celiac disease

Several explanations are possible for what appears to be an increase in celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity*.

For instance, perhaps human immunogenetics have changed over time due to some unknown evolutionary selective pressure. Alternatively, it is possible that our dietary habits have influenced our immune system, in the same way that our hygienic habits have been linked to an increase in allergies and autoimmune disorders. Or, perhaps there is no increase at all; more people are being diagnosed simply because doctors are now aware the condition exists.

A popular, but unproven, hypothesis blames wheat. Some have claimed that wheat breeding has created varieties of the crop that produce too much gluten. But a new paper, published in the journal Food Chemistry...

For people with celiac disease, gluten enemy #1. For some celiac patients, an exposure to gluten can make them sick for days with pain, vomiting and diarrhea while causing intestinal damage. And, maintaining a 100% gluten free diet can be challenging, creating a great need for therapeutics to help keep the body free of gluten, even if a mistake happens. 

An experimental new drug may provide relief to celiac disease patients who happen to ingest gluten. At the upcoming Digestive Disease Week (DDW) conference, the findings of a phase 2 study of a drug will be discussed. The drug, called AMG 714 antibody, leads to fewer symptoms after gluten exposure by blocking interleukin 15. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 study was conducted to test the drugs...

Celiac disease (CD), an autoimmune disorder that is marked by damage to the lining of the small intestine, can only be treated by following a gluten free (GF) diet. Removing gluten works because gluten is the protein that the body reacts to in order to start the inflammatory response that damages the small intestine. 

But, that is harder than it sounds.

Because maintaining a GF diet is challenging, people who have celiac disease long for therapies that may be able to help them keep gluten out of their systems. These would work, in theory, by degrading any gluten that happened to enter into their diet, either knowingly or accidentally. 

Unfortunately, none of these therapies exist today. Despite that, certain companies are trying to profit off of this idea by...

For the one percent of the population with celiac disease (an estimated 3 million people,) accurate food labeling is a critical health issue. The words 'gluten free' on a package go way beyond being trendy. Rather, they mean that the consumer's immune system will not go awry, making antibodies that will damage their intestines and cause a wide range of symptoms. 

To make sure that the label 'gluten free' has a consistent meaning across foods and brands, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a rule in August of 2013 that defined “gluten-free” for food labeling. A year was given for companies to become compliant meaning that their food must...

May is Celiac Disease Awareness month which makes this the perfect time to focus on some exciting new research in the field. 

One of the most interesting questions out there is - what is the cause of celiac disease? 

For some time, the genes responsible for the genetic predisposition of celiac disease have been known - they are called HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8. These two genes are, as geneticists like to say, "required but not sufficient." This means that you need to have them in order to get celiac disease, but, having them is not enough.

This point can be seen when you look at the amount of people who have the genetic predisposition (roughly 30-40%) and compare it to the amount of people with celiac disease (only about 1%).

So, what is it that separates the 1%...

Gluten Free

Makers of gluten-free food are well aware of two main consumer groups that buy their products: (1) Those who have to for medical reasons, and (2) those who want to because they think they're making a healthy choice by doing so. 

While there is limited sales-growth potential for the Group 1, the economic upside for Group 2 is limitless. That's largely because if consumers' misconceptions are not corrected, more and more of them without gluten sensitivities will continue to believe that avoiding gluten is somehow better, and smarter and healthier.

That misguided reasoning, however, ignores scientific evidence as well as common sense, while it, ironically, promotes consumption of less healthy, reconfigured and processed foods.

"The things that make...

shutterstock_230407579When I realized that the incoming call on my phone was from my son's summer camp, I answered it in my best fake-calm voice, assuring myself that it would be nothing more than a forgotten swim suit.

It was the first day of camp, and my hopes were high that he would have a blast this summer. Or, at least, not hate it. But I was about to find out that our summer was already off to a bad start. They were calling to tell me that he ate someone else's lunch.

For most parents, this phone call would be nothing more than one or two minutes out of their busy day, ending with a...

shutterstock_142037104For someone with celiac disease who cannot eat gluten, dining outside of their own kitchen is, at best, stressful and potentially dangerous. That's because it’s completely a guessing game.

It is impossible to tell if food contains gluten by looking at it, tasting it or smelling it. That leaves one at the mercy of the word of a dinner party host or restaurant waiter, creating situations that can turn an otherwise fun night out into a stressful situation.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the small intestine when...

1435497_42016849Gluten, a complex protein derived from wheat, rye and barley, probably heads the list of popular foodstuffs to avoid this decade. Websites and twitter feeds abound with avowals of how much better their lives are without it from weight loss to energy levels, avoiding gluten has been a huge benefit.

Is it a smart food choice? Or is it just another fad like many weight loss miracle pills, powders and martini diets?

First, let's be clear that gluten can be destructive for some people those with celiac disease (CD), which affects about 1 percent of the American population. Celiac disease is an...

1202038318_7d4be5b9d5_z Credit: Aidan via flickr

One thing is for sure: It's hard to miss all the gluten free signs at grocery stores and in restaurants. For some, "gluten free" has become a mantra, as well as a trendy diet. For others, this food subset has always been a necessity for a segment of the population allergic to the gluten protein. And for those suffering from celiac disease, ingesting the...