Friday, September 13, 2013

Science-Based Medicine on Gluten Sensitivity

Here we go.  A good article, overall.  Scott Gavura is one of the better contributors* to this group blog, but even he indulges in a bit of head-in-the-sand, blame-the-patient foolishness so typical of the medical profession:

"The current fad food “allergy” is gluten, a self-diagnosed condition in which gluten is believed to be some sort of dietary toxin – which must be distinguished from (1) the person with the documented anaphylactic wheat allergy and (2) those with celiac disease, an auto-immune response to gluten that requires absolute avoidance (but does not cause anaphylaxis if ingested)."
Well, there’s a third possibility, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which has only recently been demonstrated to be a real condition.
Non-celiac Wheat Sensitivity Diagnosed by Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Challenge: Exploring a New Clinical Entity.”

Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial.

A Controlled Trial of Gluten-Free Diet in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea: Effects on Bowel Frequency and Intestinal Function.

Spectrum of Gluten-Related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification.
Gluten clearly meets the definition of a “toxin” ("Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors.") in people who have one of the gluten-related disorders. Gluten is a protein that causes not one disease, but several.

The blog Science-Based Medicine exists, in practice, to defend the medical establishment against Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

They're relentless in this attack, and many times it's merited. However, the CAM community is often much more open-minded than the establishment medical community, and the topic of non-celiac gluten sensitivity has been one of those cases. After years of pooh-poohing claims by patients that they had such a problem, lo and behold the medical community has discovered that in some cases they're right. Meanwhile the CAM community has been correctly counseling people who have a gluten sensitivity that they should be avoiding wheat. They've been correct. Credit where it's due.

Mr. Gavura, sadly, does not seem to be familiar with this fact, and that lack of knowledge severely undercuts the thrust of this post. And I'll say again, it's a good post as far as it goes, and contains some terrific information (I did not know, for instance, that benedryl is useless in case of an anaphylactic reaction. And his list of bogus tests looks valid to me.)

I posted the list of links above as a comment, I'll be interested to see if he incorporates this research into his post.

* A great tip I got from the article linked to above (written by Gavura) was to get retested for my penicillin “allergy”. I’d had a reaction to it once, and was thus diagnosed. Sure enough, I did a challenge at my allergist’s office: no reaction. I’m “officially” not allergic to penicillin. Thanks.