gluten allergy

  1. New numbers show gluten allergies are badly under-diagnosed

    The silent affliction causing misery in millions

    Celiac disease has been getting plenty of attention lately, and for good reason: Millions of Americans have this condition or other forms of gluten sensitivity, and most of them don't even know it.

    All they know is that they're miserable -- and even their own doctors often can't figure out why.

    New numbers from the Mayo Clinic find that 1.8 million Americans are battling celiac disease, but only 400,000 of them have been diagnosed with the condition.

    That may sound like a lot of people, and it is.

    But the numbers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology barely scratch the surface -- because tens of millions more actually suffer from gluten sensitivities without having celiac.

    For them, it can be even more of a challenge to get diagnosed and treated since mainstream medicine believes you either have full-blown celiac or you're 100 percent fine with gluten -- with nothing in between.

    And that's simply not the case.

    Between 30 percent and 50 percent of Americans have some form of gluten sensitivity... and they're routinely told gluten isn't the problem, especially when a celiac test comes back negative.

    So they keep eating the foods they can't handle, and they keep feeling worse. There are the obvious symptoms, like gastrointestinal pain, gas, and diarrhea, but also less obvious ones linked to gluten sensitivity, including fatigue, headaches, depression, Addison's disease, and more.

    Some doctors will try to treat those individual symptoms with meds for those conditions, and of course they'll get nowhere since the patient is still eating gluten.

    But at least they're trying -- other doctors will suggest all those problems are in the patient's head. And still others will just call it a "mystery disease" and claim there's nothing else they can do.

    Well, it's no mystery to me, and it's not in your head -- it's the gluten, and if you suffer from problems that can't be explained or diagnosed, then maybe you should work with a holistic doctor on a gluten-free period to see if the symptoms improve.

    In many cases, they will -- and if that's your story, you're going to have to learn to eat all over again.

    It won't always be easy, since going gluten-free can be so restrictive, but there's a growing number of diverse and delicious gluten-free products and recipes out there than can help make sure you still get to enjoy your favorite dishes now without having to suffer later.

  2. Hidden dangers of Celiac disease

    If you're suffering from celiac disease, check your vitamins--because a new study shows that you could be missing more than the ability to enjoy gluten.

    You could be badly lacking in critical nutrients.

    Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada checked 43 celiac patients between 3 and 18 years of age, and found that fewer than half of them had healthy levels of vitamins K and D.

    The low K levels are probably due to the fact that celiac patients often have a hard time absorbing vitamins. The low D levels could be for the same reason--but they could also simply mean these kids are just like the rest of us.

    After all, the sunshine vitamin is one of the world's leading nutritional deficiencies.

    Combined, those low levels of D and K put these children at risk for a lifetime of trouble--including osteoporosis and other bone problems.

    And that means in addition to eating more foods rich in vitamin K, young celiac patients should spend a little more time outside. It's good advice for adults with celiac, too, since odds are they're facing some of the same nutritional problems.

    Celiac disease, which is basically a gluten allergy, impacts roughly 3 million Americans--and many of them suffer for up to a decade before they're properly diagnosed.

    That allergy often causes celiac patients to suffer from terrible diarrhea, bloating, gas, malnutrition, fatigue and more. And while there is no cure, the disease can be controlled very well through careful diet.

    Big Pharma, on the other hand, thinks you need drugs--and they're hard at work on meds and even vaccines for celiac sufferers. Most of these drugs in development only allow disease sufferers to eat small amounts of gluten… and there's no word on what the side effects may be.

    But that hasn't stopped them from banking on these meds-- they expect them to reach market by 2014, and do $8 billion in sales by 2019.

    Don't wait for these meds--because today, it's easier than ever for kids and adults alike to live a fulfilling gluten- free lifestyle.

    Food labels now have warnings for potential allergy risks, making it easier to spot ingredients like gluten. In addition, there's a huge number of gluten-free products now on the market. Adults can even quaff gluten-free beer. And today, many restaurants will be happy to provide a gluten- free meal (just be sure to call ahead and ask).

    I know plenty of celiac disease patients who wish they could eat "normal" foods, but remember: a good gluten-free diet is rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and natural meats and low in carbs, cakes and processed foods.

    In other words, it's a very healthy lifestyle if you can stick to it--whether you have the disease or not.

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