A significant percentage of the population with otherwise healthy immune systems are vulnerable to fungal infections e.g. recurrent thrush, Athlete’s Foot/fungal nail infection, seborrhoeic dermatitis (dandruff). These infections are harmless to the majority of people but in a significant minority may be associated with a variety of conditions e.g. Irritable Bowel, Sinusitis, Asthma, hormonal imbalance (pre-menstrual tension), adult Acne and Urticaria. Other symptoms may include reduced energy levels, mood changes and reduced memory and concentration.
In the 1980s this became popular as “Candida Syndrome” but unfortunately fell into some disrepute due to over diagnosis and extreme diets. An individually selected treatment programme of Diet, Supplements and appropriate anti-fungal medication can be of significant benefit.
Connection between Coeliac Disease, Gluten sensitivity and Wheat Allergy.
A gluten free diet has become particularly popular in the last few years and has brought considerable benefit to many people. However, it is important to make the distinction between the different conditions:
a. Coeliac Disease is an immune reaction to the gliadin fraction of wheat, barley, oats and rye. This is determined by a blood test (approx. 90% accurate) or biopsy if indicated. This is a lifelong diet in view of the increased incidents of bowel disease later on.
b. Wheat allergy is generally more acute onset and can be diagnosed with either skin prick testing (SPT) or blood test. There are different causes of wheat intolerance/sensitivity and no one test will cover this. As with any allergy or sensitivity, diagnosis is based on a full history, testing and evaluation of response to elimination and systematic challenge. This avoids unnecessary dietary restriction.
c. Gluten sensitivity. This involves elimination of wheat, barley, oats and rye. Gluten should be eliminated for a defined period depending on symptoms and confirmed by individual challenge of the four grains involved. This will confirm whether it is an overall gluten problem or individual grains e.g. wheat.