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lbd

Skin Absorption Of Gluten

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The point of starting this post was to give both sides of this issue a chance to back up their statements with real research references. I looked for research on both sides of this issue and could find nothing to back up either claim directly. I could find nothing backing up the claims that gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin because it is "too big" as is claimed on several websites or that it has to be ingested as has been claimed by several here. Conversely, I cannot find any research that shows that gluten is absorbed either. I did find lots of references to rather large molecules being carried into the body by carrier molecules and I did find a very interesting reference about how sodium lauryl sulfate (a common ingredient in most shampoos, etc) denature proteins. If gluten could be denatured by SLS, then is it possible it is changed enough structurally to allow absorption? I also found information that lipid (fat) carriers are very successful at carrying other molecules into the skin. Dermal patches often carry very large molecules into the skin and then systemically throughout the body (hormones and nicotine aren't much good if they just stay in the skin, are they?).

My point is that there should be a place on this forum, as there is on other forums, where people can talk in a civil manner to each other and discuss the science without being attacked or made to feel a fool if they mention what is happening to them. Part of being a good scientist is having an open mind. New discoveries are not made based on what has always been accepted. I teach my science students to question everything and question authority - sometimes those that claim to know the most know the least.

Do I know if one can get glutened by topical products? No, I don't and I would never presume to tell those that feel they are that it cannot be so, because there is NO research out there indicating one side or the other is correct! Do I know if the reactions they are having are autoimmune or allergy? Again, no clue. What I do know is that both are immune system responses. Perhaps the skin and gut react differently when threatened by a toxin. Both are open to the outside world and have to react quickly to threats. Celiac "disease" is defined as autoimmune, but I wonder if anyone has looked into whether the villi are destroyed or whether this is the body's final way of protecting itself against absorbing a toxin with the unfortunate side effects of not absorbing other nutrients? The point is, no one really knows, so how can any of us claim to be experts, including so-called celiac disease doctors! The research is just not there.

I am becoming more and more convinced that gluten is a toxin to everyone. Period. This arguing about who is more sick or more diagnosed or silent or whatever is ridiculous. We are all looking for answers that the research community is not willing to find right now and probably won't be until there is money involved. So the answer would seem to be to find what we can in the research that is out there, ignore all the claims by whoever that base their opinions on opinions, and get on with it.

Laurie

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We are all canaries. :)

I won't repeat what so many of you have eloquently expressed, I will only add that from my point of view those who are less sensitive might benefit from those of us who are more sensitive, they might trust that if we say there is a problem there is a problem. :lol:

Proof? There is no proof one way or the other, just as for many of us for years there was no proof that gluten was a problem, some of us have learned that sharing our actual experience is far more valuable than any study or supposed proof. I look around me and see many people who would benefit greatly from getting off gluten but they won't because there is no proof. :lol:

I touch bread, I make sandwiches every day for a crowd and I do not have a problem with it, I don't even think I would have a problem rubbing it all over my body :P but using dish washing soap with wheat germ oil that turned my hands red and painful, no.

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Perhaps the skin and gut react differently when threatened by a toxin. Both are open to the outside world and have to react quickly to threats. Celiac "disease" is defined as autoimmune, but I wonder if anyone has looked into whether the villi are destroyed or whether this is the body's final way of protecting itself against absorbing a toxin with the unfortunate side effects of not absorbing other nutrients? The point is, no one really knows, so how can any of us claim to be experts, including so-called celiac disease doctors! The research is just not there.

I am becoming more and more convinced that gluten is a toxin to everyone. Period.

Laurie, that is an amazing theory! We may never know if it's true or not (as you say, the research money just isn't there). But it wouldn't surprise me.

I, too, think gluten is poison for everyone, and I don't like calling "celiac" or "gluten intolerance" a disease. You wouldn't tell someone who's slowly being poisoned by arsenic that they've got "arsenic intolerance," would you? No, you'd tell them they'd been *poisoned* and then you'd get rid of the arsenic and treat the symptoms of the poisoning until they returned to full health! Same for people who are allergic to peanuts (I know, I know, it's an allergy, not an intolerance, but bear with me for the sake of the analogy) -- you don't tell them they have "peanut disease," you tell them to avoid peanuts and then treat the symptoms if they accidentally ingest peanuts.

