Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Doctor of Chiropractic and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, is founder of the renowned HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, California.
She is co-author of “The Gluten Effect,” a bestselling book that has been celebrated by leading experts as an epic leap forward in gluten sensitivity diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Vikki herself is acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of gluten sensitivity. Featured in an exclusive interview on CNN Headline News, Dr Vikki is also endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for her contributions to gluten awareness in our country.
Q: If the paired genes are present for Celiac disease, what is that saying? The testing our ten year old had done shows the pairs, but we don’t know if he has Celiac or is just intolerant. If it’s just an intolerance, is he at risk of becoming Celiac? We have been gluten-free for seven weeks. The rest of us have not been tested. (Our pediatrician ran some blood work at our request. It came back negative, but I understand those test numbers are so low that they miss 50% of those with Celiac).
This is an excellent question. I’m going to give you some facts followed up by my opinion.
The pair of celiac genes present means that you son could develop celiac disease. It doesn’t say that he’s manifesting it right now, only that he could. Gluten sensitivity genes are different from celiac genes and it explains why celiacs destroy their own small intestine and those will gluten sensitivity do not – they still have inflammation and many problems, but the specific villous atrophy or intestinal destruction does not occur in those with gluten sensitivity.
Traditionally patients such as your son would be told that since their blood test was negative they should continue to be monitored for celiac disease but it is fine to consume gluten at this point. 20% of the population has these genes but the greatest percentage that research has proposed for celiac incidence is 4% as of 2010 research that showed increasing incidence with age. So once again, traditional medicine feels that the presence of the gene pair isn’t enough to warrant the institution of a gluten-free diet.
I disagree. As you correctly pointed out, the celiac tests are not adequately sensitive. As we develop more sensitive tests, I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of the 20% who carry the gene don’t develop the disease at some point in their life.
If your son was my son, I would remove all gluten from his diet today! Why? Because I don’t want to wait until his health is compromised before eliminating the toxin that is creating the ill health. Autoimmune diseases, as an example, can be “brewing” for well over a decade before the first symptom is seen. Celiac is not only an autoimmune disease in its own right but it is a culprit in the development of other autoimmune diseases.
I think it’s akin to Russian roulette to have that genetic profile and ignore it. And I feel confident that research within the next 10 years will bear this out.
Lastly, with your son having a pair of celiac genes, you and your husband are likely to each have one set if not more. Do get yourself tested and the rest of the family if possible.
I hope this helps and please do write back if you have any more questions.
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Heidi here, what Dr. Vikki recommended to Cinda about removing gluten from her son’s diet right away is a similar situation that I found myself in with my oldest son 2 1/2 years ago, when he had a positive celiac panel (he was positive for Endomysial Antibodies and Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase antibodies) but a negative biopsy (Latent Celiac Disease). Sam’s Pediatric GI initially told me to allow him to resume eating gluten until he began exhibiting more symptoms, then we would re-do the intestinal biopsy to check for villous atrophy (which is required in order to get a diagnosis of celiac disease).
Not only did I NOT want to continue subjecting my son to needles and general anesthesia, I definitely did not want him to follow in my footsteps by developing more autoimmune disorders (I have 5 of them). My greatest fear at the time was that he could develop Juvenile/Type 1 Diabetes, a condition that would never go away once he had it. By removing gluten from Sam’s diet before the massive destruction of his villi (which is required for an “official” diagnosis of CD), he has an excellent chance of never developing another autoimmune disease. I recently did a gene test on Sam and it did come back positive for one copy of DQ8, further validation for me that I did the right thing for my son.
Now it’s time to announce the three winners of Ricki Heller’s e-Book, Good Morning: Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs or Dairy and they are:
Congratulations ladies! You will each be getting an email from Ricki Heller with a downloadable copy of her wonderful new breakfast e-book, enjoy!
And now it’s time for another…
To enter for a chance to win this giveaway, simply:
Visit Dr. Vikki’s blog and leave a comment on one of her posts (don’t worry, it’s super easy to navigate), then leave a comment here telling me the title of the post you left a comment on.
That’s it! No jumping through hoops this week with me begging you to like me on Facebook or stalk me on Twitter. ;-) It’s Mothers Day weekend afterall and I want you to take a well-deserved break and just relax and pamper yourself!
I will announce the winner on Monday, May 9, 2011, Good Luck!
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
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