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Sensitive to Gluten? Traditional Sourdough Offers a Unique Solution to Bread Woes

By Carolanne Wright       Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Jack Bezian of Bezian’s Bakery in Santa Monica, California, has an eye-catching sign behind his loaves of bread, stating: “Roman soldiers had only sourdough bread to get protein.” But this is only part of the story. For those who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, Jack’s naturally fermented bread is surprisingly easy to digest. Interestingly, several studies have also found true sourdough to be well tolerated by individuals sensitive to gluten.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming the protein in wheat, barley and rye – otherwise known as gluten. If a celiac ingests this protein, the immune system mistakenly attacks the villi in the small intestine, causing a cascade of health issues, including leaky gut syndrome, malnutrition, lactose intolerance, osteoporosis, neurological disorders and cancer.

Under normal circumstances, it’s necessary for individuals with a gluten sensitivity to completely eliminate the troublesome offender from their diet. However, two small studies involving sourdough bread give hope to the millions who believe they need to swear off gluten containing grains forever.

A European study of 17 celiac patients who consumed sourdough bread had an intriguing outcome. When the volunteers ingested a specialized sourdough containing lactobacilli culture, none of the participants exhibited any negative effects of intestinal permeability. The bread was made with 30 percent wheat flour and a combination of oat, millet and buckwheat flours. The researchers concluded, “These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.”

sourdough

Similarly, another study found that “individuals with celiac disease who ate specially prepared sourdough wheat bread over the course of 60 days experienced no ill effects,” writes Tasha Gerken in “Celiacs Can Say Yes to Sourdough Bread.” Read more about the testing protocol here.

Research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology offers a possible explanation. Scientists discovered that, when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented, gluten content drops from approximately 75,000 ppm to 12 – a level technically considered gluten-free.

Not all bread is created equal

The key is a long fermentation process – up to a month with bakers like Jack Bezian. When bread is leavened naturally with lactobacilli, it transforms wheat flour into a nutrient-rich edible which is abundant in vitamins B, C and E, bioavailable protein, fatty acids and minerals. With true sourdough, bone and tooth destroying phytates are minimized as well.

In the post “Top 10 Reasons to Eat Real Sourdough Bread, Even if You’re Gluten Intolerant” Jack relates a story about how a celiac customer tried his traditional sourdough bread and discovered he could eat it without any adverse reactions.

Jack believes it’s important to knead the bread thoroughly and allow it to ferment for a lengthy stretch of time. There are no shortcuts here, but if you have an issue with gluten and miss the joy of bread, a true sourdough may be the answer.

Updated September 2014

Article Sources:
http://fyiliving.com
http://www.cghjournal.org
http://link.springer.com
http://www.wholeliving.com
http://www.cheeseslave.com
http://www.celiac.com
http://www.celiac.com
http://science.naturalnews.com
http://science.naturalnews.com

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What is gluten?

A health expert gives us the low-down on gluten, gluten-free diets and celiac disease.

By Judd Handler Tue, Oct 12 2010 

By now, you’ve probably come across at least one product in a supermarket labeled “gluten-free.”

These products have become more prevalent in recent years but you still may not know what “gluten-free” means. In fact, you’re probably not sure what gluten is.

The prefix of the term “gluten” gives away its definition. Think of gluten as a glue-like substance that gives wheat and other products their chewy structure.

Although the science is much more complex than the definition, gluten can be defined, in lay terms, as the sticky protein substance in wheat.

Gluten is found in dozens of wheat-based products. It’s also prevalent in rye as well as oats and barley (bad news for beer drinkers).

The chewy structure that is gluten might be pleasing to our palette, but it is detrimental to the one in 200 people who are estimated to have celiac disease, which according to the Center for Celiac Disease Research at the University of Maryland, is one of the most common life-long disorders in western countries.

People with celiac disease suffer from a laundry list of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is now being recognized by some researchers as being caused by celiac disease.

In people with celiac disease, gliadin, a glycoprotein found in gluten, attacks the small intestine lining and causes damage to the tiny villi, which absorb nutrients. As a result of the body’s inability to take in enough vitamins and minerals, autoimmune disorders can arise.

