Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity

Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) Treatment

Do you need celiac disease treatment? Let’s find out if it could help you.

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, rye and barley. For individuals suffering from a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, including both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity (also known as NCGS – non-celiac gluten sensitivity), the gluten protein is attacked by the immune system as a toxin. This “attack” can result in extensive damage to the body, creating symptoms that affect digestion, mood, heart, liver, thyroid, reproduction, brain function, muscles and joints.

All told there are hundreds of symptoms and diseases associated with gluten.

Is Gluten Causing Your Health Problems?

If you are one of the many who is suffering, you’re in very good company. Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is extremely common, affecting conservatively 20% of our population. Yet only 5% of the millions suffering know that their health problems are caused by gluten.

At this writing approximately 95% of the individuals suffering from the gluten caused problems, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, remain undiagnosed and therefore continue to suffer with the cause of their problems remaining unknown…We aim to change that at Root Cause Medical.

The Doctors at Root Cause Medical Clinic are specialists in treating gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease and are committed to changing this poor rate of diagnosis. If you are wondering if gluten is having a negative affect on your health, call us for a free consultation – (408) 733-0400. We would be happy to help!

Over 300 Diseases And Symptoms Are Caused By Gluten

Some diseases and symptoms caused by gluten intolerance are:

Fatigue Infertility
Obesity Diabetes
Depression Rheumatoid arthritis
Anxiety Thyroid disease
Gas/Bloating Liver Disease
Headaches/migraines ADD/ADHD
Acid Reflux Autism
Brian fog/Poor memory Stunted Growth
Hormonal imbalance Osteoporosis


Unfortunately the list goes on and on, but above is a small sampling.

What’s The Difference Between Gluten Sensitivity And Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease affecting about 1% of the population (although the figure rises with increased age). There is a genetic component to celiac disease and while most people with the disease have one or two specific genes, research is finding there may be more genes associated with celiac disease.

Celiac classically destroys the lining of the small intestine causing digestive problems in many. However there are many more celiacs with no digestive complaints who suffer symptoms from other parts of their body, chief amongst them the nervous system.

Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition that is estimated to affect anywhere from 10% to 30% of the population. Figures vary widely but increasing research should give us more precise numbers in the coming years. Until recently gluten sensitivity was questioned as whether it actually existed. It is now clear that it is a bona fide condition affecting a great number of individuals, something we explore extensively in our book The Gluten Effect, written by two of the doctors who deliver treatment here at Root Cause Medical Clinic.

Our celiac disease treatment protocol puts special emphasis on healing the immune system, something affected whether an individual has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The biggest difference between the two conditions is the gluten sensitive individual doesn’t suffer the frank destruction of the small intestine as the celiac patient does. However, the damage that does occur to the body is no less severe to the health status of the person suffering either condition. Common symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity (NCGS) are fatigue, headaches, mood swings, seizures, joint pain and more.

How Do You Know If Gluten Is Creating Your Health Problems?

While lab tests exist to test for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, there is a lack of sensitivity resulting in many false negatives, meaning patients may be told they are fine when they are not.

Newer lab tests have been released and time will tell if they are better than their predecessors. The first step is to get a blood test that evaluates for both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Simply receiving a negative test result for celiac disease does not rule out the presence of gluten sensitivity, so it is recommended to test for both.

If the tests are negative but your symptoms suggest gluten could be a problem, do a 30-day trial of a gluten-free diet and see how you feel. Noticing an improvement of symptoms on a gluten-free diet is a valid test in and of itself, and it shouldn’t be ignored. This is something we have always advocated with celiac disease treatment.

Are You Gluten Sensitive? Take the Self-Test to Find Out!

If you’re wondering if you are part of the population that suffers from gluten sensitivity, then take this test!

Check off the symptoms that apply to you:


___ Craving for wheat
___ Bloating / Gas
___ IBS
___ Acid reflux
___ Constipation
___ Diarrhea
___ Poor appetite
___ Children who are picky eaters
___ Weight trouble
___ Iron-deficiency anemia
___ Indigestion
___ Nausea


___ Headaches
___ Migraines
___ Memory problems
___ Brain Fog
___ Poor concentration
___ ADD/ ADHD/ Spectrum Disorder
___ Joint pains and/or muscle aches
___ Ataxia
___ Fibromyalgia


___ Fatigue
___ Sleep problems
___ Depression
___ Anxiety
___ Irritability
___ Mood swings
___ Menstrual problems
___ Infertility and/or Miscarriage
___ Thyroid problems
___ Osteoporosis or Osteopenia (you or your family)


___ You get infections easily
___ Sinus congestion
___ Asthma
___ Skin rash
___ Eczema
___ Psoriasis
___ Elevated liver enzymes
___ Arthritis, any type (in you or your family)
___ Cancer history, you or your family
___ Autoimmune disease such as diabetes, M.S., Lupus – you or your family
___ Celiac disease, you or your family


How Did You Do?

