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  • Kim Duvall
    Kim Duvall

    Playing Doctor: Gluten Intolerance When the Tests Are Negative

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Spring 2009 Issue. NOTE: This article is from a back issue of our popular subscription-only paper newsletter. Some content may be outdated.

    Playing Doctor: Gluten Intolerance When the Tests Are Negative - Moment of discovery! Image: CC BY 2.0--Jonas Stocker
    Caption: Moment of discovery! Image: CC BY 2.0--Jonas Stocker

    Celiac.com 06/05/2020 - Bored in a doctor’s waiting room, my husband started picking through the usual magazines.  The choices were slim and the chance of reading anything useful even slimmer.  He didn’t need to know how to eliminate cellulite in 7 days or the best recipe for chicken tetrazzini.  He wasn’t interested in whether Jennifer Aniston was over Brad Pitt.  One magazine looked somewhat respectable, maybe even educational.  He flipped through and stopped at an article.

    And that’s when it happened.  My medical mystery began to unravel.

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    Twenty years of fluctuating symptoms and ill health, unexplained (or misdiagnosed) by five internists, five psychiatrists, five psychologists, four rheumatologists, four primary care physicians, two gastroenterologists, two gynecologists, two nurse practitioners, two neurologists, two family doctors, one allergist, one immunologist, four MRIs, three biopsies, three ultrasounds, two surgeries, two CT Scans, one endoscopy, one EMG, one EEG, one EKG, and too many blood tests to count, and my husband of great brilliance but no medical training suggested what no one else had.

    The article was about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.  He said it sounded like me.  I knew a bit about celiac disease, and I had shopped in health food stores since my teens, passing by gluten-free items for years.  Sure, wheat might be bad for some folks, but surely not for me.  I was a “health food nut.” I ate my whole grains by the handful: whole wheat pasta, whole wheat cookies, whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereal.  The more fiber, the better.  Next to me, rabbits looked fiber-deficient.  Besides, I had chronic constipation (except for the month-long stretches of diarrhea), so I needed all that fiber.  Whole wheat was a “health food.” Spelt, triticale, kamut, barley, steel cut oats—bring ’em on!

    Despite my “healthy” diet, each year brought worsening health.  (One doctor told me to expect it, as I had recently turned 30.) Fatigue and flu-like pain were the symptoms that bothered me most, not to discount the years of major depression.  Night sweats and abnormal menstrual periods certainly seemed like hormonal problems, but the doctors had no answers.  Nerve pain was not fun, but I got used to the stinging, burning shocks that would attack my legs randomly.  If people were around, I would play it off as a bug bite or mosquito.  They bought it.

    My stomach problems would show up for about a year at a time and then stop on their own.  The prescription drugs I was given for acid reflux and slow motility had some effect, but they didn’t address the feeling that a bony alien was pushing its way through my stomach and intestines, scratching its way through with jagged nails on its hands and feet.  The meds also didn’t address the pain that spiked when I would yawn or inhale and that radiated into my right shoulder.

    When the involuntary twitches and jerks in my legs, arms, and back began, I feared multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.  Maybe even Huntington’s disease.  Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good.  The jerks happened when I was still.  My legs would fly up off the recliner foot-rest, or my upper back would arch and toss me forward over my desk and keyboard.  Disturbing stuff.  It became more frequent over time and more severe in intensity.  I wondered if an exorcism was in my future.  

    My body seemed to have a “tag team” approach to fighting whatever was making me sick.  I remember one spring when the fatigue and muscle aches latched on.  No other symptoms—just tremendous fatigue and muscle aches.  About two months later, both lifted quite noticeably over a 24-hour period.  I woke up the following morning pain free and with a decent amount of energy.

    I also woke up with large red welts on my neck.  As my fingers tried to get a sense of their shape and reach, they began to itch.  And swell.  Badly.  I started my shower and hoped they would fade, but the hot water made them itch more, grow larger, and spread.  A few days later, they covered my torso, buttocks, and thighs.  At their peak, they found their way to my chin, lips, and eyelids.  They itched worse than chicken pox and weren’t much prettier.  The hives continued for several months, weakly responding to medication.  At their end, they were written off by my doctor as idiopathic urticaria—hives for an unknown reason.  I was happy to see them go.

