Gluten Burden

Look at the gluten burden picture. It is disturbing. The question that I am asking is: what is the real gluten-contribution to common symptoms and illness in our communities.

This is an extract from my “Gluten: ZERO Global” book.  Creating a picture from the numbers in the “gluten burden” table should help you understand the implication of these numbers. The full information is written up in the ebook.

 Graph 1 – Celiac exclusive medical model

Gluten Burden "traditional" view

This first graph shows the current narrow medical model (ie: “Gluten/wheat can only and exclusively cause celiac disease and wheat allergy”). The red bars show the gluten contribution in this model.

The blue bars represent the prevalence of other conditions in the community that have been associated with gluten-related disorders.  As you can see, celiac disease and wheat allergy do not account for much of the total community illness in this celiac-only scenario.

 Graph 2 – Gluten-related disorders model

Gluten burden "Gluten sensitive" numbers


This second graph shows the new Gluten-related disorders model (ie: “Gluten/wheat can cause a wide range of illnesses including celiac disease and wheat allergy”).

The red bars show the estimated gluten contribution in this new model, which now includes a proportion of all of the listed diseases.  It uses the estimates from Column#3 of the table.  You can see that gluten now becomes a substantial part of the problem, contributing much more to gluten-illness when compared to the combined amounts of both celiac disease and wheat allergy.

Gluten has now become an important component of a wide range of common community illnesses.

 Graph 3 – Gluten-ZERO model

Gluten burden "ZERO" concept

 The third graph presents what I propose is the more likely total gluten contribution to community illnesses.  I call this the Gluten-ZERO model (ie: “Gluten/wheat is responsible for causing a vast amount of unrecognized illness throughout the community”).

The red bars now show an even greater gluten contribution to common symptoms and illness. This hypothesis urgently needs extensive gluten-sensitive research to come up with accurate numbers.  To do this requires an accurate gluten-illness test, which has yet to be developed.

 Gluten burden?

 Support from an expert panel

Sapone et al (2012) write three statements in their “Spectrum of gluten-related disorders” paper relating to the speed of recognition of the gluten-problem, and its extent.

1) About timeframes and lack of knowledge: “A decade ago celiac disease was considered extremely rare outside Europe and, therefore, was almost completely ignored by health care professionals. In only 10 years, key milestones have moved celiac disease from obscurity into the popular spotlight worldwide.”

2) About gluten sensitivity: “Other conditions related to the ingestion of gluten have emerged as health care concerns.”

3) About the extent of gluten illness: “All individuals, even those with a low degree of risk, are therefore susceptible to some form of gluten reaction during their life span.”

We can confidently say the the final size of the gluten-problem will be a lot bigger than any previous estimates.

By Dr Rodney Ford

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