The difference between Coeliac Diseas... - Gluten Free Guerr...

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The difference between Coeliac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity


There appears to be a growing number of people who suffer from Gluten Sensitivity, whilst the numbers for those who suffer from Coeliac Disease currently remains around the 1% mark of the population. The two illnesses are often confused as the symptoms may appear to be the same in many instances. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease and Gluten Sensitivity is a severe intolerance to gluten or in a few cases an allergic reaction may also result. At the moment there is no cure for either and only one sensible course of action for both and that is to remove gluten from the diet.

This is a paper that may be of interest to those who have had difficulty with an overall diagnosis to confirm their illness.

Previous gluten sensitivity forum links:

It is thought that in the majority of cases for both Coeliacs and Sensitives that a good plan is to begin a food diary. This should help to sort out those foods which are good to eat for each individual. It is a way of increasing a wide range of foods into the diet and ruling out ones where problems may occur. A diary will also help individuals to build up their own shopping lists that are tailored to them as everyone is different especially with likes and dislikes of particular foods and flavours.

Best wishes to everyone and I hope that you all have a lovely, enjoyable, safe and gluten free Christmas!

11 Replies

I'd like to see some research on whether anti-gliadin antibodies (AGAs) in the absence of coeliac disease really are a marker for gluten sensitivity. Some people think they are, and it seems logical that it means something! However, the gastro consultant I saw yesterday seemed to think AGAs were pretty meaningless because around 10% of the healthy population has them. I think it's perfectly plausible that 10% of the population are gluten sensitive. Do you know of any research in this area?

Lynxcat in reply to poing

As you may have gathered by now Poing, I am a 'read-aholic' to try and find out as much as possible in all fields relating to gluten that are available to the lay person on the Net. There are numerous articles ... this one is about work done by Dr Tom O'Bryan .. amongst other concerns it advises being cautious with new foods never experienced before (it is tempting for us all to change a wheat-based diet straight into another grain rather than easing into it slowly so that our body's can adjust slowly) it is worth a read:

The US Library of Medicine Publication:

An article by Dr Tom O'Bryan:

If I find any more that are marker specific - I'll add them later for you. :)

poing in reply to Lynxcat

Yes, I'm an avid reader too. Shame I dropped biology at age 13 in favour of physics. Got a lot of catching up to do.

I have elevated AGA IgA (stool test) but not TTG IgA (blood test), so this is of personal relevance to me.

I also found this:

Lynxcat in reply to poing

One good piece of news is that it apparently only takes approximately one week for a biopsy to heal. I thought it would be much longer than this.

Between you and me, I only found out about endoscopies and biopsies, etc regarding coeliacs and gluten after joining this site. In fact, most of the information about both coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity has been acquired by pushing myself to find out more. A sense of self-preservation stopped me ever knowingly eating Codex wheat starch. My initial problems manifested themselves with wheat and so I had come to accept that wheat just didn't work for me as a food item. Though I wished that someone would do a proper study regarding trace gluten and how far reaching particles may be and to which organs of the body would be affected in this instance. There are references about patients that have been diagnosed late and what percentage of these fully heal. In these circumstances I wonder if they are not fully healing because of either not being instructed properly in the first instance - like resting off oats for 12 months after being diagnosed. Or whether it is through consuming the allowed amounts of gluten ie 20ppm in the Codex system? This is why I personally feel that the best option is to opt out of any form of gluten whether I feel affected by its consumption or not - though I usually do! Lol!

Only check out this last link if you wish to read details of biopsies and endoscopies:


the BMJ 15 Dec 2012 (this week) focuses on gluten senstitivity. It is a diagnosis of exclusion - nothing else can be identiied and you get better when you give up gluten, but at least with this going out to every doctor in the country people with chronic multiple problems caused by gluten sensitivity have a better chance of support.

poing in reply to Hidden

They say "diagnosis of exclusion" because they haven't worked out a better process, but I think that will change.

I think that high AGA IgA will prove to be a marker for gluten sensitivity in the future - there is enough research to suggest that it is clinically significant, but it's not proven beyond doubt, which is what they need before they put it in guidelines.

They use AGA, both IgA and IgG, to monitor gluten exposure. My understanding is that AGA are common and if levels are low that's all they mean - exposure to a substance. But when someone has very high AGA, then either the immune system is malfunctioning by being over-reactive, or the digestive mucosa is compromised in some way - and maybe thats what it takes to set up an intolerance. The intolerance could be caused by the exaggerated immune response.

The difference from coeliac is that it's not autoimmune.

Time will tell, I suppose!

Thanks for the links and the festive wishes, Lynxcat! :-)

I'm now labelled gluten-intolerant, have most of the symptoms of Coeliac but haven't been diagnosed as such.

I'm really interested in how coeliac and gluten intolerance are differentiated by the medical fraternity because while coeliac is considered auto-immune, gluten sensitivity is seen more as being reactive to gluten (but not considered "allergic" unless it provokes a full-blown allergic reaction consistently). It all involves the immune system though!

I also have auto-immune thyroid disease. Interestingly, I did a DIY elimination diet two years before I was diagnosed with thyroid disease which showed a reaction to wheat. I went wheat free for a couple of months, but found it so difficult I lapsed, not realising how much it would affect my health years down the line!

I do wonder now if I had remained wheat-free whether my thyroid would have been ok? There are a few forward thinking doctors out there who believe there's a strong connection between the two: . I was wondering if anyone had been diagnosed with thyroid disease after going gluten free for a while? I've definitely noticed an improvement in my energy metabolism since going GF.

A Merry GF Xmas to all :-)

poing in reply to RusticRita

I think the "gold standard" of biopsy isn't as reliable as they think it is - lesser degrees of gut damage can get missed. Certainly I read a medical study that said so - I really should save all these links.

Intolerances are an immune response that is non-IgE mediated (in medical speak). They aren't well understood or possible to diagnose with blood tests, which is one reason not much is done - if you can't diagnose it, how can you identify who needs treatment? I think a minor immune reaction against food components isn't a problem, but high levels of antibodies against certain foods is!

Anyway, happy christmas to you too!

just want to say merry xmas to all and a gluton frre 1 tc xxx

This little video may be of interest to some. It is about GLUTEN INTOLERANCE and is 1 minute 48 seconds long .......

This one is mainly about COELIAC DISEASE is 7 minutes 12 seconds in length .......

On the suggestion of the above video clip, a doctor suggests that for those who have not been diagnosed they should print out the COELIAC DISEASE SYMPTOMS CHECK LIST and take it to their doctor. This is a US site but the check list may offer a useful guide to those who are not quite certain. To save stopping the video mid-stream here is the link to the check list for those who may wish to glance through it ........

The gluten free diet .......

The following is a quote from the 'Gluten Free Society' website, and may be of interest to some:

"Genetic testing does not yield false negatives the way common blood tests do. Remember that blood tests typically only measure 2 out of 7 known immune responses to gluten (most of them only measure the gluten in wheat – gliadin). Gene testing gives a definitive answer as to whether or not one should avoid gluten."

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