    A couple days later, sans hives, I found myself standing at my boss’s office door, whispering the reason why I needed to go home.  I didn’t feel sick, and I didn’t look sick, but she agreed that ten episodes of diarrhea before noon was good enough reason to leave.  The pattern continued for 6 weeks.  I wasn’t surprised that it ended when the fatigue started up again.

    After my husband told me about the article on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, I started my research.  Sure enough, it did sound like me.  The symptoms on most of the celiac disease websites matched my own, with one exception—the involuntary jerks or “myoclonus.” This was the symptom that concerned me the most.  It wasn’t as debilitating as the fatigue and flu-like pain but was equally worrisome and much scarier.  I kept researching.  If gluten was the culprit, not only would I have an explanation for the jerks, but I could be as good as cured—of all of it.

    With a few more days of research in a scientific journal database (I wanted hard evidence) I found the connection I sought.  Gluten had been found to be the cause of several neurological disorders, including myoclonus, and many other neurological disorders were proven to respond to a gluten-free diet.

    I announced to my husband that I would go gluten-free for a year.  Some symptoms and disorders, the research said, could take 6 months to a year to reverse.  Myoclonus might not reverse ever.  I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and requested the celiac disease panel of blood tests.  Regardless of the results, I would go gluten-free for a year, but I wanted to be tested for celiac disease first.  My husband and I had watched the diagnoses and suspected diagnoses come and go over the years.  This one we felt good about.  

    I kept eating my gluten-laden “health foods” until the day of the blood test.  I wanted to make sure those antibodies showed themselves to whoever was looking for them.  It was the most giddy I’ve been for a blood test.  I drove home from the lab with a large bruised lump in the crook of my left arm—a symbol, a battle scar from a long fight.

    That evening, I began a strict gluten-free diet.  My cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer had undergone a transformation—my bathroom drawers, too.  I had contacted lipstick makers and toothpaste companies.  I was ready to be gluten-free.

    What I wasn’t prepared for was the dramatic change that started in a matter of days.  My stomach problems were the first to respond.  My intestines were quiet—simply quiet.  For anyone who has struggled with gastrointestinal issues, a sense of quiet and calm in one’s torso is a blessed thing.  By the end of the week, the jerks had stopped.  And within one week, to my happy amazement, the fatigue was gone.  Gone.  I love saying it.  The fatigue was (and still is) gone.

    Two weeks later, free of fatigue, muscle pain, muscle weakness, night sweats, brain fog, confusion, depression, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, involuntary muscle jerks, stuttering, shortness of breath, dizziness, irritability, nerve pain, hives, intestinal distress, acid reflux, and bloating, I returned to my doctor to learn the results of the test.  Before she could tell me the results, I described my remarkable recovery, beaming.  She seemed happy for me and reached for her laptop, showing me the lab results.  The lab ran the first part of the test, which was negative, and because it was negative, the other parts of the test weren’t necessary, she explained.  So the lab techs stopped there.  At the bottom of the page was a section for my doctor’s comments.  She had written “No gluten intolerance.” She went on to say that my reaction to the gluten-free diet might be from removing the carbohydrates, sugars, and starches that came with those foods.  I smiled.  I hadn’t done the math, but I was reasonably sure there were carbs, sugars, and starches in my brown rice pasta, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free cereal, brown-rice tortillas, potato-flour bread, and so on.  It was clear that she was speaking from the standpoint of traditional western medicine.  There was no point arguing.  She could see my improvement for herself, and I could only hope she would remember it if other patients asked whether a gluten-free diet could help them.

