To find a doctor or practitioner who actually gets what gluten sensitivity is (and believes in it) is a refreshing experience. Too often we’ve heard from members of our community that it took years… 2, 4, 6, 10 years (!!) to finally get straight answers on why they were sick. Why waste time and money on appointments that go nowhere? That’s why we decided to compile a list of the top Gluten Sensitivity Doctors & Practitioners.
The amount of time people typically spend sick is, in our opinion, unacceptable. It translates to loss of daily joy, loss of wages (if you can’t get to work), a decrease in quality of life, an increase in pain and depression, loss of physical fitness and socializing… to name just a few.
That’s why people who have never gone through the years of suffering with something that’s not widely recognized (and then get a kick in the pants from all the naysayers out there who try to tell us that gluten sensitivity isn’t real, can’t possibly fathom what it’s like to lose total control over your life.
It’s our mission to keep adding to this list to make this resource one that helps hundreds of thousands of people finally get the answers they need to start healing their bodies broken by gluten. (HINT HINT — leave your doctor and practitioner suggestions/reviews below in the comments!)
The Common Story
You walk heavily from the waiting room, full of anxiety, aches, pains and a slew of unexplained symptoms. Settling into a sterile white room, you turn over all the unanswered questions in your mind about your crappy health until the doctor suddenly knocks on the door. Then the whirlwind begins.
When doctor asks the purpose of your visit, you try condense down years worth of symptoms and suffering into that single, fleeting moment trying to explain as best you can what you’ve been going through. You might or might not have some inkling of the deeper problem. The visit could go one of two or three probable ways, however the most common seems to be that any possible diagnoses you bring up are quickly dismissed and your debilitating symptoms are whittled down to “your tests results are all normal“, “it’s just stress, dear”, “you’re depressed”, or “you’re probably just (Insert — constipated, nervous, not eating enough fiber, worrying too much,etc).” You take a deep breath as the doctor talks more than listens.
And before you can say “Wait!”, scripts are written for an antidepressant and anti-diarrhea meds or laxatives, and the doctor’s out the door on to the next patient. Sometimes it’s suggested that you see a therapist (which really makes you want to scream!) which typically means that this doctor has no clue where to begin helping you so they default to the nicest way to say “it’s all in your head.”
This visit certainly was not how you envisioned it! Now that you’re a $60 copay down, it’s pretty natural to feel the three D’s — defeated, disgusted and dejected. Most of all, you don’t feel heard or that your personal experience that you live with day-in-and-day-out matters.
Sadly, too many of us have had the same exact experience. So now what?
Doctor Reality Check
Truthfully, you don’t have to nor should you settle when it comes to medical practitioners.
When it comes to gluten sensitivity and especially Celiac disease, it’s important that your doctors and specialists are working with you and for you. Stay the course of finding your answers even though at times it may feel like a seemingly endless cycles of hiring and firing dismissive practitioners who just don’t get it. That’s why we’ve started this resource guide to help you and others in our community get connected with practitioners who know their stuff.
They know just as much as you that your health issues are not in your head. They know that what you’re dealing with on a daily basis is very real and that you are committed to getting straight answers that dramatically improve your health.
If you’ve been to a great practitioner, please leave their name, your experience and where they practice in a comment below so that we can keep building this resource and helping others find the support they need to finally feel better!
And if you know people would benefit from seeing this list, please SHARE IT! Good will to help others in our community means a lot!
Before the Appointment
Showing up to a doctor’s appointment unprepared can not only create more anxiety for you, but can dramatically lower your chances of getting getting straight answers in a timely fashion. Honestly, it’s a surefire way to end up wasting more time on unnecessary appointments (which means you’ll be sick for a longer period of time) along with spending even more money on copays or out-of-pocket expenses.
Here are seven must-do steps before every appointment:
1. Write out a list of ALL of your symptoms, even if they seem small or obvious. Note when they happen (a particular time of day, week, month, your menstrual cycle) and what seems to improve and exacerbate them. Chances are you’ve gotten used to some of your symptoms and you may not fully understand how all of the smaller pieces can possible play into the bigger picture.
2. DO your homework ahead of time about your symptoms, possible condition and potential treatment ahead of time, but don’t necessarily be married to it. You’re seeking help because you need someone who has more experience than you in what you’re dealing with. Your practitioner may see something in your case that you’ve dismissed. So while it’s good to be knowledgeable about your symptoms and potential treatment options, keep an open mind so that your relationship can be a conversation about the investigation into what’s wrong.
3. Request copies of any blood work or tests run by other practitioners ahead of time to create your own chronologic medical file. This file should constantly be updated every time a new test is run. Your notes from other practitioners can also be filed away here. By doing this, you can allow any new practitioner’s staff to simply copy your file before your appointment and it puts you in control of your treatment. NOTE: Do not ever give a practitioner your file. Only allow them to photocopy it so that you always have the master copy.
4. Research the doctor or practitioner before you book your appointment. Take a look at their reviews and what past patients have indicated about their treatment. It could be a red or green flag for the kind of treatment YOU are seeking.
5. Be clear and concise during your visit. Unfortunately, many practitioners are overbooked and inundated with more patients than is ideal. To avoid feeling rushed, come prepared with a very concise statement and your medical records file (as we’ve already suggested in Step #4) for them to copy and review.
6. DO NOT mention that you’ve “Googled” anything. Doing so will generally not begin your relationship with a new practitioner (especially with one who’s more conventional) on the right foot. It’s not to say you shouldn’t google anything, because you should (See step #2.), but remember that google, WebMD and blogs aren’t a replacement for a real doctor or practitioner.
