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March 21, 2011

The Reality of Gluten Sensitivity

Today is a great day. It is a great day for many reasons, not the least of which are the warmer weather I took a walk in this hazy afternoon, the splendidly effervescent cranberry kombucha I am now drinking, the extra two hours of sleep I snuggled into this spring morning, the eight minutes I lay in the Optimal Health Center's Vitamin D Therapy Bed, and the stairs I climbed as I rid my apartment of unworn winter clothes, toys my daughter has outgrown, and dusty books we no longer read.

It is also a great day because for the first time, I received an e-mail in which I learned that we now have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease.

I published my book, Ten Days to Optimal Health, in January 2006, in which I stated, "Gluten, unfortunately, is central to many health problems: more and more people are finding that consuming gluten does not promote optimal health."

Many of us have lived with the troubling and confusing symptoms of gluten sensitivity, but have failed to find doctors who agree. We have been told that if it wasn't celiac disease, there was nothing wrong with us, that possibly we had emotional problems that caused our unexplained gut pains, mood swings, chemical sensitivities, and constant muscle aches and pains.

Some experts think as many as 1 in 20 Americans have some form of gluten sensitivity, but there is no defined set of symptoms.

Although scientific exploration of gluten sensitivity and its myriad symptoms -- stomach problems, headaches, fatigue, numbness, depression, and more than 100 other disturbing symptoms -- is still in its infancy, it is clear that gluten triggers an immune response of an enemy invader similar to a response to parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

Even though scientifically gluten sensitivity today is roughly where celiac disease was 30 years ago, it is a great day. It is a great day because at least the scientific community now recognizes that this affliction is real and that these 1 in 20 people aren't crazy.

Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression
in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:23doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-23
Published: 9 March 2001

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