At Evolve Naturopathic Vitality Centre, we offer many diagnostic lab tests. These lab tests include standard medical laboratory testing for full diagnostic work-up and annual work-ups. We also offer allergy and food sensitivity testing, gluten intolerance and celiac testing, comprehensive digestive analysis, omega essential fatty acid profiles, micronutrient levels, and many more.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by permanent adverse reactions to the gluten and or gliadin proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, bulgar, cereal binding agents, couscous, durum semolina, einkorn, emmer, farro, wheat flour, graham flour, kamut, malt, matzoh meal, oats, orzo, spelt, triticale, wheat bran, germ, starch and cracked wheat. It is commonly hidden in various food ingredients as a binding agent and often goes undetected to the average consumer under its many different names. It can also be found in many condiments such as sauces, and gravies, and foods with gluten-containing fillers and preservatives. The typical Western diet is high in gluten containing foods.
This autoimmune mediated reaction to gluten leads to intestinal damage causing significant inflammation, atrophy (shrinkage) of the intestinal villi and mucosal lining of the small intestine where nutrients are meant to be absorbed. This in turn leads to severe gastric symptoms and a subsequent malabsorption syndrome causing subsequent nutrient deficiencies and further disease processes.
The extent of nutrient malabsorption should not be underestimated. It can lead to the following deficiencies of: iron, folate, calcium, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), carbohydrates, and fats. This malabsorption can lead to multi-systemic conditions and compound other health burdens.
Celiac disease affects approximately 1% of the US population, and it is estimated that upto 70% of the population suffers from some form of gluten-sensitive enteropathy that falls outside the normal parameters of a celiac diagnosis. This means that a high percentage of the general population is walking around with clinically undiagnosed gluten enteropathies~sensitivities due to the generalities of the symptoms and cross similarities with many other conditions. The difference is a gluten auto-immune reaction in celiac disease vs. a gluten intolerance in gluten enteropathies. (For more information on the difference between allergy vs. sensitivity or intolerance, please visit the food allergy page.)
These days, we find wheat in many commercial foods. It is such a highly genetically modified grain, and the actual wheat plants mass produced in this day and age are structurally and chemically different to the way wheat was once actually cultivated. This translates to further body reactions to a protein which the body no longer recognizes and mounts a reaction against.
The complications associated with eating gluten containing products is further compounded by the similar structural recognition of other proteins in many grains. Corn for example is highly structurally similar to wheat and a wheat reaction can translate over to other grains, further complicating the process of healing and finding the proper foods to eat.
The treatment for celiac and gluten enteropathies involves early identification and diagnosis, correcting nutritional deficiencies and healing of the gut barrier in the small intestines and establishing dietary guidelines to support healthy nutrition.
Recognizing celiac disease (auto-immune reaction) vs. gluten sensitivity~intolerance can be difficult as the clinical presentations can vary and often times, the constellation of symptoms often get lost in the generalities of the symptoms.
Gluten reactions can happen in both children and adults.
Children may experience a variety of complaints ranging from:
Abdominal bloating and pain
Apathy & pale complexion
Chronic diarrhea/ constipation
Stools are soft, bulky, clay-colored (pale), and foul smelling
Failure to thrive
Damage to tooth enamel
Neurological Disorders and hyperactivity
Gluten reactions in adults are often worse as the burden to the system has built up over time and nutrient deficiencies can reach decompensating thresholds. Adults can experience a wide range of symptoms, ranging from:
Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia including decreased transferrin saturation, MCV and MCH and folic acid and B12 levels
Anorexia, weakness or lassitude
Arthritis, bone or joint pain
Bone loss or tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
Canker sores, apthous ulcers inside the mouth, glossitis, angular stomatitis
Dermatitis Herpetiformis: An itchy skin rash with blisters on the elbows, knees, buttocks, shoulders, scalp
Depression or anxiety, mood changes
Diarrhrea and or constipation
Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
Manifestations of Vitamin D and Ca deficiencies (eg, osteomalacia, osteopenia, osteoporosis)
Missed menstrual periods
Neurological Disorders and restlessness; 57% of patients with neurological complaints have a higher prevalence of circulating antigliadin antibodies
Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
Stomach pain and bloating, often recurring
Tingling or numbness in the extremities
Weight loss or undiagnosed weight gain (Wheat Belly Syndrome)
Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies:
Iron, calcium and Vitamin D are the most common deficiencies, but some present with deficiencies in B12, copper, folate, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and/or zinc
Many people with celiac disease may also have a concurrent sensitivity or lactose intolerance, so the nutrient deficiencies may be further compounded with lower dietary intakes of calcium, magnesium & Vitamin D depending on the dietary habits.
Although the clinical presentations may vary greatly, a simple blood test can measure reactivity and gluten intolerance. Measuring gliadin antibodies is part of a diagnostic celiac evaluation.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system perceives the gliadin- protein component of gluten as a foreign invader and mounts a reaction against it. Therefore diagnostic tests for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are best performed while the patient is still consuming gluten containing products.
The immune system of a gluten sensitive individual will produce anti-gliadin antibodies to attack the food protein.
At Evolve Naturopathic Vitality Centre, Dr. Cheryl D’Costa, BPHE, ND, R.Ac uses a Celiac Profile Blood Spot Test to measure the three key antibodies: anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA antibodies, anti-gliadin IgA antibodies and anti-gliadin IgG antibodies as part of the diagnostic work-up.
This profile provides sensitive and specific tests for celiac disease. Further comprehensive Food Sensitivity Testing is also performed to determine if a person is reacting to either the gluten or the gliadin proteins. The food sensitivity tests also determine which subsequent grains or corn for example, are equally reactive due to their similar structures and to make educated determinations into which foods an individual can safely incorporate into their diet.
A MicroNutrient Vitamin-Mineral Deficiency Profile Test is also run to determine the extent of deficiencies and the proper level of administration of functional foods and nutraceuticals to correct said deficiencies.
Call to inquire and schedule an appointment for your diagnostic work-up.