Health and Environmental Illness

Resources about environmental illness and non-drug treatments

Gluten Avoidance

Wheat gluten is a component of wheat, spelt, rye, and barley, and it contaminates oats during processing. Sensitivity to wheat gluten may affect 20% to 30% of Americans.


Celiac Disease

A serious form of gluten sensitivity is known as celiac disease, in which an immune reaction in the small intestine damages the intestinal lining. Its consequence is malabsorption leading to malnutrition or disease. Also, cancer rates for untreated celiacs range from twice (breast cancer) to one hundred times (intestinal lymphoma)  greater than the general population, depending on type of cancer.

Celiac disease, according to new research, may affect 1 in 133 Americans. Few know they have it, as American doctors do not screen for celiac disease and rarely consider it as a possible cause of gastrointestinal problems. Other conditions, including autoimmune disease, cancer, depression, and consequences of malnutrition, are also rarely investigated to consider celiac disease as a cause.

There is one treatment: 100% avoidance of wheat gluten. Some celiacs can sustain intenstinal damage from minute amounts of gluten in medications or supplements, or from "cross-contamination" of other foods from kitchen surfaces, kitchen utensils, food processing machinery, or farm equipment.

A Call for Earlier Diagnosis of Celiac Disease
by Teri Lee Gruss, NaturalNews.com, December 9, 2007

Celiac Support Association


Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten sensitivity, defined as any immune reaction to gluten, can be measured by blood and other tests for antibodies to gluten. One form of gluten sensitivity is celiac disease, which is defined as damage shown by intestinal biopsy. Yet non-celiac gluten sensitivity also has wide-ranging consequences.

Non-celiac gluten sensitive people may have "nonspecific injury to the intestinal mucosa," gut dysfunction such as irritable bowel syndrome or heartburn, or malabsorption.

Dr. James Braly, MD, in his book Dangerous Grains, lists nearly 200 diseases and conditions associated with gluten sensitivity, notably autoimmune disorders, chronic pain, cancer, osteoporosis, neurological conditions, and depression.

Autoimmune conditions closely linked with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity include: lupus, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

EnteroLab: Frequently Asked Questions: Gluten and Food Sensitivity

Book: Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health
by Dr. James Braly, MD, and Ron Hoggan

Review of Dangerous Grains
by Heidi Boudro, HeidiBoudro.com


Testing

EnteroLab offers non-prescription testing for fecal antibodies (more sensitive than tests for antibodies in blood), malabsorption, and genetics. According to its website, its test is 100% sensitive for celiac disease. EnteroLab does not recommend resuming a gluten-containing diet for the test, and notes that fecal antibodies can be detectable for years after starting a gluten-free diet.

EnteroLab: Specialized laboratory testing for optimal intestinal and overall health


Updated 1/1/2008