If you checked 1 to 3 lines: Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) may be playing a role in your health problems.

If you checked 4 to 7 lines: There is a definite possibility that you are suffering from gluten sensitivity.

If you checked 8 or more lines: The likelihood is strong that gluten sensitivity is having a negative effect upon your health.

Does you score put you in the “suspicious” or “likely” category? If so, you’re not alone.

What Should You Do Now?

Let’s discuss the two possible conditions that may be affecting your health, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

Celiac disease is one of the most common life-long disorders in Europe and the United States. 1% of the population suffers and this percentage increases with age, making it quite common.

One would think such a common disorder was well diagnosed in an advanced medical system such as our own. Unfortunately that is not at all the case. Less than 10% of all those people suffering from the disease are diagnosed. To add insult to injury, those people who are diagnosed, take on average about 7 years to receive their diagnosis.

Why Do Most Celiacs Remain Undiagnosed?

There are a few possible answers:
a) We live in a drug driven society that likes to swallow a pill and make symptoms go away. Celiac disease can only be treated with a dietary change and it isn’t an easy one. There is no drug to make the damage that celiac creates, go away.

b) Doctors in this country aren’t focused on diet and lifestyle. They don’t like to tell their patients to make diet changes. They are trained to give medications that make their patient “feel” differently quickly.

c) The pharmaceutical companies in this country control over 70% of all the research done. With diet being the only “cure” for celiac disease that we know of, it’s definitely not a disease that pharmaceutical companies are going to spend a lot of time and money researching.

d) The lab tests that have been used for celiac disease suffer from lack of precision. This means that many people are told that gluten is not their problem when it is. The tests often require that a tremendous amount of damage occur to the small intestine before the test will be positive, thereby missing the “early stages” of the disease. Additionally, not everyone with celiac disease experiences the same damage to their intestine and therefore those suffering from more neurologically-based celiac, skin-based or other system of the body, get completely missed as having the condition.

e) Doctors are set in their ways and it has only recently become apparent how common celiac disease is. Most of them were trained, erroneously, that celiac disease was rare and that patients would present with symptoms of abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and weight loss. It is now known that most patients with celiac disease will not necessarily have such symptoms, but changing how medical doctors think occurs slowly.

Causes aside, the facts remain the same – about 90% of those suffering from celiac disease – a common disease – remain undiagnosed and suffering – a statistic we aim to improve.

What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)?

NCGS is a very common condition that affects anywhere from 8 to 40 times more people than those affected by celiac. Then why doesn’t “everyone” know about it? It’s only been recently appreciated that it legitimately exists.

In fact, when the Doctors Petersen wrote “The Gluten Effect” in 2009, they stated information about gluten sensitivity that wasn’t accepted by the celiac community and leading researchers. In fact, at the time of its publication, the predominant thought was that those who “seemed” to be reacting to gluten but who didn’t have celiac disease, were likely mistaken and perhaps suffering from a “placebo effect” of some sort.

What a difference a few months can make. By the end of 2009 and continuing into 2010, 2011 and currently, more and more research results have proven that gluten sensitivity is not only a very real condition, but one that is affecting the health of millions of unsuspecting individuals of all ages.

Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is Much More Common than Celiac Disease

While estimates vary, the incidence of gluten sensitivity in our population appears to lie somewhere between 8% and 40%. Why the wide variation? Research on gluten sensitivity has only recently begun to occur. As an example of how much time it can take to get a “handle” on a disease, research on celiac disease has been occurring for decades yet it took until 2010 to discover that the incidence of celiac actually increased with age from 1% to 4 or 5%. This is minimally a 400% increase in a disease that was thought to be purely genetic – meaning you were either born with it or you weren’t.

It was a tremendous breakthrough to discover that diet, lifestyle factors, the health of the digestive tract, plus having the gene for celiac, were all needed to “turn on” the gene that makes one react negatively to gluten.

What Should You Do If You’re Sensitive to Gluten?

If you discover that gluten is a problem for you, the first step in treatment is to completely eliminate all gluten from your diet. While that may seem a daunting task, we are committed to supporting you through the transition. We have many sections of this website dedicated to just that, including a Self Test above, a Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Blog, Videos, and a list just below entitled Gluten-free Diet Food List. It isn’t easy to be completely gluten-free, but the results are more than worth the effort.

What If All Your Symptoms Don’t Improve On A Gluten-free Diet?

As mentioned above, eliminating gluten is often just the first part of treatment. As doctors who specialize in gluten intolerance, NCGS and celiac treatment, we see that some individuals improve dramatically with just that step, but more often the improvement, while good, can be temporary and is not enough to restore one to the status of feeling good again.

Due to gluten’s affect on the immune system, several problems can occur. We call these the Secondary Effects of Gluten.