    For so many years, I held out for a diagnosis, desperate to find the cause of my ill health so that I could properly address it.  Even if the news was devastating, at least I would know what was going on in my body and what I was facing.  At least I would know that I was not going crazy and that it was not my imagination that something was, indeed, wrong with me.  For years, I experienced the emotional crash when test after test came back negative.  “You’re fine!” the doctors would say, as if that was supposed to make me fine and wipe away my symptoms.  

    I now see that the test results were needless and the celiac disease panel a mere formality.  My dramatic and profound response to the gluten-free diet is hard evidence that I am gluten intolerant.

    I had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, major depression, bipolar depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and idiopathic urticaria.  I have been tested for and suspected of having Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, myasthenia gravis, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and HIV.  These are the ones I can remember, anyway.  I still have some tender points in my muscles that are typical of fibromyalgia, but as long as no one pushes on these points—like a rheumatologist during an exam—I am asymptomatic for fibromyalgia.

    I would bet I am not so unique and that others can relate to my experiences.  Whether the medical community responds to the lifelong research that many of us have done, using ourselves as guinea pigs, is not known.  The more important lesson is that for anyone who still suffers from undiagnosed symptoms, regardless of what he or she has been told by doctors and regardless of what the lab results say, adhering to a gluten-free diet may be the answer.  Husband 1, Doctors zip.

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    On 6/5/2020 at 10:43 PM, Guest The mind is powerful said:

    Psychosomatic.. Ever consider that?  People who focus on diet often create their own conditions.  Or else you just ignore medical science (the tests) and believe what you want to believe.

    My experience was just like her without all the testing and doctors. A Google search help me find the answer from people like her. My DNA test indicate that I have two genes that code for gluten sensitivity; all my medical problems went away by going gluten free do you thing that all these problems were Psychosomatic?  

    1-      Irregularity.                                   13- Lack of bladder control

    2-      Intestinal noise.                             14- Light sensitivity

    3-      Irregular stool.                              15- Dandruff/itchy scalp

    4-      Tooth enamel defects.                  16- Lack of sleep

    5-      Rash in upper arms.                      17- Frequents ear infections.

    6-      Abdominal swelling.                     18- Formative tissues in eyes

    7-      Depression.                                   19- calcium malabsorption  

    8-      Fatigue.                                         20- High blood pressure

    9-      Irritability.                                     21- Abnormal heart palpitations

    10-  Lactose intolerance.                      22- Muscle spasm

    11-  Loss of memory.                           23- Joints pain

    12-  Canker sores/ Mouth ulcers.         24- Urge to commit suicide

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    On 6/5/2020 at 10:43 PM, Guest The mind is powerful said:

    Psychosomatic.. Ever consider that?  People who focus on diet often create their own conditions.  Or else you just ignore medical science (the tests) and believe what you want to believe.

    Sounds like you are a follower of what Dr. Hyman calls the "name it, blame it and tame it" school of medicine.  I believe we stand now on the hinge point between that approach and the more systemic, complicated approach of functional medicine.  

    I too "flunked" the gluten tolerance test.  But after seeing that 2 months into a gluten free diet I was not anemic for the first time since age 4 AND that all my rheumatoid factor tests dropped from sky high IgG, moderately high IgM and  mildly high IgA  to what one subsequent hematologist called "boring," then every doctor agrees that GTT test or no, I have Celiac.  My road to diagnosis was not as truncated, but still similar to what is described above.  After a friend nagged me into trying a gluten free diet, within days -- if not hours! --  my energy levels soared!  And now, if I accidentally consume gluten (my husband's favorite local restaurant is not strict about what they label as gluten-free) then, despite having coped with what to me is a  poison as best as possible for so many years, its as if my whole GI tract has a tantrum!  "No, NO NO, we will NOT put up with this again!  Get it out!  Now.  Vomit and diarrhea!  We will NOT put up with this crap invading our system any more!  WE thought the brain had finally got the message!  Well, we'll show it.  Who cares if the brain becomes "embarrassed.  We'll teach it a lesson.  GET THAT STUFF OUT NOW!"  