If you suffer frequently from headaches or migraines, or get sick a lot, or get skin rashes, you may have celiac disease or some other form of intolerance to gluten.

What’s wrong with gluten?
Scientists say that for millennia humans subsisted on a diet consisting of nothing but wild game and meat as well as fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds. It’s only been since the Neolithic period (about 9500 BCE) that humans began cultivating wheat.

In evolutionary terms, that’s the equivalent of a blink of an eye for when wheat was introduced into the modern diet.

To carry the metaphor further, it’s been a fraction of a fraction of a blink of an eye that our food sources have been pumped with lots of wheat products and byproducts, all of which contain gluten.

Our guts are simply not adapted to digest gluten and break it down into individual amino acids.

About one in seven people have gluten sensitivity — that’s 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. population. People with gluten intolerance are scientifically known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive (NCGS).

Dr. Vikki Petersen, author of a new book, “The Gluten Effect,” says that one of her missions is to dispel the myth that if you don’t have celiac disease, you have nothing to worry about.

Don’t reach for the Wheat Thins just yet, she cautions.

“Just because you don’t have villous atrophy in the small intestine doesn’t mean gluten isn’t causing deleterious effect on your health,” says Petersen, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist.

With the increasing prevalence of gluten in our diets, Petersen says that there is now an increased risk of our genetics “flipping on” an anti-gliadin response.

This, predicts Petersen, will likely lead to more cases of celiac disease and autoimmune disorders caused by gluten intolerance.

“When you lump them together, autoimmune disorders are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.,” says Petersen, “and gluten is a major culprit.”

Petersen says that in the past, it was thought that you either have a genetic predisposition to gluten intolerance and celiac disease or you won’t ever develop it. Research from just last year, she says, reveals this may not be the case.

She notes that since the 1970s, celiac disease has increased four fold and the disease was rare as recently as the 1950s.

Petersen says that due to the increased preponderance of toxins in our environment and food chain, gluten-free diets won’t be considered merely a health fad.

“More and more people will suffer from the ill-effects of gluten-containing diets and will have to consume a 100 percent gluten-free food program,” she says.

Is gluten-free enough?
“We should strive to eat as much organic and natural foods as we can to ensure proper health,” Petersen says. “This includes increasing the amount of vegetables and gluten-free complex carbohydrates like quinoa, millet and brown rice.”

Adopting a gluten-free diet, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities will improve their health.

“One out of every three celiac disease sufferers fails to heal,” says Petersen.

The culprit? Healing the gut takes more than switching from regular chocolate chip to gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies.

“There are secondary effects of gluten to consider, such as other food sensitivities, like dairy,” says Petersen, who recommends those with celiac disease or NCGS get tested for secondary infections such as parasites, yeast overgrowth, amoebas and other nasty microscopic digestive invaders.

She also recommends taking a daily probiotic (human strain) with a micro-organism count of at least 20 billion — more if you have an infection.

Don’t feast on gluten-free snacks. Instead, treat them as you would any other guilty-pleasure: a once-in-a-while treat. If you suffer from low energy and a myriad of health problems and tend to eat a lot of wheat and baked goods, consider going on a gluten-free diet.

It may be just what the doctor ordered.

Judd Handler is a graduate of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program, a curriculum that includes testing for mucosal barrier integrity of the small intestine. His website is WellnessGuru4u.com


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10 Signs you are Gluten Intolerant

Gluten intolerance, also called gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease- when it’s in its most severe form- can have symptoms that range from no symptoms to life threatening or debilitating chronic health problems and anywhere in between. Often, these symptoms are not consistent from person to person and this is part of what makes gluten testing or Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity so difficult for medical professionals.

According to Dr. Amy Myers the following are 10 signs of gluten intolerance:

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.

2. Keratosis pilaris, also known as “chicken skin” on the back of your arms. This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.

3. Fatigue, brain fog, or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.

4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.

5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance

6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS, or unexplained infertility.

7. Migraine headaches.

8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pinpoint the cause of your fatigue or pain.

