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Gluten-Free Craze: All Hype Or Should You Pay Attention?

I would like to share with you some valuable information about Celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

You may be thinking, well Dr. Mike that’s great but I don’t have Celiac disease.  Or I believe that this whole gluten-free craze is just all hype.

Why should I care?

After reading the information that I’m about to share with you I hope that you will care.  The facts and figures surrounding Celiac and gluten sensitivity are concerning and it may just help explain some of the problems you or a loved one may be experiencing.

Let me explain.

Gluten is like a Trojan horse that many “innocently” allow entry into their body which then goes on to contribute to numerous adverse health issues.

Well, it may be true that you don’t have Celiac disease (at least that your aware of, you’ll see what I mean in just a moment).  And there is no doubt that there is certainly a lot of hype surrounding gluten-free marketing.

However the problems linked to gluten consumption are numerous and many individuals with symptoms resulting from Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are often misdiagnosed.  This is a problem!

So let’s dive into Celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity in order for you to gain a better understanding and appreciation of each.

Celiac Disease vs. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the small intestines resulting in poor nutrient absorption. It affects the digestive process of the small intestines when gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) is consumed. It has been associated with 200-300 different adverse signs and symptoms.

Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is a non-specific immune response which does not destroy the small intestines of the body by attacking itself when gluten is ingested yet it also linked to 200-300 different adverse signs and symptoms like Celiac disease.  Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is very similar to Celiac disease but is often considered a “less severe” form.

In both Celiac disease and NCGS gluten is the trigger.  With Celiac disease your body attacks your small intestines and causes damage.  In NCGS your immune system becomes activated but it doesn’t attack itself but it will still cause other problems.

Now that you have a general overview of Celiac disease and NCGS let’s look at some of the facts and figures.  This is where I want you to pay attention.

  • It is estimated that 1 in 133 people or 1% of the population (3 million people) in the U.S. has Celiac disease.
  • It is estimated that 97% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
  • It is estimated that that 18 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That’s 6 times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.
  • There are more than 300 signs and symptoms of celiac disease and NCGS, yet a significant percentage of people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all.
  • The average length of time it takes for a symptomatic person to be diagnosed with celiac disease in the US is four years;
  • Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease or NCGS can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.
  • Early diagnosis of celiac disease may prevent additional complications.
  • The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.

What are your thoughts on those facts and figures?

To me these facts are startling!

Celiac and NCGS are far more common that most believe and the scary part is that most people are unaware that gluten is the root cause of their problems.  Instead they are lead on a path of chasing every symptom with a medication, not feeling any better and taking more and more medications as their body continues to react adversely to the causative factor, gluten which remains in the diet.

Modern Medicine is Reactive Instead of Proactive

The problem with modern medicine is that they chase symptoms instead of getting to the root cause of an individual’s problem.

As mentioned above there are approximately 300 different signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease and NCGS.

To give you an idea of some of the more common symptoms here is a brief preview:

Autoimmune diseases (like Type I diabetes, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Multiple sclerosis, Pernicious anemia, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few), bloating/gas, constipation/diarrhea, joint/muscle pain, itchy skin rash, delayed growth/puberty, migraine headaches, brain fog, depression, numbness/tingling, osteoporosis, fatigue, infertility, mouth sores, and discolored teeth to name but a few.

Take a look again at the list of some of the symptoms above.  The vast majority of them are not related to the gut or intestinal tract.  Most people falsely believe that because they don’t have stomach or intestinal issues that they don’t have a problem with gluten.  Not true!

Do you know how many people suffer from a number of the symptoms above and are simply given a medication to mask that symptom?  They address the symptom and completely ignore the underlying cause.  Modern medicine doesn’t even consider the fact that gluten may be causing the problem.

How can this be, given the modern scientific literature and the facts and figures shared above?

If more people were properly screened to rule in or out if they have Celiac disease or even more common gluten sensitivity there would be far less chronic diseases adversely impacting people’s quality of life.

I have an unfair advantage but sadly I see people misdiagnosed and not being properly treated on a daily basis who continue to suffer.

Should you be Screened for Gluten Sensitivity?

If you suffer from a number of adverse symptoms like the ones I listed above and gluten (wheat, rye and barley) is in your diet, then you at the very least should consider being screened for gluten sensitivity.

Or take my 14 day Gluten-free challenge.  This is where you remove gluten completely from your diet for at least 14 days and see if you notice improvements with your symptoms.  Some people may require more than 14 days before noticing positive changes.  But usually within 14 days most people will see some sort of change.

Plus if you suspect that gluten may be an issue for you then you’re better off getting tested before going on a gluten –free diet because this will impact the results of some of your tests.

I’ll be the first to admit that going gluten-free isn’t always the easiest thing to accomplish but it can certainly be done if you’re dedicated.

And if gluten is the cause of your problems and you diligently follow a gluten-free diet the results you will achieve will absolutely amaze you!

I will often hear the following phrase from people that have a problem with gluten when they go on a gluten-free diet:  I wish I would have known earlier!

I may have shared this story before but it’s worth sharing again.

Two years ago I was presenting a workshop at a women’s health conference.  The topic of my workshop was thyroid health.  The theme of the talk was that most cases of low functioning thyroid (hypothyroidism) here in the United States is due to an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  And with any autoimmune conditions a gluten-free diet can prove to be very beneficial.

Well a young girl sat in my first workshop and after I shared the information about thyroid conditions and gluten-free diets a light bulb went off in her head.  She grabbed her mother (who was a vendor at the event) from her table and made her sit in on my second workshop on the same topic.

One year passes and I am attending this women’s health fair again.  This young girl’s mother approaches me and says that she needs to talk with me.  I’m thinking, uh oh, I’m in trouble.

She proceeded to share with me that her daughter was diagnosed with a low functioning thyroid, was put on medications and wasn’t feeling any better.  In fact over time she started feeling worse.  She sat in on your thyroid workshop last year and as a result went on a gluten-free diet.  In no time at all her energy came back, she felt great, her labs were normal and she got off of her thyroid medication.

She continued to share that her son who was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, saw the results that his sister had achieved, went on a gluten-free diet and no longer has any intestinal issues.

My first reaction was relief because I wasn’t in trouble.  But I was completely taken back by the impact this information had on these two young individual’s lives.

Pause for a moment and think about these two stories.  Here are two young individuals who were experiencing different adverse symptoms who did what most people do and went to the doctor and started taking medications.

Imagine if they were to have continued on this path.  Where would they be today and how would they be feeling? I believe they would be taking more medications, visiting more specialists to figure out what is causing their problems and they would not be feeling any better.  Where would they be in another 10, 20, 30 years if they continued to ignore the root cause of their problem, gluten?

The gluten-free craze may be a marketing fad but from a health perspective it is serious and here to stay.

If you are suffering with multiple conditions, taking multiple medications and still not feeling well then I urge you to consider being screened for a gluten related issue.  It’s that common and can make all the difference in the world.

As always I hope this information has served you and will take you one step closer to your desired health goals.

Did you like this information?

If so please be sure to let me know what you liked by sending me an email at or leave me a comment on Facebook.  I would love to keep the conversation going.

And if you enjoyed this information please forward it along to your friends and family.  More people need good solid information so that they can make informed decisions about their health.

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Have a Happy and Healthy weekend and remember that gluten may be causing a number of your problems.  Consider getting screened!  The sooner the better!

Until we speak again:  Eat Well, Move Often and Stay Healthy 


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