This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.
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What is Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet?
What are the major symptoms of celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Symptoms
What testing is available for celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Screening
Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results
Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free?
How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?
The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free
Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested?
Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing
Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases?
Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders
Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid?
Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
Is there a list of gluten free foods?
Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)
Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages
Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?
Where does gluten hide?
Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet
What if my doctor won't listen to me?
An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners
Celiac.com 04/26/2018 - Emily Dickson is one of Canada’s top athletes. As a world-class competitor in the biathlon, the event that combines cross-country skiing with shooting marksmanship, Emily Dickson was familiar with a demanding routine of training and competition. After discovering she had celiac disease, Dickson is using her diagnosis and gluten-free diet a fuel to help her get her mojo back.
Just a few years ago, Dickson dominated her peers nationally and won a gold medal at Canada Games for both pursuit and team relay. She also won silver in the sprint and bronze in the individual race. But just as she was set to reach her peak, Dickson found herself in an agonizing battle. She was suffering a mysterious loss of strength and endurance, which itself caused huge anxiety for Dickson. As a result of these physical and mental pressures, Dickson slipped from her perch as one of Canada's most promising young biathletes.
Eventually, in September 2016, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Before the diagnosis, Dickson said, she had “a lot of fatigue, I just felt tired in training all the time and I wasn't responding to my training and I wasn't recovering well and I had a few things going on, but nothing that pointed to celiac.”
It took a little over a year for Dickson to eliminate gluten, and begin to heal her body. She still hasn’t fully recovered, which makes competing more of a challenge, but, she says improving steadily, and expects to be fully recovered in the next few months. Dickson’s diagnosis was prompted when her older sister Kate tested positive for celiac, which carries a hereditary component. "Once we figured out it was celiac and we looked at all the symptoms it all made sense,” said Dickson.
Dickson’s own positive test proved to be both a revelation and a catalyst for her own goals as an athlete. Armed with there new diagnosis, a gluten-free diet, and a body that is steadily healing, Dickson is looking to reap the benefits of improved strength, recovery and endurance to ramp up her training and competition results.
Keep your eyes open for the 20-year-old native of Burns Lake, British Columbia. Next season, she will be competing internationally, making a big jump to the senior ranks, and hopefully a regular next on the IBU Cup tour.
Read more at princegeorgecitizen.com
Celiac.com 04/25/2018 - A team of Yale University researchers discovered that bacteria in the small intestine can travel to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response. In this case, they looked at Enterococcus gallinarum, which can travel beyond the gut to the spleen, lymph nodes, and liver. The research could be helpful for treating type 1 diabetes, lupus, and celiac disease.
In autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, and celiac disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues. Autoimmune disease affects nearly 24 million people in the United States.
In their study, a team of Yale University researchers discovered that bacteria in the small intestine can travel to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response. In this case, they looked at Enterococcus gallinarum, which can travel beyond the gut to the spleen, lymph nodes, and liver. They found that E. gallinarum triggered an autoimmune response in the mice when it traveled beyond the gut.
They also found that the response can be countered by using antibiotics or vaccines to suppress the autoimmune reaction and prevent the bacterium from growing. The researchers were able to duplicate this mechanism using cultured human liver cells, and they also found the bacteria E. gallinarum in the livers of people with autoimmune disease.
The team found that administering an antibiotic or vaccine to target E. gallinarum suppressed the autoimmune reaction in the mice and prevented the bacterium from growing. "When we blocked the pathway leading to inflammation," says senior study author Martin Kriegel, "we could reverse the effect of this bug on autoimmunity."
Team research team plans to further investigate the biological mechanisms that are associated with E. gallinarum, along with the potential implications for systemic lupus and autoimmune liver disease.
This study indicates that gut bacteria may be the key to treating chronic autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus and autoimmune liver disease. Numerous autoimmune conditions have been linked to gut bacteria.
Read the full study in Science.
