Gluten Allergies Common in Chiropractic Patients, Doctor Says

With gluten-free labels lining the shelves of grocery stores and celebrities gushing over life without gluten on Twitter, the popularity of the gluten-free diet has soared in recent years. But with only 1 in 133 Americans actually diagnosed with celiac disease, skeptics worry that it's just the latest diet craze.

Many people perceive gluten-free products as "healthier" but they often don't contain as much fiber and aren't fortified with the same vitamins as whole wheat products. And a gluten-free cookie is still packed with the same sugar and fat as a regular one.

Still, many Americans who aren't diagnosed with celiac disease say they experience a range of benefits from going gluten-free, from decreased symptoms of arthritis and allergies to better digestion and weight loss. It could even help with migraine headaches, since last year research showed that people with a gluten intolerance are more likely to suffer from chronic headache.

Indeed, a 2011 panel of experts concluded that there is such thing as a "non-celiac gluten sensitivity" related to a broad range of conditions. A recent article in The New York Times discusses the debate and research over how to diagnose and treat non-celiac gluten sensitivities.

Chiropractor Thomas O'Bryan, who was featured in the Times piece, said that 30% of his patients have tested positive for antibodies to proteins found in gluten. Avoiding wheat could help many of those patients, he suggested.

Experts advise people to avoid "self-diagnosing"; categorically removing a food from your diet could have detrimental consequences if you don't balance it out with other nutrients. A doctor of chiropractic trained in nutrition can help you determine whether a gluten-free diet makes sense for you.


AAN: Migraine prevalence ip in celiac Disease, IBD patients. Doctors Lounge. April 27,2012. Accessed May 7,2012.

Chang, Kenneth. Gluten-free, whether you need it or not. The New York Times. February 4, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2013.

Ludvigsson JF, et al. The Oslo definitoins for coeliac diases and related terms. Gut 2013;62:43-52. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2011-301346.