I wasn't as sick as many people were when I went off gluten for good. But I saw what it did to my daughter, who was failing fast. Perhaps that makes me much more cautious than some people. But to me, it's just not worth taking the chance of using gluten-containing products in my home or on my body. Even if I hadn't been glutened by them (and I have), it's an unnecessary risk that easily can be eliminated just by buying gluten-free products.

Perhaps future research will show that we all could have been eating up to half-a-donut a day without "damaging" ourselves ... but perhaps future research will show that we achieve our best health only by being as 100% gluten-free as possible in as many ways as possible (including topical products).

Personally (and this is my choice and may not be yours), I'd rather err on the side of caution -- and I'm grateful for the fact that I react to tiny, tiny amounts, so that I can *know* when I'm potentially, possibly doing damage.

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I am becoming more and more convinced that gluten is a toxin to everyone. Period . . . So the answer would seem to be to . . . ignore all the claims by whoever that base their opinions on opinions, and get on with it.

You do realize, don't you, that you just urged all of us to ignore you? :D

Let's face it, IMO, tallgirl is the one who is being attacked. She is respectfully disagreeing with some opinions here that aren't based on fact (AKA peer-reviewed scientific studies) and she is being repeatedly told that she is 'attacking' people for her simple disagreement. I respectfully disagree - she hasn't attacked anyone. This forum is about expressing opinions and sharing information and that is all that is being done here. She is being attacked for merely relaying what most medical professionals feel about the topical ramifications of gluten. If we can't express the opinion of Dr. Green or the Mayo clinic then where does that leave us? I'm not sure how anyone reading this can tell if someone is angry but I am betting that no one is particularly incensed. It has been a good discussion.

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Do you have autoimmune issues other than the villi destruction that was found when you were diagnosed? For those of us who have multiple system impact including organs other than just the gut it is obvious that the autoimmune response has been triggered when it is.

I do agree with you that gluten is not absorbed by INTACT skin but the residue that is left behind by many soaps. lotions, shampoos etc is enough when it comes into contact with a mucous membrane either in the mouth, nose, eyes etc to set off the autoimmune reaction. There are varying levels of impact in those of us who have been diagnosed. Some were fortunate and got diagnosed before the body had time to attack organs other than the gut, some of us had antibodies attacking various other organs for many, many long and painful years before we knew we had celiac. I am one of the latter. The gut distress for me is only a small part of my reactions and in reality for me the least bothersome. The reappearance or flares of the other autoimmune issues like the arthritis and the movement and brain issues makes a glutening obvious and it takes very little gluten to bring them on.

It is best IMHO to be super strict at first so folks are able to tell their bodies reaction. It will differ IMHO depending on how much autoimmune issues are present for each individual.

I do not live my life in a box paranoid about even touching a door handle but I do take precautions like rinsing my hands and avoiding things I have an obvious reaction to but I really take offense at my actions being referred to as being 'crazy'. It is possible to give your opinion about matters without insulting others.

Ravenwoodglass, I can't offer any peer reviewed study of any kind, only my real life account. With regards to skin absorption, being an EE patient also, I had skin prick and patch testing done. This was done at Cincinnati Childrens hospital (they specialize in EE diagnosis and treatment). Long story short, they tested 28 different food items via patch testing on my back. Nothing was positive except for oats, They blistered me and after a couple of days actually bled and the wound took about 6 weeks to heal. I now have a permanent scar that looks like a cigar burn on my back. The Doctor that did the testing was very surprised and said he did not expect to see this. His nurse said it was the worst reaction she had seen in years. I actually had ringing in my ears and felt miserable (flu like symptoms) for at least a week after this. Now, The Doctor knew I had celiac and has now confirmed that I have ASE or Avinin Sensitive Enteropathy with a cross over reaction to wheat, barely and rye due to the closeness of the proteins and according to him, a very uncommon form of Celiac (I really have my doubts it is as rare as it is said to be). This reaction according to him, is a Type IV hypersensitivity mediated by T cell response reaction. This is what celiac is, a T cell mediated delayed response that causes the body to attack itself. Can the proteins be absorbed via the skin? Yep, sure can. Not sure why others think this is not possible.All the best, Mike

