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StacyA

If It's An Autoimmune Response, And The Amount Doesn't Matter...

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I know, it sounds like a silly or naive or dangerous question - and I'm not necessarily planning this - but I was thinking about this concept.

If celiac's is the body's ill-advised autoimmune reaction to even the smallest amount of gluten, and the symptoms are because of the antigens not the gluten - then if I know I got cc'ed, what would be wrong with immediately eating a nice, gooey slice of glutenated pizza since the antigens are already flowing? You don't necessarily create antigens in direct proportion to gluten, right? (Just like the flu shot - a mega-size shot won't make you create any more antibodies?)

Of course I'm not talking eating glutenated pizza for a whole week after an accidental CC - I know the antibodies need to ease up. But if amount doesn't matter when we're talking small amounts of exposure, does that also work the same way when we're talking large amounts of exposure?

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Hey, I'm silly or naive or dangerous right behind you. I asked a similar question because I wanted to know how it can be, if we never truly attain a totally gluten free status because of airborne or minute CC, why do some people know when they have been glutened by CC. There must be some amount of dose relation. How free are we when we stop reacting? I think your question is very interesting.

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It is not true to say that if a little bit hurts a little bit, then a lot more will not hurt any more than the little bit.

When you react to a little gluten after going gluten free the reaction seems very strong so you assume the damage is a lot, but your body is reacting to the shock of re-exposure to the antibodies which it had previously tried to become inured to and had then been relieved of. The antibodies, if few and not present for a long time, may not produce much damage. But I believe that the more gluten you eat the more antibodies you will produce, the longer they will last and the more damage they will do.

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I wouldn't do it. The reason why is because with celiac being an intolerance the effects of CC don't always show up right away. So the reaction we get today can, for some of us, be from something that we ate up to 3 or 4 days ago. That is one reason why it can at times be hard for us to figure out what got us. I think if you piggy back one glutening on top of another it would keep the reaction going and increase the number of antibodies and the intensitiy of the reaction and the amount of time it would take for us to recover.

You could of course try that if you wanted. But another factor might be that since your intestines are already being damaged you could find the milk protein from that yummy pizza also crossing into your bloodstream and increase you chances of becoming intolerant to milk protein also. Don't know for sure that would happen but I know I wasn't intolerant to soy until a severe reaction from a drug I was given a couple of years ago. My gut was very messed up, like it would be with a severe glutening and apparently that was enough to make me strongly reactive to the soy I was eating daily. I still to this day can not tolerate soy in any form and have not only an intolerance reaction from it but also true allergic reactions.

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I wonder at what rate unstimulated antibodies decline, or if they remain in our bodies forever. With the H1N1 flu, people old enough to have presumably been exposed many decades ago are expected to have at least partial protection. However, boosters are given after a number of immunizations. I need a crash course in immunology. If people who have developed antibodies to a disease many years ago demonstrate only partial resistance when exposed much later in life, how is it that someone who has been gluten free for a long time reports the reaction to a glutening as more severe than the last time it happened? I am in no way trying to be annoying by asking these questions. I was/am a nurse and I still love medical and scientific knowledge. If I were still working I could ask a pleasant doctor who enjoys teaching.

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I know, it sounds like a silly or naive or dangerous question - and I'm not necessarily planning this - but I was thinking about this concept.

If celiac's is the body's ill-advised autoimmune reaction to even the smallest amount of gluten, and the symptoms are because of the antigens not the gluten - then if I know I got cc'ed, what would be wrong with immediately eating a nice, gooey slice of glutenated pizza since the antigens are already flowing? You don't necessarily create antigens in direct proportion to gluten, right? (Just like the flu shot - a mega-size shot won't make you create any more antibodies?)

Of course I'm not talking eating glutenated pizza for a whole week after an accidental CC - I know the antibodies need to ease up. But if amount doesn't matter when we're talking small amounts of exposure, does that also work the same way when we're talking large amounts of exposure?

I'm completely with you on your thinking on this subject. I'm "celebrating" my 1 year anniversary of diagnosis/gluten free and I'm incredibly tempted to eat a tuna melt bagel, my favorite muffin, and a ham and cheese sandwich on Wonderbread... just to see what would happen :D However, from my experience, the amount of gluten does make a difference.

If I eat a lot of Nature Valley bars (made with oats, happened just recently) I get my usual symptoms- gas, bloating, irritability.

Back in February/March 2009 I accidentally ate a gluten containing waffle. I'm still bitter- it was EnvironKidz and was put right next to the gluten-free waffles, I didn't think twice :K Anyway, I unknowingly ate the (not even yummy) waffles and 2 hours later was doubled up in pain and ended up vomiting a few times. I slept for a couple of hours and felt better when I woke up. I don't recall whether or not I had symptoms afterward.

Regardless, my conclusions from that time period are the amount of gluten definitely makes a difference in my symptoms. Overdose on small amounts = symtoms I'm used to hating. Overdose on large amounts after going gluten-free = really, really bad pain and awful symptoms.

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I wonder at what rate unstimulated antibodies decline, or if they remain in our bodies forever. With the H1N1 flu, people old enough to have presumably been exposed many decades ago are expected to have at least partial protection. However, boosters are given after a number of immunizations. I need a crash course in immunology. If people who have developed antibodies to a disease many years ago demonstrate only partial resistance when exposed much later in life, how is it that someone who has been gluten free for a long time reports the reaction to a glutening as more severe than the last time it happened? I am in no way trying to be annoying by asking these questions. I was/am a nurse and I still love medical and scientific knowledge. If I were still working I could ask a pleasant doctor who enjoys teaching.

There are folks who will stop reacting severely. It is the reason that doctors used to consider celiac a childs disease that could be out grown. I think when it happens it is called a 'honeymoon' effect because for them they can be symptom free or the symptoms can change presentation but in the long run gluten will eventually catch up with them. We also have a few folks on the board who are not as sensitive as others, they are the ones who usually say they don't worry as much about CC or shared facilities. I found one article that talks about the honeymoon effect but there are others out there. A search for 'asymptomatic celiac' might bring up some also.

http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/15/3/197.full

"In some patients, ingestion of small amounts of gluten will not produce overt symptoms. Some patients experience a reduction in response to gluten during their teens

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I disagree as well. I have a theory about this - I think the effects are cummulative.

When I visit relatives it seems some small bit of gluten totally gets me - what I really think is happening is that it's the result of continued minor glutenings. They really do try hard, but of course they don't have gluten-free baking pans, etc. I often find that, when at relatives, after a week, so much seems to make me sick...

As well, if I have been glutened, a very small exposure will bring me right down again, small enough that it shouldn't give me such drastic symptoms but does anyway...I think because my body is still dealing with the previous glutening.

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Think of it this way: If you stab yourself with a knife and start to bleed would you stab a few more times? Do you really want more injury?

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Two things....

1. If I get glutened the last thing I want to do is eat more of the stuff that makes the pain happen. Not to mention, when I get glutened I don't want to eat anyways.

2. If I get exposed to a cold and then get exposed to another cold, I think the body still responses to the secondary cold and thus you are sicker longer than you would have been had you only had 1 exposure.

Those are my thoughts any ways. :D Good question though, I did have that thought at one point..but I feel too good to hurt myself more than accidently...LOL

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After almost 40 years of undiagnosed Celiac Disease and 9 years post diagnosis, i have never wanted to try eating Gluten again... why would I? Can't think of even one good reason, no not at all.

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