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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/07/2018

      This Celiac.com 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 Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  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 What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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    STUDY SUGGESTS SOME PATIENTS WITH CELIAC DISEASE MIGHT EAT GLUTEN WITHOUT ADVERSE EFFECTS


    Jefferson Adams

    Patients Diagnosed in Childhood Might Evolve toward Latency on a Normal Diet


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    Celiac.com 05/23/2007 - The results of a study recently published in the journal Gut indicate that some people who suffer from celiac disease might not need to remain on a gluten free diet for their entire lives, and that some celiac patients might be able to safely introduce gluten containing foods without suffering a relapse.

    Previous Studies Showing Positive Response to Wheat Introduction in Patients with Celiac Disease are Promising, But Incomplete

    Several studies have shown that some patients diagnosed with celiac disease in childhood were able to remain on a gluten-containing diet after gluten challenge without suffering a relapse. However, most of these studies included a small number of patients, or followed the patients for only a short period after gluten was reintroduced into their diets.

    These previous studies also limited their evaluation largely to assessment of celiac disease serology and histology of duodenal biopsies, and did not attempt to identify what factors might predict the development of tolerance to gluten.

    Determining Long-term Response to Gluten Consumption in Celiac Disease Patients

    A research team made up of doctors Tamara Matysiak-Budnik (1), Georgia Malamut (1,2), Natacha Patey-Mariaud de Serre (3), Etienne Grosdidier (2), Sylvie Seguier (3), Nicole Brousse (3), Sophie Caillat-Zucman (4), Nadine Cerf-bensussan (1), Jacques Schmitz (5) and Christophe Cellier (1,2), set out to determine whether children diagnosed with celiac disease must follow a gluten free diet for life.

    To determine the effects of reintroducing gluten into the diets of celiac patients, the research team set out to monitor the clinical and physical progress of adult celiac patients who had been diagnosed as children, who underwent a gluten challenge, and who were asymptomatic.

    The study focused on a specific group of patients, all but two of whom were diagnosed as children and followed until adulthood in the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology in Necker Hospital and thereafter at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris; after which, they were entered into a local register of adult celiac patients and were recruited for the study based on two criteria: celiac disease diagnosed in childhood; and adherence to a normal diet.

    The patients in the study were from 18 to 65 years old, and had been diagnosed with celiac disease in childhood. The research team recorded data in the following categories: biological parameters of malabsorption; bone mineral density; clinical celiac status; gluten intake; HLA genotype; serological markers of celiac disease; as well as histological and immuno-histochemical parameters in duodenal biopsies.


    Results Show 20% Long-term Latency in Celiac Patients who Eat Normal Diet

    Of those studied, 61 patients had returned to a normal diet, and were asymptomatic. 48 showed various degrees of villous atrophy (silent celiac disease), and 13 had no detectable atrophy (latent celiac disease) on duodenal biopsies. Compared to those with silent celiac disease, patients with latent celiac disease showed markedly less osteopenia/osteoporosis [1/9 (11%) versus 23/33 (70%), p<0.001)], and lower TcR- + intraepithelial T cell counts (38±20 vs. 55±15, p<0.01).

    Patients with latent celiac disease had a lower mean age at the time of their first gluten free diet compared to patients with silent celiac disease (14.4±5 vs 40.1±47 months, p<0.05).

    Compared to the seven control patients on a long-term gluten free diet, the latent patients did not differ significantly, except for a higher frequency of celiac disease-specific serum antibodies. However, a follow-up found that two of the patients with latent celiac disease had suffered a clinical and histological relapse.

    Results showed that of those patients who remained asymptomatic after the reintroduction of gluten, 20% showed long-term latency.

    The study concludes that some patients with celiac disease may not need to remain on a life-long gluten free diet, and that some may indeed be able to safely reintroduce gluten into their diets with no adverse effects. However, the latency patients may experience may be transient, and therefore a regular follow-up is necessary. Also, patients with silent celiac disease should remain on a gluten free diet.

    Participating hospitals:
    (1) INSERM, U793, Faculté de Médecine René Descartes, IFR94, Paris, France.
    (2) AP-HP, H&OCIRC;pital Européen Georges Pompidou, Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology,
    Paris, France.
    (3) AP-HP, H&OCIRC;pital Necker-Enfants Malades, Department of Pathology, Paris, France.
    (4) INSERM, Equipe Avenir, Faculté de Médecine René Descartes, Paris, France.
    (5) AP-HP, H&OCIRC;pital Necker-Enfants Malades, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Paris, France.

    Gut 2006;13(10).