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Ravenwoodglass, I can't offer any peer reviewed study of any kind, only my real life account. With regards to skin absorption, being an EE patient also, I had skin prick and patch testing done. This was done at Cincinnati Childrens hospital (they specialize in EE diagnosis and treatment). Long story short, they tested 28 different food items via patch testing on my back. Nothing was positive except for oats, They blistered me and after a couple of days actually bled and the wound took about 6 weeks to heal. I now have a permanent scar that looks like a cigar burn on my back. The Doctor that did the testing was very surprised and said he did not expect to see this. His nurse said it was the worst reaction she had seen in years. I actually had ringing in my ears and felt miserable (flu like symptoms) for at least a week after this. Now, The Doctor knew I had celiac and has now confirmed that I have ASE or Avinin Sensitive Enteropathy with a cross over reaction to wheat, barely and rye due to the closeness of the proteins and according to him, a very uncommon form of Celiac (I really have my doubts it is as rare as it is said to be). This reaction according to him, is a Type IV hypersensitivity mediated by T cell response reaction. This is what celiac is, a T cell mediated delayed response that causes the body to attack itself. Can the proteins be absorbed via the skin? Yep, sure can. Not sure why others think this is not possible.All the best, Mike

You may very well be right that the proteins can be absorbed, I don't know perhaps my reaction does come from absorption as well as 'injestion'. An old fashioned test for DH was to use an iodine patch on unbroken skin which sounds similar to the patch testing you had done. I'm tempted to strap a wheat germ soaked bandaid to my arm to see what happens. :D Not that that would be terribly scientific in itself but I am a curious sort.

I do agree this issue needs much more scientific exploration which is unlikely to happen any time soon. At the moment I am just happy that it seems more folks are being diagnosed sooner and doctors are getting better at recognizing atypical presentations. Perhaps when the numbers get high enough more research will start to take place. I wonder if the cosmetics industry will be the place it comes from.

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You may very well be right that the proteins can be absorbed, I don't know perhaps my reaction does come from absorption as well as 'injestion'. An old fashioned test for DH was to use an iodine patch on unbroken skin which sounds similar to the patch testing you had done. I'm tempted to strap a wheat germ soaked bandaid to my arm to see what happens. :D Not that that would be terribly scientific in itself but I am a curious sort.

I do agree this issue needs much more scientific exploration which is unlikely to happen any time soon. At the moment I am just happy that it seems more folks are being diagnosed sooner and doctors are getting better at recognizing atypical presentations. Perhaps when the numbers get high enough more research will start to take place. I wonder if the cosmetics industry will be the place it comes from.

I could not agree more. The skin is the largest organ of our bodies. I had a GI tell me the skin is nothing more than the intestines turned inside out. Sounds kind of gross. Back to the skin patch, the GI found the EE, sent me to Cincinnati Childrens and they did wonders. I am sure that I would more than likely never have known about the oats and never healed if I had not had the skin reaction.

If you want to try it, it was a ground up moist paste that they used in about 1/4" round aluminum cup. I would make sure it is moist and maybe use a band aid that is sealed all the way around. If it helps, the ringing in my ears is the absolute first sign that I have been glutened or "Oated" LOL! guess I should say AVININ'ED I get a ringing in my ears in about 15-20 minutes after getting into these items. It took almost exactly 45 minutes after the placement of the patches on the skin and then I got the ringing and it was down hill from there. They left the patches on for 48 hours. The protein crosses from the skin into the blood no question. There are so many unknowns out there with regards to this disease. It is getting better. All the best, Mike

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This topic makes me curious now to do an "at home patch" on me and my husband and see how/if each of us have a skin response and if my husband has a "glutened" response in any other way. My test would be showing how a non-celiac would respond, if at all. However, I do have allergies to plants and my test might show some irritation of some sort.

Does anyone who had allergy testing ever get a "skin patch" test for the substance "gluten?" I would imagine that if there's a skin patch test for this wouldn't the skin react and wouldn't that be another way to diagnose celiac?

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Do you have autoimmune issues other than the villi destruction that was found when you were diagnosed?