9. Inflammation, swelling, or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees, or hips.

10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and ADD.

According to The Examiner.com below are five not-so-obvious signs of gluten intolerance that you could be missing:

1.”You’re a full-grown adult but you still have breakouts like a teenager: Your skin is the body’s biggest organ and provides a window into your internal health. That may be why Dr. Alessio Fasano, at the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research argues that persistent acne is a sign of inflammation from gluten that can affect other organs.

2.You wake up feeling sluggish, you’re fatigued all day, and never feel rested: If you aren’t burning the midnight oil every night and you are still hitting the snooze button repeatedly ever morning, your diet may actually be to blame. A gluten-filled diet can not only induce fatigue in someone with gluten intolerance, it can actually disrupt your sleep patterns and create a feeling of general malaise, according to studies.

3.You suffer from mood issues, anxiety, depression, or ADD. A gluten intolerance or allergy might not create anxiety or depression out of thin air, but they can certainly make symptoms worse. A 2010 study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cited “significant concerns about increased rates of psychological symptoms and mental disorders in celiacs” patients.

4.You mysteriously suffer from join pain in your hands, knees, or hips: Join pain can be signs of several different autoimmune diseases. If you’re not hitting the heavy weights, logging serious miles running, or suffering from arthritis, the inflammatory response from a gluten intolerance may be one reason your system is triggering a reaction in your joints.

 

5.You are plagued by frequent headaches and migraines: The causes of migraines are various and mysterious, but some studies have made a connection between an increased rate of headaches and migraines in Celiac patients, compared to the general population. In a 2001 study, Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in the UK documented patients actually lessening their migraine symptom by following gluten-free diets”.

And it gets worse, gluten has been linked to over 55 diseases! Yes, I said 55 diseases.
Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “we used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity–not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone–but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.

By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.”

So, what’s a person to do? Well, first get tested by your doctor have him/her do the run down to make sure that there is nothing else going on then try a gluten elimination diet.
( http://www.nourishingmeals.com/p/elimination-diet.html )

References
(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.

Sources for Article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html
http://www.easy-immune-health.com/Symptoms-of-Gluten-Intolerance.html#ixzz2bGphgedV
http://www.dramymyers.com/2013/02/03/10-signs-your-gluten-intolerant/
http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/10-signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant.html


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10 Causes Of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor May Not Know About

Author Dr. Amy Myers

It’s estimated that fibromyalgia affects approximately 10 million people in the United States. Fibromyalgia is classically characterized by chronic pain, particularly muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, brain fog or cognitive impairment, depression and painful tender points throughout the body. 

Conventional medicine has yet to uncover the cause of fibromyalgia and only offers management of symptoms through pain medications and antidepressants.

Functional medicine, on the other hand, looks to find the root cause of fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, treating the problem at the root level to restore the patient to health. As a functional medicine physician, I’ve helped many patients recover from fibromyalgia.  Below are the top ten root causes of fibromyalgia I see in my clinic.

1. Gluten intolerance  

Gluten has been liked to more than 55 diseases and is often called the “big masquerader.” The reason for this is that the majority of gluten intolerance symptoms are not digestive in nature, but are instead neurological, such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue and depression.

2. Candida overgrowth

Candida is a fungus, or yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your intestines. When overproduced, Candida breaks down the wall of the intestines and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues and pain. Virtually every one of my patients with fibromyalgia has had Candida overgrowth.

3. Thyroid

It’s vital that your doctor check all six blood markers to accurately measure your thyroid gland’s function. It’s also imperative that your doctor use the optimal levels rather than the standard reference range when assessing and diagnosing thyroid disorders. Getting my patient’s thyroid levels into an optimal range typically alleviates their fatigue, brain fog, sleep disturbances and depression. 

 

4. Vitamin deficiencies

Magnesium, vitamin D and B12 deficiency are the most common vitamin deficiencies I see in those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’ve had several patients completely reverse their fibromyalgia symptoms with magnesium alone. The best way to measure magnesium is a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium level, which can be tested through any conventional lab.

5. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Leaky gut

There are more bacteria in us and on us then there are of our own cells. When these bacteria get out of balance through use of antibiotics or a sugar-rich diet, we can lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients, particularly B12. Gluten can cause SIBO and leaky gut and SIBO and leaky gut can lead gluten and other food intolerances. It’s a catch-22 and a vicious cycle. You must “fix the gut” first in anyone with fibromyalgia.

6. Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are very toxic substances produced by molds. Conventional environmental mold testing only tests for levels of mold spores and does not test for mycotoxins. I use a urine mycotoxin test in my clinic to determine if someone has been exposed to toxic molds.

7. Mercury toxicity

I recommend that all my patients find a biological dentist and have their mercury amalgam fillings removed. Mercury is toxic to our bodies and can be one piece of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia. I then recommend heavy metal testing using a pre- and post-DMPS urine challenge test.

8. Adrenal fatigue 

Adrenal fatigue is a result of the chronic stress. Chronic pain is a stress to the adrenal glands, though it’s typically not the initial adrenal stressor. The initial stressor is usually something such as food intolerances, Candida, mercury toxicity, vitamin deficiencies or mycotoxins. My goal is to support the adrenals with adaptogenic herbs while we search for the root cause of the stress and correct it.

9. MTHFR mutations

This is a genetic test you can get though any conventional lab. The more mutations you have to the MTHFR gene the less able you are to methylate and detoxify toxins, such as mercury and lead. The more mutations you have at this gene the higher your requirements for methyl-B6, methyl-B12 and folinic acid in order to keep your detoxification pathways working properly.

10. Glutathione deficiency

Glutathione is the most critical part of our body’s detoxification system. Glutathione gets recycled in our body — unless our toxic burden gets too high, or we lack GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione. Taking glutathione or the precursors (NAC, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle) often help dramatically with fatigue.

As you can see from the above list, many of these causes are interrelated, and often there’s no single root cause of fibromyalgia. Because getting to the root can be complex, I recommend that you find a functional medicine physician in your area to help uncover the root cause for you. You don’t need to suffer needlessly or mask your symptoms with pain medications and antidepressants. 


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Gluten-free not just a fad for some

A gluten-free diet is the only medical treatment for two health conditions
By Lee Marshall, CBC News Posted: May 1, 2013

When arm pain made it difficult for Victoria Yeh to play her electric violin, she decided to make a change.

Yeh suffered from chronic headaches, nausea, sinus inflammation, stomach pain, gas and digestive issues for several years. But the pain was Yen’s biggest motivation to follow her doctor’s advice to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

“I consider gluten-free to be a diet of necessity. I wasn’t healthy, I was really thin and I would get sick often,” said Yeh.

Eliminating gluten from her diet had a positive effect. “I put on more weight and put on more body fat, and I’m much healthier now.”

These days, lots of people are giving up gluten. Eighteen per cent of American adults buy gluten-free products, according to market researcher Packaged Facts. Some eat gluten-free to treat celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten. Some are fad dieters who think it will help them lose weight.

But Yeh is eating gluten-free for another reason.

She is one of an increasing number who are reporting non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.

Experts estimate that celiac disease affects one per cent of Canadians. It prevents the uptake of nutrients from food by damaging the small intestine and can lead to neurological disorders and vitamin deficiencies, like anemia or osteoporosis. Celiac disease has even been linked to infertility, schizophrenia and cancer. The only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet.

Less is known about non-celiac gluten-sensitivity.

Dr. Mohsin Rashid, a gastroenterologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, says that non-celiac gluten-sensitivity is a newly coined phenomenon. “We don’t know exactly what happens. We’re just trying to probe the surface of this issue.”

What doctors do know is that people with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity have celiac-like gastrointestinal and neurological side- effects but no autoimmune reaction to gluten. There is no way to diagnosis sensitivity: the blood-tests and biopsy for celiac disease come back negative.

But some researchers think non-celiac gluten-sensitivity may be more prevalent than celiac disease and that the prevalence may be increasing at a faster rate.

