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What Happens to Kids with Potential Celiac Disease Who Eat Gluten?

Celiac.com 09/03/2014 - What’s potential celiac disease, and what happens to kids who have it and continue to eat a gluten-containing diet?

Researchers define potential celiac disease as the presence of serum anti-tissue-transglutaminase (anti-TG2) antibodies with normal duodenal mucosa. That is, a positive blood screen, but no intestinal damage. However, not much is known about potential celiac disease because people who have it often show no obvious symptoms. Patients with potential celiac disease present some challenges for doctors trying to determine how likely it is that these patients will develop villous atrophy, the gut damage common in celiac disease patients exposed to gluten.

Photo: CC--Chad MillerA research team conducted a prospective longitudinal cohort study to follow patients with potential celiac disease up to 9 years, and explore the risk factors tied to mucosal damage. The research team included Renata Auricchio MD, PhD, Antonella Tosco MD, Emanuela Piccolo MD, Martina Galatola PhD, Valentina Izzo PhD, Mariantonia Maglio PhD, Francesco Paparo PhD, Riccardo Troncone MD, PhD, and Luigi Greco MD, PhD. They are affiliated with the Department of Medical Translational Science, European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food Induced Disease (ELFID), University Federico II, Naples, Italy.

For their study, the team found two hundred and ten asymptomatic children with potential celiac disease. They kept 175 of them on a gluten-containing diet. To evaluate histological, immuno-histochemical, and anti-TG2 status, they checked blood antibody levels and clinical symptoms every 6 months, and took a small bowel biopsy every two years. They also genotyped all patients for HLA and non-HLA celiac-associated genes.

Forty-three percent of patients showed persistently elevated anti-TG2 levels, 20% became negative during follow-up, and 37% showed variations in anti-TG2 course, with many patients testing at zero anti-TG2.

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After three years of follow-up, 86% of study patients continued to have potential celiac disease. After 6 and 9 years, respectively, 73% and 67% of study patients still had normal duodenal structure.

Individuals prone to develop mucosal damage during the test period were predominantly male, had slight mucosal inflammation at study’s start, and fit a peculiar genetic profile.

Nine years after follow-up, a large number of patients with asymptomatic potential celiac disease showed reduced antibody production, many even showing zero production, and many of these, with persistently positive anti-TG2, showed no mucosal damage.

Given the results of this study, and noting that the celiac population is in fact made up of numerous individuals with diverse genetic and phenotypic makeup, the researchers are advising doctors to be cautious in prescribing a strict lifelong gluten-free diet for asymptomatic individuals with potential celiac disease.

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8 Responses:

 
Richard Duvall
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said this on
08 Sep 2014 3:31:52 PM PDT
I'm wondering if the phrase "researchers are advising doctors to be cautious in prescribing a strict lifelong gluten-free diet for asymptomatic individuals with potential celiac disease" means they should be cautious by prescribing a GFD although it may make no difference, or does it mean doctors should be cautious before prescribing a diet that will be a lifelong burden to someone who may not need it?

 
Diane
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said this on
08 Sep 2014 3:36:00 PM PDT
The next question is: What happens to those same people at age 20, age 30, age 40, etc. Are they more or less likely to develop full-blown CD?

 
Michael
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said this on
08 Sep 2014 6:23:53 PM PDT
The doctors who recommend these children continue to eat gluten are woefully ignorant and dangerous to society, because they have no clue that all organs will eventually become targets of the immune systems of those with anti tTG, as will those of their children and their children. The central nervous systems and endocrine systems are more vulnerable and more often the target of the gluten sensitive immune systems than the intestinal mucosa.

 
Martina
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said this on
20 Sep 2014 3:23:50 AM PDT
Couldn't agree more!

 
ginny
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said this on
03 Jul 2015 8:07:39 PM PDT
I have CD and hardly ever ate gluten before finding out and had a lot of organ issues !!!

 
celiacMom
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said this on
10 Sep 2014 8:51:57 AM PDT
Seems like good research, hope they do more like this to keep knowledge moving forward.

 
Robin
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said this on
11 Sep 2014 9:26:21 PM PDT
Too bad this is not written in everyday English that the average layman can understand. Those of us with children who have celiac would like to learn something helpful to contribute to our children's good health.

 
Jefferson
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said this on
16 Sep 2014 8:44:22 AM PDT
If your child actually has celiac disease, then this article is not relevant to their health or medical condition. As for your level of comprehension, other "laymen" readers and those making comments don't seem to have the same problem, but keep reading such articles, and perhaps you will learn to understand them better.




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I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue. I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years. Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got. Feed dust everywhere. Total mess. Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems. Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough. His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free. I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two). At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!) But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure. And doctors state side that are worth seeing? Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?

Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease. They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD. You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal". Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today. Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free. It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac. I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis. I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows? Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South. I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not. I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!

I don't know what you drank or where.... so here are a few thoughts. - sure, a dive bar might have dirty glasses and serve a cocktail in a beer glass? But a nice reminder place, with a dishwasher, should be fine. If it's a sketchy place, Stick to wine, then it's served in wine glasses that aren't used for beer or bottled ciders in the bottle. - ciders on tap might, just a slight chance, have an issue. Because of beer on tap, mixed up lines, etc. - you may have a problem with alcohol - you may have issues with The high sugar content of the drink. I know I have similar issues if I drink serveral ciders of extra sugary brands - are you positive it was a gluten-free drink? Not this " redds Apple" pretending to be a cider - it's beer with apple flavor. Or one of those " gluten removed " beers?

Hi Stephanie, I'm also from the UK, I've found this site more helpful than anything we have! As already mentioned above, in my experience it could depend on what and where you were drinking. Gluten free food and drink isn't always (not usually) 100% gluten free as you may know, maybe you have become more sensitive to even a trace of gluten that is probably in gluten free food/drink. Is it possible you have a problem with corn, particularly high fructose corn syrup that is in a lot of alcoholic drinks? This was a big problem for me and the only alcoholic drinks I can tolerate are William Chase vodka and gin. I contacted the company last year and all their drinks are 100% gluten and corn free, made the old fashioned way with no additives, so maybe try their products if you like the occasional drink and see how you get on. If you drink out, not many pubs sell their products but I know Wetherspoons do and smaller wine bars may too. l was never a spirit drinker but I must say their products are absolutely lovely! Very easy on a compromised gut too considering it's alcohol. I second the suggestion on seeing a natural health practitioner. I've recently started seeing a medical herbalist, as I've got nowhere with my now many food intolerances since going gluten free last year and I've noticed a difference in my health already.

Sorry for the very late reply and thanks for the replies, I didn't get a notification of any. In case anyone else comes across this and has been wondering the same as I was, I did try a vegetable broth and I did react to it in the same way as if I'd eaten the vegetables. As for the candida, I've been using coconut oil and am seeing a medical herbalist for this and leaky gut. It's only been a few weeks but I've noticed an improvement all round.