Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many myths and opinions and very little concrete, accurate information about the Celiac Disease, that we would like to help educate our consumers and supporters.
Should you keep eating gluten prior to testing if you suspect you have Celiac disease?
In an individual with Celiac Disease, the immune system produces antibodies in response to gluten eaten because the gluten is recognized as a “foreign invader” in the intestine. Blood tests for Celiac Disease measure antibody levels in the blood in response to gluten. If you stop eating gluten-containing foods prior to testing, antibody levels change. This may cause a negative test result, even when you actually have Celiac Disease. So, for accurate diagnosis, keep eating as you normally do, then report your symptoms to your doctor and follow through with testing.
Celiac disease is NOT a “gluten allergy”, nor is it a wheat allergy.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by eating gluten. In an allergic reaction, a substance that enters the body (for example, food eaten) is recognized as a harmful invader. This causes the immune system to react and work to “fight off” the invading substance. In an autoimmune response, the immune system reacts incorrectly to the body’s own normal tissues, as if part of the body is a foreign substance. This is what happens in CD as well as other autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis. While CD does require a foreign substance (gluten) to trigger the reaction, it is the body’s own “self” tissue (the small intestine lining) that is attacked and destroyed.
Every time a Celiac patient ingests gluten – by accident or knowingly – the gut healing process must begin again.
Consuming gluten, no matter how small the amount, damages the small intestine of an individual with CD. Research indicates it takes weeks for antibody levels (indicating gluten damage in those with CD) to return to normal after consumption. This is true even for those without obvious outward negative symptoms of CD. Even in the absence of outward symptoms, damage to the villi (small finger-like projections) of the small intestine still occurs. This damage can lead to other serious health issues like poor nutrient absorption, which puts the entire system in jeopardy. A gluten-free diet is currently the only treatment for CD.
What constitutes a product being labeled gluten-free?
Generally speaking, products marked gluten-free mean that gluten levels should fall under a certain testable threshold of 20 ppm. A product simply stating that it’s gluten-free is not the same as those which are certified and contain an official label such as the image to the right. Should a product just contain a statement such as “gluten-free”, you may want to contact that company and inquire about their handling, manufacturing, and testing practices are before assuming it’s safe.
Can a product test for zero or no gluten?
No. There is no test that can measure Zero parts per million, however soon there will be a test that can reach to the billionth. So it's not impossible, just not available. The most consistently reliable tests can measure to a quantitive measure of 3 ppm and a semi-quantitive measure of .5 ppm making GFS Labs the only lab the world to possess this methodology but more importantly the control samples from which this is all based.