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.
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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
Celiac.com 04/19/2018 - Previous genome and linkage studies indicate the existence of a new disease triggering mechanism that involves amino acid metabolism and nutrient sensing signaling pathways. In an effort to determine if amino acids might play a role in the development of celiac disease, a team of researchers recently set out to investigate if plasma amino acid levels differed among children with celiac disease compared with a control group.
The research team included Åsa Torinsson Naluai, Ladan Saadat Vafa, Audur H. Gudjonsdottir, Henrik Arnell, Lars Browaldh, and Daniel Agardh. They are variously affiliated with the Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Karolinska University Hospital and Division of Pediatrics, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institute, Sodersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Diabetes & Celiac Disease Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and with the Nathan S Kline Institute in the U.S.A.
First, the team used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to analyze amino acid levels in fasting plasma samples from 141 children with celiac disease and 129 non-celiac disease controls. They then crafted a general linear model using age and experimental effects as covariates to compare amino acid levels between children with celiac disease and non-celiac control subjects.
Compared with the control group, seven out of twenty-three children with celiac disease showed elevated levels of the the following amino acids: tryptophan; taurine; glutamic acid; proline; ornithine; alanine; and methionine.
The significance of the individual amino acids do not survive multiple correction, however, multivariate analyses of the amino acid profile showed significantly altered amino acid levels in children with celiac disease overall and after correction for age, sex and experimental effects.
This study shows that amino acids can influence inflammation and may play a role in the development of celiac disease.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(3): e0193764. doi: & 10.1371/journal.pone.0193764
Celiac.com 04/18/2018 - To the relief of many bewildered passengers and crew, no more comfort turkeys, geese, possums or other questionable pets will be flying on Delta or United without meeting the airlines' strict new requirements for service animals.
If you’ve flown anywhere lately, you may have seen them. People flying with their designated “emotional support” animals. We’re not talking genuine service animals, like seeing eye dogs, or hearing ear dogs, or even the Belgian Malinois that alerts its owner when there is gluten in food that may trigger her celiac disease.
Now, to be honest, some of those animals in question do perform a genuine service for those who need emotional support dogs, like veterans with PTSD.
However, many of these animals are not service animals at all. Many of these animals perform no actual service to their owners, and are nothing more than thinly disguised pets. Many lack proper training, and some have caused serious problems for the airlines and for other passengers.
Now the major airlines are taking note and introducing stringent requirements for service animals.
Delta was the first to strike. As reported by the New York Times on January 19: “Effective March 1, Delta, the second largest US airline by passenger traffic, said it will require passengers seeking to fly with pets to present additional documents outlining the passenger’s need for the animal and proof of its training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to the flight.… This comes in response to what the carrier said was a 150 percent increase in service and support animals — pets, often dogs, that accompany people with disabilities — carried onboard since 2015.… Delta said that it flies some 700 service animals a day. Among them, customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, spiders, and other unusual pets.”
Fresh from an unsavory incident with an “emotional support” peacock incident, United Airlines has followed Delta’s lead and set stricter rules for emotional support animals. United’s rules also took effect March 1, 2018.
So, to the relief of many bewildered passengers and crew, no more comfort turkeys, geese, possums or other questionable pets will be flying on Delta or United without meeting the airlines' strict new requirements for service and emotional support animals.
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.
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
Researchers know for certain that genetic heredity plays a major role in celiac disease. If a first-degree relative has celiac disease, then you have a statistically higher risk of carrying genetic markers DQ2 and/or DQ8, and of developing celiac disease yourself. NCGS is not known to be hereditary. Some research has shown certain genetic associations, such as some NCGS patients, but there is no proof that NCGS is hereditary.
No Connection with Celiac-related Disorders
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.
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.
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.
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%
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
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Ulcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (intestinal and extra-intestinal, T- and B-cell types)
Small intestinal adenocarcinoma
Papillary thyroid cancer
CELIAC DISEASE REFERENCES:
Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University
Gluten Intolerance Group
National Institutes of Health
U.S. National Library of Medicine
University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
Celiac.com 04/17/2018 - Could the holy grail of gluten-free food lie in special strains of wheat that lack “bad glutens” that trigger the celiac disease, but include the “good glutens” that make bread and other products chewy, spongey and delicious? Such products would include all of the good things about wheat, but none of the bad things that might trigger celiac disease.
A team of researchers in Spain is creating strains of wheat that lack the “bad glutens” that trigger the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. The team, based at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba, Spain, is making use of the new and highly effective CRISPR gene editing to eliminate the majority of the gliadins in wheat.
Gliadins are the gluten proteins that trigger the majority of symptoms for people with celiac disease.
As part of their efforts, the team has conducted a small study on 20 people with “gluten sensitivity.” That study showed that test subjects can tolerate bread made with this special wheat, says team member Francisco Barro. However, the team has yet to publish the results.
Clearly, more comprehensive testing would be needed to determine if such a product is safely tolerated by people with celiac disease. Still, with these efforts, along with efforts to develop vaccines, enzymes, and other treatments making steady progress, we are living in exciting times for people with celiac disease.
It is entirely conceivable that in the not-so-distant future we will see safe, viable treatments for celiac disease that do not require a strict gluten-free diet.
Read more at Digitaltrends.com , and at Newscientist.com
Celiac.com 04/16/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to investigate whether alterations in the developing intestinal microbiota and immune markers precede celiac disease onset in infants with family risk for the disease.
The research team included Marta Olivares, Alan W. Walker, Amalia Capilla, Alfonso Benítez-Páez, Francesc Palau, Julian Parkhill, Gemma Castillejo, and Yolanda Sanz. They are variously affiliated with the Microbial Ecology, Nutrition and Health Research Unit, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), C/Catedrático Agustín Escardin, Paterna, Valencia, Spain; the Gut Health Group, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK; the Genetics and Molecular Medicine Unit, Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, National Research Council (IBV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire UK; the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, URV, Tarragona, Spain; the Center for regenerative medicine, Boston university school of medicine, Boston, USA; and the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu and CIBERER, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain
The team conducted a nested case-control study out as part of a larger prospective cohort study, which included healthy full-term newborns (> 200) with at least one first relative with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The present study includes 10 cases of celiac disease, along with 10 best-matched controls who did not develop the disease after 5-year follow-up.
The team profiled fecal microbiota, as assessed by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, along with immune parameters, at 4 and 6 months of age and related to celiac disease onset. The microbiota of infants who remained healthy showed an increase in bacterial diversity over time, especially by increases in microbiota from the Firmicutes families, those who with no increase in bacterial diversity developed celiac disease.
Infants who subsequently developed celiac disease showed a significant reduction in sIgA levels over time, while those who remained healthy showed increases in TNF-α correlated to Bifidobacterium spp.
Healthy children in the control group showed a greater relative abundance of Bifidobacterium longum, while children who developed celiac disease showed increased levels of Bifidobacterium breve and Enterococcus spp.
The data from this study suggest that early changes in gut microbiota in infants with celiac disease risk could influence immune development, and thus increase risk levels for celiac disease. The team is calling for larger studies to confirm their hypothesis.
Microbiome. 2018; 6: 36. Published online 2018 Feb 20. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0415-6