I had a question from a subscriber to my newsletter the other day and it was a question that I thought my blog readers might be interested in. So here is her question, (I excluded her name in case she wanted to remain anonymous), and my answer:
> I recently had dna testing done and they say that I am 24.9 times more likely than the average person to develop Celiac Disease during my lifetime.
> I haven’t been having any particular digestive or intestinal problems but this was alarming to me and so I decided to go gluten-free for 2 weeks because Dr. Oz on his television show recommends that doing so can be an indication of whether one is gluten intolerant. I didn’t notice any changes during the two weeks nor did I feel different after resuming the consumption of wheat products.
> My question is this: Do you think that trying to eating gluten free would be a wise idea for someone with my particular genetics? My doctor probably already thinks I’m a hypochondriac, so I’m reluctant to ask him to have blood tests run to see if I have Celiac Disease. Besides, wouldn’t I have some obvious symptoms if I did have it? I do have fibromyalgia which I was just reading, that, can mimic Celiac Disease.
> I fully realize you are not an M.D. and cannot advise me in that regard but I’m just hoping you have some insight on all of these things.
The following is a clip from a blog post I did when we found out my granddaughter tested postive for Celiac: (You can read the whole post here).
Although there is no way to know who will definitely develop celiac disease, we do know that in order to develop it, you need three things to line up.
- A genetic predispostion
- A diet rich in gluten
- An environmental stressor/trigger
You could have all three of these things and never develop celiac disease. But it can definitely be said that if you are missing any one of these three factors you will not develop celiac disease. You may be gluten intolerant, just not a celiac.
That genetic predisposition would be the genes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. There is strong evidence that shows you must have one or both of those genes to develop Celiac Disease.
Since you say your DNA test shows that you are 24.9 times more likely to develop Celiac, I will assume you have at least one of those genes. 97% of people with Celiac Disease have at least one of those genes, with over 90% having the DQ2 gene and less than 10% having the DQ8 gene.
Now according to the research I did, having those “Celiac Disease genes” doesn’t mean you will definitely get Celiac. In fact, the majority of people that carry the genes, will never develop Celiac. It just means that you have the risk of developing Celiac Disease, “Someday“.
Now, as for your fibromyalgia, in his book, “Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic“, Dr. Peter Green, says that “fibromyalgia is a poorly understood condition characterized by symptoms that mimic other diseases. One study done by a nationwide celiac disease support group indicated that among adults ultimately diagnosed with celiac disease, 9% were originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and 30% with IBS”.
Dr Green in his book also states that, “Since many patients with celiac disease have muscle aches, joint pains, GI symptoms and fatigue, it is understandable that those people might get a label of fibromyalgia.”
“The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is difficult to define, it is based on a number of symptoms that can be due to other conditions. And celiac disease is one of them.”
So in closing, I guess my question to you would be, When you did your gluten free 2 weeks, did your fibromyalgia symptoms clear up, go away all together, or get slightly better? If you answer yes to any of the above, I would talk to my doctor about the blood test for celiac disease. Just remember, you must be eating gluten to have the blood tests be accurate.
I talk about the blood tests for celiac disease in this post, Celiac Disease-The Symptoms. I hope this helped to answer your questions.