What is The Gluten Summit?

Dr Tom O’Bryan from theDr.com has generously gathered a group of medical professionals at the forefront of research into gluten related health issues, nutrition and healthy living to bring us a series of interviews on the topic of 'gluten'. The goal of the summit is to bring recognition of gluten-related disorders forward by five years. The summit is taking place online from 11-17 November 2013.

The wrap up from day 8 of The Gluten Summit

Two enthralling presentations today, Dr. Volta and Dr. Shoenfeld and an interview with Dr. Tom O'Bryan in which he lets slip today's presentations are his must sees!

Day 8 saw Dr. Shoenfeld focus on autoimmune disease and how we can progress early prediction to prevent them developing further. Dr. Volta took us through the differences between coeliac disease and non coeliac gluten sensitivity, from genes and antibodies, all the way through to treatments.

The Gluten Summit has been an eye opening experience, we have learnt more about coeliac disease, autoimmunity, non coeliac gluten sensitivity and many more health issues in the past 8 days than we ever could have imagined. It was a huge undertaking to listen to 3 or 4 interviews everyday (minus the weekend, unfortunately) but in all honesty the depth of knowledge and learnings we took away made it addictive. We are so glad Dr. Tom O'Bryan took it upon himself to drive The Gluten Summit. Thanks Dr. O'Bryan. Oh and it isn't over yet... make sure you tune in tomorrow to watch the 4 encore presentations. Otherwise, buy the DVDs so you can take it all home.

The interviewees and their topics

  • Dr. Umberto Volta: The reality of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and its many manifestations.
  • Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld: Are you developing an autoimmune disease years before symptoms?

The most interesting points to take away

  1. The definition of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) means the person is reacting to gluten but they do not have coeliac disease or a wheat allergy.
  2. Brain fog is more prevalent in NCGS, it occurs in 35% of NCGS patients but only 5-10% of coeliac patients.
  3. The mean age of NCGS patients is about 45 years, while the mean age of coeliac disease patients is 35 years.
  4. NCGS calls up innate immunity - which is the first response. It is not an autoimmune disease but it does cause inflammation. Cytokines are fired at the toxin (gluten).
  5. Malabsorbtion syndrome, caused by coeliac disease or non coeliac gluten sensitivity, is treated with supplements for the following; ferritin, folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin B12
  6. There are currently no biomarkers for NCGS.
  7. The coeliac genes HLA-DQ2 or DQ-8 are in 95% of coeliacs but only 40-50% of NCGS patients.
  8. Positive IgG anti-gliadin antibodies were found in 56% of NCGS but 81% of coeliacs. Positive IgA anti-gliadin antibodies were found in 6% of NCGS but 60-70% of coeliac. This means that IgG antibodies to gliadin are more likely to indicate NCGS.
  9. Coeliacs tend to gain weight on a gluten free diet where NCGS tend to lose weight. This might mean that coeliacs are malabsorbing nutrients and calories whereas NCGS are only malabsorbing nutrients.
  10. The immune system might not be working well until age 4 as it needs time to mature.
  11. Predictive autoimmunity is possible, a study was done on lupus patients and proved they had elevated antibodies present on average, 9 years before symptoms were developed.
  12. Autoimmune diseases have a long incubation time. Antibodies can be present in blood years before a disease presents clinically.
  13. Many autoimmune diseases are more prevalent among females.
  14. Vitamin D has been shown to halt or reduce the production of autoantibodies in animals and it is simple, cheap and non-harmful to the health of patients.
  15. Young systemic autoimmune patients are 50 times more likely to die of acute myocardial infarction than others in their age range.

Some interesting quotes from the interviews

  1. “In our Coeliac Disease Centre at the University of Bologna, in the last two years the number of new diagnoses of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity was exactly double that of the diagnoses of coeliac disease.” - Dr. Volta.
  2. “So it means that you need to have the missiles, the autoantibodies, in the blood for a long time before the damage accumulates that the disease becomes overt. This is called prediction of autoimmunity.” - Dr. Shoenfeld.
  3. “What is more clever than to stop something that is not necessary…to avoid not only aggravating a disease that exists, but most probably preventing the eventual development in somebody who was found to be at a higher risk of developing the autoimmune condition.” - Dr. Shoenfeld.
  4. “My dream is that we will have very soon a chip of over 500 different autoantibodies, which in the same chip will measure also the genetic markers of the patient…We will be able to recommend that patients work with you in the further from a the point of view of prediction, but moreover, prevention” - Dr. Shoenfeld.

Check out our re-caps from the other days of The Gluten Summit