Well my celiac disease is an ongoing autoimmune issue, because if I ingest gluten it provokes an autoimmune response.

I do not live my life in a box paranoid about even touching a door handle but I do take precautions like rinsing my hands and avoiding things I have an obvious reaction to but I really take offense at my actions being referred to as being 'crazy'. It is possible to give your opinion about matters without insulting others.

As I said in another post, I have a lot of sympathy for those who are highly symptomatic. Some of them have other issues going on such as additional sensitivities and allergies which is also hard on them. But it's not helpful to always blame celiac disease for any and every adverse health issues you may have.

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I absolutely have a skin reaction to gluten that is not a traditional allergy. When I had my celiac crisis that led to my diagnosis, one of my symptoms was a constant all over itch that I had 24 hours a day. It felt like hives, but there was no rash.

I was tested for allergies to wheat, because I was already suspecting wheat as a culprit in my symptoms, because they were so much worse the days I ate shredded wheat or triskets. All of my allergy tests came back negative. No food allergies at all. However, my celiac blood tests were sky high.

While all my other symptoms went away on the gluten free diet, the itch would not abate until I finally eliminated gluten in all my personal care products. Like magic it went away.

Now, my first symptom of glutening whether in accidental food contamination, or accidental use of gluten containing personal product, is the terrible itch. I know I have a problem with having gluten on my skin, and I suspect it is an autoimmune reaction, as it doesn't matter where the gluten touched my skin, or if I ate it, I itch all over.

I don't know why it is believed that only the gut reacts, when it has been proven that there are brain lesions, fertility problems, skin rashes and a host of other problems due to the autoimmune response to gluten.

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As I said in another post, I have a lot of sympathy for those who are highly symptomatic. Some of them have other issues going on such as additional sensitivities and allergies which is also hard on them. But it's not helpful to always blame celiac disease for any and every adverse health issues you may have.

I am well aware of that and that is why I always urge folks to check with a doctor if symptoms do not abate. I also strongly urge folks to get tested for the disease before they go gluten free. I am one of the unlucky ones who don't show up in blood work so I had to go gluten free the hard way, through a true months long elimination diet guided by an MD. It was a last resort as I was slowly dieing in front of my children eyes. I was then almost hospitalized by my second GI demanded gluten challenge which caused a GI bleed. I am very in tune with my body and my reactions to gluten are clearly reactions to gluten and the autoimmune reactions are clearly reactions to gluten as they only rear their heads when glutened. Which now does not happen very often as I am superstrict most of the time. It is best IMHO to be as strict as possible at first and then add stuff back in and watch for a gluten reaction. Celiac is much more than just a GI disease and for many the gluten symptoms are not just an upset stomach.

It is also not helpful to imply that those that react to topicals are drinking them or that they are going to drive themselves crazy. You can simply state your opinion without saying things like that. If you feel safe and don't react to topicals that is wonderful but there are many here that do. It is not our imagination or a topical allergy it is part of the celiac autoimmune reaction.

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You do realize, don't you, that you just urged all of us to ignore you? :D

Sbj, there are times when I wish you would ignore me because every time I (and others) post on this site, you and tallforagirl jump in to give us your "we are victims here" speech punctuated by several smiley faces and insults as if that makes everything okay. Please do ignore me in the future.

Peter Green is a standard celiac doctor. Good for him, but he really doesn't think outside the celiac "disease" box. Same with the Mayo clinic. The references you gave were opinions, nothing more.

Laurie

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However, my celiac blood tests were sky high.

I don't know why it is believed that only the gut reacts, when it has been proven that there are brain lesions, fertility problems, skin rashes and a host of other problems due to the autoimmune response to gluten.

I too also had a sky high celiac blood panel result. There must be a connection with this. I was not allergic to wheat or oats for that matter via a skin prick test. Just almonds and squash. When first diagnosed, my second symptom after the ear ringing was my elbows itched like mad. If it was really bad, my knees itched and my scalp would get small blisters on top. This is DH. Now, I get the ringing still, but the "itch" shows up around 24 hours later and then the gut issues begin. I am sure it is a combination of getting better at avoiding gluten (and oats for me) and this is why it seems to be taking longer for a reaction and it is not as severe of symptoms.

