Coeliac disease is a well-recognised medical condition in which gliadins (gluten proteins found in wheat, barley and rye) cause an immune reaction in sensitive individuals which destroys the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to severe digestive symptoms and malabsorption of nutrients, however, some coeliac patients have no gut symptoms, even though their body is still being damaged, while others experience neurological and psychiatric symptoms instead of the classic digestive distress.
What’s more, it is now recognised that many people have reactions to either wheat or gluten that don’t qualify as coeliac disease but still impact on their health. This includes wheat sensitivity and non-coeliac gluten-sensitivity. Previously it was thought that the effects of gluten were limited to coeliac disease, and strictly gut-oriented, such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Thanks to ongoing research, we now know that up to six times more people’s health is affected by gluten than previously indicated.
Gluten intolerance has been linked to over 50 diseases so far, most of them autoimmune. Fortunately, a revolutionary breakthrough in gluten reactivity testing is now available to help determine whether gluten is damaging your health.
The symptoms of coeliac disease, wheat sensitivity and NCGS are very diverse. This can make it difficult to diagnose and it is not possible to distinguish between different gluten-related complaints on the basis of symptoms alone.
Common complaints include:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Brain fog
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Ataxia (lack of coordination, gait abnormality, speech changes or abnormalities in eye movements)
- Mouth ulcers
- Joint and muscle pain
It has been discovered wheat is made up of more than 100 different components that can cause a reaction, not just one. The problem is, a person can react to only one of the many proteins in wheat, or a combination of proteins, peptides, and enzymes associated with wheat.
Older tests for coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity focus on just one protein – alpha-gliadin. This new test covers the whole range of proteins, peptides and enzymes involved in gluten and wheat sensitivity.
The test also assesses whether gluten has a drug-like opiate effect on an individual. Some people have enzymes in their digestive tract that break gluten down into opioids that act like heroin or morphine. These opioids disrupt brain function and are responsible for many of the mood and neurological changes experience by some gluten-sensitive people.
The full range of antigens tested includes:
Wheat Germ Agglutinin IgG
Wheat Germ Agglutinin IgA
Non-Gluten Proteins-A IgG*
Non-Gluten Proteins-A IgA*
Non-Gluten Proteins-B IgG*
Non-Gluten Proteins-B IgA*
Gliadin Toxic Peptides IgG*
Gliadin Toxic Peptides IgA*
Native + Deamidated Alpha-Gliadin-33-mer IgG
Native + Deamidated Alpha-Gliadin-33-mer IgA
Gliadin-Transglutaminase Complex IgG
Gliadin-Transglutaminase Complex IgA
Microbial Transglutaminase IgG*
Microbial Transglutaminase IgA*
The test is able to Identify possible coeliac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten ataxia or other wheat/gluten-related disorders. It can also be useful for assessing autoimmune reactivity associated with wheat proteins and peptides.
It is recommended for people who present with:
- Non-responsive digestive symptoms
- Multiple vague symptoms such as digestive complaints, joint pain, headaches and fatigue
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Autoimmune conditions
Cyrex also offers to test for gluten cross-reactivity. For instance, eating dairy can trigger a gluten-like immune response because it has a similar protein structure to gluten. Knowing about cross-reactivity helps foods that might be perpetuating your symptoms and hindering recovery.