A new consensus paper published in the journal BMC Medicine provides a new classification system for gluten-related disorders. In hopes of alleviating confusion amongst medical professionals and the public, the paper, which was authored by 15 celiac disease experts from around the world, seeks to explain the clinical differences between celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies based on the responses that occur when a person ingests gluten.
The researchers broke the findings down as follows:
- Celiac Disease patients experience an autoimmune response to gluten where the body mistakenly attacks itself. When eating gluten, patients in this group will develop antibodies that can be measured by a blood test and/or damage to the villi of the small intestine, which can be confirmed by a biopsy. There are hundreds of potential celiac disease symptoms that could affect any system of the body. Patients begin to experience symptoms weeks to years after first ingesting gluten.
- Wheat Allergy patients will experience a classic allergy response that may affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract when they ingest gluten. Skin prick tests are considered the first line of testing for a wheat allergy. In these patients, a reaction will occur minutes to hours after ingestion of gluten.
- Gluten Sensitivity patients experience symptoms similar to those of celiac disease patients, however the reaction to gluten in these patients can not be identified by either allergic or autoimmune mechanisms. Gluten sensitive patients do not develop antibodies to gluten nor do they exhibit signs of intestinal villi damage. Today the only mechanism to diagnose a gluten sensitivity is an elimination diet.
You can view the abstract and full study here:
Additionally, the Wall Street Journal published a great article on the study this morning. You can view that here:
With more and more travelers demanding gluten-free options, hotels and resorts are taking note and are now bringing in specialty products in all areas of their properties from mini-bars to full-service restaurants.
The trend extends from small boutique hotels like Kimpton properties on the West Coast all the way to worldwide luxury chains including the Fairmont where each chef was tasked with designing meals aimed at visitors managing a range of special diets (gluten-free, heart healthy, diabetic friendly, macrobiotic, etc).
Read all about how hotels are making the switch to gluten-free at http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/Hotels+cater+special+diets+gluten+free+food+menus/6107914/story.html
Gluten-free dining options are expanding at universities throughout the country! Most recently the University of New Hampshire has added a variety of options for gluten-free students including a dedicated gluten-free freezer, a phone hotline to call and speak with chefs about meal options and an online ordering system for students to order specially prepared, allergic friendly meals to be ready for when they arrive to eat.
What a cool system!
Learn more about the efforts at the University of New Hampshire and get inspired to make changes at your school! Read more at: http://www.tnhonline.com/mobile/unh-dining-expands-gluten-free-options-for-students-1.2757997