Ravenwoodglass, I just last year developed an upper GI bleed. Scarey stuff......I found out the cause, it was contaminated gluten free flour that also had the certified gluten free oats (manufactured/ground, in the same facility on the same equipment).

Debmidge,

Yes, I think this could be another extremely cheap and accurate way to test for celiac in some cases. If nothing else, possibly a much safer way than doing a full blown (ingested) gluten challenge. All the best, Mike

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I don't know why it is believed that only the gut reacts, when it has been proven that there are brain lesions, fertility problems, skin rashes and a host of other problems due to the autoimmune response to gluten.

Because the gut immune response to gluten is called Celiac Disease. It is widely known that gluten can create havoc in other areas of the body, but it then, is no longer called Celiac Disease. Gluten Ataxia can occure in other parts of the body. A gluten response which effects the skin, is not called Celiac Disease, it is called Dermatitis Herpetiformis.

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Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is an important associated disorder or complication of celiac disease.

Yes, DH is closely associated with Celiac Disease, but not exclusive too.

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Because the gut immune response to gluten is called Celiac Disease. It is widely known that gluten can create havoc in other areas of the body, but it then, is no longer called Celiac Disease. Gluten Ataxia can occure in other parts of the body. A gluten response which effects the skin, is not called Celiac Disease, it is called Dermatitis Herpetiformis.

I am not sure what your point is here, Momma Goose. The fact still remains that these things are caused by gluten, which is the main point of the thread.

Some of us do have a sensitivity to gluten that transends the gut. Those of you that don't have that manesfestion are invited to attest to the fact that you don't have it, just don't try to convince me and everyone else, that my experience is not real and has to be unrelated to gluten, or is some other kind of allergy.

It was my GI doctor that said the itch I had was related to Celiac disease. Look up the symptoms of all over itching, and you will find many referenences to celiac disease. That is how I found my diagnosis to begin with.

From the Celiac Sprue association website:

What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is an important associated disorder or complication of celiac disease which is manifested in the form of a skin rash. There is strong evidence that the changes in the intestinal mucosa and the immunologic findings in the majority of patients diagnosed with DH are identical with those found in celiac disease. Gluten has been found to have a close relationship with this skin rash. DH is often referred to as "celiac disease of the skin" while celiac disease is referred to as "celiac disease of the gut."

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I am not sure what your point is here, Momma Goose. The fact still remains that these things are caused by gluten, which is the main point of the thread

...................................

Exactly! I have said nothing to the contrary, nor is my post argumentative. My point is that gluten responses that occur in different areas of the body (besides the small intestines), are medically referenced by other names. Celiac Disease response is contained in the small intestines. I, in no way, diminished any gluten response found else where in the body, or those that suffer.

No need to over-analyse. :)

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...................................

My point is that gluten responses that occur in different areas of the body (besides the small intestines), are medically referenced by other names. Celiac Disease response is contained in the small intestines. I, in no way, diminished any gluten response found else where in the body, or those that suffer.

No need to over-analyse. :)

The NIH actually does consider DH to be celiac disease. Gluten ataxia is also celiac disease. Celiac disease can manifest in more than just the gut. Just because it is not GI related doesn't mean it is not celiac. You have also mentioned that DH can be caused by more than gluten I would be interested in seeing links to what other causes there are. DH when diagnosed is considered a diagnosis of celiac I have never heard that it was iffy at all from anywhere but you.

http://www.celiac.nih.gov/Dermatitis.aspx

"Intense itching. A burning sensation. Clusters of small blisters that persistently break out on the elbows, knees, buttocks, back, or scalp. These symptoms are the hallmarks of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), a skin manifestation of celiac disease. DH affects 15 to 25 percent of people with celiac disease, and these people typically have no digestive symptoms of the disease."

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Yes, DH is closely associated with Celiac Disease, but not exclusive too.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is exclusive to celiac disease per my Doctor. The research I have done confirms this. Very current research is now showing that the Iga deposits in the skin, began in the gut via T cell immune response and works out from there and is deposited into the skin. Mike

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I guess we can safely say that the DH that is being referred to on this forum at least is related to gluten sensitivity. I am still not convinced that celiac disease is an actual disease. I wonder where that initial determination came from?