Celiac.com 04/24/2018 - Did you know in 2017 alone, the United States had OVER TENS OF THOUSANDS of people evacuate their homes due to natural disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis? Most evacuation sites are not equipped to feed your family the safe gluten free foods that are required to stay healthy. Are you prepared in case of an emergency? Do you have your Gluten Free Emergency Food Bag ready to grab and go?
I have already lived through two natural disasters. Neither of which I ever want to experience again, but they taught me a very valuable lesson, which is why I created a Gluten Free Emergency Food Bag (see link below). Here’s my story. If you’ve ever lived in or visited the Los Angeles area, you’re probably familiar with the Santa Ana winds and how bitter sweet they are. Sweet for cleaning the air and leaving the skies a brilliant crystal blue, and bitter for the power outages and potential brush fires that might ensue. It was one of those bitter nights where the Santa Ana winds were howling, and we had subsequently lost our power. We had to drive over an hour just to find a restaurant so we could eat dinner. I remember vividly seeing the glow of a brush fire on the upper hillside of the San Gabriel Mountains, a good distance from our neighborhood. I really didn’t think much of it, given that it seemed so far from where we lived, and I was hungry! After we ate, we headed back home to a very dark house and called it a night.
That’s where the story takes a dangerous turn….about 3:15am. I awoke to the TV blaring loudly, along with the lights shining brightly. Our power was back on! I proceeded to walk throughout the house turning everything off at exactly the same time our neighbor, who was told to evacuate our street, saw me through our window, assuming I knew that our hillside was ablaze with flames. Flames that were shooting 50 feet into the air. I went back to bed and fell fast asleep. The fire department was assured we had left because our house was dark and quiet again. Two hours had passed. I suddenly awoke to screams coming from a family member yelling, “fire, fire, fire”! Flames were shooting straight up into the sky, just blocks from our house. We lived on a private drive with only one way in and one way out. The entrance to our street was full of smoke and the fire fighters were doing their best to save our neighbors homes. We literally had enough time to grab our dogs, pile into the car, and speed to safety. As we were coming down our street, fire trucks passed us with sirens blaring, and I wondered if I would ever see my house and our possessions ever again. Where do we go? Who do we turn to? Are shelters a safe option?
When our daughter was almost three years old, we left the West Coast and relocated to Northern Illinois. A place where severe weather is a common occurrence. Since the age of two, I noticed that my daughter appeared gaunt, had an incredibly distended belly, along with gas, stomach pain, low weight, slow growth, unusual looking stool, and a dislike for pizza, hotdog buns, crackers, Toast, etc. The phone call from our doctor overwhelmed me. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I broke down into tears sobbing. What am I going to feed my child? Gluten is everywhere.
After being scoped at Children's Hospital of Chicago, and my daughters Celiac Disease officially confirmed, I worried about her getting all the nutrients her under nourished body so desperately needed. I already knew she had a peanut allergy from blood tests, but just assumed she would be safe with other nuts. I was so horribly wrong. After feeding her a small bite of a pistachio, which she immediately spit out, nuts would become her enemy. Her anaphylactic reaction came within minutes of taking a bite of that pistachio. She was complaining of horrible stomach cramps when the vomiting set in. She then went limp and starting welting. We called 911.
Now we never leave home without our Epipens and our gluten free food supplies. We analyze every food label. We are hyper vigilant about cross contamination. We are constantly looking for welts and praying for no stomach pain. We are always prepared and on guard. It's just what we do now. Anything to protect our child, our love...like so many other parents out there have to do every moment of ever day!
