Gluten Sensitive Kids:
Celiac & Non-Celiac Subtypes
Celiac disease, a condition that strikes 1% of our population, is an inherited autoimmune disease where one reacts to gluten, a large protein found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. Celiac disease causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine with consequent reduced absorption of the minerals iron and calcium, the water soluble vitamin folic acid, and fat soluble vitamins (vitamin D, E, A, and K). Celiac disease has mental health associations for kids that include the whole gamut of behavior (ADD, OCD), mood (depression, anxiety), and psychotic (schizophrenia) disorders.1-3
If according to Health Canada, delay to diagnosis of Celiac Disease is 11.7 years and onset can happen at any age, then there are a significant portion of our youth that are suffering from an undiagnosed condition that affects their mental health.
Celiac disease is more common than we think. In the USA, about 1.4 million of the 1.8 million that have Celiac disease go under the radar of diagnosis (Science Daily, July 31, 2012). The symptoms are so broad and non-specific that they are often not evaluated with diagnostic blood and/or endoscopic biopsy.4
There are also about 1.6 million in the USA that are on gluten-free diets, most of which do not rely on diagnostic lab. If you are sensitive to this food protein, you do not need to rely on blood or biopsy testing. If you feel better without gluten and worse when you re-introduce it then you have a Gluten Sensitivity issue. Dietary elimination and reintroduction is a diagnostic evaluation procedure that follows the rationale of ‘diagnosis by treatment’.
Toronto Outpatient Clinic for Behavior, Mood, and Psychotic Disorders
1. Niederhofer, H. Association of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Celiac Disease: A Brief Report. Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 2011; 13(3): PCC.10br01104.
2. Sharma TR et. al. Psychiatric comorbidities in patients with celiac disease: Is there any concrete biological association? Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 2011(Jun); 4(2): 150-1.
3. Jackson JR et. al. Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. Psychiatric Quarterly, 2012(March); 83(1): 91-102.
4. Katz K. et. al. Screening for Celiac Disease in a North American Population: Sequential Serology and Gastrointestinal Symptoms. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2011; 106(7): 1333–1339.