7. Let your practitioner know what treatment you are comfortable with. It’s important for you to determine your own testing and treatment boundaries. Don’t be afraid to speak up and draw the line if or when it is needed. Some people are uncomfortable just diving into drug or surgical treatments and would prefer to try out more natural routes first. If this is your stance, prepare to be compliant with this course of treatment. It’s a waste of time to demand a dietary treatment and fail to follow it. Remember that you are your own best advocate.
Top Conventional Celiac Disease Resources in the US:
- University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
- Ceilac Center at Colombia
- Center for Celiac Disease at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia
- Stanford Celiac Sprue Clinic
- The BIDMC Celiac Center at Harvard Medical School (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)
Top Gluten Sensitivity Doctors & Practitioner:
Dr. Kelly Brogan – Dr. Brogan practices holistic women’s health psychiatry focused on the identification of root causes of symptoms and natural treatments for whole body wellness. She is passionate about the relationship between gluten, women’s health and psychiatric issues.
Dr. Terry Wahls – She is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she teaches Internal Medicine Resonance, sees patients in traumatic brain injury clinic and conducts clinical trials. Dr. Wahls also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which had confined her to a tilt recline wheelchair for four years until she restored her health and now pedals her bike to work every day. She’s the author of The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine and teaches the public and medical community about the healing power of intensive nutrition.
Dr. Amy Myers – Dr. Myers is the founder and Medical Director of Austin UltraHealth in Texas and is a functional medicine physician. Dr. Myers has spent a lot of time steeped in alternative approaches to medicine and that food is the key to one’s good health via the gut. Her first book, The Autoimmune Solution, is now a New York Times Best-Seller.
Dr. Mark Hyman – Dr. Hyman is the founder and Medical Director of the UltraWellness Center and is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Functional Medicine. He is also a New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
Dr. Aviva Romm – Dr. Aviva Romm is the mother of four grown children, a Yale-trained physician specializing in integrative medicine for women and children, a midwife, an herbalist, an award-winning author, and the creator/owner of WomanWise, on-line courses dedicated to vitality and optimal health for women and children. An internationally respected expert in botanical and integrative medicine for women and children, she has spent nearly 30 years as a health care practitioner and advocate for the health and environmental concerns of women and kids.
Dr. Jill Carnahan – Dr. Carnahan is board certified in both Family Medicine (2006) and Integrative Holistic Medicine (2005). She moved to Boulder Colorado in 2010 to join medical partner, Dr. Robert Rountree and practice Functional Medicine consulting. She seeks to promote wellness and create hope, health and healing.
Tracy Konosoke, MS RD – Tracy is America’s virtual nutritionist and a different kind of dietitian. She’s trained in natural integrative, functional and personalized medicine. Tracy is successful in helping patients who suffer from migraines, IBS, joint pain and autoimmune disease.
Dr. Frank Lipman – Founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, Dr. Lipman is considered a pioneer and internationally recognized expert in the fields of Integrative and Functional Medicine. He is the author of several books including his most recent release called The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness.
Dr. Daniel Kalish – Dr. Kalish is a Functional Medicine practitioner who developed his own method of treating health issues presented in his patients. He has seen over 8,000 patients in his practice and has a vast knowledge of the hormonal interaction often present in patients that are missed by conventional medicine. His practice is located in Oakland, CA, but he also consults with patients over the phone. He is the author of the book The Kalish Method: Healing the Body, Mapping the Mind.
Robyn Puglia, RD – Robyn is a Clinical Nutritionist with a specialized interest in the Functional Medicine approach to health. Robyn is very involved with the field of Celiac Disease, Gluten-Reactive Disorders and Autoimmune Disease. Her passion for the healing power of food, has led her to work with complex cases, involving multiple diagnoses, and chronic health issues such as ME, auto-immune diseases and fibromyalgia. Robyn sees clients in London, Tokyo and New York, and has a virtual practice that allows her to work with people who are unable to visit her in person.
Dr. Kevin Passero – Dr. Passero has dedicated his career to helping individuals obtain optimal health through a combination of the best naturopathic and mainstream medical treatments available. He has been providing naturopathic care to the citizens of the greater Washington D.C. area through his private practices in Annapolis, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He is the Center Director at Green Healing Wellness.
Dr. Vikki Petersen – Dr. Vikki Petersen is a certified clinical nutritionist and doctor of chiropractic. She is an IFM Certified Practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, California is her health clinic where she sees patients and she is also the co-author of the book, The Gluten Effect. She has successfully treated many patients with undiagnosed gluten and other food sensitivities as well as hormonal imbalances.
Dr. Charles Parker – Dr. Parker is a psychiatrist, researcher, author and speaker who sees patients in his clinical practice in Virginia Beach, VA as well as via phone. He understands the relationship between brain imbalance and diet (especially gluten). He’s the author of New ADHD Medication Rules: Brain Science and Common Sense.
Dr. Ellen Antoine and Dr. Scott Antoine – Through addressing root issues with appropriate diet, nutritional supplementation, optimizing detoxification, and making lifestyle improvements, Dr. Ellen was able to reverse her diagnosis of Lupus, an autoimmune condition, as well as heal from chronic infections. Dr. Scott Antoine is a brain tumor survivor and has also experienced his own journey to health through functional medicine. Together, they run their practice in Carmel, IN where they work with patients to help achieve optimal health utilizing Functional and Integrative Medicine models.
Chris Kresser, MS, L.Ac – Chris is a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine. and the author of the New York Times best seller, Your Personal Paleo Code and his more recent release, The Paleo Cure.
And if you are looking for someone in your particular area, search for potential practitioners through the Institute for Functional Medicine.