Then, my second brush with a natural disaster happened, without any notice, leaving us once again scrambling to find a safe place to shelter. It was a warm and muggy summer morning, and my husband was away on a business trip leaving my young daughter and me to enjoy our summer day. Our Severe Weather Alert Radio was going off, again, as I continued getting our daughter ready for gymnastics. Having gotten used to the (what seemed to be daily) “Severe Thunderstorm warning,” I didn’t pay much attention to it. I continued downstairs with my daughter and our dog, when I caught a glimpse out the window of an incredibly black looking cloud. By the time I got downstairs, I saw the cover to our grill literally shoot straight up into the air. Because we didn’t have a fenced in yard, I quickly ran outside and chased the cover, when subsequently, I saw my neighbor’s lawn furniture blow pass me. I quickly realized I made a big mistake going outside. As I ran back inside, I heard debris hitting the front of our home. Our dog was the first one to the basement door! As we sat huddled in the dark corner of our basement, I was once again thinking where are we going to go if our house is destroyed. I was not prepared, and I should have been. I should have learned my lesson the first time. Once the storm passed, we quickly realized we were without power and most of our trees were destroyed. We were lucky that our house had minimal damage, but that wasn’t true for most of the area surrounding us. We were without power for five days. We lost most of our food - our gluten free food.
That is when I knew we had to be prepared. No more winging it. We couldn’t take a chance like that ever again. We were “lucky” one too many times. We were very fortunate that we did not lose our home to the Los Angeles wildfire, and only had minimal damage from the severe storm which hit our home in Illinois.
In 2017 alone, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) had 137 natural disasters declared within the United States. According to FEMA, around 50% of the United States population isn’t prepared for a natural disaster. These disasters can happen anywhere, anytime and some without notice. It’s hard enough being a parent, let alone being a parent of a gluten free family member. Now, add a natural disaster on top of that. Are you prepared?
You can find my Gluten Free Emergency Food Bags and other useful products at www.allergynavigator.com.
Celiac.com 04/23/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to learn whether celiac disease patients commonly suffer cognitive impairment at the time they are diagnosed, and to compare their cognitive performance with non-celiac subjects with similar chronic symptoms and to a group of healthy control subjects.
The research team included G Longarini, P Richly, MP Temprano, AF Costa, H Vázquez, ML Moreno, S Niveloni, P López, E Smecuol, R Mazure, A González, E Mauriño, and JC Bai. They are variously associated with the Small Bowel Section, Department of Medicine, Dr. C. Bonorino Udaondo Gastroenterology Hospital; Neurocience Cognitive and Traslational Institute (INECO), Favaloro Fundation, CONICET, Buenos Aires; the Brain Health Center (CESAL), Quilmes, Argentina; the Research Council, MSAL, CABA; and with the Research Institute, School of Medicine, Universidad del Salvador.
The team enrolled fifty adults with symptoms and indications of celiac disease in a prospective cohort without regard to the final diagnosis. At baseline, all individuals underwent cognitive functional and psychological evaluation. The team then compared celiac disease patients with subjects without celiac disease, and with healthy controls matched by sex, age, and education.
Celiac disease patients had similar cognitive performance and anxiety, but no significant differences in depression scores compared with disease controls.
A total of thirty-three subjects were diagnosed with celiac disease. Compared with the 26 healthy control subjects, the 17 celiac disease subjects, and the 17 disease control subjects, who mostly had irritable bowel syndrome, showed impaired cognitive performance (P=0.02 and P=0.04, respectively), functional impairment (P<0.01), and higher depression (P<0.01).
From their data, the team noted that any abnormal cognitive functions they saw in adults with newly diagnosed celiac disease did not seem not to be a result of the disease itself.
Their results indicate that cognitive dysfunction in celiac patients could be related to long-term symptoms from chronic disease, in general.
J Clin Gastroenterol. 2018 Mar 1. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001018.
Celiac.com 04/21/2018 - Dear Friends and Readers,
I have been writing articles for Scott Adams since the 2002 Summer Issue of the Scott-Free Press. The Scott-Free Press evolved into the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. I felt honored when Scott asked me ten years ago to contribute to his quarterly journal and it's been a privilege to write articles for his publication ever since.
