Fingerprints and Gluten Sensitivity

Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO

February 19, 2015

DNC News:



My colleague Anne Marie Lambert taught me something interesting while I was at the yearly Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (Oncanp) conference in last week in Arizona.  It isn’t related to cancer or any of the conference topics, but still it struck me as curious and worth passing along.  Ann Marie and I were staring at a platter of chocolate cupcakes at a buffet dinner at CTCA’s Goodyear hospital (a dinner in honor of Davis Lamson, ND, a dinner at which the plan was that I would present him with an award for his lifetime achievement in naturopathic oncology education, if he had remembered to attend.  But that’s another story) when Anne Marie commented that just looking at all the gluten in those cupcakes was making her fingerprints itch.  (I on the other hand was simply doing like Pavlov’s dogs and starting to drool)


In response to my query asking for clarification about this comment, she explained that there is an odd and rarely mentioned sign of celiac disease. The disease changes a person’s fingerprints.


To back up her seemingly outlandish claim, Dr Lambert referenced an article published in a 1970 issue of the British Medical Journal by David, Ajdukiewicz and Read.   They had examined the fingerprints of 73 patients with diagnosed celiac disease and reported that 63 of these patients had abnormalities in contrast to only 3 out of 486 non-celiac control patients.  While this study sounds rather definitive, we should mention that in a letter to the editor, published a year later in 1971, McCrae and colleagues from Edinburgh reported that they were unable to reproduce these findings.  They had examined fingerprints from children with treated and untreated celiac disease.   In the first study, average age of participants was 35 years old, while in the second study was conducted on children, ages not specified.  Perhaps this explains the difference in results. 


In this second study, 23 children with biopsy proven celiac disease, six of who were untreated and 12 who had undergone long term gluten free treatment and had no symptoms of disease were included along with 25 normal children and 18 children with cystic fibrosis. None of the samples showed the ridge atrophy described in the original David paper.  It should be noted that in this 1971 study rather than using a simple ink roll technique to obtain prints, instead with at least the infants in this group, used cellophane to obtain prints.

Here are a pair of examples of normal and not normal fingerprints:



Dr. Lambert tells me that she has been using this technique for seven years and feels that it has been a useful and reliable method to diagnosis gluten sensitivity.


In particular she thinks of using this fingerprint test for individuals with symptoms of celiac disease who have had negative results on the blood tests for the disease, especially people with blood type O.  The theory is that a lectin in the wheat causes chronic inflammation in the intestine that may actually not be celiac.  Thus I suppose this might be a pseudo-celiac, still autoimmune gut inflammation but not technically celiac.  There seem to be a lot of people in this boat.  The “wheat bothers me tons but I don’t have celiac.” People that we see every week at the office. I suppose it’s time to fingerprint them


Dr. Lambert tells me that she first heard about this test from Peter D’Adamo (of the Blood Type Diet book and franchise) and that she tells me that she purchases her fingerprint kits from his office.

[blog from Peter D’Adamo: ]


Dr. Lambert tells me that she usually sees significant improvement in ridge height after a six-month period of low gluten diet.


Maybe this isn’t true celiac disease after all, but perhaps it’s something else.  It’s interesting to think about this, as one must assume that something that irritates the interior workings of the body enough to affect fingerprints, must be making a real stew of things down in those intestines.  So don’t be surprised if during an office visit we pull out an inkpad and start rolling your fingers.  You can be part of an experiment



Br Med J. 1970 Dec 5;4(5735):594-6.

Fingerprint changes in coeliac disease.

David TJ, Ajdukiewicz AB, Read AE.


Br Med J. 1971 Jul 10;3(5766):109-10.

Fingerprint changes in coeliac disease.

McCrae WM, Sandor G, Sangani AP, Stalker R.