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Redbard52

Does Sensitivity Increase With Time Since Gluten Free?

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I've recently heard a couple of people with Celiac's disease state that you will become more sensitive to trace amounts of gluten the longer you have been on a gluten free diet.  Has that been proven by testing or is that just how "some people react"?

 

I was diagnosed 2 years ago and I try to maintain a gluten free diet.  I do react to severe glutenings but I am not overly sensitive to trace amounts of gluten.  Will I become more sensitive to trace amounts of gluten over time?

 

Redbeard52

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I don't know where they get that either. I think it's just their experience. I think I am less sensitive, too. To me, that makes more sense.

I find that people that on a forum like this are either new or still having problems. There are a few exceptions, like me. But most Celiacs that are doing well, don't post on these forums. So I think we see people with more problems than if we randomly asked 100 Celiacs the question. If that makes sense?

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It has been shown by testing:

 

From the Journal of Gastrointestinal and LIver Diseases:

"Patients with consistent GFD adherence experience a SRDG faster and more severe in comparison to prior gluten exposure possibly demonstrating an adept immunological response."

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24369320

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My reactions to trace amounts of gluten were more noticeable though probably not much worse right after going gluten free, but after I finally managed to stay gluten free for a few months without any accidents, my reactions to the minutia actually decreased.

Early on, small amounts of gluten would cause a cycle of moodiness, headache, and then fatigue that would take a few days to get through. Now I just get really tired the next day. It is still bad enough that I don't take risks, but definitely not as frustrating as early on.

But I would not consider myself to be super sensitive.

That said, my reactions to a full-on glutening (only happened once) was different, and in some ways worse than my reactions before going gluten free. It took a while for symptoms to appear, taking turns over the course of a few days and I did not get the full-on digestive reaction. The ramp up into a reaction was slow enough that I never did figure out exactly what day I did it. But worse was having an all-over body pain that took weeks to abate and that I had never experienced before. I suppose I could have had a virus and it was just a coincidence that I accidentally glutened myself at the same time, but it was bad enough that I'm certainly not going to experiment to see if it would happen if I ate gluten again.

Prior to figuring out that gluten was a problem for me, I had unknowingly been going in and out of being gluten free without even realizing it. I finally figured things out because I injured myself and suddenly started eating out a lot. Though it took about a month of eating gluten every day for my symptoms to slowly worsen to the point where my digestion was out of control, the symptoms were much worse than I had experienced at other times in my life when gluten was a constant, and the weight loss MUCH faster than. In my 20's I lost about 10 pounds a year with large amounts of gluten in my diet. In my 40s, I lost 10 pounds in a month. 

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It has been shown by testing:

 

From the Journal of Gastrointestinal and LIver Diseases:

"Patients with consistent GFD adherence experience a SRDG faster and more severe in comparison to prior gluten exposure possibly demonstrating an adept immunological response."

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24369320

Thank you for posting that - I searched for such papers and didn't find this. I guess I didn't use the correct search terms!

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I agree with nvsmom/nicole, I think people tend to notice it more easily.  But the main thing is that everyone is different, you just have to go with the flow :)

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Thanks for posting the paper from the Journal of Gastrointestinal and LIver Diseases. 

 

However, the conclusion is a little vague to me:

 

"Patients with consistent GFD adherence experience a SRDG faster and more severe in comparison to prior gluten exposure possibly demonstrating an adept immunological response."

 

Is the reference to "prior gluten exposure" referring to "prior exposure" before being diagnosed or prior exposures after being on a gluten free diet?  I think it means "before being diagnosed".

 

It may be that reactions are more severe relative to reactions prior to being diagnosed, but my real question is whether reactions will be more severe after being gluten free for five years vs two years?

 

Redbeard52

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Thanks for posting the paper from the Journal of Gastrointestinal and LIver Diseases. 

 

However, the conclusion is a little vague to me:

 

"Patients with consistent GFD adherence experience a SRDG faster and more severe in comparison to prior gluten exposure possibly demonstrating an adept immunological response."

 

Is the reference to "prior gluten exposure" referring to "prior exposure" before being diagnosed or prior exposures after being on a gluten free diet?  I think it means "before being diagnosed".

 

It may be that reactions are more severe relative to reactions prior to being diagnosed, but my real question is whether reactions will be more severe after being gluten free for five years vs two years?

 

Redbeard52

The full paper is available for free, and reading it will give you a better idea of what they mean.

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It may be that reactions are more severe relative to reactions prior to being diagnosed, but my real question is whether reactions will be more severe after being gluten free for five years vs two years?

 

Redbeard52

 

It really depends on the person. Some people never get an obvious symptoms, and others are bedridden.  The variation is huge.

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The full paper is available for free, and reading it will give you a better idea of what they mean.

The paper is not easy to follow (the "Conclusion" in the paper doesn't even say what the "Abstract Conclusion" says!), but I found the following statement:
 
"Thirty-six per cent of patients who regard themselves as fully adherent to a Gluten Free Diet, but encounter a non-purposeful/ accidental exposure to dietary gluten, report a greater severity of symptoms than symptoms they experienced prior to following a Gluten Free Diet on a consistent basis."
 
Thus it appears that they are comparing sensitivity due to accidental gluten exposures of people that are currently on a strict gluten-free diet relative to their sensitivity before they started a strict gluten-free diet. 
 
Thus, lacking any other studies, it seems to me that "it really depends on the person" as to whether gluten sensitivity changes over time while on a gluten free diet.

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