    And there I go.  Telling the waiter that " I am going to step into the parking lot now with my grocery bag so that my retching will not upset other customers.  And, No, don't bother bagging my food.  But meet me in the parking lot with the check and I'll pay from there."  (Then the manager came out, apologized and acknowledged that other customers had accused them of not honestly listing  which selections are gluten free.  And no, you don't have to pay for diinner.  They are sorry.

    So .... is that reaction to a food which I did not know others had "pscychosomatically" reacted to or more evidence of psychosomatism?  

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    My journey was just like hers except it was only 18 months long.  I was dying and I knew it.  I was down to 90 ibs and couldn't walk.  After five doctors, and all the tests every Dr. had nothing to say except lets do the tests over again.   I finally told then all to take a long walk off a short pier and I did what they all said ot to do, I put myself on a gluten-free diet.  Within one week, same resuls, stomach pain and gurgling gone, diarrhea and vomiting gone.  Now I just had to figure out how to gain weight.  It took a nutritionist to help me with that but I eventually gained weight and have been well ever since.  Doctors don't know it all, at best they know what they have been taught in medical school by the doctors and professors who don't know it all.  You have to do it by youself.  

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    On 6/5/2020 at 10:43 PM, Guest The mind is powerful said:

    Psychosomatic.. Ever consider that?  People who focus on diet often create their own conditions.  Or else you just ignore medical science (the tests) and believe what you want to believe.

    Your comment is reflective of what doctors and others do to us.  NO ONE understands celiacs or gluten intolerance.  Over time, maybe the medical community will finally get up to speed.

    I have both genes for celiacs but didn't have the antibodies.  I quit eating gluten for 6-months before they did the endoscopy (big mistake but I had constant diarrhea and couldn't leave the house) so my test came back negative.

    Finding this site was a God send.  I read about what others are going through with their symptoms and mine matched a majority of those who have celiacs.  I have come to realize that my health is in my own hands, even in the face of others' judgement.


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    There are some people who flunk the blood antibodies tests but still have celiac disease.  I think it's about 10% of tested people.  There are also people with DH (dermatitis herpetiformis) that are best tested by a skin biopsy, not the endoscopy.  DH is a skin condition that only people with celiac disease get.

    There are many more people with gluten intolerance than people with celiac disease.  While they don't have testing for gluten intolerance, there is a theory that some cases of it are related to certain sugars.

    About 30% of people in the USA have at least one of the major genes for celiac disease.  Not all 30% will develop celiac though.  Although any person with the gene or genes could develop celiac at any time of life.  The celiac genes are also associated with other AI (auto-immune) conditions.  So people with AI conditions in their family may have the celiac genes.

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    I just got my blood test results and It was negative...: I’m so confused. I straight up cried. I know I can’t have gluten. I have terrible symptoms when I eat it . Like I went back to eating gluten for a week and I gained 15 pounds !!! In a week ?!!??! When I don’t eat gluten I feel soooo much better. I’m going to see a gastroenterologist soon: I’m hoping for resolution.

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    2 hours ago, Augustus said:

    I just got my blood test results and It was negative...: I’m so confused. I straight up cried. I know I can’t have gluten. I have terrible symptoms when I eat it . Like I went back to eating gluten for a week and I gained 15 pounds !!! In a week ?!!??! When I don’t eat gluten I feel soooo much better. I’m going to see a gastroenterologist soon: I’m hoping for resolution.

    Blood and biopsy will be negative if you are gluten free. To get a formal diagnosis you need to go back to eating gluten daily for at least 6 weeks for blood tests and at least 2 weeks minimum for the biopsy. That said if you know gluten makes you ill only you can decide if a challenge for diagnosis is worth the pain.

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    8 hours ago, Augustus said:

    I just got my blood test results and It was negative...: I’m so confused. I straight up cried. I know I can’t have gluten. I have terrible symptoms when I eat it . Like I went back to eating gluten for a week and I gained 15 pounds !!! In a week ?!!??! When I don’t eat gluten I feel soooo much better. I’m going to see a gastroenterologist soon: I’m hoping for resolution.