It’s a lifestyle, not a diet

The gluten-free industry is valued at $4.2 billion US and it’s still growing. Industry sales are projected to exceed $6.6 billion US by 2017, according to Packaged Facts.

But eating gluten-free is still challenging because gluten is so ubiquitous. It’s in the obvious products, like bread, pasta, and cookies, but it is also lurking in many prepared foods, like soup, salad dressing, and soy sauce.

“You will never be successful with the gluten-free diet if you just simply see it as a diet. It really is a lifestyle change,” said Yeh.

Registered dietitian Alexandra Anca in Toronto says that gluten-free eating isn’t inherently healthy for those without a medical reason to follow the diet. She says gluten-free processed foods are often low in fibre and nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and folate.

Diet books, like Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, encourage the gluten-free diet as a weight loss strategy.

But Anca said the diet can actually lead to weight gain. “Most [processed] gluten-free foods offer a higher amount of carbohydrates, fat and calories all in all,” said Anca.

For anyone eating gluten-free, Anca recommends eating a variety of healthy carbohydrates like quinoa, flax, sorghum, millet and teff.

Potential future treatments

Dr. Rashid says it isn’t yet clear why the prevalence of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity seem to be increasing. “All autoimmune disorders and allergies are on the rise — celiac disease is just one of them.”

But a number of therapies for gluten-related disorders are already in clinical trials.

Larazotide acetate is the pill attracting the most attention: the theory is that it works by preventing gluten from entering the lining of the small intestine.

One therapy in development involves using enzymes to break gluten into smaller non-toxic parts. Another is thought to work by attaching a chemical to gluten that makes it too big to be absorbed during digestion.

The biotechnology company ImmusanT is developing a vaccine that will increase tolerance to gluten in people with celiac disease.

Dr. Rashid says these options may be on the market within five to 10 years. But the treatments won’t reverse celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity.

“It seems that the cure will probably not be that one can eat everything,” said Dr. Rashid. Rather, treatment will protect people from small quantities of gluten.

Even without a cure, being gluten-free is becoming easier and more affordable.

There are more gluten-free products on the market, manufacturers are labeling food that contains gluten, and people with celiac disease are eligible for a gluten-free tax breaks.

Going gluten-free is hard at first but can lead to delicious and healthy eating. “One of the ancillary benefits of a gluten-free diet is that it makes you really think about what you’re eating,” said Yeh. “You’re forced to discover new foods.”

For Yeh, the initial difficulty of changing her lifestyle has been worth it. “I had been living with this brain fog for the past number of years, and I didn’t realize that I did until it was sort of lifted away from me. My pain went away.”

She is still playing her electric violin.

source: CBC


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Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You

Something you’re eating may be killing you, and you probably don’t even know it!

If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread-how could that be bad for you?

Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease.

In today’s blog I want to reveal the truth about gluten, explain the dangers, and provide you with a simple system that will help you determine whether or not gluten is a problem for you.

The Dangers of Gluten

A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i)

This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten.

Yet an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.

And here’s some more shocking news …

Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period. (ii) If we saw a 400 percent increase in heart disease or cancer, this would be headline news. But we hear almost nothing about this. I will explain why I think that increase has occurred in a moment. First, let’s explore the economic cost of this hidden epidemic.

Undiagnosed gluten problems cost the American healthcare system oodles of money. Dr. Peter Green, Professor of Clinical Medicine for the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University studied all 10 million subscribers to CIGNA and found those who were correctly diagnosed with celiac disease used fewer medical services and reduced their healthcare costs by more than 30 perecnt. (iii) The problem is that only one percent of those with the problem were actually diagnosed. That means 99 percent are walking around suffering without knowing it, costing the healthcare system millions of dollars.

And it’s not just a few who suffer, but millions. Far more people have gluten sensitivity than you think–especially those who are chronically ill. The most serious form of allergy to gluten, celiac disease, affects one in 100 people, or three million Americans, most of who don’t know they have it. But milder forms of gluten sensitivity are even more common and may affect up to one-third of the American population.

Why haven’t you heard much about this?

Well, actually you have, but you just don’t realize it. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as dozens and dozens of other diseases with different names.

