Celiac Trends…What’s New?

Whenever we start a conversation about Celiac Disease (CD), it will frequently begin with some conversation about gluten. Although it may seems like a cut and dry conversation, the ramifications are something that many people don’t really understand. I have blogged about this topic before but will hopefully present a new slant for this segment. Before getting into what’s new, I want to make sure we cover some of the established data. In an article by Van Heel and West, “Gut.’ (2006), they stated that the current ratio of clinically diagnosed to undetected cases “is the size of an iceberg” which is approximately 1 to 8, therefore, most cases of CD goes undetected. A study published in Gastroenterology (2009) revealed that in the past 50 years, it went from 1 in 700 to  1 in 100 and those with the greatest mortality where the ones that were identified as silent, undetected CD.

We do know that many patients with undiagnosed CD spend years searching for help with fatigue and abdominal symptoms. In addition, there are the complications from CD, autoimmune diseases, that can affect almost any tissue in the body, ie., thyroid, pancreas, bone, collogens,and nervous tissue to name a few. I found complications like osteoporosis, osteomalacia, Alzheimer’s,
and Parkinson’s were just a few that revealed the far reaching affects of CD and the devastating effects of gluten intolerance. I also read a study that suggested that psychiatric illnesses were observed to be a main cause of disability in CD and in addition suggested that ADHD should be included in the list of diseases associated with CD.

Some other symptoms that can be included with CD are: Rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, obesity, depression,and menstrual/ reproductive health. In one study, it also implicated CD with an increased risk for cancer and early death. Well….after all that who wants a muffin?…..kidding of course. Gluten intolerance, CD, leaky gut, and inflammatory bowel disease can be grouped together and have numerous detrimental affects on physiology. It should be noted at this point that the brain and gut, (digestive system), have an intimate connection; they talk to each other. 97% of all serotonin, the happy hormone in the brain, is found in the gut.

The gut has also been referred to as the second brain. Every hormone or neurotransmitter that is found in the brain is found in the gut.
There are numerous studies linking brain pathologies and degeneration to inflammation, which can be the result of gluten intolerance and CD. There was a study out of the Mayo Clinic indicating that Multiple Sclerosis was 3.7 times as prevalent with inflammatory bowel disease. How important is your diet you ask?….Well, your health, well being and longevity depend on it. There are some tests you can request to give you an idea of your overall inflammation:

  1. High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein, hs-CRP
  2. Sedimentation Rate- Sed Rate

There are more tests that can be ordered to get specific questions answered if you find there is a problem. As is the case with many of my blogs…the suggestions are the same:

  1. Eat a plant based diet
  2. Eat clean/organic protein
  3. Eat high quality fats
  4. Drink plenty of pure water, 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Ex. 150lbs./2= 75 ounces per day
  5. Exercise 30 minutes every day
  6. Quiet time…every day

If you are unsure whether you have an intolerance or problem, avoid wheat for 21-30 days and then slowly re-introduce gluten and
observe/experience any change. I would also suggest avoiding dairy, soy, corn and grains. If you are very sensitive to smells or
chemicals, I would also avoid any additives….again, a plant based diet for 3-4 weeks. There is more specific testing for gluten intolerance from Cyrex Labs. The lab has various panels to evaluate the integrity of the intestinal lining as well as food sensitivities and autoimmune integrity.

As always, if you have any additional questions for myself or the friendly staff and Fresh and Natural you can come in or contact us
directly. Wishing you a healthy spring…it is spring isn’t it?


Paul A. Westby DC,DACBN

Author: Dr. Paul Westby

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