What is Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten sensitivity create havoc in the body



Gluten sensitivity is a food-triggered inflammatory condition where the immune system attacks the gliadin protein found in gluten. This immune response can lead to damage in the small intestine and cause various symptoms such as brain fog, nutrient deficiencies, IBS, skin issues, and even autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s. The Wheat Zoomer test is recommended to identify immune system reactions to gluten peptides and determine if someone has gluten sensitivity. Being gluten-free can significantly improve symptoms and reduce the need for medication.

Transcript of the video

Gluten sensitivity is basically a food triggered and inflammatory condition. The immune system sees the gliadin protein in the body and it identifies it as something that it should attack or something that it should destroy… Similar to what would happen if the body or the immune system were to come in contact with a bacteria or a virus or something that was invading the body as well.

Gluten sensitivity: defense mechanisms

A lot of these immune system cells are mobilized and activated when gliadin is present in the body, and they can also start to attack the gluten, but then also attack healthy body tissues. The majority of the time, when we start to see healthy tissues damaged, one of the first places we can start to see damage occur is at the level of the small intestine. This is a problem because this is where a lot of our digestion and absorption occurs in the body.

Inflammatory reaction

For starters, we know nutrient deficiencies can be a big contributing factor to a lot of our chronic health concerns. In addition to these nutrient deficiencies, gluten sensitivity can cause a whole host of issues. Once the GLI atom protein enters the bloodstream, once it’s broken through the small intestine and enters the bloodstream. That can create an inflammatory cascade and an immune system reaction in the bloodstream as well. And that’s part of the reason why the symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity are different on a case-by-case basis.

Gluten sensitivity symptoms are varied

A woman with symptoms of gluten sensitivity 450pxOne person who has gluten sensitivity might be experiencing brain fog. Another patient might just have ongoing vitamin D deficiency due to that destruction of the small intestine and the guide lining. Some people do manifest gluten sensitivity as IBS, whether that’s loose stools, constipation, gas, bloating, headaches, and migraines can be another sign of gluten sensitivity. In other patients, we’ve seen it cause eczema, rashes, even psoriasis. There can be a big link there. We do know that there is a big, big link between Hashimoto’s and gluten sensitivity as well.


Hashimoto’s is the autoimmune condition that is associated with a thyroid, and the reason for this is because of a phenomenon called cross reactivity or a molecular mimicry. And basically what happens is on a cellular level, a microscopic level, the proteins in the thyroid look really, really similar to the proteins in gluten. So, in somebody who’s gluten-sensitive, when their immune system starts to attack that gluten protein, it can sometimes get confused. It can sometimes get overwhelmed and then start to attack the thyroid.

This is not to say that every single person who has Hashimoto’s definitely is gluten sensitive, but there is a big, big link there as well.

Detecting gluten sensitivity

We tend to find that a good majority of our patients are gluten-sensitive in our work together, simply because as a functional medicine clinic, we are looking places where conventional medicine may not be. One of the tests that we run frequently at our clinic is called the Wheat Zoomer, and this is one of the best ways to identify is there an immune system reaction occurring to gluten in the body. And the reason for this is gluten.

Proteins and inflammation

Again, this is the protein found in grains. Gluten is made up of two primary protein sequences, gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin and glutenin are made up of various peptides. Peptides are strains of amino acids, and when we run Wheat Zoomer tests on our patients, we are looking for specific antibody reactions to specific peptides found in gliadin and glutenin. These are peptides that have been researched, that have been studied, that have been shown that when they are present in the body, that indicates that there is an inflammatory immune system reaction occurring.

If you are somebody who has been on the fence or unsure of if they do have a concern or a reaction to gluten in the body, the Wheat Zoomer is one of the tests we highly recommend and use in our practice regularly.

Gluten sensitivity and medication

Again, gluten sensitivity can manifest as so many different symptoms because it impacts the gut lining, it impacts the small intestine. In general, it impacts our immune system as a whole. So for one person, again, it might cause digestive issues. For another, it might cause skin issues. For me personally, it caused allergies.

I took six to eight Zyrtec on a daily basis. I was taking Flonase two or three times a day. At one point, I was taking a steroid cream and prescription eye drops for my allergies, and I took about six to eight months of being gluten-free. But after I got my Wheat Zoomer results, it definitely confirmed that there was an issue there.

Ever since then, I’ve been strictly gluten-free, and I’m no longer taking any medication for my allergies. So this test and this information can definitely be a game changer in one person’s health.

Why consult for gluten sensitivity at Root Cause Medical Clinic?

Learn about gluten sensitivity and its effects on your health in The Gluten Effect by Drs. Vikki and Richard PetersenDr. Vikki Petersen and her husband, Dr. Rick Petersen, have been pioneering clinical research in the field of gluten sensitivity for over two decades. In 2009 they co-wrote “The Gluten Effect“, a book exposing the dangers gluten poses. Using the HealthNOW Method, they provided a path to good health for millions of people with gluten sensitivity.  The Gluten Effect is a window into the innumerable ways in which gluten can cause everything from autism to dementia, from depression to psoriasis and much more.

The medical team at Root Cause Medical Clinic applies the methods pioneered by Dr. Vikki and Dr. Rick in the detection and treatment of gluten sensitivity, with a view to restoring your body to full health with proper medical care, registered dietitian/nutritionist support, as well as changes in lifestyle habits. Root Cause Medical Clinic applies the principles of Functional medicine to get to the root cause of the ailments you experience, instead of treating the symptoms with more drugs. Root cause medicine aims at removing the stressors that create the “dis-ease” and prevent your body to heal itself.

If you think you may have gluten sensitivity and you noted the symptoms mentioned above resemble your symptoms, make an appointment with our medical team for a consultation. Call us at 727-335-0400.

Additional resources

More on gluten sensitivity and our nutritional programs

A review of scientific publications on non-celiac gluten sensitivity
A paper published by Harvard about gluten sensitivity, its effect, and the gluten-free diet


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