This is one of the most perplexing questions people have. I just received my new issue of Living Without magazine (Dec/Jan 2010). There is an interesting article about the issue of discovering whether you have celiac disease, are gluten sensitive or have a wheat allergy.
There is a sidebar on the subject which refers Alessio Fasano, MD, of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. There is an explanation that “celiac disease and gluten sensitivity or subsets of gluten intolerance”. Fasano has found that gluten sensitivity may be 6 to 7 times more common than celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity causes no intestinal damage like celiac disease does.
I have been able to understand more clearly that there are several gluten-related issues. Celiac disease causes damage to the villi of your intestines which leads to malnutrition symptoms and worse. Gluten sensitivity can cause intestinal distress but not damage. It is important to determine if you have celiac disease because you need to make sure your villi are becoming healthy and realize that any amount of gluten may cause damage to your intestines.
Check out the Living Without magazine if you don’t already subscribe. It provides a wealth of information and recipes for people with all kinds of allergies and food sensitivities.