Wheat and gluten can hurt you even if you don’t realize it and don’t test positive for celiac….
It’s interesting that Celiac can strike at any time, and that even if you don’t test positive, you could still have an allergy….and that your symptoms could be mild or severe…and that you may never know the damage gluten is - or is not causing you.
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can appear at any age and is caused by an intolerance to gluten.
Cooper tested negative for celiac disease, but the doctor advised her to try a gluten-free diet anyway.
"Within a week of eliminating [gluten], I started to feel markedly better," says Cooper, now 36, from Melbourne, Australia. "It wasn’t a gradual feeling better; it was almost a crossing-the-street kind of thing."
In fact, experts now believe that celiac disease represents just one extreme of a broad spectrum of gluten intolerance that includes millions of people like Cooper with less severe — but nevertheless problematic — reactions to the protein.
While celiac disease affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population, experts estimate that as many as 10 percent have a related and poorly understood condition known as non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI), or gluten sensitivity.
"Gluten is fairly indigestable in all people," Leffler says. "There’s probably some kind of gluten intolerance in all of us."
Experts now think of gluten intolerance as a spectrum of conditions, with celiac disease on one end and, on the other, what’s been called a “no man’s land” of gluten-related gastrointestinal problems that may or may not overlap.
Celiac patients can also develop headaches, tingling, fatigue, muscle pain, skin rashes, joint pain, and other symptoms, because the autoimmune attack at the root of the disease gradually erodes the wall of the intestine, leading to poor absorption of iron, folate, and other nutrients that affect everything from energy to brain function.
People with gluten sensitivity sometimes experience these far-reaching symptoms as well, though it’s less clear why.
More Ways Gluten and Wheat Can Hurt You - Beyond Celiac
Celiac disease is hardly the beginning and end of this story. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a rash that results when gluten induces an autoimmune response in the skin rather than the gut, and there is evidence that gluten can provoke a similar autoimmune response in the brain as well.
Gluten sensitivity or intolerance …. might be mediated by the innate, rather than the adaptive, immune system, meaning that T and B cells are not involved.
Gluten “intolerance” is simply when people report that the feel a lot better when they stop eating gluten. It reportedly affects about 10% of the population, but that’s only the 10% we currently estimate, and the effects could be more far reaching than we currently understand - the skin problems and brain issues are likely only the beginning. We’re not used to eating wheat or gluten and my guess is that future research likely uncovers more issues.