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  • Sandi Star, HHP, CNC, CCMH

    Gluten and Cross-Reactive Foods

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Autumn 2019 Issue

    Caption: Image: CC BY 2.0--juanpaolosicat

    Celiac.com 08/24/2019 - Are you 100% gluten-free, yet you still suffer from symptoms related to gluten?

    If so, it could be that you're experiencing “Cross-Reactivity,” or are sensitive to foods that do not contain gluten but your body reacts to them as if they do. Cross-Reactivity is the ability of an antibody to react with similar antigenic sites on different proteins.

    There are a number of naturally gluten-free foods such as cheese, chocolate and coffee, which contain proteins so similar to gluten that your body may confuse with gluten. When you eat these foods, your body and immune system react as if you just ate a bowl of whole-wheat pasta.

    It's estimated that at least half of those who are gluten intolerant are also sensitive to dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk and butter) due to its cross-reactivity with gluten.

    The protein in coffee is the most common cross-reactor to gluten.   Because it is the protein in the coffee that is the trigger, switching to decaf coffee does not solve the problem. In fact, decaf coffee is heavily processed so you don't want to drink it in any case.

    Below is a list of common foods that may trigger a reaction in some celiacs:

    • Amaranth
    • Buckwheat
    • Chocolate
    • Coffee
    • Corn
    • Dairy, i.e. milk and cheese (alpha-casein, beta-casein, casomorphin, butyrophilin, whey protein)
    • Egg
    • Hemp
    • Millet
    • Oats
    • Potato
    • Rice
    • Sesame
    • Sorghum
    • Soy
    • Tapioca
    • Teff
    • Yeast

    If you are off the gluten and are still having health issues, try eliminating the above foods for at least two months and see if your symptoms improve. Also, it's important to make sure you've done the Four R's to heal the gut. Then, after two months you may reintroduce the above foods one at a time to determine which ones are causing reactions, if any at all. 

    An easier way to find out exactly what foods you are reacting to is to run an IgG Panel (food intolerance). This way you don't have to play the guessing game. The IgG Panel we use if with Great Plain Labs and covers 92 foods along with yeast, candida levels and coffee.

    If you determine that there are foods that are cross-reactive for you, the treatment is to permanently remove these foods from your diet in addition to gluten. Remember, even though the cross-reactive foods do not actually contain gluten, your body may think they do, and they may also cause some level of inflammation and damage to your body.

    Gluten-free is a good baseline in starting to heal your gut, however in most cases it only part of the whole protocol. 

    Once the body is "confused" it's important to look at healing the gut and calming the inflammation down. Inflammation is the bottom line and causes 80% of disease. Our focus here is finding its cause and addressing it.

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    Well Scott, I think you should at least exercise some guidance for your readers in pointing out what is complete speculation without any scientific evidence to support it at all---at least question how completely unrelated proteins can lead to cross reactivity with gluten and yes perhaps the term cross reactivity may in some cases be misused for intolerance or sensitivity but maybe everyone who reads these articles does not appreciate that and should not one question the  knowledge of the author of an article who fails to make such a basic distinction---and food intolerances and sensitivities may resolve on an a GFD in a non-celiac or NCGS because of other non-gluten proteins or other carbohydrates--not every malady is caused by gluten. There is no evidence for gluten cross reactivity--certainly not with the foods most mentioned--I believe this notion resulted from one study and it has been criticized because the assays used are said to have a high rate of false positives---as far as I know no one else confirmed these results.    I believe I have read(I could be mistaken here)that the FDA would not approve such a test in measuring for gluten due to the high false positives. I do think you have a responsibility to your readers to make some critiques---there is plenty of misinformation about celiac disease already out there, and I have mentioned this previously that I have noted that what appears in this "article" sections is at times just an advertisement under the guise of medical information---why not keep these completely apart

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    On 8/24/2019 at 10:26 PM, kareng said:

    I like like to get my advice from Trained Celiac experts.  




    “There is not yet reliable data about cross-reactivity. As for the alleged possibility that many gluten-free foods or drinks (such as coffee, milk, orange juice, etc.) would trigger symptoms in celiac individuals due to hidden antigens mimicking gluten or cross-reacting with anti-gluten antibodies, it must be clearly stated that this is all false information, devoid of any scientific basis, and must be rejected as untrue.




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  • About Me

    Sandi graduated from The Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, CA., with the following Certifications: Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutrition, Clinical Master Herbology, Aromatherapy and has a Bachelors in Communications. Sandi started Karmic Health in 2008 with a holistic approach to wellness and nutrition. Sandi is a proud member of the American Holistic Healthcare Association.

    Sandi specializes in functional nutrition and wellness with a focus on addressing the underlying triggers of inflammation and disorders by incorporating a comprehensive evaluation and laboratory testing as needed. 

    Sandi’s primary focus is treating and preventing disease and dependency on pharmaceuticals. Sandi incorporates naturopathic therapies, lifestyle and nutrition counseling.

    Sandi offers kitchen revamps, grocery store tours and customized wellness parties and has her practice at Orian Wellness in Carlsbad working alongside Naturopathic Doctors.

    Sandi is the author of Beyond Gluten – A Healing Transition and has written articles for several online publications.  
    Sandi lost 6 dress sizes and has kept it off for over 25 years and has been gluten & cow dairy free for over a decade after struggling with several chronic medical conditions.
    Sandi has hands on understanding of many health issues and is dedicated in creating awareness that will impact our nations focus on disease prevention with a holistic approach. 

    Here site is: sandijstar.com


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