    Comments on this Study by Ron Hoggan

    • This is dressed up like a new finding, but it isn't. There are a number of studies that show similar findings. Part of that problem lies in the interpretation of the biopsies, and part of the problem arises out of failing to recognize the variable nature of the disease. It has long been known to wax and wane for reasons beyond our ken. Samuel Gee (1888) and Gibbons (1889) both reported the cyclic nature of their patients symptoms.
    • They cited a study to support the idea of a two year rule saying that relapse would usually occur within two years, yet Kuitunen P, Savilahti E, Verkasalo M., in Late mucosal relapse in a boy with coeliac disease and cows milk allergy. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1986 Mar;75(2):340-2. reported one patient who at 4.3 years on a normal diet showed normal villous architecture. It was not until a follow-up biopsy at more than 8 years of eating a gluten-containing diet that he showed villous atrophy.
    • These findings, along with all the other studies that have shown long delays in some patients before relapsing, argue strongly for Michael N. Marsh's position that we should concentrate on treating any immune system that is sensitized to gluten with a gluten-free diet. His rectal challenge is an excellent tool for identifying such sensitized immune systems. Dr. Fines fecal antibody test probably fits into the same category.
    • The underlying assumption is that the biopsy will identify all cases of intestinal lesion regardless of the possibility of patchy lesions that are well documented in the literature.
    • They deal with increased IEL counts as if they were a feature of latent celiac disease when that is not the case.
    • There are several other points on which this study falters. They admit that the latency can be transient. Unfortunately, they have not exchanged emails with people where they have returned to eating gluten and have developed an abdominal cancer. I exchanged emails with such a young man who blamed himself for having killed himself with his carelessness about his diet. How awful that was for him! Yet these authors seem to think it is quite acceptable for patients to indulge during their latency periods and only consider a diet if there is a relapse of intestinal lesion.

     


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    Ron Hoggan is very resistant to the idea that celiac disease may be 'curable' in a functional sense. I agree with him that we should be careful and strict about our diets until we have better understanding. However, I believe that the development of celiac disease is neither genetically preordained, nor is it a one-way ratchet. Studies strongly suggest that some family members of celiacs having the genetic predisposition never develop celiac disease. We need to pay attention to, and think openly and critically about, all ideas. Studying the relatively rare 'celiacs' who appear able to eat gluten seems like a good idea to me.

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    Jefferson Adams
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    admin
    WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects around 1% of the population. People with celiac disease suffer an autoimmune reaction when they consume wheat, rye or barley. The immune reaction is triggered by certain proteins in the wheat, rye, or barley, and, left untreated, causes damage to the small, finger-like structures, called villi, that line the gut. The damage occurs as shortening and villous flattening in the lamina propria and crypt regions of the intestines. The damage to these villi then leads to numerous other issues that commonly plague people with untreated celiac disease, including poor nutritional uptake, fatigue, and myriad other problems.
    Celiac disease mostly affects people of Northern European descent, but recent studies show that it also affects large numbers of people in Italy, China, Iran, India, and numerous other places thought to have few or no cases.
    Celiac disease is most often uncovered because people experience symptoms that lead them to get tests for antibodies to gluten. If these tests are positive, then the people usually get biopsy confirmation of their celiac disease. Once they adopt a gluten-free diet, they usually see gut healing, and major improvements in their symptoms. 
    CLASSIC CELIAC DISEASE SYMPTOMS
    Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, bloating, gas, weight loss, and malnutrition, among others.
    LESS OBVIOUS SYMPTOMS
    Celiac disease can often less obvious symptoms, such fatigue, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, anemia, to name a few. Often, these symptoms are regarded as less obvious because they are not gastrointestinal in nature. You got that right, it is not uncommon for people with celiac disease to have few or no gastrointestinal symptoms. That makes spotting and connecting these seemingly unrelated and unclear celiac symptoms so important.
    NO SYMPTOMS
    Currently, most people diagnosed with celiac disease do not show symptoms, but are diagnosed on the basis of referral for elevated risk factors. 

    CELIAC DISEASE VS. GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
    Gluten intolerance is a generic term for people who have some sort of sensitivity to gluten. These people may or may not have celiac disease. Researchers generally agree that there is a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That term has largely replaced the term gluten-intolerance. What’s the difference between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity? 
    CELIAC DISEASE VS. NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (NCGS)
    Gluten triggers symptoms and immune reactions in people with celiac disease. Gluten can also trigger symptoms in some people with NCGS, but the similarities largely end there.

    There are four main differences between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity:
    No Hereditary Link in NCGS
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    Unlike celiac disease, NCGS is so far not associated with malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, or a higher risk of autoimmune disorders or intestinal malignancies. No Immunological or Serological Markers
    People with celiac disease nearly always test positive for antibodies to gluten proteins. Researchers have, as yet, identified no such antobodies or serologic markers for NCGS. That means that, unlike with celiac disease, there are no telltale screening tests that can point to NCGS. Absence of Celiac Disease or Wheat Allergy
    Doctors diagnose NCGS only by excluding both celiac disease, an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat, and by the noting ongoing adverse symptoms associated with gluten consumption. WHAT ABOUT IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) AND IRRITABLE BOWEL DISEASE (IBD)?
    IBS and IBD are usually diagnosed in part by ruling out celiac disease. Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome are sensitive to gluten. Many experience celiac disease-like symptoms in reaction to wheat. However, patients with IBS generally show no gut damage, and do not test positive for antibodies to gliadin and other proteins as do people with celiac disease. Some IBS patients also suffer from NCGS.

    To add more confusion, many cases of IBS are, in fact, celiac disease in disguise.