Due to personal health reasons and restrictions, I find that I need to retire. My husband and I can no longer travel the country speaking at conferences and to support groups (which we dearly loved to do) nor can I commit to writing more books, articles, or menus. Consequently, I will no longer be contributing articles to the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
My following books will still be available at Amazon.com:
Gluten-free Cooking for Dummies
Student's Vegetarian Cookbook for Dummies
Wheat-free Gluten-free Dessert Cookbook
Wheat-free Gluten-free Reduced Calorie Cookbook
Wheat-free Gluten-free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults (revised version)
My first book was published in 1996. My journey since then has been incredible. I have met so many in the celiac community and I feel blessed to be able to call you friends. Many of you have told me that I helped to change your life – let me assure you that your kind words, your phone calls, your thoughtful notes, and your feedback throughout the years have had a vital impact on my life, too. Thank you for all of your support through these years.
I think the prevalence much higher too. It seems like a lot of our friends are celiac and at least a few families we know have more than one affected member. My husband is celiac (diagnosed several decades ago) and I am pretty sure some of our kids are as well, even though the spouse doesn't want to admit it or have them screened because of our tight budget and the cost of gluten free food.
But if celiacs seem to be everywhere, why do celiac organizations say that 1% are affected and 80% of them are undiagnosed?
My lowest ferritin was a 2, but I typically always reponded to iron supplements. Enough to make many doctors happy. My periodic bouts with low iron was attributed to heavy periods, but what did I know? I would take the iron, be fine and then eventually my iron would drop. I processed iron but did not absorb enough to store it. My hemoglobin though remained normal (at least for me) since have Thalassemia (a genetic anemia). My hemoglobin is usually just out of range. It really dropped when I started into menopause. Low iron, Thals, and 30 day periods can make you very anemic. No amount of iron then could catch me up like it did in the past. My GYN wanted to do a hysterectomy, but I declined. My PCP blamed my Thals. When I hit 50, I asked for a cancer screening colonoscopy (like all my friends were getting!). My new GI looked at my chart and told me that I probably had celiac disease. I scoffed. I had no GI issues. Besides, I did not want celiac disease. My hubby had been gluten free for 12 years and I knew exactly what it was like. Ugh! But my blood test was positive as was my biopsy and the rest is history. My anemia resolved within months of being gluten free and I stopped those 30 day killer periods. If only the hot flashes would cease!
Keep advocating! Do the research and show your PCP (or one of the GPS who do same day appointments), but follow-up in writing. Kaiser will respond to written requests. Be nice! If push comes to shove, go outside of Kaiser and get the blood tests. Some states allow you to go to the lab directly. If that is not an option, ask a friend to refer you to their physician who will order the tests. I do not think it will come to that. I think that many PCPs really are not knowledgeable about celiac disease. My own PCP has only two other celiac patients who are not gluten-free compliant. (She must think I am OCD about gluten). She deals with some 2,000 patients. I do not know how she keeps up. My old PCP was Korean and never even suspected celiac disease. He also monitored me for the first few years after my diagnosis and ordered all my follow-up testing based on data I gave him (some doctors are willing to learn).
Got to go! I hope this helps and that I did not ramble on.
Dang, Gemini. I have to stand corrected about anticholinergics (e.g. Benadryl). A new study released states that only certain types of anticholinergics might cause dementia.
Sigh. So hard to keep up and I am not even trained in anything medical (except for CPR and First Aid!)
Thank you so much for your very well thought out answer. You're right, I'm just going wait 12 weeks because although I feel like crap, it is not horrible like I know it is for some people. How anemic were you? I ask because I have had low iron on and off 12 ferritin (22+ normal) 37 iron (normal 50 and above), and 10 transferrin saturation (14 is normal) have been my lowest.
I know this is not crazy low and what happens is I do respond to iron pills. After a year of taking iron my levels became normal again, so the dr. advised me to stop taking the pills and within 6 months my levels dropped below normal again.
I had to start taking iron again and now my levels are back to normal. The doctor said she would do an endoscopy if I didn't respond to the iron and clearly I have. But the thing is I know if I quit taking the iron again my levels will just drop. This has been going on for two years lol and Kaiser doesn't really think it's abnormal.
I guess my question is would someone with celiac even respond to iron pills, or would it just stay low? Thanks so much! I've been kind of a lurker on here for awhile and have noticed you are always so helpful!!