    You eat gluten and feel ill, you don't eat gluten and feel well; what other clues are you looking for to realize that you have a gluten problem? My blood test was negative! That did not changed the fact that gluten was the problem. I don't have the gene that code for Celia but I have two genes that code for gluten sensitivity.  I eat very well, been on a gluten free diet since 2009, became a very good cook since I like to see what goes into my food. You can live happy on a gluten free diet so you will be ok.

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    Very similar symptoms here except I didn't have the neurological problems. Thank you for sharing your story. I am told that since I don't have celiac that I can eat gluten, it won't kill me. However it sure feels like it will! Hearing similar stories helps me know that I am not the only one dealing with it. 

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    Thank you for this post. I started experiencing weird symptoms starting around age 19. Fast forward to today, I'm 31 and have been going through the same exact experience as you. So many tests - not as many as you but I had an endoscopy that made the doc think I had Celiacs - something was off (inflammation of the esophogus, stomach, and small intestines). It was the best feeling though, becuase it was the first test that showed something was wrong. I had bad heartburn, stomach issues, depression & fatigue (although I've had major fatigue for most of my life coupled with depression), joint pain, pins and needles/ losing feelings in my arms and legs easily. When I was younger I had bad "growing pains" - waking up in the middle of the night with joint pain in knees that radiated down to my ankle. I got my blood test and it was negative for Celiacs. I went off gluten anyway and in 2 days I was feeling 80% better. My heartburn is still slightly there but I've had it for almost 2 years so I assume it may take more time for the inflammation to go down. However, I cut my heartburn medication down by 3/4's and it's a MAJOR improvement. Only taking 20 mg's instead of 80mg per day. My stomach pain completely and utterly disappeared. My energy levels were up I would say about 75%. That is probably what I'm most happy about. I can be present again.

    I tested going back on gluten just the other day after being off it for a month. Surely enough, the next day I woke up and felt like I drank a bottle of wine the night prior. It feels like a hangover! Tired, brain fog, bloated, and just depressed. Not wanting to get out of bed. Poor performance in a demanding job. Just frustrating. I stayed on gluten for a couple of days just to see if it did not let up. You guessed it. Super tired, bloating, then diarrhea came back and I stopped the gluten then. Going to be off it most likely forever now. 

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It has really helped me because as you said, we feel crazy - when multiple doctors tell you they don't see any evidence and loved ones raise an eyebrow when you tell them you don't feel well. It's sharing these articles that help us realize we should not feel poorly about ourselves and that there are other going through it as well. So, thank you!

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    Hi - I was tested last year after a second degree family member was diagnosed as positive. I did loads of research and all the symptoms I've been experiencing for years were there. I ticked all the boxes. I've been treated for anemia on and off for a good few years after having it put down to heavy periods, but I've had a coil now for three years, with periods pretty much non existent and I still pop ferrous sulphate as I recognise the signs of low iron. My diet is really good, so I don't feel I'm lacking in any area, yet I always feel tired, have no energy, sometimes find it hard to concentrate. The enamel on my teeth is very thin. I get very bloated and have excessive trips to the toilet in recent years. I wondered if it was just down to eating better and being more 'regular' but my stools have floated for years, which I read can be an indicator on malabsorption. I've had joint pain in my elbows for a few years, but just put it down to getting older. I also get a lot of headaches. I sit in front of a PC all day, so put it down to that, but maybe that chocolate bar on an afternoon as a treat, after a cheese sandwich for lunch wasn't helping.  

    Anyway - long story short - the test was negative. I was convinced that it would be positive. Then I wondered if I'd not been consuming enough gluten which might have affected the result as I'd already cut back on having too much bread. But - it's a blood test - it must be right... right? I was also tested for thyroid, diabetes, iron. My iron was the low normal range, but I'd been taking iron tablets over the Christmas period, so that may have inadvertently boosted my levels, when I may have actually been anemic again. 

