What Is Gluten Cross-Reactivity?

6 months ago 181

Vikki Petersen

Functional medicine practitioner Vikki Petersen explains what gluten cross-reactive foods are, however she believes they impact her patients, and however she’s helped radical with celiac illness (and nonceliac gluten sensitivity) afloat recover.


A Closer Look astatine Gluten Sensitivity

By Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP, arsenic told to goop

Years ago, a diligent came to maine with tears of exhaustion. After her diagnosis with celiac disease, she was committed to eating gluten-free. She had spent the past six months dedicated to a strict gluten-free diet—buying certified gluten-free foods, mostly eating astatine home, preparing nutrient for outings, etc. But that wasn’t wherefore she was exhausted. Her exhaustion came from the information that, contempt each her efforts, she was experiencing symptoms of celiac disease, adjacent connected a gluten-free diet. Some of her nonglutenous foods were triggering her celiac symptoms, and she couldn’t fig retired which ones and why. She thought she was hallucinating and becoming paranoid.

But she was not. And she was not alone. Throughout my 30 years of practice, galore patients person travel into my bureau with celiac disease. They’ve stopped eating gluten, but erstwhile they devour definite foods their bodies respond arsenic if they did—with symptoms of bloating, encephalon fog, insomnia, depression, anxiety, headaches, etc.

Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods

We yet figured retired what was going on—they were eating gluten cross-reactive foods. Let maine explain.

With celiac disease, gluten proteins (gliadins and glutenins) are seen by the immune strategy arsenic harmful to the body. So the assemblage destroys gluten proteins and, successful the process, the lining of the tiny intestine wherever they are found. In these patients, the immune strategy was responding to nongluten proteins successful a akin way, which should not happen. Yet it was. What we deliberation is happening is that their immune systems were mistaking nongluten proteins—like proteins successful corn, milk, soy, rice, achromatic potatoes, quinoa, eggs—for gluten proteins due to the fact that of their akin structures. So it was destroying these nongluten proteins arsenic if they were gluten proteins. We telephone this gluten cross-reactivity. And we telephone the foods that the immune strategy mistakes for glutenous foods cross-reactive foods.

The immune strategy does this due to the fact that it’s highly overworked owed to truthful galore years, sometimes decades, of gluten exposure. It whitethorn look arsenic if conscionable removing gluten foods would beryllium capable to let the gut to instrumentality to a steadfast state, but anterior to being diagnosed with celiac disease, astir radical eating a emblematic American fare are apt eating gluten respective times daily. With celiac disease, this is simply a accordant request connected the immune system, without rest. It’s similar going to enactment without slumber oregon nutrient for an extended period. If you’re not capable to remainder oregon get due fuel, you’re much apt to marque errors that you wouldn’t usually marque if you are rested and decently fueled. Just arsenic the full assemblage does, the immune strategy needs due clip and attraction to retrieve completely.

Healing Gluten Cross-Reactivity

In the past, if we suspected a diligent was experiencing gluten cross-reactivity, successful summation to having them eating gluten-free, we would region from their fare astir 20 cross-reactive foods (foods that we recovered patients with celiac illness to beryllium delicate to) and dilatory reintroduce each 1 to find which foods they were delicate to. The process was much cumbersome than we liked. But now, successful our practice, we’ve recovered that if we usage multi-tissue antibody investigating (from Cyrex Laboratories)—although it’s not wide utilized by the aesculapian profession—we tin trial a patient’s reactivity to each the gluten cross-reactive foods. This allows america to amended find which foods our patients should debar during the gut-recovery period. We region lone those foods (for astir 3 months) and supply a gut-healing protocol. With these steps, we spot our patients’ guts wholly recover, and cross-reactive foods tin beryllium safely reintroduced.

Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods

Petersen has recovered that her patients with celiac illness (and nonceliac gluten sensitivity) are sometimes delicate to the foods below.

  1. instant coffee

  2. cow’s milk

  3. whey protein

  4. oats

  5. yeast

  6. millet

  7. corn

  8. rice

  9. sesame

  10. buckwheat

  11. sorghum

  12. hemp

  13. amaranth

  14. quinoa

  15. tapioca

  16. teff

  17. potato

  18. soy

  19. egg

Diagnosing Celiac Disease Earlier

Cross-reactivity is conscionable 1 of the galore conditions that whitethorn beryllium associated with celiac disease. Other wellness conditions tin see thyroid disease, liver disease, lymphoma, osteoporosis, representation loss, depression, anxiety, and temper swings. Diagnosing celiac illness arsenic aboriginal arsenic imaginable whitethorn assistance trim the fig of patients who acquisition these and different conditions. One mode to bash that is by diagnosing celiac illness earlier the lining of the tiny intestine is severely damaged, which is presently required for celiac illness to beryllium diagnosed.

What I mean by that is, normally, the tiny fingerlike projections (called villi) that enactment the tiny intestine supply a precise ample aboveground country for nutrients to beryllium absorbed through. With celiac disease, these villi erode implicit clip with gluten exposure. And successful the astir terrible cases, they are wholly flattened, causing a dangerously debased level of nutrient absorption and consequent wellness conditions. Currently, to beryllium diagnosed with celiac illness requires, on with humor tests, the villi of the tiny intestine to beryllium flattened—severely damaged. Prior to processing severely damaged villi, fewer radical are being diagnosed with celiac disease, adjacent though they perchance person it.

What typically happens is that doctors usage the Marsh classification strategy to analyse the villi to diagnose celiac disease. It includes a ranking standard from 0 to 4; 0 represents the beingness of mean villi and 4 represents severely damaged villi. Patients with a 3 oregon 4 ranking tin beryllium diagnosed with celiac disease, but patients with a ranking of 1 oregon 2 are mostly not, contempt their humor tests showing a anticipation of them having the disease.

Yet the Marsh standard classification strategy was not primitively intended to beryllium a diagnostic instrumentality for celiac illness but alternatively a strategy to amusement the progression of celiac illness and to assistance guarantee that it’s diagnosed anterior to the villi being severely damaged. But due to the fact that the Marsh standard is not utilized successful the mode it was intended, determination are perchance galore radical with celiac illness who are undiagnosed. The modular diagnostic process is evolving, but successful the meantime, if you oregon idiosyncratic you cognize suspects they person celiac disease, consulting an experienced celiac illness adept is best.


A pioneer of the gluten-sensitivity movement, Vikki Petersen—doctor of chiropractic, certified objective nutritionist, and certified functional medicine practitioner—has been endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for her contributions to gluten consciousness successful the US. She is simply a coauthor of The Gluten Effect and Hiatal Hernia Syndrome and laminitis and enforcement manager of the Root Cause Medical Clinics, wherever she presently practices.


This nonfiction is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for nonrecreational aesculapian advice, diagnosis, oregon attraction and should ne'er beryllium relied upon for circumstantial aesculapian advice. To the grade that this nonfiction features the proposal of physicians oregon aesculapian practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited adept and bash not needfully correspond the views of goop.


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