Dec 22, 2022 - Health + Traits

The Gift of Health, via a Gluten-Free Diet

Brandon Moore photo

Out with the gluten, in with the gluten-free substitutes.

That’s the new motto for Brandon Moore, who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease.

Unexplained symptoms

Brandon never knew that all the pizza, pasta, and bread that sustained him were also making him ill.

He’d experienced chronic stomach problems for as long as he could remember, but no doctor or specialist could explain them. “I have done multiple tests looking for various issues like diverticulitis and stomach ulcers,” he said. “My doctors never found anything.”

Then he received a 23andMe Health + Ancestry kit as a gift from his step-grandmother. His 23andMe Celiac Disease Genetic Health Risk report* indicated that he had a slightly increased risk of developing celiac disease. 

He mentioned his results to his doctor during a routine physical, who ordered a follow-up test. The results confirmed he had the condition.

A new lifestyle

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the consumption of gluten protein – found in wheat and other grains like barley and rye –  can result in damage to the small intestine and cause digestive and non-digestive symptoms.  

The only known treatment is a gluten-free diet. So, Brandon began reading labels and avoiding everything containing gluten. 

Within weeks of going gluten-free, he felt better. His chronic stomach problems abated. And he even began to lose weight. “I feel physically and mentally healthier than I have ever felt in my life,” he said. “I lost 50 pounds; I don’t even get colds anymore!”

Brandon has adjusted to his new gluten-free lifestyle. “I don’t take a lot of risks. It’s just not worth it,” he said. “Even a minuscule amount of gluten will upset my stomach.”

He credits his success to his wife, who helps him research and prepare food: “I couldn’t do it without her. She is my rock.”

He also enjoys introducing his friends to the wide array of gluten-free products that are now available. “We’ll have friends over, and we’ll prepare them hamburgers on gluten-free buns, and honestly, they don’t even know the difference. Everything’s pretty good now!”

*The 23andMe PGS test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is  not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. The Celiac Disease Genetic Health Risk report (i) is indicated for reporting of the rs2187668 variant in the HLA-DQA1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ2.5 haplotype, and the rs7454108 variant near the HLA-DQB1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ8 haplotype and (ii) describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing celiac disease. The variants included in this report are common in many ethnicities, but are best studied in people of European descent.

Stay in the know.

Receive the latest from your DNA community.