Thursday, June 1, 2017

What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?


The most noted gluten related disorder is celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease where the immune system reacts against gluten making antibodies to destroy it but then eventually confuses self-tissue with gluten.  The self-tissue that the immune system confuses with gluten is an enzyme in the lining of the small intestine called tissue transglutaminase (tTG).  Once the immune system mistakes tTG for gluten, it makes antibodies against that enzyme which destroy the lining of the small intestine.

The symptoms of celiac disease had been talked about by various healers for centuries, but the first accurate description of the cause of the abdominal disease was given by British physician Samuel Gee in 1888 who developed an all-banana diet to cure it.  While he attributed much of the effect of this diet to something in the banana, it actually proved later to be that it removed all gluten.

Celiac disease was thought for most of the 20th century to be the only gluten related disorder.  However, over the past 30 years many individuals with symptoms of IBS but with negative testing for celiac disease obtained marked relief from a gluten free diet.  This has more recently led to the appreciation that immune gluten sensitivity commonly exists but without the cross reactivity to tTG and the autoimmune reaction to the small intestinal wall.  This disorder has been termed non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

Two consensus conferences were held in 2011 and 2012 establishing NCGS as an accepted entity and establishing a scientific consensus of the diagnosis.  This has been a particularly important step in the
understanding of digestive and related immune disorders given that it appears to be far more common than celiac disease.  While celiac disease occurs in approximately 1% of the population, NCGS occurs in 10%, or one in 10 individuals.


The symptoms of NCGS tend to be both digestive and systemic.  Most patients will have both, although they tend not to relate the systemic effects like brain fog or joint pain to their digestive symptoms. 

A recent analysis of the symptom patterns seen in NCGS found that they are broad and can vary from patient to patient.  Abdominal pain and bloating were the most common digestive symptoms occurring in over 80%.  Stomach/epigastric symptoms were not uncommon occurring in almost 50% of patients.

The systemic symptoms associated with NCGS tend to often not be recognized as related.  Common systemic symptoms include fatigue, headache, anxiety and joint/muscle pain.  Recent study has linked NCGS to be a common cause of fibromyalgia. In 20 patients diagnosed with chronic fibromyalgia, all had significant improvement,
while most had complete remission of the disorder. Eight patients also had chronic fatigue syndrome which commonly co-exists with fibromyalgia, and many had co-existing migraine, back pain and/or depression which also responded. These were noteworthy improvements given the average duration of symptoms in this group was 12 years. 

The systemic symptoms seen in NCGS are caused by the immune reaction triggered by gluten.  While the immune reaction to gluten is triggered in the digestive tract, these reactions are systemic turning up inflammation throughout the body.

NCGS is the most common food sensitivity but by no means the only one.  Several other food peptides may trigger immune reactions with dairy and legumes/beans also being fairly common triggers.  Some individuals have tried avoiding gluten but have had no improvement in symptoms.  This can occur for several reasons:
  •       Leaky gut exists
  •       Multiple food sensitivities co-exist
  •       Avoidance is not complete or long enough

Leaky gut is the common term for gut barrier compromise.  The inflammation triggered by the primary food reaction causes the small intestinal lining to become too porous and many food peptides will leak in triggering immune reactions.  Often in this situation avoiding one food helps for a little while, but then other foods begin to also cause the reaction.  As food sensitivities are typically delayed reactions, it is very hard to tell which food or meal caused the symptom flare-up.

Biomeridian testing can be used to isolate immune food sensitivities but also to detect the presence of leaky gut which may prevent symptom improvement.  It can also isolate other causes of digestive symptoms which can mimic a food sensitivity. 

The study of the relationship between food sensitivity and fibromyalgia is telling.  The subjects had been symptomatic before considering that a food sensitivity could be triggering the symptoms.  As the awareness of food sensitivities increases, the mystery of many symptoms will be solved sooner.

Please join us  -  Learn about a very innovative program for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Banks Nutrition Center would like to invite you to an educational event about Alzheimer’s Disease. There are some very promising treatment programs evolving that for the first time are showing the ability to reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. The most striking is the Bredesen Protocol. Dr. Banks will be discussing this treatment protocol and will answer any questions you may have about Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. Our goal is to help you have a better understanding of the disease and to know there is hope.

The Bredesen Protocol
Preventing & Treating Alzheimer’s Disease


Dr. Scott Banks, D.C., M.S. -Clinical Nutritionist

Event Date: Saturday, June 10th 2017
Time: 11:00AM to 1:00PM
Banks Nutrition Center

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