Gluten Sensitivity: One Cause, Many Diseases

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

We used to think that gluten problems or celiac disease were confined to children who had diarrhea, weight loss, and failure to thrive. Now we know you can be old, fat, and constipated and still have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity-not just the symptoms.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that ALL cases of depression or autoimmune disease or any of these other problems are caused by gluten in everyone-but it is important to look for it if you have any chronic illness.

By failing to identify gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, we create needless suffering and death for millions of Americans. Health problems caused by gluten sensitivity cannot be treated with better medication. They can only be resolved by eliminating 100 percent of the gluten from your diet.

The question that remains is: Why are we so sensitive to this “staff of life,” the staple of our diet?


There are many reasons …

They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.

American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America.

To find out if you are one of the millions of people suffering from an unidentified gluten sensitivity, just follow this simple procedure.

The Elimination/Reintegration Diet

While testing can help identify gluten sensivity, the only way you will know if this is really a problem for you is to eliminate all gluten for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks) and see how you feel. Get rid of the following foods:

• Gluten (barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, wheat, triticale–see http://www.celiac.com for a complete list of foods that contain gluten, as well as often surprising and hidden sources of gluten.)

• Hidden sources (soup mixes, salad dressings, sauces, as well as lipstick, certain vitamins, medications, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and even Play-Doh.)

For this test to work you MUST eliminate 100 percent of the gluten from your diet–no exceptions, no hidden gluten, and not a single crumb of bread.

Then eat it again and see what happens. If you feel bad at all, you need to stay off gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.

But if you are still interested in testing, here are some things to keep in mind.

Testing for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease

There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat. They will look for:
• IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgG anti-gliadin antibodies
• IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
• Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases)
• Total IgA antibodies
• HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic suspectibility).
• Intestinal biopsy (rarely needed if gluten antibodies are positive–based on my interpretation of the recent study)

When you get these tests, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In light of the new research on the dangers of gluten sensitivity without full blown celiac disease, I consider any elevation of antibodies significant and worthy of a trial of gluten elimination. Many doctors consider elevated anti-gliadin antibodies in the absence of a positive intestinal biopsy showing damage to be “false positives.” That means the test looks positive but really isn’t significant.

We can no longer say that. Positive is positive and, as with all illness, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. If your antibodies are elevated, you should go off gluten and test to see if it is leading to your health problems.

So now you see-that piece of bread may not be so wholesome after all! Follow the advice I’ve shared with you today to find out if gluten may be the hidden cause of your health problems. Simply eliminating this insidious substnace from your diet, may help you achieve lifelong vibrant health.

Are you one of the millions that have been lead to believe gluten is perfectly safe to eat?
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD

References
(i) Ludvigsson JF, Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, Brandt L, Granath F. Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease. JAMA. 2009 Sep 16;302(11):1171-8.
(ii) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(iii) Green PH, Neugut AI, Naiyer AJ, Edwards ZC, Gabinelle S, Chinburapa V. Economic benefits of increased diagnosis of celiac disease in a national managed care population in the United States. J Insur Med. 2008;40(3-4):218-28.
(iv) Farrell RJ, Kelly CP. Celiac sprue. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 17;346(3):180-8. Review.
(v) Sedghizadeh PP, Shuler CF, Allen CM, Beck FM, Kalmar JR. Celiac disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2002;94(4):474-478.
(vi) Margutti P, Delunardo F, Ortona E. Autoantibodies associated with psychiatric disorders. Curr Neurovasc Res. 2006 May;3(2):149-57. Review.
(vii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(viii) Ludvigsson JF, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Coeliac disease and risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis: a general population cohort study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb;42(2):179-85.
(ix) Hu WT, Murray JA, Greenaway MC, Parisi JE, Josephs KA. Cognitive impairment and celiac disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Oct;63(10):1440-6.
(x) Bushara KO. Neurologic presentation of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S92-7. Review.
(xi) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(xii) Green PH, Jabri B. Coeliac disease. Lancet. 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):383-91. Review.
Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. 

 Posted: 01/02/10         source: Huffingtonpost.com