After analyzing patient databases of approximately 6,000 people, scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Celiac Research have shown that gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are two distinct and separate conditions.
In the past, gluten sensitivity hasn’t been deemed a legitimate condition, and doctors were often skeptical when a patient would test negative for celiac but continue to insist that gluten consumption was causing ill health.
Since people who are sensitive to gluten may or may not have gastrointestinal symptoms seen in celiac disease, such as bloating and diarrhea, doctors do not always see the association between gluten and their patients’ complaints.
What’s more, the gluten sensitive patient often has more unusual symptoms like a “foggy mind” with temporary memory loss as well as tingling in the extremities, says Dr. Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research.
Fasano and his team say that gluten sensitivity has varying degrees of severity, in total, they estimate an astounding 6 per cent, or 18 million Americans, are living with gluten sensitivity. In comparison about 1 in 133 North Americans has celiac disease.
Read more in the Spring 2011 issue of Allergic Living.