|Gluten sensitivity is real|
10 Feb 2011 My response to The Gazette Montreal
Gluten-sensitivity: a medically proven entity. So I was disturbed to read the piece by Brian Dunning “Is gluten really something that most people should avoid?” I am also a “skeptoid”. However, my reading recent medical research has convinced me that gluten-sensitivity is indeed a common and serious entity.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, has confirmed the presence of gluten-sensitivity in the absence of coeliac disease. They set out to determine whether gluten ingestion could induce symptoms in non-celiac individuals. It did. (Biesiekierski JR et al, Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan 11. “Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial”).
Six years ago, Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou, Consultant Neurologist, wrote in the British Medical Journal: “published literature supports the contention that gluten sensitivity represents a diverse spectrum of which coeliac disease is just one part.” (Gluten ataxia: science versus conviction).
The entity of gluten-sensitivity has been validated by many others, including Prof A Fassano, celiac expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA. Last year he said: “A category of people appear to be sensitive to gluten without having full-blown celiac disease. For them, symptoms may be less typical, involving depression, mental fogginess, mood swings and behavior changes.” Gluten-sensitivity is recognised to be ten times more common than coeliac disease. Fassano goes on to say: “Previously, gluten sensitivity was diagnosed mainly by ruling out celiac disease and wheat allergy in people with symptoms. But researchers are evaluating antibodies to gliadin, a gluten component, as a possible biomarker. About 7% of the population has these anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA); intriguingly, so do 18% of people with autism, and 20% of people with schizophrenia.”
Yes, gluten-sensitivity is a common and important medical condition that requires treatment with a strict gluten-free diet.
Dr Rodney Ford.
M.B., B.S., M.D., F.R.A.C.P.
Paediatric Allergy & Gastroenterology Specialist The Children’s Clinic and Allergy Centre.