  • One can develop infections in the intestine that, while “silent” symptom–wise, are preventing the intestine from completely healing.
  • In addition, gluten creates a “leakiness” of the intestine that compromises absorption of nutrients, inflames the immune system, and allows problems to develop in many other systems of the body. It is this “leaky gut” that is thought to be a major contributor to the long list of problems that can occur secondary to gluten.
  • Due to the stress put on the immune system, your body can react to other foods as if they were gluten – these are called cross-reactive foods and a specialized lab test can determine if such reactions are occurring.

Gluten-Free Diet Food List – Everything You Need to Know

What You Can and Can’t Eat

What is the key to success with gluten-free diets? A gluten free diet food list. You must know where gluten resides as well as where it hides!

Gluten is present in many grains and starches, as shown in the following table:

Contains Gluten

Wheat Kamut
Wheat Germ Matzo
Wheat Grass Seitan
Rye  Farino
Semolina Barley
Spelt Bulgar
Triticale Couscous
Oats* Graham Flour
Oat Fiber* Farro
Oat Bran* Teff

*Controversial due to contamination


Gluten-free Foods

Amaranth Flax
Rice Garfava
Corn Sorghum
Soy Millet
Potato Spelt
Quinoa Buckwheat
Tapioca Arrowroot
Beans Nut Flowers


Gluten Free Diet Food List: The Key to Understanding a Gluten-Free Diet

Foods with labels that list the following ingredients are questionable and should NOT be consumed unless you can verify they do not contain or are not derived from prohibited grains.

Remember, you need to be gluten-free, not just wheat-free.

In the past, many products said they were gluten-free while having questionable ingredients. Today’s labeling laws have made that a distant memory fortunately. The biggest problems patients run into is “thinking” that a product “shouldn’t” contain gluten and thereby failing to read the label. Common examples among our patients include soy sauce and beer. It seems odd to patients that a liquid would have gluten.

Don’t be fooled and compromise your health—always read the ingredient list carefully.

When in doubt, write to the company online. Most companies are very forthcoming with such information.

Below are some foods that frequently come up as a source of confusion for people. This is the current information we have but ultimately it’s always about reading that label carefully:

Gluten Free Diet Food List Tip: Read your labels!

Blue Cheese – check with the company; many are fine but not all.
Bran — while bran should be okay,  I would never eat wheat or oat bran unless the label specified that it was gluten-free.
Brown Rice Syrup – frequently, but not always, made from barley and therefore not gluten-free.
Caramel Color – infrequently made from barley, therefore usually safe.
Dextrin – usually made from corn but may be derived from wheat – if so the label will state it clearly.
Dry Roasted Nuts – processing agents may contain wheat.
Emergen-C – raspberry and mixed berry flavors contain some gluten, the other flavors are fine.
Flour or Cereal Products – all dependent on the source of the grain(s).
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Proteins (HVP) — or any vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed soy protein or textured vegetable protein (TVP) as these labels will say “wheat” it if was made from it. Otherwise it’s safe.
Malt or Malt Flavoring – usually made from barley, therefore not safe.
Malt Vinegar – this definitely contains gluten. Watch for this in certain chips. Occasionally it’s made from corn, but typically it’s barley or a barley/corn blend, neither of which is okay. Apparently there are some manufacturers that distill their vinegar. A distilled product would be safe, but I have never yet seen it on a label. This is a tricky one because malt potato chips will not have gluten listed on the ingredient list.
Modified Food Starch — label will say “wheat” if it’s made from it.
Ricola Cough Drops – our most recent check had the company unable to verify a gluten-free status.
Starch — lael will say &dquo;wheat” if it is made from it, otherwise it’s safe.
Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids – these do contain gluten, wheat-free is sometimes available however.


Gluten Free Diet Food List: What Often Contains Gluten

Malt Marinades Seitan
Malt vinegar Meat balls Self-basting poultry
Breading Meat loaf Soup bases
Broth Meat substitutes Soy-based veggie burgers
Coating mixes Monosodium glutamate Soy sauce
Communion wafers Pasta Stuffings
Crab cakes Processed meat Tamari
Croutons Roux Textured vegetable protein
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Sauces Thickeners
Imitation bacon Sausages (some) Vital wheat gluten found in imitation meats
Imitation fish



Beer is made from grains and thereby contains gluten.

Most other alcohols such as scotch, rye and vodka—while made from grains that are glutinous—are distilled, which removes the gluten, thereby making them safe to consume.

Do keep in mind that alcohol when mixed with gluten in food in the sensitive individual seems to magnify the reaction, and therefore should be avoided.

Further, many patients who have celiac disease, or who are gluten sensitive, have intestinal infections that creates a poor reaction to alcohol.