The genetics that predispose one to gluten sensitivity are in place because you are from a group not exposed to gluten grains early in your ancestry and have genes that reflect that- do we agree on that? Everything I have read about gluten sensitivity suggests this is so. If so, then you (universal you here, not any one person) do not have damaged genes in any way. There is no mutation or change that would link it to a disease or disorder, like lacking the CTFR protein in cystic fibrosis or the dystrophin gene in muscular dystrophy or the blood-clotting factors in hemophilia, all of which are due to mutated genes somewhere back in time. If your genes are not damaged, then your body is merely doing its job - reacting to a toxin that we were never meant to ingest. Maybe this is why so many other countries list many more genes as being linked to gluten sensitivity. Having DQ2 or 8 may mean that you are even more "primitive" in gene type - this is not meant as an insult - it really means that you are the original, which to me is a compliment :D

I have DQ1 and DQ2, but the 2 less associated with celiac. My sister on the other hand, has both DQ2s. She has far more intestinal problems than me - I have the neuro stuff.

This is beginning to ramble, because I am thinking out loud here. But if the above it true, then why do we refer to this as a disease at all? If it is a response to a toxin, then we should treat it as such. Wouldn't that remove this kind of prejudice of being non-celiac or celiac, diagnosed or non-diagnosed. etc? I don't have a disease - my poor body is just tired of me feeding it gluten for 50 years and having to try to deal with that. We are well equipped to deal with toxins to a point, but any body will rebel at the overload we present it with in processed foods, environmental toxins, and an insistent little protein called gluten. I think that if we could shift the focus away from this being a disease to one of dealing with a toxic agent, there would be a lot more progress and less bickering. Maybe.

And, yeah, I could look up refs for some of this, but I don't really feel like it right now, so just take it as my opinion, for what it's worth.

Laurie

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"Dermatitis herpetiformis has also been reported to occur in people with vitiligo, type I diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, dermatomyositis, and rheumatoid arthritis."

Not all people with Celiac Disease will have DH, nor will all people with DH will have Celiac Disease. Are they still one in the same?

Haven't there been about a zillion medical reports claiming all of those can be classically related to celiac disease, as well as claiming that DH is exclusively caused by gluten..? Even the link you provided lists the treatment as "gluten-free diet."

It sounds to me like you just want to argue semantics, considering everything else you have said. But there is a reason people don't appreciate semantics after a certain point.. Whether we call it "celiac" or "skin glutinification," it doesn't change the actual topic or points. The debate was about the potential effects of gluten and whether or not people who are sensitive to gluten can be harmed via skin absorption, not just "celiac."

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Haven't there been about a zillion medical reports claiming all of those can be classically related to celiac disease, as well as claiming that DH is exclusively caused by gluten..? Even the link you provided lists the treatment as "gluten-free diet."

It sounds to me like you just want to argue semantics, considering everything else you have said. But there is a reason people don't appreciate semantics after a certain point.. Whether we call it "celiac" or "skin glutinification," it doesn't change the actual topic or points. The debate was about the potential effects of gluten and whether or not people who are sensitive to gluten can be harmed via skin absorption, not just "celiac."

Yes, of course DH can be controlled by a gluten free diet. The key word, you used yourself, is RELATED! Something that is related or associated with a disease is not the same as the disease. A person with DH does not necessarily have Celiac. A person with Type 1 Diabetes does not necessarily have Celiac, or RH ....That is all I was trying to say!

I was asked to list other illnesses that might be associated with DH other than Celiac. I did. Call it semantics, or whatever you will.

I have no intention of arguing, but apparently others do enjoy the challenge. Carry on!!!!!

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I remember reading somewhere that gluten was not absorbed through the skin. So I allowed my son to play with playdoh two days in a row. I watched him both times - he did not eat it. I washed his hands, cut his nails, scrubbed his hands and arms again, changed his cloths and cleaned the entire area. He still got glutened. My neighbor even noticed. His belly swelled up more than normal and he was a very mean monster for about 24 hours. That is the end of playdoh. I make my own now and it works great. I am a firm believer it can get through the skin somehow.

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