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    • Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Store. For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity


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About mmarksbury

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  1.   As glux and NoGlutenCooties pointed out, I was on the 6 week (actually 8 week) gluten challenge.  I went to town...ate any gluten I could find.  While my villi were unaffected, my waistline took a beating.   You can read my other post here which goes into a lot more detail:   I'm glad this came up though, because self education on the disease and how the tests work is important.  I spoke with one GI doctor (yes a specialist) that wanted to scope me, even though I had been off gluten for over 6 months when I spoke to her.  She actually said, "I'd like to scope you".   She apparently didn't understand the disease very well.  Lets pretend for a minute that I did have the disease...if I had followed her advice and had the endoscopy done, it would likely have been a false negative and I would have spent much of my life dealing with issues that a doctor would likely categorize as IBS since I had already been screened for Celiac.   Like in any profession, there are some really exceptional doctors, some really bad doctors, and a whole lot of mediocre doctors somewhere in the middle.  Your typical primary physician isn't likely to know much about Celiac unless they've had cases and picked up some information so your best bet is to do your own research and try to get connected with a GI specialist.  
  2. Sorry to you folks who can't enjoy those nice treats.       In terms of leaky gut, I considered that when I was in my denial stage, trying to grasp onto anything I could find that would cause my symptoms but wasn't celiac.  I didn't have particularly good eating habits as a child or young adult.  As a young adult I was a vegetarian/vegan for 10 years, and during that time ate mostly fake meat products which are made primarily out of wheat and soy.  I really began to notice my symptoms when I started eating meat and dairy again, so looking back, it is very possible that the 10 years of over doing it on processed food may have permeated my gut somewhat.  Even now, I do seem to have a sensitivity to dairy, but I may have always had that.  It's really hard to remember back to when you were a kid, and which foods bothered you.
  3. I spent over a year convinced I had Celiac because of 2 positive blood tests.  I skipped the endoscopy for a few different reasons, but ended up having it done a year and a half after my last positive blood test.  It turns out I do NOT have Celiac.  That year and a half was terrible...not knowing for sure.  I even convinced myself that I was having symptoms I don't have.  Do yourself a favor, get the diagnosis or rule it out.  You'll be better off.
  4. I want to share my story because I think it may be of some help to others on this forum.   For years I dealt with painful bloating, upper stomach pain, loose stool and constipation.  In May of 2012 things became much worse.  Existing symptoms worsened and new symptoms such as fatigue, skin issues and brain fog started occurring.  I'm not usually one to go to the doctor unless I am on my death bed, but all of these rapid changes were concerning and I decided to make an appointment.   After explaining everything to my doctor, she ordered some blood tests, one of which was Tissue Transglutaminase IgA.  My insurance carrier is Kaiser, and the accepted normal range for this test is < 0.90.  My result came in at 0.94, and after some discussion with my doctor, I was told that I had a borderline result and that I should limit my gluten intake.  At this point I started research on the Tissue transglutaminase IgA test as well as Celiac.  Prior to this test, I didn't know much about Celiac, and it never really occurred to me that I could have it.   I found a great number of sources stating the accuracy of the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA test ranging in the high 90% range with false positives almost never occurring. Additionally, I found that in order for the test to be accurate, the person being tested needs to be eating gluten regularly for some time leading up to the test.  I wanted to be sure, so I asked my doctor for a second test, and before having my blood drawn, I put myself on a very gluten rich diet.   I went in for my second Tissue Transglutaminase IgA test in June, about one month later, and the result came back at 1.33, much higher than the previous 0.94 test and the 0.90 normal result.  At this point my deductive reasoning took over and I accepted the reality of the appeared that I had Celiac.  I went into denial mode, and I began frantically researching, trying to find other causes for elevated levels.  Initially, after reading lots of user forums, was convinced that gluten intolerance and Celiac were simply the same condition at different severities, but found that to be a false claim as gluten intolerance won't cause your body to produce antibodies when you consume gluten.  I also found out that Wheat allergies won't cause the antibodies either.   I spoke with a GI doctor, and they suggested we do an upper endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.  At this point, after all of the research I had done, and after the increase in levels from the first test to the second, I decided to forego the endoscopy and simply move forward adopting a gluten free diet, mainly because the treatment plan wouldn't change with a diagnosis and also because I didn't want a pre-existing condition for insurance reasons.   I spent the next year and a half somewhat depressed, even though I didn't know it at the time.  I had gluten a few times, and when I did, felt terrible a few days after with symptoms lasting a week or so.  I did more research and began to notice new symptoms including peripheral neuropathy, joint pain and memory issues.    