Is gluten-free diet for you?

Gluten sensitivity

For some, gluten-free diet will solve their stomach discomforts, bone and joint pain, headaches, or fatigue.

 

Since gluten-sensitivity and Celiac are highly genetic disorders, our simple test would reveal how your body responds to gluten.

 

Get Gene Informed. No need to guess.

Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye and barley, products made from these grains and products that gluten is added to them. Gliadin is a subunit of gluten that cause, in some people, gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea and constipation, as well as symptoms in other parts of the body such as bone or joint pain, headaches, and fatigue. This sensitivity to gluten is quite common in its mild form, and rare in its acute form, namely Celiac disease.

Celiac (Coeliac) disease is the severe form of sensitivity to gluten. In Celiac patients, ingestion of gluten leads to an autoimmune reaction that damages the lining of the gut. The patient develops nutrient absorption problems and potentially serious complications such as anemia and chronic fatigue. Celiac is found in about 1% of the population. However, non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is more common.

Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity is defined by symptoms similar to Celiac disease experienced after gluten ingestion, but without an autoimmune response and no damage to the lining of the gut.

 

Both Celiac disease and sensitivity to gluten have a strong genetic background.

Gene: MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX, CLASS II, DQ ALPHA-1 (HLA-DQA1)

Genomic coordinates (GRCh38): 6:32,637,402-32,654,845

 

Gene: MAJOR HISTOCOMPATIBILITY COMPLEX, CLASS II, DQ BETA-1 (HLA-DQB1)

Genomic coordinates (GRCh38): 6:32,659,463-32,666,688

 

HLA-DQ genes provide instructions for making proteins that are present on the surface of certain immune system cells. Their role is to help the immune system recognize and attack foreign and unwanted elements that have entered the body.

Two common genetic variants (called DQ2.5 and DQ8) are pro-inflammatory in the presence of gluten. These HLA versions form complexes with gliadin peptides and present it to the immune system. This means that carriers of these variants recognize gluten as a threat and respond by inflammation. Constant stimulation by gluten leads to chronic inflammation that damages the villi (gut linen).

About 95% of Celiac patients carry the DQ2.5 variant, and most of the remaining 5% carry the DQ8 variant. If you don’t carry either of these, your chances to develop gluten sensitivity are slim, and chances for Celiac are particularly small.

Although affected individuals carry these variants, not all carriers are affected. It seems that additional factors, such as exposure to high amounts of gluten at young age and infections at young age, are needed to be added on top of the HLA genetic risk to actually develop the autoimmune response. The figure below presents the risk of DQ2 variant carriers to develop gluten intolerance. The probability rises with exposure to gluten at young age. Microbial infection events add up to the risk. Among individuals carrying only one copy of the risk allele, microbial infection was not significant, and the total risk was significantly lower (although much higher than non-carriers).

 

Carriers of a risk allele should examine their response to food items containing gluten. Carriers of two risk alleles are at very high risk to develop symptoms.

A gluten-free diet will prevent any possible formation of the inflammation-causing HLA DQ-gliadin complexes, and its derived symptoms.