Soy is considered an acceptable food for those who are gluten sensitive.Traditional soy foods such as tofu, edamame, soy pods and some types of miso and tempeh are gluten-free.
Do read the label as grains or wheat-containing soy sauce can be added to miso and tempeh.

Unfortunately soy has some negative characteristics.
 Soy foods are frequently genetically engineered plus are one of the most common sources of hidden gluten.

Seitan and most soy-based veggie burgers contain “vital wheat gluten” – the ingredient that gives these foods the texture and taste of meat. Soy sauce contains wheat and many Asian dishes have added soy sauce. Wheat-free tamari is available when you cook at home.

Further, despite being gluten-free, soy beans often provoke digestive bloating, gas and allergic symptoms.

This may be a true allergy or an intolerance created by genetic engineering.

Evaluate your tolerance to soy and if acceptable choose high-quality organic products (preferable fermented) and eat them in moderation.


Oats can be an area of confusion when trying to avoid gluten.

Many companies are advertising oats as “gluten-free”. And there are some gluten free societies which will get quite impassioned when defending their ability to eat oats. Others don’t recommend oats due to the problem of unacceptable levels of contamination.

Oat fields frequently have wheat or rye growing in them and therefore most oats, when assayed, show gluten contamination. And if the contamination doesn’t happen in the fields then it occurs in transport or at the manufacturing facility.

While we all agree that oats contains a different protein from wheat, rye and barley and is therefore not classically gluten, in practicality when a gluten intolerant person consumes “regular” oats they often react to them the same as if they were consuming gluten due to contamination.

So please only consume oats from a dedicated facility that guarantees they are gluten-free.

Fortunately there are some companies which recently started offering certified gluten-free oats. Bob’s Red Mill, Creamhill Estates and Gluten-free Oats all offer certified gluten-free oats. Bob’s Red Mill is found most easily in health food stores while the others are available on-line only at this time.

One caution with Bob’s Red Mill is that they offer gluten-free oats as well as oats that are NOT gluten-free. So ensure that the package you buy states specifically that it’s “gluten-free”.


Some drugs contain gluten. As of this writing the common thyroid medication, Synthroid, is such an example. If you are avoiding gluten it is critical that you examine any drugs you may take for the presence of gluten.

Dentists & Hygienists

You may wonder what your semi-annual teeth cleaning has to do with your gluten-free diet. It turns out that the polish that a hygienist uses on your teeth, as the final step to a cleaning, often contains gluten.

I only discovered this after discussing my gluten intolerance with a very smart hygienist who knew that gluten was an ingredient in her tooth polish. The good news is that there is a gluten-free polish. But you will need to remind your hygienist or dentist before you arrive to ensure they have it on hand.

The Final Word On The Gluten Free Diet Food List

Certain ingredients have gotten a “bad rap” in the past and continue to appear on various sites as gluten-containing. We try to give you the latest information here so that you can have a reliable resource. This site is updated regularly to reflect changes as they occur.

To clear up any lingering confusion, let’s review a few different ingredients that have gotten poor reviews, mostly unnecessarily:

  • Mono and Diglycerides – these are fats made from oil, usually soy, and act as emulsifiers. They are gluten-free.
  • Maltodextrin – despite beginning with the word “malt”, it is gluten-free, usually made from corn, unless stated otherwise. e.g. “wheat maltodextrin” or “maltodextrin (wheat)”.
  • Glucose Syrup and Citric Acid – even when derived from wheat, these are highly processed with the final product being gluten-free. Both are usually made from corn.
  • Modified Food Starch – in the past, this was a source of gluten but currently, like maltodextrin, if it contains wheat the label will say so. Once again, this is usually made from corn.
  • Seasonings and Spices – spices are pure and therefore gluten-free, but seasonings are made from several ingredients and wheat can be one of them. It must be on the label, however, so read carefully. There have been more than a few run-ins with taco and chile seasoning packets that have created misery for patients that weren’t careful label readers.
  • Dextrose — is made from starch and is highly processed, so even if it was made from wheat, there would be no gluten remaining in the finished product.

You can be treated by experts in Celiac Disease treatment

Accurately diagnosing gluten as a problem and handling the secondary effects correctly is one of the specialties of the doctors at Root Cause Medical Clinic. Two of our doctors have authored a book on the subject, the bestselling “The Gluten Effect”, and they are nationally acclaimed public speakers on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

There are too many people needlessly suffering from the effects of gluten. We are committed to raising awareness and increasing the rate of diagnosis, thereby improving the health of affected individuals one by one, family by family.

We offer celiac disease treatment for those in Silicon Valley or around the country.

Individuals travel to see us at our Destination Clinic from across the country and internationally due to our highly effective treatment protocols. Regardless of where you live, consider the first step of a FREE phone consultationcall (408) 733-0400.

We help the world’s busiest people regain, retain, and reclaim their health, energy and resilience.

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