tests your doctor advised.


Missed last month’s column? Read it now:

Protecting the Spine While Stretching Your Hamstrings – Part 3
Protecting the Spine While Stretching Your Hamstrings – Part 2
Protecting the Spine While Stretching Your Hamstrings
Healthy Travel Tips
Questions to Ask When Considering Joining a Gym
Easy Steps to Reduce Your Osteoporosis Risk, Part 2
Easy Steps to Reduce Your Osteoporosis Risk
Healthy Eating Made Easy
Choosing the Healthiest Energy Bars in 2014
Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 2
Have a Home Gym Cheaply and with Little Space, Part 1
Updated: Back Pain
7 Healthy Snacks to Power You Through Physical Therapy and Beyond
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Juicing
Getting in Shape…with Takeout Food?
Gliding Discs for Exercise with Arthritis
Top 6 Questions for Choosing the Best Weight Loss Plan for YOU
This St. Patrick’s Day, Go Green for Real
Fall Prevention for Older Adults
3 Tips for Exercising with Multiple Sclerosis
Fitness for People with Parkinson’s
Customized Exercises for People with Back Pain
What Should People Look for When Hiring a Personal Trainer?
How do trainers know what program is right for their clients?
Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Trainer?
Motivate Yourself to Better Health
Three Dimensional Fitness