Gluten Allergy Test, is it Necessary?
Is a gluten allergy test necessary? Interesting question! I have suffered for years with Celiac disease, and I have some pretty strong feelings about this disease and gluten sensitivity. I would like to share some of my specific thoughts from my home here in Washington State.
It is a Sunday afternoon in June, and it’s sunny and very hot – 95 degrees. Usually, it does not get this hot here but, once in a while during the summer, we can get a real scorcher. I guess today is that day. So, I thought I would blog because writing in air conditioning sure sounded good! Whew! Well alright, enough of the weather report.
Okay, so just a reminder as I share on this topic – this is a blog, and I tend to share from my own experiences and the experiences of others. I’ve done some research and spoken to medical professionals, but this is still an opinion blog. I have been through a lot and, because of that, I like to share about my own experiences. The hope is that I will save people a lot of time and frustration trying to figure out this whole gluten sensitivity thing, because we can learn from other people’s experiences. I know I certainly have! So, I hope I can help someone out there.
As I’ve said before, I have Celiac disease and had to be tested through blood work years ago to verify this. Upon getting my diagnosis and then consequently avoiding gluten, my overall health has continued improving – especially the food sensitivities. Unfortunately, it took so long to get a diagnosis that I have been left with multiple, serious autoimmune diseases. These will not go away and will have to be treated for the rest of my life. This is not an uncommon thing with Celiac disease. It is a difficult disease – a daily challenge and very hard to keep in check all the time. Before I was diagnosed, it seemed as if I was reacting to every food on the planet. Back in the 1980’s, Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity were foreign terms. They were fairly unknown and weren’t considered common.
Before my diagnosis, after eating I was experiencing everything from trouble breathing to severe rashes all over my body, psoriasis, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and even very dry skin. I also had weakness, muscle weakness, and fatigue. You name it – I had it. I was dealing with a lot of symptoms. The doctors at that time didn’t know what to make of it. They assumed all my problems were from an episode when I was 8 years old. I had a childhood illness with a severe burst appendix that left me in a coma for a month. Multiple abdominal surgeries followed with tubes in my stomach, etc. I could understand how the doctors were focused on my issues from that episode. I guess they could rule out psychosomatic as the cause, which doctors like to label people with when they don’t know what’s wrong. But, since I suffered a brain injury from all those problems, I guess some of it was in my head! LOL! Really though, it’s not funny, because many people have gone through this, and it is ridiculous.
An example of another source where symptom could arise from is emotional trauma. However, most people I’ve met seem to have symptoms related to the darn food or thyroid trouble, etc. These situations can also cause emotional symptoms. Truly, who wouldn’t have emotional symptoms with all that? The Celiac Foundation says that while you’re eating gluten, there can be over 300 symptoms to deal with. And, I felt them! If you didn’t have emotional issues before, you will after dealing with all those symptoms. If you didn’t feel some emotional turmoil, I guess there would be something wrong, right? It’s just crazy. Everyone is different, I know, but I have chosen to handle mine with as much humor as possible. That, my deep faith in God, and prayer all help me to cope. Also, reaching out to others and them knowing what I went through is such a blessing and can make all the difference in someone life.
Getting back to our original topic: do I think gluten allergy testing is necessary? In my opinion, for Celiac disease, I would say “yes!” If you and your doctor suspect you have Celiac disease, tests need to be done to rule out or confirm those suspicions. First, a blood test will be given. If that comes back negative then, from what I understand, a small bowel biopsy would confirm/disprove it. A negative result from that, and then they can say you don’t have Celiac disease. If you do get a diagnosis of Celiac, then you have to avoid the gluten, as it can cause so many serious problems as I’ve mentioned.
I think gluten sensitivity (meaning non-Celiac) is becoming more common today because of how food is processed. I’m not sure if the gluten sensitivity tests are necessary. Actually, the best and most economical way to test for this is by avoiding gluten for a while. My feeling is, if you feel better by avoiding it, then you are sensitive and should continue to avoid it! And, there is anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which is when people have severe reactions caused by eating certain foods like peanuts or shell fish. This can be life threatening. These severe reactions are similar to what some people get from bee stings. Serious symptoms include swelling causing breathing problems, nausea, and body rash, just to name a few. There can also be drops in blood pressure and even loss of consciousness. These severe cases require medical attention. This is serious stuff and not to be messed with! People who suffer from life threatening allergies should consider carrying an epinephrine auto-injector (epi-pen) to ensure quick medical help.
I feel that food allergies, especially today, are not always about you but rather the food. Highly processed food can throw off the good bacteria in your gut, causing another issue known as digestive yeast imbalance or candida. These issues can be corrected by a good probiotic (as I’ve mentioned in this blog before) and a low sugar, low carbohydrate diet. Unfortunately, all the food processing today has really complicated things for us. So, there are a number of reasons for food sensitivities.
Soon I will be interviewing nutritionist, Karl Mincin, to gain more insights into these issues. Be watching for it on this blog . For now, if you’re interested in feeling a little better in addition to the probiotic I mentioned, you can also try avoiding the most common food allergies (wheat, soy, dairy, peanuts, eggs, and shellfish). You can start by taking all of them out of your diet at the same time. Then one week later, add one of the food groups and do that for a week. If you feel okay, a week later add another one and see how you feel. If it causes symptoms, stop eating that food group. Continue with this regimen. I did this years ago and found it quite helpful. At that time, food allergy testing was expensive and wasn’t always accurate. Many other people have also found this little trick of elimination to be very beneficial. Of course, the best and safest diet is always eating fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and organic protein. Pesticide sprays seem to be causing a lot of problems with grains. I’m referring to those of you who are non-Celiac, gluten sensitive. Most people in this category seem to tolerate this simple diet. Just sharing my thoughts!
Although I have never tried one before, another option is a home allergy test you can purchase to test for gluten sensitivity. I’ve heard it’s quite accurate. Gluten Allergy Test Life Extension has one for just $41.00. Here is a link to it, for your convenience: Simply click this image below:
So, let me know if any of you out there try this and how helpful it was. I’d love to hear how it goes!
In closing, good luck and I wish you all well. Remember, if you ever have any questions or need more support, please feel free to get in touch in the comment section of this blog. I am always glad to help. If I don’t have the answer, I can ask a professional who does!