    That said, people with IBS generally react to more than just wheat. People with NCGS generally react to wheat and not to other things, but that’s not always the case. Doctors generally try to rule out celiac disease before making a diagnosis of IBS or NCGS. 
    Crohn’s Disease and celiac disease share many common symptoms, though causes are different.  In Crohn’s disease, the immune system can cause disruption anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, and a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease typically requires more diagnostic testing than does a celiac diagnosis.  
    Crohn’s treatment consists of changes to diet and possible surgery.  Up to 10% of Crohn's patients can have both of conditions, which suggests a genetic connection, and researchers continue to examine that connection.
    Is There a Connection Between Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Large Number of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Sensitive To Gluten Some IBD Patients also Suffer from Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Many Cases of IBS and Fibromyalgia Actually Celiac Disease in Disguise CELIAC DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
    Diagnosis of celiac disease can be difficult. 

    Perhaps because celiac disease presents clinically in such a variety of ways, proper diagnosis often takes years. A positive serological test for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase is considered a very strong diagnostic indicator, and a duodenal biopsy revealing villous atrophy is still considered by many to be the diagnostic gold standard. 
    But this idea is being questioned; some think the biopsy is unnecessary in the face of clear serological tests and obvious symptoms. Also, researchers are developing accurate and reliable ways to test for celiac disease even when patients are already avoiding wheat. In the past, patients needed to be consuming wheat to get an accurate test result. 
    Celiac disease can have numerous vague, or confusing symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult.  Celiac disease is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. Read a Personal Story About Celiac Disease Diagnosis from the Founder of Celiac.com Currently, testing and biopsy still form the cornerstone of celiac diagnosis.
    TESTING
    There are several serologic (blood) tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies, but the most commonly used is called a tTG-IgA test. If blood test results suggest celiac disease, your physician will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
    Testing is fairly simple and involves screening the patients blood for antigliadin (AGA) and endomysium antibodies (EmA), and/or doing a biopsy on the areas of the intestines mentioned above, which is still the standard for a formal diagnosis. Also, it is now possible to test people for celiac disease without making them concume wheat products.

    BIOPSY
    Until recently, biopsy confirmation of a positive gluten antibody test was the gold standard for celiac diagnosis. It still is, but things are changing fairly quickly. Children can now be accurately diagnosed for celiac disease without biopsy. Diagnosis based on level of TGA-IgA 10-fold or more the ULN, a positive result from the EMA tests in a second blood sample, and the presence of at least 1 symptom could avoid risks and costs of endoscopy for more than half the children with celiac disease worldwide.

    WHY A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?
    Currently the only effective, medically approved treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet relieves symptoms, promotes gut healing, and prevents nearly all celiac-related complications. 
    A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods. Still, with effort, most people with celiac disease manage to make the transition. The vast majority of celiac disease patients who follow a gluten-free diet see symptom relief and experience gut healing within two years.
    For these reasons, a gluten-free diet remains the only effective, medically proven treatment for celiac disease.
    WHAT ABOUT ENZYMES, VACCINES, ETC.?
    There is currently no enzyme or vaccine that can replace a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease.
    There are enzyme supplements currently available, such as AN-PEP, Latiglutetenase, GluteGuard, and KumaMax, which may help to mitigate accidental gluten ingestion by celiacs. KumaMax, has been shown to survive the stomach, and to break down gluten in the small intestine. Latiglutenase, formerly known as ALV003, is an enzyme therapy designed to be taken with meals. GluteGuard has been shown to significantly protect celiac patients from the serious symptoms they would normally experience after gluten ingestion. There are other enzymes, including those based on papaya enzymes.

    Additionally, there are many celiac disease drugs, enzymes, and therapies in various stages of development by pharmaceutical companies, including at least one vaccine that has received financial backing. At some point in the not too distant future there will likely be new treatments available for those who seek an alternative to a lifelong gluten-free diet. 

    For now though, there are no products on the market that can take the place of a gluten-free diet. Any enzyme or other treatment for celiac disease is intended to be used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, not as a replacement.

    ASSOCIATED DISEASES
    The most common disorders associated with celiac disease are thyroid disease and Type 1 Diabetes, however, celiac disease is associated with many other conditions, including but not limited to the following autoimmune conditions:
    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: 2.4-16.4% Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 11% Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: 4-6% Autoimmune hepatitis: 6-15% Addison disease: 6% Arthritis: 1.5-7.5% Sjögren’s syndrome: 2-15% Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: 5.7% IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease): 3.6% Other celiac co-morditities include:
    Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Chronic Pancreatitis Down Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Lupus Multiple Sclerosis Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Psoriasis Rheumatoid Arthritis Scleroderma Turner Syndrome Ulcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Williams Syndrome Cancers:
    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (intestinal and extra-intestinal, T- and B-cell types) Small intestinal adenocarcinoma Esophageal carcinoma Papillary thyroid cancer Melanoma CELIAC DISEASE REFERENCES:
    Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University
    Gluten Intolerance Group
    National Institutes of Health
    U.S. National Library of Medicine
    Mayo Clinic
    University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center