    Anyway a year later and after starting to break out in hives middles of last year, which I've been getting at least two or three times a week since then - the doctors said it must be food allergy/intolerance and just told me to take anti-histamines! That's not going to work for me. So... I've decided to take the step of cutting out dairy and gluten and to keep a really detailed food diary. I cut out dairy two weeks before gluten and felt okay with that. Then the gluten withdrawal kicked in after about a week. Huge headaches, with pain in my elbows which was worse than any of the niggles I've had in previous years. I felt s$#& and still do feel pretty rubbish - it's been about three weeks being off gluten - five for dairy. But I'm persevering as it's the only way I'm going to know for certain what is going on. I've read that the blood tests for celiac aren't always reliable, but the doctors seemed to just dismiss it so quickly. I had a scan on my ovaries to make sure there was nothing else untoward going on and that was all normal. I'm trying to be patient as I've read it can take a while for the body to settle and I've had a couple of things which I forgot contained gluten, so that won't help either. But this has to be the best way to test it myself. Apart from the awful headaches last weekend, I've not really had any since then and my joints have settled down. I've had a bit of achy elbow joint today but I ate a samosa on Saturday evening totally forgetting it might contain gluten. As I type this, I can also feel my right foot itching, so I know there's an attack of the hives coming back. Coincidence? I also have tingly arms and fingers today. I initially put down to a trapped nerve from gently lifting some light weights this morning, but might that be something else? 

    If I find that there is a massive reduction in all my symptoms and that by reintroducing it and it makes me feel horrendous, then I'll go back to my doctors with the evidence and discuss next steps, but for now... it's nice to know there are others going through the same thing.

    I guess one question I have that I can't seem to find anything about online, is that if by withdrawing gluten and things like achy joints becoming ten-fold worse, might that indicate that I do have either celiac or gluten intolerance?? I mean, the pain was bad enough for me to drop things - I can only imagine that's why full arthritis feels like. I've never experienced it like that before. I was also averaging three or four 'longer' trips to the bathroom every day last week. Could that be an indicator that my body does indeed react to gluten in a negative way and now I'm not feeding it gluten, it's manifesting itself at the weakest points and making those particular conditions worse.

    Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated, to let me know I'm not actually going mad! Thank you. 

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  • About Me

    Kim Duvall

    Kim Duvall is the Editorial Manager, Neurosurgery at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 10/09/2017 - New trial data suggests that the probiotic strains Lactobacillus plantarum Heal 9 and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 may provide support for the immune system and delay the onset of gluten intolerance in children.
    The findings, recently presented at the International Celiac Disease Symposium in New Delhi, suggest that Probi's patented probiotic strains have a 'surprisingly consistent' effect on suppressing coeliac autoimmunity and may delay the onset of the disease in children who are genetically pre-disposed to the condition.
    "To our knowledge this is the first time a probiotic study has been performed on this specific population and the results show immune-supporting properties of these probiotics as well as a potential preventive effect on the development of celiac disease," said Dr Daniel Agardh of Lund University.
    Agardh and colleagues identified and recruited 78 children with a genetic pre-disposition to coeliac disease. The children were as a subpopulation in a multinational and multiyear autoimmunity study with thousands of children.
    The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial lasted six months and found that disease-related antibodies were significantly reduced in the probiotic group and significantly increased in the placebo group during the course of the study.
    Results show that the probiotic strains had a suppressing effect on celiac autoimmunity and may delay the onset of the disease – with tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (tTGA) decreased in the treatment group, but increased in the placebo group.
    In addition, several significant differences were observed between the groups on a cellular level indicating that the probiotic may counteract coeliac disease-associated ongoing immunological and inflammatory response.
    "This is an excellent example of a well working collaboration between academia and the industry" commented Probi CEO Peter Nählstedt.
    "We see a growing interest in children's probiotics and these results enable Probi to build a product platform for children."
    Read more at: Nutraingredients.com