Fast forward to 8 weeks ago, the end of 2013...I'm not sure what changed my mind, but I began to have doubts again, telling myself, I don't think I have it.   I started doing research again, and at this point found some new information that I had not uncovered initially.  I read at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, that in some cases, people will have elevated levels on the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA test even though they do not have Celiac.  The explanation is that at some point in the person's life, after a stomach-flu or other event, the small intestine becomes slightly permeable, gluten is ingested, and the body starts producing antibodies against gluten.  From that point forward, the body will always produce antibodies when gluten is consumed.   I found this new information promising and decided to get the endoscopy, as living my life not knowing one way or the other was driving me crazy.  At this point, I had reversed my thinking 180 degrees from being certain that I had Celiac to being certain that I did not.  I started to feel excited about not having it.  The doctor put me on a six week gluten challenge and scheduled the endoscopy.     Over the next 8 weeks, I ate gluten at almost ever meal.  I ate a ton of it, as much as I could, because I wanted to make sure there would be enough damage to detect.  Over these 8 weeks, I didn't have any negative effects from the gluten.  No bloating, no joint pain, no peripheral neuropathy, and my brain fog was improving too.   Additionally, someone had ordered me the DNA test for Christmas, and I was eager to get the results because they give you your raw DNA data and you can check if you carry the celiac genes.  My DNA test results came back 3 days for the endoscopy and I found out that I do NOT carry the genes that 98% of people with celiac carry, leaving only a 2% chance that I might have it.   To cut to the chase here, the endoscopy was performed, and the biopsies were normal, and I do NOT have celiac.   This is good news for me, but I learned a very valuable lesson over the last few years, and I think it has value to others who may be in a similar situation.  First off, if you get a positive blood test, follow your doctor's advice and get the endoscopy.  You may very well be producing antibodies to gluten due to a stomach flu you had in childhood and not have Celiac.  Also, taking a closer look inside your esophagus, stomach and intestine may uncover other issues you weren't aware of like GERD or HPylori.  By the way, the procedure was a breeze...not a big deal at all.  Next, do not underestimate the power of your thoughts and belief and how they can manifest onto your physical body.  I spent over a year with tingling fingers and toes, sore joints and brain fog from a self diagnosed condition that I don't actually have.  I know there are many people who do indeed have celiac, and I'm truly sorry for that, but for those of you that don't have an official diagnosis, do yourself a favor and get the endoscopy.   By the way, after all this time, all of my symptoms were due to having a mild case of GERD, some overeating and a change in eating habits.  I've started paying closer attention to how and what I eat, and I feel a lot better.  
  5. I recently had two different Celiac tests at Kaiser, with two different results. The doctors weren't very helpful in interpreting them. Test #1 - Taken after eating moderate amounts of gluten (2-3 times a week for weeks leading up to test) TISSUE TRANSGLUTAMINASE IgG 0.16 Tissue transglutaminase IgA 0.94 For both of these tests, < 0.90 is normal. Because I tested at 0.94, the doctor said I was borderline and that I should limit my gluten intake. Test #2 - Taken about a month later after heavily eating wheat for a few weeks (5-7 times per week) TISSUE TRANSGLUTAMINASE IgG 0.14 Tissue transglutaminase IgA 1.33 After the second test, the doctor referred me to GI for an endoscope, which I declined. I'd rather just adopt a gluten-free diet than take a risk of internal injury from the edoscope. I did ask the doctor about the severity of the Celiac test result, thinking a jump from .94 to 1.33 was significant and she informed me that my result was not at all severe. A few questions... 1. Does anyone know the range for this test? Do I fall at the bottom, middle, upper? 2. Is this indicative of a Gluten Sensitivity and not Celiac? 3. Is it possible that I have something else going on like Leaky Gut or IBS that might be causing the tests to come out as they did? I have no problem going gluten-free, I already have, but I want to understand these results better. While I think gluten-free is a healthier way to live, I want to know if I need to be obsessed with cross contamination or if I can indulge in that rare gluten treat.
  6. In the course of one year I became a craft beer enthusiast, home brewer and later, unfortunately, found out that I have Celiac. It was a real downer having found a new passion and hobby in craft beer. Luckily, however, this new passion set me on a course to find a way that I could still enjoy craft beer, and the great news is that if you are celiac, you too can enjoy barley based beer (real beer) if it is made in a certain fashion. There is currently one brewer in the United States that I know of that sells beer made this way. The brewer is Widmer Brothers and the beer is their Omission line which includes a Pale Ale and a Lager. Here is a link with some of the details ( But what about us folks that love IPAs, Stouts, Porters, Brown Ales and other styles of beer? Luckily, the same stuff that Widmer Brothers is using to make Celiac safe beer can be purchased and used by home brewers to make their own celiac safe beer. Obviously, if you have Celiac, you should be testing anything you make at home before you consume it. There are gluten test strips that you can buy to test any beer you make. Making beer takes time, but it is easy, and if you're like me, the time and energy it takes to make your own beer is not only enjoyable but very rewarding, especially if you are celiac. Sorghum beer just doesn't cut it.