Gluten and Autoimmunity: How You Could Still Be Gluten Sensitive With Negative Lab Tests By Dr. Ian Beckingham D.C.
Every day patients come in to my chronic condition centers suffering from conditions like Hashimoto’s hypothyroid, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. These diseases have very limited treatment options for the patient consisting mostly of drugs and steroids. For very few of my patients these treatments help but most are frustrated saying “the condition controls me and I do not control the condition”. The underlying cause of most chronic conditions is autoimmunity. Autoimmune disease is where your immune system attacks a particular area or system of the body. If you do not address why the body has turned against itself you will continue to have symptoms and even develop whole new system failures. To find out if you have an autoimmune disease I recommend antibody testing.
An antibody is a protein marker. The body’s immune system produces antibodies in response to unwanted material like molds, virus, bacteria, and parasites. These substances are labeled antigens. Antibodies can be produced when the body has a reaction to a food it is sensitive to or comes in contact with a harmful chemical. Antibodies can mistakenly be produced against a bodies own healthy tissue when the immune system becomes confused. The antibody marks the tissue for removal and signals the immune response. This is the cause of autoimmune reactions. I like to check for gluten antibodies, myelin (fatty sheath around the nerves) antibodies, cerebellar (back part of the brain controlling balance, coordinated movement, and spinal muscles) antibodies.More examples of are antibodies to pancreatic islet cells often called type 1 diabetes and antibodies to the thyroid are usually associated with Hashimoto’s disease.
Patients ask “Dr. Beckingham why does my immune system go crazy to begin with?” One common issue is food sensitivity in particular gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein that exists in wheat that acts like an immune system provoking antigen. The protein has been shown in some studies to be a food sensitivity of up to 81% of people from northern European decent. This protein is what makes our crackers stick together, our soups thick, and our salad dressing creamy. Gluten sensitivity includes wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, rye, and barley. Gluten can be hidden as soy sauce, food starch, malt extract and dextrins to name a few.
If you put a food that you are sensitive to in your system every day your immune system will continually be fired up and attack the offending food just like a bacteria or parasite. This in turn creates too many soldiers in your immune army that have no leadership. A mutiny is the common result. The mutiny manifests itself as an attack on healthy tissue like your thyroid, nerves, or the joints of your body.
Patients often tell me that they have been tested for gluten and they are negative so that can’t be the problem. This is the simple answer to that question. The blood tests that people have been getting only tests for a part of gluten called alpha gliadin. Alpha gliadin is only one of the building blocks of gluten. Until recently it has been believed that alpha gliadin was the prime suspect of gluten sensitivity. Published peer reviewed journals have now shown that not only does alpha gliadin pose a threat but you can be allergic to beta, gamma, omega gliadins as well. If you are allergic to beta gliadin and have a test for alpha gliadin it will show that you are fine when in reality you have gluten allergies.
As if this were not enough you can be allergic to a substance called glutenin which is also part of gluten. You could be allergic to transglutaminase which is a gluten enzyme. I have seen patients in my office sensitive to deaminated gliadin or gluteomorphin (the addictive part of breads). A true gluten test needs 12 components in it not just the 1 alpha gliadin test which has been the industry standard for years. It frightens me to think of how many patients have been eating gluten thinking they have tested negative when in fact they have a true gluten sensitivity that was missed because of improper testing.
Why is this so important you may ask? Recent studies have shown a link between gluten sensitivity and psychiatric illness, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and obesity to name a few. Why are so many people so sensitive now when 50 years ago it seemed like nobody was? Simple, the genetic modification of foods make more gluten per piece of wheat when compared to a generation ago, poor nutrition overall, chronic stress (raised cortisol hurts immune tolerance), leaky gut syndrome, the storage of wheat products in huge bins on average of 2 years so the food can get covered in enterotoxins (waste product of fungus and mold), and overall lack of adequate digestive enzymes in our body.
This is why I insist on a full gluten panel of 12 tests for my prospective patients even before I accept a case. This test can be done with 1 vial of blood sent to a lab in Arizona that tests for all 12 potential gluten sensitivities specifically.
To sum up I have seen in my practice that when followed strictly a appropriate gluten-free diet is often life-transforming for symptomatic patients.
Dr. Ian Beckingham DC specializes in helping patients suffering from chronic conditions such as hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s, fibromyalgia, diabetes, vertigo, insomnia, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADD/ADHD, chronic pain, and other autoimmune conditions. Dr. Ian Beckingham has two chronic condition centers in Glendale and West Los Angeles. He enjoys talking about all health issues and speaks often. To schedule a free consultation, sign up for a workshop, get more information on Dr. Beckingham, his clinics, or to receive free information go to http://WestLAThyroidDoctor.com/ orhttp://DrBeckingham.com/ His email is DrBeckingham@gmail.com
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