    Dr. Vikki Petersen D.C, C.C.N
    Celiac.com 03/29/2018 - Fatigue is the most common symptom plaguing a majority of patients. Trouble sleeping, weight issues, PMS, headaches, fertility or libido issues, and achy joints are also very common and can all be affected by hormonal imbalance that continues after gluten has been removed from the diet.  The trouble with trying to resolve such symptoms is that the root cause can vary. If every patient with fatigue had a thyroid problem, it would be easy to correct because we would know exactly where to look. 
    If you're gluten intolerant you may have suffered from some of the complaints listed above prior to discovering your celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But perhaps now, despite your gluten-free diet, some of these same symptoms continue to plague you.  If so, read on.
    Let's review the list of symptoms and add a few more:
    Fatigue Trouble sleeping Weight trouble PMS Migraines Infertility or miscarriage Achy joints or muscles Allergies Light headedness Frequent illness Asthma While the list is long, believe it or not, there is a common cause to all of them.  I'm not saying it's the only cause, but what I do wish to discuss is the reason why someone can be found gluten intolerant, successfully institute a gluten-free diet, yet continue to suffer from many of the above symptoms.
    There are two glands in your body called the adrenal glands. They sit atop each of your kidneys and they are the masters of multi-tasking! If I asked you if one part of your body was responsible for:
    Giving you energy, maintaining your weight, keeping your immune system strong, maintaining stable mood, anti-aging, controlling sleep quality, assisting with hormonal balance, keeping allergies at bay and more…what would you say? 
    You might think to yourself that if there was one type of body part responsible for all those things then you had better start treating it well! You'd be very right in your analysis.
    As you've probably guessed the aforementioned adrenal glands are responsible for that very long list and, unfortunately, those very same adrenal glands tend to be quite stressed in the gluten intolerant individual.
    Why? Because adrenal glands are sensitive to, and get very stressed with, unstable blood sugar. Stable blood sugar comes from eating healthy food that your body finds nourishing. As you well know if you're gluten intolerant, gluten, for you, is a poison. Therefore years of eating gluten created unstable blood sugar and thereby put a tremendous strain on your adrenal glands.
    Because of the many, many jobs that the adrenal glands do, simply removing gluten as a stressor is typically insufficient to restore them to normal function. They need to be 're-set' with a nutritional and dietary program, to restore their good health. This explains why many who are gluten intolerant continue to suffer with the symptoms mentioned above.
    Therefore, even if your gluten intolerance has been diagnosed and you've instituted a strict gluten-free diet, if you haven't also found a clinician who understands and specializes in restoring health and function to the adrenal glands, you may very well continue to suffer with symptoms associated with adrenal stress.
    The good news is that the treatment to normalize adrenal function is not at all difficult. It is a completely natural program, when done correctly, involving no dangerous drugs or surgery. There are lab tests to determine the level of adrenal malfunction occurring but these are functional specialized lab tests rather than traditional ones. I mention this because I want to ensure that there is no confusion created when I mention adrenal function lab testing.
    The adrenal glands can become diseased but the disease isn't common. If you ask your traditional doctor to test for adrenal malfunction he or she will test for adrenal disease – once again a rare occurrence – and will likely pronounce your adrenal glands 'fine'. What I am discussing is malfunction vs. disease, two very different conditions. While adrenal gland disease is rare, adrenal gland malfunction is extremely common. It is this latter condition that we are discussing here. 
    This is an important distinction because I want to make sure that if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue that you aren't given a 'clean bill of health' incorrectly. Unfortunately this happens often. If it took you a while to receive a diagnosis of gluten intolerance then you will understand this phenomenon. Sadly this area of health is fraught with misunderstanding and it is the patient who suffers, often unnecessarily.
    If you need any help finding a clinician to help you, feel free to contact me. Normalizing adrenal function is one of our areas of expertise and patients visit us for treatment, at our destination clinic, from across the country, as well as internationally. If we cannot find a clinician close to you that specializes in this then we are more than happy to see you here. The good news is that the treatment is natural and inexpensive.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

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