Celiac Disease Not Healing / Additional Food Sensitivities
As co-author of a new book titled “Cereal Killers” slated for release in the fall of 2009, the study of the impact of gluten continues to be a driving passion in my life.
I am fascinated by the way that gluten induces illness and impedes learning while it alters mood, behavior, and a host of other facets of human existence. Sure, gluten’s impact on health is an important issue, but that is only the most obvious area of impact. Mood disturbances, learning disabilities, and the loss of quality of life due to psychiatric and neurological illness are even more tragic than the plethora of physical ailments that are caused or worsened by gluten. The further I go down this rabbit hole, the more I realize that grains are a good food for ruminants - not people. I teach at the Royal Roads University, Continuing Studies.
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Im posting this response to the list as this information may not be common knowledge in the celiac community, and perhaps it should be. There are a number of reports, regarding celiac patients, of coexisting intolerance to milk proteins. One recent report was of an investigation for cross reacting antibodies. They found none, but a number of these patients displayed antibodies against gliadin and parallel anticasein antibodies (1). Another group has indicated that 36% to 48% of celiac patients demonstrate antibody reactions to milk proteins (2), although there are some reports that the frequency of such sensitivities reduce with treatment of a gluten-free diet (3), although the latter publication reported a higher initial frequency of reactions to milk proteins. There is another report of one celiac patient thought to have refractory sprue who recovered with the additional dietary exclusion of egg, chicken, and tuna (4). The patient became very ill before the possibility of immune reactions to other dietary proteins was considered. These reports suggest to me that we need to be vigilant about the possibility of additional food sensitivities. Before leaping to the use of steroids, further antibody testing seems prudent. The therapeutic use of systemic steroids carries the potential for some very dangerous side effects. Dietary exclusion of allergenic proteins, on the other hand, is just an inconvenience, one that most of us are already well versed in. ELISA or similar testing ought to be done prior to beginning steroids, as such drugs may be unnecessary, or they may compromise the accuracy of such testing.
- Paranos S, et al. Lack of cross-reactivity between casein and gliadin in sera from coeliac disease patients. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1998 Oct;117(2):152-4.
- Volta U, et al. Antibodies to dietary antigens in coeliac disease. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1986 Oct;21(8):935-40.
- Scott H, et al. Immune response patterns in coeliac disease. serum antibodies to dietary antigens measured by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Clin Exp Immunol. 1984 Jul;57(1):25-32.
- Baker AL, et al. Refractory sprue: recovery after removal of nongluten
- Dietary proteins. Ann Intern Med. 1978 Oct;89(4):505-8.
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