Celiac.com 12/26/2010 - Should everyone with symptoms of celiac disease go on a gluten-free diet? Current practice allows many patients with symptoms of celiac disease, but no gut damage, and thus no official diagnosis, to forgo a gluten-free diet.
In a new study, researchers found that people with celiac disease symptoms have the same distinctive metabolic fingerprint as patients with full-blown disease, and who must follow a gluten-free diet to avoid permanent damage to the gut.
Their research shows that people currently diagnosed as "potential" celiac disease patients and not advised to follow a gluten-free diet may not be "potential" patients at all.
Celiac disease is widely regarded as undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. For their study, the researchers used magnetic resonance metabolic profiling to analyze the biochemical markers in the blood and urine of 61 patients with celiac disease, 29 with potential celiac disease, and 51 healthy people.
The researchers found that people with unproven celiac disease largely shared the same profile as those with confirmed celiac disease and that the biochemical markers in both groups differed sharply from those of healthy individuals.
The researchers conclude that their findings "demonstrate that metabolic alterations may precede the development of small intestinal villous atrophy and provide a further rationale for early institution of gluten-free diet in patients with potential celiac disease, as recently suggested by prospective clinical studies."
The authors do note receiving funding from Boehringer Ingelheim Italy.